The Stormy Seas of Ill-Conceived Querying with Dawn Frederick Part 2


As we further discuss the query process this week, even the best intentioned query can reflect the worst of all scenarios: desperation.

This happens when the desire to get published is so strong that the author loses touch with reality; sometimes even a sense of professionalism (in the form of negativity).

The quickest way to alienate an agent is to complain about the state of publishing and/or the decision made by the agent/agency. This isn’t the best footing to start a good working relationship with an agent:

“Wow, it only took you eight weeks to respond! I swear, the pretentious arrogance of literary agents never ceases to amaze me!”

– This is just an idea, but maybe before a person starts querying agents, it’s a good idea to understand the high volume of emails/calls between us and our authors and editors. There are often times when we’re busy taking projects out, and will do our best to respond to queries in a timely manner.

I am only taking the time to write back to you because I want to burn my name into your memory. It will be in lights the next time you see it. Who the hell are you to tell me that you are not enthusiastic enough to push aside the people you are currently representing. There isn’t anyone living on this planet that can touch me…I will emerge from this century as the best.

-Btw, I have yet to see this person’s book published. I’m assuming that the threatening act didn’t work.

Attempting to be shocking, intentionally or unintentionally. It just doesn’t work.

“A toothpick will save your life. Not just any toothpick because all toothpicks aren’t created equal. You’ll need a special pick that terminates heart disease where the gum line snuggles your teeth. Addressing this issue will enable your oral and cardiac repair costs to fall to nearly nothing.”

Issue #2: Get off your butt Dawn and step away from your computer chair because excessive sitting can kill you. Thirty-four serious ailments have been linked to sitting disease, including cognitive decline, heart disease, stroke. Now for some good news: You can find inner harmony by breathing the breath of life while walking to your favorite toothpick and lumbar pillow store on Query lane. Few folks breathe the right way, and stress levels increase while breathing only from upper respiratory systems.”

-This was the opening to one heck of a long query letter. Not only was the book outside my categories, but it attempted to sensationalize random topics, trying to be shocking till the end.

Thanks for your time Noah.

The cover of the book would be me, two sexy girls in bikinis, a bunch of empty beer and liquor bottles and golf balls and clubs on a golf course and maybe a wrecked golf cart in a pond behind us! Now what red blooded American male isn’t at least going to look at the cover????

-If this person even knew my representative categories, let alone followed me on social media, it would be evident early on to avoid sending this type of query to my attention. Plus, my name isn’t Noah.
This is where the need to be professional becomes more evident. As the lack of it defers from the book idea. It’s best to let a little sugar (niceness, professionalism) take your query letter a long way.


Try to approach the query process with a clear vision, but also an equally professional manner.




Latest Posts

1 Comment

  1. colormusing on November 13, 2014 at 11:42 am

    I have a hard time understanding why aspiring writers (like the examples in this post) don’t seem to get that what they’re attempting to do is sell a product. I imagine this type of thinking applied to a lemonade stand scenario: Potential customer walks by on the opposite corner, lemonade seller screams, “Hey! Why the heck aren’t you buying my lemonade?! Get over here right now or you might collapse from citrus-drink deficiency!”

    Writers: Yes, we are selling our work, but considering the nature of that work (not to mention the nature of our hopefully long-term relationships with the purchasers), we are ultimately selling ourselves: not just our words, but our professionalism. Let’s make editors and publishers eager to work with us!