Monday, April 01, 2019

Some housekeeping

My submission guidelines are not as clear as they could be.
Several recent queriers have had questions that reveal some flaws in the directions on how to submit queries. That's on me, so I've rewritten the guidelines and will be posting on the website soonishly.

New guidelines:
1. I prefer email queries. Include the first five pages in the body of the email. Don't fret about format OTHER than white space.

2. If you want to query on paper, that's ok with me. You don't need to send it expedited, or any other fancy schmancy delivery service.

If you do send it Fed Ex, you should know that messenger center here charges me $5 per signature, and I'll bill you for that. (or just include a five dollar bill with the query)

3. When you query, make sure you tell me what the book is about. If you start with "This story is about" you're on the right track.

4. Right now I'm really only looking for projects that fill a gap in the market, so anything that's on the NYT Bestseller list isn't a good option for me. Gaps right now include vintage westerns (bring on the saloon girls with hearts of gold!); tough guy private eyes who hire dames to answer their phones (if you love Mickey Spillane, you'll love me); poetry, particularly abstract and experimental (academic is the new black!).

5. I'm always looking for memoir of course, so if you've survived an illness, recovered from addiction, or travelled the world in pursuit of spiritual insight, and the book is all about your inner journey and how you have a new understanding of life, query onward. It will be of particular interest if your healing was assisted by a guru of some sort, practicing an ancient wisdom, who chose you from among many to receive her insights.

6. There really aren't enough books about why Jesus is the only path to redemption, so if you have that, please do query.

7. Of course, I always want books that explain how the economy works that other people, particularly economists, don't understand.

8. Given the state of the world, revelations of causal conspiracies, and your solution, always welcome. Charts and graphs a plus.

9. Your particular insights, informed by your experiences, on events both current and historical are welcome.

10. All queries must be accompanied by a photo of a dog or cat. If you do not have your own, rent one.

11. You should also include a paragraph about why I am the only agent you are querying for your book and a brief paragraph why you liked the five most recent books I've sold. Sold, not published.

12. I require exclusive submissions for 120 days.The clock starts when I receive the query, not when you send it.  If you query anyone else in that time period, I will set your query on fire and blacklist you on the Agent's Super Secret Double Delta House Black List of Queriers.

13. Happy April Fools' Day.

#10 should not be a joke.


Kitty said...

I was halfway through #5 when I realized this was April 1st. #6 confirmed it.

CynthiaMc said...

Dang it! You got my hopes up.

My brain tried to April Fool me this morning. I woke up and thought "Oh yay, it's Sunday. I can go back to sleep."

Fortunately,my guardian angel hollered "You went to Mass yesterday! Get up!"

Timothy Lowe said...

I did a double take at Mickey Spillane. It still took me a few more to get the joke. Thank God the world is not actually ending.

Theresa said...

Nicely done! I got to #4 before I started to think, "Hmmmm."

Rabbit rabbit, everyone, and happy Monday.

Jeannette Leopold said...

Hilarious. It's early so I was thinking, wow, I've really misunderstood what Janet wants until fairly far down the list.

K White said...

I kept thinking "This must be a joke."

I wonder how many people will stop when they get to the one that matches their book and never read #13.

KDJames said...

As I read this, I was thinking . . .

1. Well, okay, apparently she's changed her mind about that. Kinder, gentler, points of light, whatever.
2. I don't think that's how FedEx works, but it's NYC so who the hell even knows.
3. Has Janet had a stroke?

And then there was a little voice in my head, the one that desperately needs sleep after staying up all night organizing last minute tax info for the accountant, saying, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in March anymore."

Good one, Janet. As soon as I get some sleep, I'm going to finalize my query with scented pink paper, deep purple text, and glitter. Lots of glitter. Expect the entire 680-page ms via return receipt certified mail, blessed with holy water and actual cat hair, exclusively yours for as long as it takes.

Stacy said...

Sadly, I did not pick up on the joke until the exclusives. *forehead smack* That's what I get for reading before coffee...

