As you guys know, I have A LOT of email queries in my inbox. How can I not rant about this?
So, some things that I’m noticing that turn me off. Maybe another agent would dig it but I doubt it.
1. Starting your query with a complaint. I don’t know about you but that certainly gets me in a jovial mood. I love complaints (and yes, I’m being nicely sarcastic here).
Why in the world would you start any letter by complaining—but especially a query letter? The complaints usually revolve around how hard this business is (if it were easy, everyone would do it). Or writers complain about their bad self-publishing experience.
Not a way to win an agent.
I don’t mind queries for self-published or POD books. I’m an optimist. You never know what might show up (although the odds are against you). Go check out POD-DY Mouth. She listed some great statistics (very revealing). In order to find 50 books worth reading, she read over 1300 last year. You can see why agents aren’t super excited about adding those to our slush pile.
2. Starting your query letter with the odd sentences. I think this one is my favorite: “I recently finished reading my first novel. Having read one, I decided to write one.”
Go get ‘em tiger. This is not a ringing endorsement for you.
3. Having another person (like someone you have hired, your secretary, or business manager) write your query letter on your behalf.
Maybe I’m being too picky but if you want me to represent you, shouldn’t you write to me yourself?
Call me silly but…