Friday, August 26, 2005

Instant Rejection

These are the very few things that make me stop reading:

1. The query isn't from the author. That includes query writing services, cover letters from your assistant, free-lance editor, etc. You have to write and send your own query letter.

2. Misused words. I don't mean typos. Mistakes happen. I mean misused: allay for ally; accept for except; cash for cache; bate/bait (as in baited breath, something that always makes me laugh); flout/flaunt; past/passed; reign/rein; sight/site/cite; slough/slew.

3. "fiction novel" used to describe a novel. I don't mean women's fiction novel, or science fiction novel, only "fiction novel." All novels are fiction.

4. The query is sent as an attachment. I don't open those.

5. The query letter includes a diatribe about the quality of books published today. I've reached the tipping point on tolerance for this after five years and it's now on the list of reasons I will stop reading your query and say no.

6. The novel isn't finished. Finishing a novel is just the first part of writing it. After you finish, you edit. Then you let it sit for a while. Then you edit again. If you think you're going to be done soon when you've only written 85% of the book, you're wrong. And you're also getting a rejection. Query ONLY when you can send the fully finished and carefully edited novel as soon as I request it.

I can and do overlook typos, getting my name wrong, getting my company's name wrong, leaving out your name and contact info. I don't much like that, and it raises the bar on whether I'm going to ask for more pages, but it does not make me stop reading.


Unknown said...

Now where's the "Instant acceptance" post?

Janet Reid said...

Instant acceptance: JD Salinger's memoir; Thomas Pynchon's memoir; and, inside scoop on the headline "Pope Elopes."

Wes said...

Pope elopes, that's funny. Made me giggle.

Unknown said...

Alexander Pope eloped?

Who knew?

MitMoi said...

"pope-elopes" an endangered species of antelopes?

Gerry Hatrić said...

Having a wonder around your sight and like what I sea. :)

Makes me wish I had a novel that was more than 50000 words to offer you, not just a mere 35000.

Bookfool said...

I can see you'd reject Mulled Vine's manuscript, anyway, because he or she is having a "wonder" rather than a "wander".

"Pope elopes." Snicker.

Bookfool said...

I can see you'd reject Mulled Vine's manuscript, anyway, because he or she is having a "wonder" rather than a "wander".

"Pope elopes." Snicker.

Lydia Smith said...

Common sense but good to know.

Emma (the Expat) said...

Thank you. I wish all of you agents had blogs.

Vintage Wine said...

Bookfool, put that editor's hat back on quickly: Mulled Vine with a big grin that began with his/her amusingly written name, not only deliberately slipped with 'wonder' but also with 'see'. Creative non-writing.

thalia_leigh, loved your take on Alexander P!

Happy New Year to all

Unknown said...

That was very well done, as in written well and not twenty-five minutes too long in the oven. I enjoy humor. Sadly, too few of us delve into humor. I will be sending you a few pages and a synopsis of a new novel shortly.
Kindest regards,
Don White, the writer and not the entertainer.