Sunday, March 8, 2009

#Queryfail Day

Thursday was the beginning of the end of my resistance to Twitter. I had avoided being sucked in to one more distraction on the Internet but that was all before #queryfail day.

#queryfail day was the brainchild of brilliant agent Colleen Lindsay. She gathered a group of agents and editors to post some of the lines that made them give the big R to queries.

Some of my favorite creative ideas were:

~the non-fiction proposal for a how-to book for potholders made from cat hair... yes, you read correct... complete with samples. The worst part of this, according to the agent, was that they didn't enclose enough postage to return the... uh... samples to the author.

~the query describing LOTR meets the Notebook, okay, take a moment and picture it...

~the query outlining a romance between a man... and his truck. (this one struck close to home with me ;) LOL )

Now the more common mistakes:

~calling the agent = To Whom It May Concern or Dear Sir/Madam

~typos in the query letter

~not mentioning the plot of the book in the query

~no contact information

It was hilarious, entertaining and enlightening. So, as a writer in the midst of the process of querying, I wanted to say a big thank you to the agents/editors that took the time to participate. Hopefully the process will reap better query letters coming your way in the near future. :)


  1. That is very interesting information.
    I am on twitter but I truly don't understand its appeal. Seems like I am just putting things out there for no one to read.

  2. Hey there! Love the stress kit--I think I need to borrow it! Some good infomation:))

  3. I enjoyed #queryfail. Think other people are giving us the evil eye though. Oh well, some people deserve a good bashing with some of the nonsense they pulled. Seriously, taking an agents time away from writer who do their homework just doesn't seem fair to me.

  4. Debbie - that is exactly what I thought, but #queryfail put me in touch with MANY agents/editors and writers. Now I get it.

    Terri Tiffany - LOL I know, I use it on a regular basis.

    Jenn Nixon - My opinion is that some of the queries were fascinating (like those stated above) and deserve a little attention. Others are just people who don't care enough to do the research. If they don't care enough to have some follow through on that front then they haven't done the work required to get published. Besides, as in most industries, in writing you need to have a good sense of humor. So everyone needs to buck up and learn to laugh at themselves.

  5. The problem? If these aspiring authors were online reading blogs, websites and Twitter, they would not have made these mistakes! I loved it too - but it's like preaching to the choir.

  6. I'm still avoiding the whole Twitter thang, but don't know how long that will last. :)

  7. I started a twitter account just so I could look this stuff up last week. You totally sucked me in!! Just what I need, one more internet distraction.

  8. Love the stress reduction kit and the insights on Twitter.

  9. eyewww- pot holders from cat hair EYEWWWWWWWWWW! good gawd! *shudder*

  10. I don't do twitter because, yes, it is one more distraction.

    I read an interesting article on Rachelle Gardner's blog about the queryfail thing. I'm leaning more towards her view. But I didn't really follow it at all, so I can't say for sure how well queryfail would have helped me.

    I'm part of the MMW Retreat. Hope to get to know you better through your blog if we both make it up there to meet!

  11. Here is the link to Rachelle's blogpost. Rachelle Gardner's

    I am also from Orem. :)

  12. Hahah! I wondered if you would put this here too! LOL! I'm still lost exactly how Twitter works.. I'll have to call you one day and you can walk me through it! LOL! Jenni

  13. Amy - Absolutely agree, thanks for stopping in!

    Angie - hold out as long as you can LOL

    Candice - exactly! but oh well... networking is networking is networking, right?

    Rev. Christine - happy you liked it :) thanks for popping in!

    Kat - I know, right? I just sat there staring at my screen... I was agog. <--love that word!

    Lady Glamis - Howdy neighbor! welcome :) and thanks for the comments! Yeah, I read her blog this morning. I know these agents did this with a spirit of trying to help people and I'm sad they are having such a hard time as a result.

    As for me, the best result I got was that I had the opportunity to make contact with agents/editors and fellow writers on twitter. My followers went from 2 to 156 thanks to queryfail and getting to know some tweeting friends. So, for me at least, it was a success.

    Jenni - Yes yes, I miss your phone calls *sniffle* ;) I'd be happy to educate you LOL

    Melissa - LOL my thoughts exactly, but hey, you have to give kudos for thinking outside the box ;)

  14. Hi, Jenn! Coming over from the Just Write Challenge. :)

    I heard a little about the #queryfail thing, but hadn't seen any examples. Thanks for sharing some of their blurbs! And good luck with your querying!

    *cough cough* Sorry! Hairball. ;)

  15. Janna - Thanks for popping by! I have been sadly only lurking this month on Just Write, I love it and so far I'm on track with my goals... but yeah, I R Negligent.

    LOL about your hairball comment :)