Sunday, April 23, 2006

Am I Evil?


Tell me if this is evil. You spend two years creating your masterpiece, the great American novel. 600 pages of blood, sweat and tears. You package it up and ship it to Evil Editor with a self-addressed envelope. I remove it from its package, spend thirty seconds reading the first page, roll my eyes, and toss the manuscript onto a pile in the corner. Eight months later I e-mail you a rejection letter because I'm too lazy to walk out to my mailbox and mail you a hard copy. Besides, I can't mail you anything, because I long ago steamed the stamp off your self-addressed envelope and used it to send my 1st wife a letter explaining that she won't be getting any more child support because I blew all my spare cash paying my divorce lawyer to see that I got the Ferrari when my 2nd wife dumped me.

No doubt that's what all writers assume happens when they submit a manuscript. And for the most part, they're right. But occasionally editors have legitimate reasons for rejecting work. As a public service, I'm taking the liberty of publishing excerpts from actual query letters I've received, letters that would have made me cry, if I weren't too busy laughing.


I write like how I talk; pretty darned entertaining.

My manuscript contains 71,282 words and in my opinion is brillant.

Background of the Author is as follows: worked with a Surveyor for some time. Then worked in a Shearing shed ,and after that entered the Army for 6 years. a natural Carpenter, can make furniture

Some events, Carries baby upside down, by leg, breaking it. Attempts to drownd son, from moving boat. Thrown from a car. Set on fire. (See intense) This is only a few event's.

um I wrote a book its about two friends who discover that that they have the power of witchs and they use that power to save the entire witch race from being destroyed, its not really like that but some what

I have the best fantasy that I've ever read, written. I've allowed three people to read it, one a published writer and two of my worst enemies, and they have convinced me to approach a publisher with the manuscript. However, I felt that approaching you with a synapse rather than an unsolicited manuscript.....

I have been in contact with one other publishing house, however, there were terms in their contract that I found most disturbing. The highlight of which required me to pay them to publish my book.

Please excuse my spelling. I'm here to tell you about a book I have writen. Please if you juge the letter's you read by the bigening of there letter please excuse my bluntness and un perfeshionlisum approch.

I am not enclosing a manuscript at this moment. I wish to become more familiar with your company and its processes before divulging my work and I do mean work via any medium. I've spent the last three years on character develpment and background storyline layouts and because of the amount of effort that i've put into my literary work, I refuse to be foolish enough just to give the story away to anyone. The book, itself, consist of no measurable end as I will continue to write the story in a continuing series of cliff-hangers. I did not design the story for short term reading because of its potential to both evolve and to reach into new areas of the imagination. If you satisfy my requirements in the information I've requested, then i will submit to you the introduction for the book. The introduction, which consist of 16,000+ words, will give you an inclination of my writing skills. I wrote the introduction for two reasons. One, to familirize the reader with the main character and some sub-characters and two, it doesn't give any of the true story away in the event a company tries stealing something i've worked so hard on.

Tomorrow: Great Query Letters, Part 2

15 comments:

InnerTube said...

This is pretty darned entertaining.

Jenna Black said...

Gosh, I can't imagine how you could bring yourself to reject such fabulous pearls of wisdom!

chryscat said...

It really is quite amazing and horrific that there are writers who send queries like this.
A couple of words of advice to them.
"Get over yourself."
"It's called spellcheck. And it's your friend."
I'm looking forward to the polar opposite of these pearls tomorrow.
Grins*

Grumpy Old Woman said...

Come on, you made these up, right? While entertaining in a sick sort of way, those letters would be really depressing if they were real and not just imaginings from some nightmare.

Here there be monsters.

Oh, one even more depressing thought: what if one of the morons (who are obviously not real people) actually managed to get published!

Tawny Taylor said...

I’m with Grumpy Old Woman. Please tell me this is a (twisted and somewhat disturbing) joke, please! These are just awful.

Okay, okay, guilty confession time. I did laugh at the “synapse” query. The visual picture that one produced was priceless.

Sara Thacker said...

Wow, very interesting. I'm almost speechless. I liked the one where the guy didn't want to send you his manuscript. I'm sure it's very unique.

Diana Castilleja said...

Evil, I can't believe you don't just drop everything when such well written queries and superb plotlines cross your desk.

Those can't be for real? Good gravy! I'd always heard such things happened... I guess the legend is true.

And the one who wanted to make sure you were good enough for his exceptional prose?? Forgive me while I wipe the tears from eyes.

Anonymous said...

How about going the opposite route and posting some query letters that you liked, with the particularly appealing sections bolded?

S. W. Vaughn said...

Words fail me.

alau said...

Wow. No wonder editors and agents are so grumpy.

Anonymous said...

Those pour riters. After minny months spent riting there heart out, you cruly spit on there work.

RMays said...

I'm very glad you posted this. It makes me feel like I have half a chance. I had no idea it was that bad.

Hopefully, for your sake, the examples you listed are a minority in the body of work submitted to you.

For my sake, as a person seeking a partnership with a large publishing company, I hope there are so many of those types of queries it will make my correspondence and submissions look damn near brillant!

Thank you again for taking the time to provide this type of information/example.

Fabian Trunz said...

That is indeed entertaining. I have to admit it: There be morons. I wonder if we should start plotting them on maps like in the olden days.

Gavroche said...

I can't believe so many people dive in head-first with no idea how to avoid the most obvious pitfalls. Anyone who does even the tiniest bit of investigation knows that that last query hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell of being accepted and the spelling errors in some of these are simply too depressing.

When I read posts like these I'm starting to wonder whether I could survive working as an editor if I pursued the matter and not turn into a raving lunatic.

fairyhedgehog said...

Whirlochre just linked to this and I can't believe I've never read your first ever posts.

Oh my word.

I can't decide if these are real or not but if you wrote them yourself the attention to detail is startling.