Pub Rants

Best Query EVER!

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STATUS: An illusion of spring time here in Denver. It’s going to be in the 60s several days in a row. Oh, here comes spring fever.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? NOWHERE FAST by Smiths

As you folks know, recently we did a big computer conversion here at the office. As part of the conversion, we’ve been migrating to a new email/CRM program that we are quite excited about. As part of the process, we’ve been cleaning out old saved email folders from our query inbox.

Well, Anita had a folder where she saved some of the best email queries NLA has ever received. And I’m sure you guys realize that I’m using the word “best” euphemistically here.

We unearthed one that is just too good not to share.

This query was for a memoir about the author’s life long relationship with his um… his um… his Johnson, summer sausage, ding dong, one-eyed monster.

Folks, I can’t make this stuff up.

His had a separate personality and was the cause of his interesting career (and no, it wasn’t in THAT business).

Best yet? It was time to let him out of the closet and present him to the world in the first book of a trilogy. Yes, you read that right–a trilogy.

The only question that remained, according to the query letter, was whether the world was ready for it.

Only you, dear blog readers, can answer that question!

67 Responses

  1. Josin L. McQuein said:

    I will not make inappropriate jokes on the nice agent’s blog… I will not make inappropriate jokes on the nice agent’s blog…I will not make inappropriate jokes on the nice agent’s blog…

    Did the um… query (euphemisms are wonderful; they truly are) … at least have decent grammar and a unique voice?

    Ugh… I will not make inappropriate jokes on the nice agent’s blog…

    *forces self to hit send before it’s too late*

  2. elfarmy17 said:

    Query Shark would be a good idea on this one, I think.

    But it reminds me of that musical by StarKidPotter…that musical I wish I could block out of my mind.

  3. Anonymous said:

    Heh, maybe he’d have better luck turning it into a screenplay and billing it as the male equivalent of The Vagina Monologues — A Man and his Johnson.

  4. Melissa said:

    I’m such a naive person at heart. When you used the word “good,” I thought you referred to the literal definition. As in Golden Sumatra, Marriage Freres and L’Ancienne chocolate are all really good.

    That query is just … the right words elude me.

  5. Stacey Nelson said:

    A trilogy? Wow. Well, at least he doesn’t suffer from feelings of inadequacy.

    But the answer to your final question…yeah, that’d be a no. I mean NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! PleaseGodhelpusall. No. Not ready.


  6. Bryce Daniels said:

    Okay, I can’t resist. A few stabs at the title of his manuscript.

    “Pride and Prejudice:Below the Belt”

    “A Farewell to Arms and Other Body Appendages”

    “The Naked and the Dead: Part Two”

    “The Sun Also Rises”

    And I will stop there while I am ahead….something about a seafarer chasing a white whale comes to mind.

  7. JEFritz said:

    …Excuse me while I curl into a fetal position and weep for humanity because someone, somewhere, thought this was a good idea.

  8. Slush said:

    The Tale of Two… nevermind.

    I’m taking Josin’s stance and backing off before this gets a little out of hand.

    Okay can’t help it!

    Theme song for the book trailer: “Detachable Penis”- By King Missle

  9. Christi Goddard said:

    Can’t help it:

    “Ding-Dong: Who’s There

    “Chronicles of the One Eyed Monster”

    “The Dingaling Diaries”

    “Me and My Little Friend”

    “What Willy Knows”

  10. Tom Bradley Jr. said:

    Maybe he’s just ahead of his time.

    Another aspiring author gets the shaft.

    Did he have stiff competition?

    Imagine if it had been a bestseller — wouldn’t he have gotten a bit cocky?

    This gives all new meaning to writing to the bone.

  11. Jeannie said:

    I can only imagine what psychiatry would look like today if Freud had done a case study on that one.

    Wait, maybe he…. Nevermind.

  12. T C Mckee said:

    Oh come on, you could have called it THE CHRONICLES OF PETER. I’m so feeling that. Um wait. No I’m not. I mean, the title, not the…Oh never mind.

  13. Tara Lindsay Hall said:

    The sad part is, if this was told in the right way, I just might read it!

    Maybe he can sell the story to the South Park guys. They had J-Lo as a hand, one time, you know. Insanity…


  14. kristin Schmelson said:

    He submitted to my agency too. I asked to see the full.

    It was thin and needed a better arc. I told him if he cut some of it, I’d take another look.

    But that made him crabby, so I told him to put on his big-boy pants.

    Things came to a head, and he gave me the shaft before withdrawing his submission.

  15. Hillsy said:

    You never know – it could work. It’s notoriously difficult to judge the size of these things, especially this one. Subject matters like these tend to be growers, and the bigger it gets the deeper into the market it’ll penetrate.

