Thursday, April 01, 2010

New submission guidelines for second quarter 2010

Lots of agents like to change up their submission guidelines for spring.
I'm no exception.

Please pay close attention. This list supersedes all other guidelines.

1. I will only consider fiction novels. Please make sure you're writing a fiction novel before querying.

2. I will only consider novels that are more than 250,000 words (mega novels)

3. I require the novel to be in at least three fonts, one of which should be zapf dingbats, and one of the other two should be in the italic narrow version.

4. I will only consider novels passed on by other agents. Please quote their rejection letters verbatim in your query.

5. I will only consider novels that have more than 25 occurrences of "mouse fart" "death kitten" "wombat of terror" and "that's what she said." I have "Cntrl Find" and I know how to use it.

6. I like to involve my blog readers in my query process, so leave off any kind of contact information. The blog readers will track you down, and if they like you, let me know how to reach you. Thus, be nice to everyone who seems to send a spam email. You never know what they're really looking for.

7. I like to help my interns learn to edit so please don't run spell check before you sent the manuscript. Don't run the grammar check either.

8. I like to encourage my godsends to fight over manuscripts, so please make sure you query every agent at FPLM at the same time. Make sure you include "to whom it may concern" as well as both "Sir" "Madam" and "Snookums."

9. Include the phrase "I've read and followed your direction of 4/1/10" in the subject line.

10. And remember, you'll receive an instant detailed critique, so if you haven't heard back within twenty minutes, send another email reminding me you're waiting.



If this is too much for you, there are other agents out there:
New submission guidelines! Make sure to read and follow!

86 comments:

LL said...

I'm waiting....and waiting.

Katy said...

I'm on April Fool's Day high alert, and you still had me up until #2. I was thinking to myself, did she just misuse "fiction novel"?

Michael G-G said...

Too funny! Sign (sine? sin?) me up for your blog-reading posse and we'll track down any varmints who don't do exactly as you say.

And happy day of April folly to you.

DeadlyAccurate said...

It's been 20 minutes.
::tap:: ::tap:: ::tap::

I know I called it a fiction novel, and I definitely put in the right subject line.

Emily White said...

Yes! Finally! I've been waiting forever for an agent to accept criteria #5, especially.

SJDuvall said...

That is awesome! You had me until you said novels more than 250,000 words (mega novels).

Cute prank :)

Diana said...

Janet;
You made me about wet my pants! Kudos to you for such an entertaining post!

FIONA said...

;-)

Josin L. McQuein said...

1. My fiction novel is about time travel, therefore I made sure it was a fiction novel AFTER I queried. But you'll never know that.

2. Cool! I have an 8- volume series, 376,032 (approx.)words/ volume. It includes, maps, writing exercises, and detailed histories of all minor characters in their native, and totally original, languages.

3. That's so last year.

¡¡¡ǝuo ʇs⇂ ʎɹǝʌ ǝɥʇ ǝʌɐɥ ı puɐ ˙ƃuıɥʇ ƃıq ʇxǝu ǝɥʇ sı lǝʌou pǝʇɹǝʌuı ǝɥʇ

4. They're all losers whose names are worth cluttering my memory. I'll just cite 672, and let you figure out the particulars.

5. What are your feelings on "she rolled her eyes"? My death kitteh has ocular issues and said phrase is integral to the characterization. Don't even think of asking me to change it or I won't consider any offer you make.

6. My contact information is included in Sanskrit at the top of the page. That's those 1st 17 lines of text that look like sticks. The translation is the attachment I added.

7. Spell cheque is four loosers. It cane never handle mine fantastical names and placebos without racking them.

8. Fine, but the herpat American told me to send it to the octopus. So mine's addressed to Calamari Jones.

9. I am opposed to the use of slash marks on principle. My subject line includes the name, title, sign of the zodiac for the day of submission and an allusion to following fools, so you know I read today's instructions.

10. You're already on my auto-sender. It's timed to send out query bursts in 12 minute intervals. It's really cool - there's a canon sound effect and everything!

