Tuesday, December 21, 2021

edogs AND little fishies


Some things I was surprised to read in the incoming queries this month

(1) I have enclosed Chapter 1 (40129 words)

The problem: if one chapter is 40K, how long is the book?



(2) After looking over your interests on the website, I believe this is a good fit ... a commercial YA

The problem: I don't take on YA, commercial or otherwise. I don't mind if you query for it, you can query me for anything, but if you think you saw I'm looking for it, it makes me wonder who you really meant to query.



(3) Before I paste my book’s information I want to tell you how much I enjoy Thomas Perry

The problem: I like Thomas Perry too, but he's not my client. A cursory google search of my name may turn up something with his name too. If you don't look any further, you won't see I was only talking about him. Make SURE you cross check this kind of thing.



(4) I'm looking for a rep for my manuscript, (Title). I think you'd be a good fit given your stated interest in original and distinctive literary YA horror.

The problem: I'm not looking for YA horror, and since you've linked to my PM page, I'm wondering why you think so.


(5) It is amazing to know that Jet Reid literary Agency remains an evolving voice in bringing new and established authors to the curious minds of their future readers.

The problem: JRLA is two years old. I've been an agent longer than that, but JRLA itself is a new kid on the block. Effusive praise is bad enough, but effusive praise that is an #epicfail is just painful


(6) Dear Sir

The problem: I'm not a Sir.


(7) I’ve taken note of your interest in narrative nonfiction, so I wanted to reach out with my novel. Complete at approximately 106,000 words, (title)  is a nonfiction thriller and a sequel to (other title) a memoir. 

The problem: a novel cannot be a non-fiction thriller. Not now, not ever.





Most of these mistakes are just carelessness.

We all make those kinds of mistakes.

I'm glad to have two blog readers who regularly help keep the blog typo free.


BUT if you're querying, that's not the time to be careless.


I want to work with writers who bleed over sentences and paragraphs.

I even like it when writers who sent me fulls I've requested email a couple weeks later with "Hey Shark, I've fixed some things, can I send you the revised, updated, improved version?"

Answer: heck yes.



Any questions?



nightsmusic said...

You're more generous than I am. I tend to think those aren't mistakes. Those are either typical "No one reads anything anymore" responses or they're "gee, I'm just going to send this anyway because I'm special and she'll see that". A really good example of the former is, I just posted this week, yet again, in a browser help forum regarding a problem I'm having with said browser. I was very specific though short with my description of the problem. Three people answered telling me to try things I'd stated I already tried. Nope, no one reads anything anymore.

Brenda Buchanan said...

Another marvelous "and little fishes . . . " reference, two in a week if one counts Twitter.

Merry Christmas, Janet!

Craig F said...

I think it is amazing how deluded we writers can be. I keep my chapters fairly short, so I couldn't do #1 if I tried.

Other than that, I have treated queries as business letters. If the query itself can't pique an agent's interest, my sucking up won't do it either.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

a 40k first chapter??? That's longer than a Run With the Hunted novella!

in my query goofs, I definitely cut 'n' pasted a particularly personalized query to two other emails for agents, forgetting it wasn't the "clean" one I keep in my drive. Happily, all three agents just formed or no-replied me, so no need to face my humiliation in any meaningful way! :)

(to be clear, I am more than fine with a form! I crave closure.)
(okay I crave acceptance but in the absence of that...)

Android Astronomer said...

Thank you for making us aware of your willingness to accept revisions to submitted manuscripts. It is a comfort we treasure.

Timothy Lowe said...

I miss querying. No, seriously.

Someday I'll have something new to pitch, just as soon as my life becomes less stranger than fiction.

Le sigh.

Hope everyone has a happy and productive 2022.

John Davis Frain said...

I'll second Mr. Lowe. Not the querying part, the happy and productive 2022 part. Here's to a positive, if imperfect, year! Go get 'em, Reefers.

Steve Forti said...

Merry Christmas ya filthy animals

AJ Blythe said...

I know I'm really late to the blog, but I hope everyone had a truly merry Christmas and happy New Year. Wishing you all the best for a healthy and happy 2022.

Julie Weathers said...

Apparently, my email is sending Janet to spam again. I didn't get notice of this post.

"40,000 first chapter" Phfft. That's my prologue.