Will N Rogers said...

Damn. For a minute there I thought my novel about modern day Jesus operating his own private investigation agency specialising in uncovering causal conspiracies had finally found a home...

Amy Johnson said...

Ha, such a fun read! Thanks, Janet. I had several instances of Really? before I got to Naaww. I love April Fools' Day! Tricks involving water balloons have found considerable success, but the syrup and confetti trick backfired big-time. What a mess to clean up! (True story.)

OT: (Also a true story.) Several months ago, I shared with my Reef Family my joy that our daughter was pregnant with our first grandchild. Now I can share that Natalie Grace has arrived!

Onward with shenanigans! Happy April Fools' Day to all!

RosannaM said...

I had a toss and turn kinda night and was up extremely early. Ooh, thinks I, Janet is three hours ahead of me, maybe she has posted already. And then I spiraled out into the Twilight Zone, kinda like the time I had vertigo, only not.

You got me, big time. I think I caught on at about #12 (mostly because I read ahead and peeked at #13).

Amy Johnson Grandbabies are the best! Enjoy all the cuddles.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

My inner journey was assisted by a guru who practices ancient wisdom, but she happens to be a horse - may I still send pages? I'm gonna borrow a handful of glitter from KDJames to up my chances.

Janet Reid said...

Welcome to the world Natalie Grace!
Delighted to know you are here safely, and that the Reading May Commence!

Aphra Pell said...

Rightio, my experimental poem exploring the fiction novel memoir of a tough guy private eye who developed the key to a new economic system after a saloon girl with a heart of gold turned him to Jesus will be with you tomorrow. It's written in heiroglyphic iambic pentameter, with punctuation solely via emojis.

I didn't want to risk the $5 charge on a paper submission, so I've hired a acrobatic troupe to perform the query in your office via the dialectic noises of Japanese macaques and interpretative dance moves based on the mating rituals of newts.

Aphra Pell said...

Also, welcome Natalie Grace. May your life be kind and full of books. (And congrats to parents and grandparents. May your life still include sleep).

Donnaeve said...

I sure hope your inbox doesn't get flooded (anymore than usual) with various attachments. I can just picture someone NOT reading to the bottom of this post as they begin to hyperventilate, me, that's me, that's what I wrote!

Great way to kick off this Foolish Monday!

And, welcome to this world, Natalie Grace! What a beautiful name. Congrats Amy Johnson!

Jill Warner said...

I... I'm not gonna admit how long it took me to catch on. (Let's just say my prankster friends always had a hoot this time of year.)

Jill Warner said...

Congrats Amy! Hope you get to spend some time with Natalie and your daughter.

Claire Bobrow said...

You had me going until until “saloon girls with hearts of gold.” Nope, nope, nopeity, nope. Good one :-)

Welcome, Natalie Grace! May your life be full of joy and wonderful books.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I am just going to get back in bed. April Fool's day indeed. I best hide until this passes. However, I am so sending a picture of my pug with my query. I am. Really. Depending on where the Duchess is that day. Frankie is afraid of DoY after all.

# 10. All queries must be accompanied by a photo of a dog or cat. If you do not have your own, rent one. should be a real thing. I am just saying.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Nathalie Grace Welcome to the human race and thank you for the hope your new life brings us.

Theresa said...

Amy Johnson, congratulations on the arrival of Natalie Grace. Grandchildren are the best! Our own Oscar Olaf arrived a month and a half ago.

The Noise In Space said...

Melanie--only if said horse opens a saloon in the Old West where weathered cowboys come to achieve enlightenment! Somewhere in an isolated old ghost town--"Sequstrian" maybe? There's a play on "sequestered" and "equestrian" to be made, but I haven't had enough sleep to make it.

And welcome, Natalie Grace! What a pretty name!

KariV said...

You got me! I was at #13 before I realized it sounded fishy. Granted, I'm sick, kids are sick, and I haven't had coffee yet, but still.

Great joke, Janet!


BrendaLynn said...

I feel so sorry for the western writer who just had their hopes dashed.

Luanne G. Smith said...

I have a friend who writes westerns. Got my hopes up for him for a minute there. :)

Adele said...

I was half-way through #5 when the worm began to turn. Serve you right if you get a pile of queries for conspiracy theories, poetry, and Mickey Spillane clones. Sad, though, for all the writers who got their hopes up.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

1. Check
2. I’ll send ten (cash) check
3. Check
4. ...fill a giddy-up gap...check
5. Told my story so many times nobody wants to hear it again
6. Jesus saves...check
7. $ check
8. What’s a chart? What’s a graph? Check
9. I’m so old all my memoirs are old. Check
10. Hitch loves to have his picture taken. Check
11. Only 5? Check
12. Include matches. Check
13. Wha’, huh? Check
14. There’s always next year. Check

Welcome Natalie Grace to this wonderful wacky world.

Leslie said...

Good one! I was a little like "hmmm" as I started reading, but by #4 I suspected something was up and at #6, I realized what today is. Well done!

Will N Rogers, I would totally read that novel!

Amy Johnson, Mazel tov!

Bonnie Shaljean said...

Started to smell sharkbait at #4 and caught you at #5. Happy April Fool's Day.

BTW, have you read the latest by that exciting new writer Flora Pilo?

Bonnie Shaljean said...

And, in other news: Larry, the Downing Street kitty-in-residence, gets his own cat flap in the hallowed front door. (Well, he can hardly do worse than the human Prime Ministers who walk in and out of there...)

Beth Carpenter said...

I was well into #5. Welcome, Natalie Grace! The main character in my WIP is Natalie. I love the name.

Unknown said...

Hahahah! Thought you'd been hacked.

literary_lottie said...

I'm a little embarrassed by how long it took me to get this list was a joke. #4 had me raising my eyebrows, #5 made me think "wow, I guess Janet's really changed her stance on memoirs," but it wasn't until #6 I realized I'd been had.

Konnie Enos said...

I started reading this thinking, Okay, serious information, then I read #6 and went back over everything said. Then I started laughing.

Amy Johnson said...

Thanks so much! Y'all are wonderful. Natalie and I have a sleepover planned for tonight at her house. I'm thinking it might not include much sleep for us, and hoping her parents will be able to catch up on some.

Congratulations to Theresa on the birth of Oscar Olaf. What a great name!

And congrats to the winners of the most recent contest. I'm a little behind, but to celebrate, I've made virtual cookies for all!

NLiu said...

Congratulations Amy, and enjoy the sleep [depravation] over!

julie.weathers said...

Ah, Janet,

I stayed up until 4:40 revising. Then I was wondering why I was in such a fog and looked at the clock. Oh, yeah, that might be why.

I wake up at 8:55 anyway because even though Gage the Wonder Dog is a gentleman and doesn't wake me up unless it's a dire emergency, my internal clock tells me he probably wants to go potty.

Then I come read this while I'm waiting for him to finish his business and haven't had coffee yet.

Really? $5 to sign for a letter? Fed Ex just shoves it in my door or makes a paper airplane out of it and flies it to my general vicinity as they drive by.

Now, I might understand if it was there was a bear in the driveway or something.

Still, New York is different, so moving right along.

"This story is about?"

Time to make coffee and clean my glasses.

Saloon girls? Well, I have a Singer sewing machine salesgirl trudging along a country road who captures the heart of a cattle baron. Is that close enough?


No, no one needs to hear more Julie junk.

Dear heavens, please hurry up coffee maker. I watched a movie called Death at a Funeral last night, I think I'm in it and someone swapped one of those "valiums" for my Benadryl.

Thank you Lord Jesus, coffee is ready. I need to open up game company spread sheet for April lore events. Janet's list is giving me a headache. Huh, top of the list history of April Fools. And I wrote it.

Well, played Miss Janet. I'm going to town to buy a new pan to wash dishes in now. My brain is too exhausted to explore lore.

