June 23, 2009

Sheer embarrassment, but I’ll risk it…

Filed under: Backstory — jenny @ 2:34 pm

First let me say that I haven’t looked at this query letter for more than a decade. (Yes, I’ve finally named a figure that shows my years in this business.) Second let me say that my cheeks heated with shame when I looked at it today.

I’m going to post it for two reasons. First, this query did earn me requests from agents, so despite its glaring flaws it did something right. Second, perhaps you’ll be able to learn from my mistakes.

What were those mistakes? It is so overblown and arrogant!! I can’t quite believe myself, comparing my work to extraordinary authors, Stephen King and, gasp, William Styron. My face is red again.

It has too many ridiculous adverbs. Rapaciously?!

If I really wrote and revised in seven months (I did) that fact was not to my credit and shouldn’t have been broadcast.

Not to mention my strange practice of addressing the agent by first and last name. I assume I got this tip from a book that cautioned against addressing a Mr. as a Ms. or vice versa.  But really.  Couldn’t I have done some research? And there aren’t too many male Anna’s walking around.

Then I go and mention how well the book would do as a film–a huge no no. The process by which a book sells to Hollywood is incredibly complicated–and quixotic. It has more to do with factors I still know nothing about than with the author imagining how much Julia Roberts would love to perform that love scene.

And finally, I talk about myself going on talk shows! Oh, I am cringing even to write this post. But as I say, some wonderful agents ignored all that, which I’ll discuss later on. And since seeing is believing, I will post my first query letter–names included, and definitely warts and all–tomorrow.

1 Comment »

  1. Don’t worry about addressing the agent by first and last: I’ve even have agents write me back, still signing their first and last names, so even three, four communiques later I was STILL addressing them by both!

    Comment by Savvy — June 25, 2009 @ 11:54 am

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