Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The weird things authors send

I'm totally stealing from all the agent blogs I'm reading today, for which I offer the sincerest apologies; they should just think of it as inspiration. Nathan Bransford has a post about Query Letter Formatting.

I'm going to one-up it a tiny bit, and add that not only do I agree with his post, but I also think that it is entirely unnecessary to send *things* with your query letter.

What do I mean by things?

Well, for example, a few years ago there was the infamous query letter that came with green parrot feathers. Yes, actual parrot feathers. We hung them on the office bulletin board for decoration. =)

So, all the authors and editors and slush readers who read this blog... what strange *things* have crawled out of the slush pile for you? Feel free to be anonymous when posting, as understandably, no one wants to identify themselves as the agent that received a giant pair of heart-patterned boxers, right? (just an example; I really haven't gotten that one)


Anonymous said...

I read the slush pile, and I haven't gotten any 'things', thank goodness!
What I suppose bothers me the most are authors who respond to my rejection notes with pleas to reconsider their work. I usually send a personalized rejection and this seems to mean to some authors that they can argue about their rejection.
I don't mind an author resubmitting re-written material, but I wish they would not argue with me and try to talk me into re-reading the story I just rejected.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I COULD send you some large heart-patterned boxers, you know.

I'm dangerous when I get bored...

Don said...

When I published a graphic arts magazine, I would get people sending me generic business articles. I suspect that there was someone offering workshops telling people that this was a good way to break into writing, offering promises of "work from home, just hours a day!" and that sort of thing. I usually took the first page and wrote NO, NO, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NO! on it and shoved it in the SASE.

And then there was the author who managed to talk me out of publishing his work because he kept calling for updates days after I received the material (note that this was a quarterly-in-theory-but-often-much-less-than-that-in-reality publication). When he decided that I wasn't moving fast enough for him, I was more than happy to not deal with him.

But no stuff came. Thankfully.

Mary Paddock said...

This morning I had this great image in my head of you answering your door to find a delivery guy holding a cat carrier containing a kitten with my query letter taped to the door. You would be so happy and Zoe would have company and you would like me and everything.

Guess it was a good thing I drank that second cup of coffee. Or drove any large machinery. Or sent any queries.

See how much safer e-mail is?

Anonymous said...

I'm oddly disappointed that I've never discovered really interesting weird "things" in a query. I have gotten photos of the authors children though. I don't know what the purpose of that is. Even if I loved the query, I'm not going to put the photo on my apartment's wall and point it out to all my friends, "That baby's mother wrote the best query I ever read."

Maybe you should collect the weird things people send to you and make like an art piece out of it.

Emily, Lori's intern (Excited to meet you soon!)

Aimless Writer said...

Hmmm, would sending the bill for my daughter's college sway you? And I do have a parrot if you'd like to add grey and red feathers to you board. :-)
One agent I met once complained about someone adding Heart confetti to their query. When he pulled out the pages confetti flew everywhere! He's still trying to get it out of the rug. lol

Anonymous said...

At a writer's conference, during an agent panel, one of the agents suggested she liked to get brownies with her queries.
The rest of the agents on the panel looked like deer in headlights.
It was truly a funny moment.
I will post this anonymously so as not to embarass anyone including myself!

Rachel said...

Oh ho, Emily, are you the erotic(a) intern?

I dearly hope that, if you do ever recieve anything interesting in that particular slush pile, you will pop in to tell us! ;)

mistri said...

I received a tea towel from New Zealand from one write who'd submitted something to the slush pile :)