And you'll note it's now 2:11. I was so bumfuzzled I closed the computer without hitting post. So, this is meandering, take two.

julie.weathers said...

Amy, congratulations on Natalie Grace. It's always a blessing when they arrive healthy. Good job Mom and Dad.

Morgan Hazelwood said...

I was suspicious from the get go, but the $5 fee clinched it.

Although, those pet pictures would likely do best with offerings for very deserving and much neglected Duchess of Yowl.

Karen McCoy said...

Amy Johnson Welcome, Natalie Grace! She shares a birthday with my half-brother, who turned 57 today. (Not an April Fool's--but I like to tease my bro about his April Fool's birthday. Hopefully Natalie Grace won't receive the same kind of ridicule when she gets older!)

Elissa M said...

Well, I started scratching my head at number one. Number two made me think someone had hacked Janet's blog. Number three confirmed it.

So, I was sort of fooled, since it didn't occur to me that Janet had actually written this until I remembered what day it was (around number five). I should have caught on sooner because I had just finished reading the Shelf Awareness newsletter for today, too. (Y'all are missing out if you don't subscribe to that.)

Panda in Chief said...

I'm not going to admit which new rule had me realizing what today is, but #10 should TOTALLY be a requirement. (Goes off to rent a cat...)

MA Hudson said...

Haha! I had my doubts but it wasn’t until ‘memoir’ that I was certain! Brilliant!!

AJ Blythe said...

I was really puzzled from #3, but it was only when I was wondering what parallel universe I was in (about half way through) that I remembered you guys are on yesterday where it is still 1st April. Yesterday I would have worked it out faster, today not so much.

Congrats, Grandmama Amy.

Julie, Death at a Funeral is British comedy at its best. Great movie.

Agree with EM about #10.

Janet Reid said...

There are two versions of Death at a Funeral.
One is the UK version. That's the one to see.
The other is a US version. That's the one to skip.

Of course, opinions may vary.
They will be wrong of course, but they might vary.

Oscar Olaf sounds like a super hero.
Wouldn't it be great if he and Natalie Grace grew up and became friends and invented the extra six hours a day I need?

Ashes said...

I got to #4, but then it became obvious... no one buys poetry.

Well played.

Ann Bennett said...

I would only be fair if I included a picture of my cat and dogs. They are my office assistants. The cat keeps my chair occupied when I am away from my desk. She is totally a computer cat.

Claire Bobrow said...

I've been on planes all day long. Finally home - yay!
Love the name Oscar Olaf - a worthy companion to the lovely Natalie Grace.

Julie: if you liked Death at a Funeral, check out Hot Fuzz. It's really funny!

julie.weathers said...

AJ and Janet Yes, I watched the British version. That may have had something to do with my late retiring. I was looking for subtle background noise while I edited and put that on and started watching it instead of ignoring it.

You know when the first scene is the man looking down at his dearly departed father and saying, "Who is that?" it has promise.

Aissys Sparkstealer said...

It sounds like my book about pursuing spiritual insight via saloon girls with hearts of gold only to discover that there's a vast conspiracy to accelerate global warming by keeping the population of said saloon girls artificially low would be perfect. You see, Lady Wallawallabingbang came to me in a vision to tell me what to do; I later saw her in a piece of toast, and she told me what to say. Jesus will save the economy, but only if everyone wages a holy war of abstract poetry against the Illuminati.

Did I mention I'm a tough guy detective, and I hired one of the saloon girls to do my typing and answer my phone?

I look forward to querying you with pictures of my cats and my friends’ cats and my friend’s bunnies and lizards. Those might be the entirety of my query.

John Davis Frain said...

Apparently there is a strongly similar reaction between having no coffee and having too many adult beverages. (I don't drink coffee.)

I didn't catch on until #16, and I actually pulled off a brilliant prank this morning, so I should have been cued in.


Well played!

Lesia Joukova said...

I can't believe it took me 5 list items to understand where you were going with this. *shakes head, disappointed in herself*

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

I didn't clue in until #6. But then, I read this on Friday.