Wednesday, 2 January 2008

How to get rejected from the slush pile

Shamelessly reworded from Miss Snark. Advice on how not to write a query letter.

  • "I'm nationally known..." and yet not to be found on google.
  • "I've just finished the first draft..." of anything. If it's not yet polished and publishable, don't send it yet.
  • Describing your main character as "female protagonist". This is not the Army, nor is it the Police academy. Nor is it an autopsy.
  • "I'm looking for help marketing my novel". No you're not. You're looking for an agent.
  • "Querry letter" is an auto-reject. spelling. Punctuation.
  • "My historical novel is set along in West Cork" -then proceeds to describe North Leitrim. Get your facts right. It's stupid and sloppy and insulting to the reader. I know better. You should too. It's not that hard to google things.
  • "My books were published to regional acclaim" but you list no publisher and I can't find you on Amazon. Maybe the region was Imaginationovia or Inyourdreamseny. Make sure everything you write in your query letter will survive a google search.
  • 8pt Times Roman; marbelized puce-colored stationery; right justified margins. Agents and editors get tired and long-sighted and when your query letter is physically hard to read, they'd rather reject it than make the effort.
  • Including the table of contents, the dedication page, a title page or anything else between the cover letter and the first page.

Apparently it is also a no-no to include bribes such as chocolates, feather boas, cash, small children or whatever! Also avoid green ink and coloured paper.


Yvonne said...

Great post, I've found it very useful.

Sarah*G* said...

Great post. I may have to copy that and stick it to my desktop!