Other agents? Out where? Outside? Out of your office? Out to lunch? I need specifics, snookums. Dodging the question doesn't help anyone... you know what, I'll just call and get the details that way.

Lydia Sharp said...

Leave it to the literary world to come up with the best April Fool's BS. Today has been quite the fun ride across the intrawebs.

Livia said...

Great. Now I've wasted all this time on my nonfiction novel...

Marty Ison said...

Now that's funny. I don't care who you are.

Tracy said...

So if I'm reading between the lines correctly... it is, in fact, okay to use zapf dingbats as my font, so long as I don't get whacky & add two other fonts for no good reason. Whew!

Kristin Laughtin said...

Thumbs up. I will be sending my 250,000+ word fiction novel to you immediately. I mentioned that it's sci-fi-romance-western-comeday-chick lit, right?

Lt. Cccyxx said...

To Whom It May Concern, Sir, Madam, Snookums, and other FPLM Agents,

Ive read and followed your direction of 4/1/10. Please consider my fiction novel of 251,000 words (the first of a 8.5 part trilogy) entitled "Wombat's of Terror: That's What She Said" for pubication. It's a paranormal steampunk thriller that will remind you of Michael Crichton combined with Danielle Stell, and will appeal to adiences of both. It will appeal to those with a fetish for mouse farts and terroristic marsupals. This fiction book is sure to make both of us lots of money. I'm ready for Oprah - how about you? Let's get this bitch done (wait, that's what she said!). :P Anyway, write me back offering me representation or tell me why you wont. Ill be back in 20 mins to hear you're answer or i will just call you. Thx!

Annette Lyon said...

Hahahahaaa!

Pamala Knight said...

I'm so stupid. I was all the way to point number 3 before I realized what day it is, lol!

Great! Especially love the 'quote the other agents verbatim' line.

Happy April 1.

Betsy Ashton said...

I got the point at #1. Since you continually pound it into our heads that novels are fiction, the redundancy gave away the joke. ROTF LOL That's for the best April's Fool laugh of the day.

Rigel Kent said...

Well, Katy you did better than me. I didn't figure it out until #3.

VR Barkowski said...

Please don't tell us how many queries you receive following these guidelines. I'm afraid, very afraid...

Carrie said...

Fantastic. Great AF joke Janet.

Angela said...

The sad thing is, you just gotta know some bonehead is actually going to query you based on this description...

Lisa said...

Question on 5: Is that each, or in total? Pls respond quickly, I am frantically editing my ms as we speak!

Brittany said...

@Katy: She had me until #2, too. I was wondering about #1 because I read her other blog, Query Shark, and I know how much she hates the phrase 'fiction novel'.

And then I remembered how many times she's told writers whose queries she's critiqued that their novels are way too long and they need to go through it with a fine-tooth comb.

Mick Rooney said...

Janet,

Should have held back the 'fiction novel' - that really blew the lid straight away before we even got to the 250k!

Stephanie L. McGee said...

The most perfect prank I've seen yet today. Thanks for the giggles.

Travis Erwin said...

This is the best one I've read all day.

Furious D said...

Your new guidelines are just what I've been waiting for. My 500,000,000 word novel Death Kitten & Mouse Fart VS The Wombat Of Terror is just what you're looking for.

Now I use over 75 different fonts in this book, many of them of my own invention, including Furious D-bats, which take ordinary letters and translates into pictures of rude hand gestures.

I await news that you've sold it for at least double of whatever JK Rowling gets.

;) :p

Paul D. Brazill said...

Arf!

Ronda Laveen said...

Good "GOTCHA" post.

250,000 word minimum? Crikey!

atsiko said...

Putting "ficTion novel" first was too much of a giveaway. Pretty funny, though. :)

Catherine Gayle said...

Darn! You mean you won't accept my non-fiction novel that is 11,219 words exactly? And just because I didn't mention mouse farts? What if I throw a couple of those in. I might be able to include enough mouse farts to get it up over 250,000 words. By then, it might just be a fiction novel, instead of a non-fiction novel, anyway.

Kimberly Kincaid said...

You had me at wombat.

That was awesome, and I honestly just pretty much choked on my drink.

