Tuesday, June 16, 2020

When your query has a total splat, what do you do?

Recently I've heard from several queriers who discovered, to their horror, they'd sent queries with some pretty big splats. Things like not including pages, or sending a query with glaring typos, or in one hilarious instance, using an email address that wasn't his name, but some sort of nom de plume from Hell.

Fortunately I am behind on answering queries, so I hadn't seen any of these howlers. No harm, no foul...except.

I sort incoming queries by date; anything you send after the initial query won't be adjacent to the initial query.

Don't send me an email just saying you made a mistake.
Don't say "I sent you a query from the email address BetterToRuleInCarkoon, but my correct email address is FelixButtonweezer212".

Don't send just the pages you forgot to include with a note "here are the pages I forgot."
Send the query AND the pages.
Say "I forgot to include them, here are the pages and the query."

To fix a splat, start fresh.
Send the whole query all over again.
Note on the second query that you're fixing a mistake on the first one.
That way I don't think it's a duplicate.

If I have to go digging around trying to find a query to match with this new one, it reduces your chances that I'll read either.
You don't want that.

It's ok to make mistakes.
I've made some real howlers in my day (ok, yesterday).
It will not consign you to some blacklist of ne'er do wells.

DO give yourself the best chance to recover by starting over.
Fess up to the f/up so I don't think you just duplicated your query.

Then hit me with your good stuff.

Any questions?


Mister Furkles said...

...an email address that wasn't his name, but some sort of nom de plume from Hell.

But...but...using your cat's name is all good, right?

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Look, I got a full request when my query was missing part of a sentence right in the middle.

Maybe the agent recognized my name? (I am...not really quite a name just yet)

Maybe the hook was hook-y enough for them but then I didn't stick the landing? Many say they're not into the premise but. The premise is Hamlet. But Shakespeare isn't for everybody!

Who knows. I've since fixed the query, but received no further full requests (yet).

Aphra Pell said...

Ah queries. I'm currently writing a 2 page synopsis. It's been suspiciously easy so far, so I'm expecting it all to go to splat tomorrow when I have to land the last act.

Brenda said...

Then there are all of the urban myths about single spacing after a period etc, because everyone knows that if you double space after a period it’s an automatic Norman.
Wait. That is a myth, right?

John Davis Frain said...

Beth, you set a record, I'm sure. Not two contests in a row, but two ON THE SAME DAY!

Tom Seaver did it with the White Sox (sorry, Mets fans, Seaver is truly a Metropolitan, but this was in 1984 in the waning years of his "Terrific" career) against the Brewers.

So, Beth, that puts you in illustrious company as Tom Terrific is enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Which makes me wonder ... is there a national hall of fame for writers? Hmmm...

The Noise In Space said...

We've all seen our share of horrific typos, and I'm always grateful to people who are gracious enough to ignore them. The worst one I've ever seen was when I was working at a magazine. One of our editors sent an email to a vendor requesting product photos to include in an upcoming roundup. She asked him to send pictures of his clock...and left out the "L."

Rachel Rushefsky said...

Favorite mistake that I've made: sending a query without any contact info. And not realizing it for a few days.

Dena Pawling said...

Lol Noise in Space! That reminds me of when I worked in county government. Department of Public Health ordered a print run of internal routing slips. They came back with the L missing from Public.

Beth Carpenter said...

It's always good to know redemption is possible, because my typos have this incredible skill of blending into the background until after the send button is pushed.

AJ Blythe said...

It's all well and good to know how to fix the issues...assuming you spot it in the first place... my worst nightmare.

Dena, that's hilarious.

The Noise In Space said...

@Dena I hope you kept one! That is hilarious!

Dena Pawling said...

The director was mortified. We told her they were INTERNAL routing slips so she should just use them until they were gone. No way! Not on her watch! They went back unopened. Every last shrink-wrapped package. So no, none of us was allowed to keep one.

We had a good laugh for quite a few weeks tho. And some of us used wite-out on the new routing slips. Guess which letter we removed? =)