As a veteran of the querying experience (a.k.a. the wearying querying experience), I watched with interest today as #queryfail took place on Twitter.
For those of you that don’t know, in this case querying is the attempt to interest a literary agent in reading your work, and then offering to represent you. If you don’t know what Twitter is, well, time to flip the calendar to 2009.
Two agents, Lauren E. MacLeod and Colleen Lindsay, decided to share their reactions to query letters on Twitter in real time. To protect the innocent, they decided only to skewer those that did not follow their easily available instructions.
Other agents chimed in, though I’m not sure if they spared the innocent. Anyhow, the results, while they may sully your impression of humanity’s collective intelligence, are also really funny at times.
A brief set o’ samples, courtesy of Tara Lazar (whose blog post has a more extensive list)
- I don’t think you’re the right agent for me, but could you pass my query along to some of your colleagues?
- In lieu of a writing sample, I’ve enclosed articles about [topic writer wishes to write about].
- This isn’t my first published work, I have published 2 articles in G4S Pipeline Trade Publication.
- I have been writing since I could hold a crayon, and before that I used finger paints.
- My book is about a friendship based upon mutual vomiting practices in high school.
And two of my favorites come from agent’s reactions:
- “A one inch thick manuscript on why the alphabet is in the wrong order. Awesome! Wait, not awesome.”
- “Tragically initiated into a secret panther-worshipping society…” I’m sorry, but there’s nowhere to go but down after that.