Now, back to penning my uber-novel. The goal is 300,000 words, half of which will be "vampire", or some form thereof :)

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Okay, I was already cracking up from number one, but "snookums" made me laugh so loud I scared my cat. (He's glaring at me right now)

It's too bad I'm done querying because I SO want to query a Snookums now. :)

Thanks for the laugh!

Mary McDonald said...

Off to revise my manuscript! Mousefart...mousefart...Now, where can I slip that into the story--twenty-five times? I have a feeling there's going to be a gassy rodent invasion! ;-)

Cheryl said...

Yo Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss, Dr., or Rev., Snookums:

I haev written an EPIC fiction noevl. It totally rox the sock of my mother's best friend's uncle's step-cousin, an' I'm thinkin' you oughtta take a gander at it 'cuz it's gonna blow the roof off Hollywood, baby!

PORCUPINE LUST weighs in at a mondo 575,923 words and has bean rejected by over 50 agents (chek my blog for a complete list and wut I think of each of them idiots). I no u will luv it. Not only are the mice farting, but the death kitten and the wombat of terror battle the pouty vampire for 63 pages in the phenomenal climax.

Will they win? I dunno. I think i lost the last chatper when the wagon carrying my manuskrpit was hit by a taxi outside your office.

Thank you four your thyme, and I am looking forward to your offer of representation. Oh, FYI, you're cut can only be 8.5% - I need the rest for my, er, habits.

Peas out,

Catchme Ifn Youcan.

Sarah said...

Yo Snookums,

I know you're going to love my novel, Death Kitten vs. The Wombat of Terror. Think the Redwall series, with a voice similar to Michael Chabon or Stephanie Meyers. DK vs. WOT is the first in a 15 book series.

I've only written the first three chapters (100,000 words so far) but I have high hopes for the rest of the novel. The first chapter is attached. You will notice I have chosen Wingdings for the font as I believe it best communicates the fanciful and sometimes treacherous world of DK vs. WOT. (No world with a mouse fart atmosphere could be entirely safe.)

I will remain by my phone for the next 20 minutes. If you don't call during that time, I will withdraw this offer and find someone who can truly appreciate genius.

Yours if you can find me (That's what she said!),
The Next Big Thing

Travener said...

I'm curious to find out how many writers won't get the joke and will start e-mailing you every 20 minutes.

middle grade ninja said...

This is the best laugh I've had all day. Thanks.

Debbie Barr said...

Oh man, now I'm going to have to start making the use of extra super flamboyantly amazing words in every single sentence that I will ever say in my book if I'm ever going to be able in a million years fill up so very, very, very, very many words.

I'm sure the mega-manuscript will be worth it. Because we all know how much agents like over-writing.

Awesome April Fools joke!

Stephanie Thornton said...

I'm so glad my students are gone for the day- they would have thought I had gone totally batty as I was dying laughing at my desk.

Happy April Fool's Day!

Joylene said...

OMG, have I got the novel for you! You're going to love it! We'll be famous. Well, I'll be famous -- you'll be famouser.

Joe Iriarte said...

If you really want to give your interns editing practice, I suggest you tell folks to leave MSWord's grammar check *on*. :)

WhisperingWriter said...

I was just going to open my query with "Hey You."

This made me giggle.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Bill E. Goat: "Finally! She got it right?"

Me: Who got what right, Bill?

Bill: Me umm her ... um that Janet person with the green slithery thing. Oh, just go read her new submission guidelines! I'm sending six ... no wait! I forgot about my first novel with the 475,202 words ... where is THAT?

Me: Bill ... it's a joke ....

Bill: NO! no no! Goats can tell. I'm submitting everything I've written ... so where did you store that first novel of mine?

Me: The gold fish ate half of it. About a quarter of it was used for art projects. And the rest went for paper airplanes ...

Bill: How could you!?

Me: Was that an intelibang at the end of that sentence? ... You said you never wanted to see it again ...

Bill: (giving me The LOOK) ... It's okay, I have every word memorized! You type; I'll dictate. WE can have it done by tomorrow if you drink enough coffee. ...

