Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Things you don't say in a query letter

I do not usually quote from real query letters, but these were just too good to pass up. And I think it's because they came literally one after the other, too.

Query #1 excerpt:
"I HAVE NOVELS BETTER THAN HARRY POTTER, I LOST EVERYTHING I OWNED BECAUSE OF A LIE. MY WRITING IS GREAT IF YOU HAVE IMAGINATION. GUIDELINES ARE FOR THE UNCREATIVE. MY NOVELS ARE SCI-FI-FANTASY-COPING. IF YOU ARE A REAL AGENT YOU CAN GET ME THE BOOK DEAL I WANT."

Query #2 excerpt:
"A previous book, [title redacted], has just won its [number to the nth] award from POD publisher iUniverse and has obtained returnable status with bookstores. "

12 comments:

Jodi Meadows said...

Query letter jackpot.

Do I get an award or something now?

Thacher said...

You know, I've never considered that guidelines are for the uncreative, but I think that's an idea we all can get behind.

Y'know, if you're a dangerous sociopath. Or vociferous hobo.

David said...

The second one makes me feel really sad for the person.

Jenny Rappaport said...

David, the second one makes me sad too. It's not uncommon though.

Taymalin said...

Dear Jenny,

My outlines are very entertaining. You can just use your imagination to fill in the missing bits. Do you think the editors would bite if we told them it was a "create your own adventure"? Those choose your own adventure books were so popular after all.

Let me know if you're interested. I think we could make more than those Harry Potter books. My outlines are more exciting than boarding school kids fighting a war against dark wizards. Better dressed too.

I'm sorry if my query doesn't match your posted guidelines. I'm just too creative for such nonsense. Since I've taken the time to research your previous sales, I'm certain you're a real agent and can get me the deal I want.

I look forward to receiving your acceptance letter,

Sincerely,

Brandi

P.S. Do you think we could get a rush on that advance? My rent is due in a week and I lost everything when someone lied. They LIED! Don't you feel sorry for me? I know I do.

P.P.S. I think a $10 million advance would be sufficient.

H. L. Dyer said...

I think my favorite part is:

"My writing is great if you have imagination."

*snort*

aimee said...

OMG JENNY WHY DID YOU POST MY QUERY LETTER? MY LIFE WAS RUINED BECAUSE OF THIS ENTRY. ;)

marikris said...

Really, I'm doubly glad to be following this blog ^_^ I now know a few things one should *not* do in the publishing world than I did before. Ok, to be honest, I barely knew anything before, but I think the "what not to do's" are equally as important (if not more so) than "what to do's"! Ok, I'm rambling now -_-

Julia Scott-Douglas said...

Perhaps the first one sent that to appeal to your sense of humor.

I feel sorry for the second person too. It's nice to feel you've accomplished something, but that's... well... sad.

I just stumbled on this blog and I'm so glad you have it! Thanks for keeping it up and Happy Holidays! :)

Crimogenic said...

sad, but funny. Sorry.

Jarucia said...

Oh so very troubling...I only really feel bad for #2 as that may literally be their only writing-bio type claim. If it's not...

On the upside, I hear the 'query letter' is trending to wildly good compared to the actual novels behind them. Hopefully this situation continues to improve so at least the majority of the 300-word intros you get are digestible.

Kathleen Fasanella said...

I just can't get over how being a literary agent is so similar to what I do, I work with fashion designers. I get prize winning entries from people who want to start a clothing line like this every day. One business proposal was so bad it was the singular inspiration for a six part series on business plans. I didn't out him of course. Every single one is poised on the edge of greatness.