Saturday, February 9, 2008

Query Letters Are of the Devil

Today realized that queries are icky because they must be masterpieces of artifice. Show me all five writers who can do this flawlessly:

1. Find a potential publisher. (This is rather more involved than it sounds, like Step One of installing a new sink: "Remove old sink.")
2. Direct your query to the appropriate editor, using gender-appropriate salutation for any editor named "Kelly," "Tracey," "Casey," "Cameron," "Willie," "Micah," or "Kim." Phone if you must. Get it wrong and your butt is grass.
3. In the first paragraph, entice the editor with your proposal, hooking him/her within a sentence or two, but without giving too much away. Also give the editor a sense of what your writing is like.
4. Next paragraph, tell the editor in great detail why your idea is just right for his or her magazine or publishing firm. Be convincing.
5. Next, tell the editor what qualifies you as an author. Be convincing.
6. Do this all on a single page, with flawless format, spelling and punctuation.
7. Please don't mention payment!!! Only amateurs mention money!!!
8. Expect a rejection -- plan on it -- and when it comes, take it like a man, gird yourself up and do this all over again.

Writers, it's not us, but the system! Unite to overthrow it!

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