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Please, you just must post excerpts from any queries you receive with "I've read and followed your direction of 4/1/10" in the subject line.

Although, using that subject line might just get some attention! I wish I was ready to query.

Susan Quinn said...

Should I address it to Ms. Sharky? I am assuming Toothy is just a tad too familiar.

GalaktioNova said...

What, you don't consider nonfiction novels any more? Even if I introduce a death kitten?

(And I'm sorry to say your interns won't find much to edit in mine whether I run spell check or not)

THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Can't wait for April 1 2011!! :-)))

Lynn Viehl said...

I know I've always said I'd never give up my agent, but the opportunities you offer are simply too irresistable. Please expect a personal visit tomorrow in the afternoon sometime (I have to stop by Robin's office first in the morning to fire her.)

Christi Goddard said...

Oh, Snookums! It's like you hacked into my computer and KNEW the manuscript that I'd planned to query you with was nearly done! I just need to run by the store for some granola bars to pack into the box before shipping the pages C.O.D.

Alexis Grant said...

Oh, you are so ASKING for a rebuttal!

suzie townsend said...

Janet, this post cracked me up, but...

Josin L McQuein, Oh My Gosh, you're hysterical. I eve read your comment aloud to my roommates. My favorite part is the death kitten with the ocular problem.

Sydnee said...

Ha... see, I am learning something! I started thinking this was fishy as soon as I saw "fiction novel" for number one. :)

Kim Kasch said...

GREAT post - thanks for the smiles.

Anne-Marie said...

*snort* @ #9

You do know that some people will do exactly as you've asked, right?

Just to be different, I'm going to send you a non-fiction novel. Maybe you can make a small exception, just this once.

xx
AM

Kate Evangelista said...

My mind went blank after guideline number three.

Kitty said...

LOL Even I'm not that gullible ;~)

...

Stephanie Barr said...

Well, death's kitten, I wish I'd knowed this when I tossed my 543,697 word tome entilted "Mouse Fart and the Wombat from Hell", and enganging young adult fiction novel about life on the mean streets of Keene, New Hampshire.

I knew it was just a matter of finding the right agent and clearly you was it.

Want I should get the pages back from the bird cage and send them on? If I let them breathe a few days, the stink'll go way down.

:)

Bill said...

Dear Ser and/or Maddym,
I have ben wading for a long time to submit my fiction novel, Angel of the Darkness, volume 12 A Very Dark Angel, part 17 of a 45 part trilogy. It is for middle grayed adults and is made up historical fiction. At 250,001 words, I believe it meats your criteria. To date, it has been rejected by, I think it’s a record, 297 other agents.
Please enjoy this query.
Have you ever wondered what angels do in the dark? I have. This story begins in 1645, when Columbus, Ohio was founded and wanted to sail back to Spain to tell the Queen that he found it. When an angel hides in the cargo holed of the ship that’s sailing back and it’s dark, bad things start happening.
I hope this convinces you to read my man-you-script. I also hope your other readers can fined me.
Sincerely,
The writer of Angel of the Darkness, volume 12 A Very Dark Angel

Malia Sutton said...

Have I got a fiction novel for you, doll :)

Judith Engracia said...

Great lol. This is exactly what we need to decrease our workload!

beckydoughty said...

249,999 words. If I add "the end" on the end (of course) I can officially qualify. It's on its way to you - please be watching for it.

Becky Doughty

utopianfragments said...

ooops

SarannaDeWylde said...

Dude. So you know you're going to get some window licker who is really going to do this, right?

Jean said...

I was onto you at "fiction novel." Thanks for the fun read.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Oh, tempting. So, so tempting...

Tahereh said...

oh my god.

this is EXACTLY what i was trying to tell people!!!

what janet reid is REALLY thinking

OldBroad said...

LOL

_*rachel*_ said...

AHAHAHA! This truly had me laughing out loud.

Number 6 is about Gary Corby, isn't it.

I got it at number 1, but 5 was my very favorite.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

It didn't take long for me to figure this one out! Thanks for the chuckle. I'll bet Gary is laughing, too.

careann said...

A Happy April Fool's Day to you, too!