    OK, the opinions might be a little one-eyed, but that’s because it’s a purely male perspective. Though I suspect the hard-cover will be more useful than the soft.

    And of course, if it does take-off with the female readership, it could spawn a whole genre of prefab copies, probably bigger in text but without any real body accompanying it, that’ll fill up a few hundred thousand nightstands and give women something to enjoy during a quiet night in alone.

    Having said that – I guarantee the two sequels will be Balls

    Word verification – Ephypt: The noise someone makes when ready a query from the POV of a Penis whilst taking a swig of coffee

  16. dylan said:


    Playing Boswell to his own Johnson.

    It’s probably a novella, but when you polish it becomes a trilogy.


  17. Anonymous said:

    Have to post anonymously since I don’t want to embarrass anybody…but we once got a query letter about a man who was transgendered and wrote the book from both his male and female counterparts.

    Now, there’s nothing wrong with being transgendered. But since the book was about something else entirely, I wasn’t sure why s/he was sharing. S/he opted to use ellipses instead of periods, too. Every time.

  18. Anonymous said:

    sounds like a fun book to me. perhaps if he marketed it as YA instead of memoir he’d have a hit on his hands.

  19. Anonymous said:

    Of course it would have to be a trilogy…one book wouldn’t be big enough to cover all of it.

  20. The First-Timer said:

    I had just posted on my blog that all first-time authors truly believe in their projects, but this guy takes that idea to new lengths.

    Reminds me of the young woman in my Comp 101 class whose first essay was a detailed account of having sex. Her writing skills weren’t very good, but she caught readers’ attention … and she did become quite a popular classmate.

  21. Dan said:

    It occurs to me that one could frame “Portnoy’s Complaint” as dealing with similar subject matter. But if this dude was Philip Roth, he would have written an impressive query.

  22. Anonymous said:

    Since so many women responded to this post, I guess this must be “ladies night out”.

  23. Bran Flakes said:

    Apologizing in advance for the sacrilege I’m about to commit with the title I’m about to suggest.

    The Penis: Mightier Than The Sword.

    Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.

  24. squalsh said:

    Came here to mention the StarKid musical, saw that elfarmy17 covered it in the fourth comment. This has been done, and well.

  25. smcc said:

    THE LOVELY BONE, by Rod O’Toole

    In the tradition of THE DARK TOWER, THE FIRM, and MOBY DICK.

    Coming Soon!

    … in hardcover.

  26. Ulysses said:

    …but you didn’t mention if you asked for a partial…

    (and, yes, a partial only because you can’t handle the full… oh, forgive me, I just couldn’t help it).

  27. Alexander said:

    Didn’t Robin Williams do a bit about how he would be your best friend? Perfect character witness?

    “Tell me, Mr. Phallus. Can you describe to me the events of the night in question?”

    “Well. It was light, it was dark, it was light, it was dark, it was light, it was dark. “

  28. Anonymous said:


    57 comments…an all time record? See we are reading your blog.

    Your euphemistic handling of this topic was in and of itself quite hilarious!!

    I’m still laughing out loud.

    I just came back from a grueling “date” with the dentist and needed a good chuckle.


  29. Jan Rider Newman said:

    “Anonymous said…
    Of course it would have to be a trilogy…one book wouldn’t be big enough to cover all of it.”

    And, boy, oh, boy, do we want it all covered! :> As in, quite possibly, buried?

  30. Anonymous said:

    Hi There! I’m sure you will be astonished, but actually such a book does exist: it’s called “The Two of Us”, by the Italian author Alberto Moravia, a very cultivated writer with an extremely established reputation in Europe. It was published in 1971 and shortly after a film was released based on it. There’s a English translation, if you are interested. It’s a quite funny and witty book, sometimes, if you are a good storyteller, you can make something even of a very banal story!

  31. Gilbert J. Avila said:

    There was a film of “The Two of Us?” I’m almost afraid to ask if there’s a director’s “cut” of it.

    If “Mr Johnson” had written his book in ancient Greece I wonder how long the scroll would’ve been?

    My captcha is “derspag?” So close to “dirtbag!”

  32. Anonymous said:

    Looks like we got our Friday funny two days early…and it’s still hilarious on Sunday.

    It sounds like one of those books that I would read just because it was so badly written.

  33. Jen Daiker said:

    I know I’m way late to the party but this is a serious case of insanity. No. I am not interested, nor will I ever be.

    I’m sure those are the moments that you laugh hysterically after a very long day of crap and this just took the cake.

  34. M.E. said:

    This is unbelievably funny – imagine that scenario coming to bookstores near you! Shield the childrens’ eyes. 🙂