Query #1: Writer spends six paragraph telling me about his previously published book, not the one he's querying about. Reject.
Query #2: 1st paragraph talks only about the multiple themes in the book. There is no second paragraph. Reject.
Query #3: Great opening paragraph, strong hook. Unfortunately, writer didn't follow sub guidelines. Ask her to re-query with pages & synop.
Query #4: Also did not follow sub guidelines. First paragraph talks about writer's self-published book. No pitch at all. Reject.
Query #5: Followed sub guidelines. Good first paragraph. Writing sample badly over-written. Reject.
Query #6: Didn't follow sub guidelines. Misspelled my name. No pages. Reject.
Query #7: Followed sub guidelines. Good pitch, great hook. Not a genre I'm interested in, however. Refer to colleague at FinePrint.
Query #8: Great query, but book is too similar to something I already represent. Personalized rejection, ask to see other work.
Query #9: Didn't follow sub guidelines, doesn't tell me what the book is about, spends four paragraphs on his Army career. Reject.
Query #10: No salutation. Two paragraphs about theme and philosophy of book. No actual plot, however. And no pages. Reject.
Query #11: One meandering paragraph, each sentence separated by ellipses. Reject.
Query #12: No salutation (again). No actual query, either. Just the first three pages from the book. Reject.
Query #13: YA fantasy, 175,000 words. Reject with educational note about word counts.
Query #14: Query for illustrated children's book, which I don't handle. Submission guidelines would have told him this. Reject.
Query #15: Query for Christian fiction, which I don't handle. Again, my submission guidelines would have saved her the trouble. Reject.
Query #16: This query was cc'd to multiple agents. Reject. You just shot yourself in the foot, dude.
Query #17: Unsolicited attachment. Delete without reading further. This one won't event get the courtesy of a rejection.
Query #18: No salutation. (Sensing a theme here.) Text is formatted in multiple colors and font sizes. Hurt my eyes. Reject.
Query #19: Another unsolicited attachment. Another query deleted without being read.
Query #20: Loves me. Loves my blog. Has MFA. Won contest I've never heard of. Three paragraphs in and it's still not a query letter. Reject.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Because you asked for it: a compilation of today's live-Twittered queries.
This afternoon, in an effort to educate some of the folks who follow me on Twitter about what it is that causes an agent to stop reading a query and reject it, I did a series of 20 live-Twittered query reads. In essence, I talked about what went wrong as I was reading that ultimately caused me to reject a particular query. A lot of folks asked me to compile them in one place. Here you go. I hope that some of you find this helpful: