Basically, agents and editors posted honest to goodness quotes from query letters -- things that aspiring authors actually wrote in a query letter than ensured an immediate rejection. Everything was done anonymously (you see, they do have hearts, these people), and nothing was made up.
What, you missed it? That probably means you had a more productive day than I did.
Still, there were a few gems that made it worthwhile -- real snort-coffee-up-the-nosers. Here are some examples (and I post these in full confidence that none of YOU sent any of these):
From Colleen Lindsay:
- "I am a writer of some renown and a self-published author." Instant queryfail.
- "Forty three years of toiling within my own mind have come to an end with this manuscript!" Um, okay.
- "This book is The Notebook meets The Lord of the Rings." Speechless.
- Book of "quotes and more, all written by (?) and in the author’s own flavor of grammar." I prefer the English flavor of grammar.
- A re-writing of Kimba the White Lion as a polemic on race relations. In verse. * head desk*
- My book is about a friendship based upon mutual vomiting practices in high school." AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!
From Editorial Ass:
- did i tell u about the proposal 4 knitting potholders out of cat hair? or that it came with samples?
- the worst part... the author didn't enclose appropriate postage for us to return her masterpieces.
- "it's a unique combination of memoir and novel." oh good; we'll sell it on the barnes&noble memoir slash novel shelf.
From Greg Daniel:
- "I am writing a book. What is the going rate for literary agents?" You're in luck! Special going on now. We're two for a buck.
- "I have 9 completed manuscripts including 2 fiction, a SF trilogy, and 4 fantasy" Okay, just send them all to me. In a big box.
- "Keep in mind that this novel is a bit of my imagination .." I'm just glad its not ALL of your imagination.
- "My novel is a sumptuous feast of meticulously researched historical fact and superbly crafted fiction" Burp.
- "This isn't my first published work I have published 2 articles in G4S Pipeline Trade Publication" REALLY? I never miss an issue!
- I'm considering changing my name to "Sir/Madam." More of the queries would seem personal that way.
- "I've queried more than 50 other agents with this and have gotten nowhere and now I'm querying you." You had me at 'hello.'
From Angela James:
- The manuscript is complete. It is 320 pages in Font 10 with 178,313 words. It has 36 chapters. I am not a professional writer.
There you have it. Take notes.
Of course, if these folks had read my E-BOOK, they never would have made such silly errors in their query letters.
Anyway, I'll admit that, despite the laughter this exercise provoked, I found myself feeling a bit snarky by the end of it all. We often read the woes of agents' filled-to-the-brim email boxes. We wait weeks for response from simple queries, and sometimes we get no response at all.
To think that so much -- so much -- gobblety-goop is clogging up the pipes and stealing time and energy away from well written, effective queries, is...well, annoying.
Worst of all? The aspiring authors who need to learn this -- who are often the least open to even hearing it -- are the ones who aren't paying attention to things like "queryfail" and writers' groups and Miss Snark's First Victim.
So. Congratulations on not being "one of those queriers." (Looks like a French word, doesn't it? Pronounced quee-YAY.)
Hugs to you all. Keep writing, keep editing, keep learning your craft and learning the business. Stay open, be teachable. Press on.
I will be among those cheering and throwing confetti when you succeed.