I like Anne-Marie's idea of a non-fiction novel. Could we have submission guidelines for that, please? :)

Carol

Keith Popely said...

I've already done all that. What the hell?

Jon said...

SCORE!

Wait. This means I was supposed to submit yesterday? Darn it.

Kate Halleron said...

@Bill,

Thanks, you made me snort-giggle.

I want to read yours, I really do.

Cherry Lou Sy said...

This is one of the funniest April Fool's I've encountered. Uhm...that was obvious.

Suzette Saxton said...

Love it!

S.D. said...

I, death kitten.

:D

Kristi said...

I didn't even find this on April 1st and I'm still laughing uncontrollably. Thanks for that.

Of course, as soon as I stopped giggling, reality hit, and I instantly wondered how many of these types of queries you will now get. Hmmmm?

Buffi Neal said...

Okay, I followed all 10 instructions and still no letter back? Maybe I hit the spell check by accident. I’ll just send it again to make sure.
Thanks for the great post.
-Buffi
My Wonderfully Dysfunctional Blog

Terri said...

Dear Ms. Reid and company:

My novel been rejected by every agent in the so-called 'mainstream' publishing world and it's fascist conservative overlords for being too controversial (yes, snookums, you and I are going to 'rip the lid' off this town).

Just to make sure it was 'ready for prime time . . . ' I posted all 987,413 words of volume I on my blog (which I host off-shore to keep 'you-know-who' from silencing my voice) and then became a 'P'ublished 'A'uthor by publishing it through the newest and freshest voice in the traditional publishing world, the one and only "Publish America." My mom bought 25 copies and I have another 50 in the trunk of my car.

However, even they are too small for me and my genius. I thought I was lost, until I read this blog post.

I can't query you via email, because 'they' might track it back. However, you'll be seeing my manuscript . . . . shortly.

Here's to setting the snobby literary world on fire!

[Name redacted - you'll know soon enough who I am]

______________________

Janet - you rock. I now have to sign off and clean my monitor!

Terri

http://www.whyifearclowns.com

Betsy said...

Aren't all novels fiction?

AngelMay said...

You lost me on number 1. "Fiction novel" is redundant. Can't believe you would have said that.

Steve Stubbs said...

Well, I guess I can't submit to you, then. I didn't have any problem adding 150,000 words of padding, but I just could not stick in the phrase "mouse fart" more than twenty-four times without the story beginning to seem contrived.

CNU said...

(I've followed your directions of 4/1/10)

Dear Ms. Snookums,

It will concern you to know of my spy-thriller- fiction novel, "Wombats in Space." It is a work that contains ONLY dialogue. It surpasses 250,000 words. (It's a long one- Yeah, that's what she said!) There is no beginning, middle or end and is said to be a required summer reading book in the 7th circle of hell.

It's tasty.

It's filled with plenty of yummy cliche phrases borrowed from other languages such as, "Tre awesome" and "Ubber Cool." This piece was passed on by several agents, including the eskimo agency, "Nook Nook Book Seller Guys."

I managed to query every single member of your agency. (I'm sure the fight will be civil- I hear that 10 paces is the maximum amount of steps in a pistol duel. I'm sure we'll find out soon if Wikipedia's info was right.)

As far as editing, I did give a free copy to a blind hobo and he said he does excellent work. I'm sure if there are some type-o's the interns can hop right on that.

I await your reply in 20 mins. Please have your minions stalk me to find personal information so you can buy this spectacular aneurysm inducing book.

-C

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Blog post "Breaking the Laws of Physics" in which I use the term "fictional novel" ... and mean it. (and give credit to you, in the comments) :)

Lillias said...

Brilliant. I was in desperate need of a decent laugh. You deceived me until the point about the zapf dingbats font. However, I am concerned that if I send you my rejection responses, verbatim, you will do something creative with them, which is what I plan to do. If no-one will represent my novel, perhaps they'll show interest in a collage featuring comments such as: "doesn't have the 'wow' factor". "Doesn't stand out", "this is only a subjective opinion". "Best of luck in finding an agent". "Today's extremely difficult market" etc. etc.