Wednesday, February 13, 2013

a turn of phrase that just turns my crank

From a recent query: This email is about  my forthcoming book, for which I will require representation. 


No. No, no.
This is NOT a good turn of phrase for the Savvy Querier.

Your book isn't forthcoming until it's been sold. If you're looking for an agent, we HOPE the book will sell, but it's not on any publication schedule, thus not "forthcoming"

Unless you mean it's forthcoming from your printer, in which case, you better write the thing before you query.

And "require an agent" Well, yes, sure, I think having an agent is a good idea but saying you require one sounds as though you think the only thing you need to do is announce you need one.
Am I the first to tell you that is not the case?  Well, sorry for the bad news, but there it is.

This is not artful or courteous or gallant language.  It's pretentious and does not serve you well.  There's a lot to be said for just telling me what your book is about.  





 

12 comments:

Mike said...

This comment is about my forthcoming comment, which requires very little thought:

You crack me up! lol

Lisa Shafer said...

Also, "This e-mail is about...." is such a grade school phrase. Ugh. Even something as simple as "I'm contacting you about...." is a huge improvement.

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

I agree with Lisa! It might as well say, "This book report is about..." We all should have outgrown that sort of thing by middle school. There's no excuse for someone presenting themselves as a writer to lack the ability to craft a professional business letter-- especially since there's an abundance of excellent sample query letters online to use for inspiration.

Carolynn with 2Ns said...

Hahahaha...sounds like me about ten years ago, egads have I been at this for that long. Am taking large bowl of Rocky Road into dark closet to contemplate, among the coats and boots, my future path as writer .

Elissa M said...

I can see this maybe working if the novel is historical satire featuring an arrogant, clueless narrator, though queries written in a character's voice are tough to pull off. And satire in a query is even harder to do well.

But I'm having fun imagining a character who would speak this way and not understand why it's not winning him any friends.

Michael Kannengieser said...

It is stunning that with the enormous amount of information out there about how to write a query letter that some writers simply don't have a clue. Many writers think their work is so amazing, that there in an inevitability to their work being published, and the agent/publisher is merely there to do their bidding. I managed to get my debut novel published without an agent. Yet, I still had to approach publishers in a professional fashion. I did my research and wrote professional queries. If one day I am able to approach an agent, I will do the same.

Robert Kent said...

I shall require more query advice:)

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

One more reason for whiskey.

Michael Seese said...

"Dear Author:

This email is about my forthcoming response, for which I will plan to decline..."

The Writer Librarian said...

Pretentious sentences like that also indicate an overinflated ego...another undesirable trait.

Dotti said...

While that opening sentence is horrendous, the writer could mean that she's seeking representation for a novel she's already sold to a publisher.

Kelly W said...

Wonder if the query is from a non-English speaking person...? Could explain a lot.