Tuesday, January 24, 2012

">>>>" is code for sloppy.

Working through the queries today brought yet another example of a query writer copying the contents of an email into a new email and hitting "send."

How can I tell?

>>> These little arrows
>>>appear in front of every
>>>new line. And yes
>>>it makes your query
>>> hard to read.

I've said it before, I guess I need to say it again:  The harder it is to read your query the more likely I am to stop reading and say no.

There are ways to copy email contents without getting those arrows in the body of the email. Figure out how your mail management program does it.

If you need help on this, you should be over at AbsoluteWrite talking to other writers.  AbsoluteWrite is a wonderful resource for questions large and small.


The Writer Librarian said...

I wonder if using the Notepad accessory in Windows might help? Sometimes I'll use it as a middleman (copying text in Word to Notepad before pasting it where I want), especially if I'm doing web design, to get rid of all those invisible formatting bugaboos (Word formatting to Dreamweaver can be extremely messy). But I haven't tried this with email yet.

Richard Gibson said...

Writer Librarian - Notepad should do that for emails too; like you I use it all the time to remove invisible formatting. I compose my blog posts in Word, but then paste into Notepad and copy again to avoid unexpected apparitions in the blog. Don't even get me started on Word vs Dreamweaver!!

Terri Coop said...

Interesting! I just go through and delete them when I am proofreading or better yet, go back to the source doc and re-copy before I paste.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog! It's an excellent tool for studying social psychology.

Dale Bishop said...


Phil Hall said...

Or, do what I do: sent the query email to yourself FIRST. See how it looks. And then if it's ok, send it to the agent. Saves a little headache on their end, and gives piece of mind on yours.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Little lines
Too many spaces
Dear Agent, a no no
Don’t use clich├ęs like no no
Don’t repeat yourself
Too engaging
Not engaging enough
Be friendly
But not too friendly
Don’t repeat yourself
Have a sense of humor
But don’t be too funny
Know mispelings
Know misword-usage
Punctuate correctly !
Don’t repeat yourself
Show don’t tell
Don’t show too much
Tell about your writing history
But not everything
Thank ‘dear agent’ for reading
Contact information at end of query
WTF, who am I
I forgot
Don’t repeat yourself
Don't burn bridges
Regret posting this
Blame it on Ms. Trite, she's a bitch
My head is going to explode

Kregger said...

Absolutewrite also has a great forum for help with query writing.

The only way to find the correct forum is to join AW. Go to AW Writing Lab--Share Your Work and look for Query Letter Hell.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of help, not all good, but there is help.

No one gets gnawed on like the Shark does at QS--over there the squirrels nibble at your little bits.

I have spent hours in Hell getting help, giving help and being yelled at for it.

Michael Seese said...

No, no. I'm sure he was just trying to draw attention to certain lines.

Well, ALL of them.