Pub Rants

The True Recipients Of ‘The Stamp’

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STATUS: A night off can do wonders. I’m actually excited to dive into a client manuscript tonight.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? IS THIS LOVE by Whitesnake

Before blog readers get up in arms over how “cruel” agents can be, you have to remember we work in a creative business. This means there are always a certain number of crazies.

In general, we get 100 to 150 email queries a day. (And after the holidays, we were averaging more like 300 queries a day).

A certain percentage we rule out right away as the writers didn’t research us and are sending stuff we don’t rep (like queries for nonfiction or picture books). We wouldn’t bother with ‘The Stamp.’

A certain percentage are queries that are obviously just thrown together, lack professionalism, and sent out to any number of agents. For these, we wouldn’t bother with ‘The Stamp.’

A certain percentage are well researched, diligently written, and are professional but the project simply isn’t right for us. We take those queries seriously and read every single one of them. Those would definitely not get ‘The Stamp.’

A certain percentage are decently written but just kind of verging on the strange or weird. We wouldn’t use ‘The Stamp’ even for these.

And then there are those remaining few–at least a couple a week. The queries that spotlight, in all its glory, a 200,000 word epic novel about a detachable penis.

Those queries, folks, deserve the WTF Stamp!

22 Responses

  1. M. Dunham said:

    *facepalms and snickers*

    A detachable penis. Sadly, I’m sure you actually received something like that.

    No judging here. I’ve seen what some people post on the internet as their query letters, and I can safely say there’s a reason ‘The Stamp’ came into being.

  2. Rashad Pharaon said:

    That was funny.

    I just don’t get how an agent can read through 150 queries a day! I mean how is it humanly possible to read a book of queries a day AND do other work? And don’t the queries all start looking alike after, say, query number 50? lol. Hats off to the agents out there, it takes true talent,


  3. Delia said:

    Dr. Demento used to play a song about a detachable penis in the 1980s. And now, because I actually know that (and have the earworm to prove it), I would like The Stamp for my forehead. Because, seriously.

  4. Anonymous said:

    A 200,000-word novel about an epic penis, however, would be quite understandable and should not get the stamp.

  5. Anonymous said:

    Oh dear…now I have that Detachable Penis song in my head! AHHHHHH!!!!

    (Ok, it is a funny song ;))


  6. Angela Brown said:

    Nicely done. Lulled me in with some things that made sense as to why ill-researched queries don’t get “the stamp”. Made me feel good that the well researched ones are far from getting “the stamp”. Then you introduced the 200k epic about a detachable penis. Immediately I went, “WTF!?!?!” So yeah, definitely met the criteria for “the stamp”

  7. Anonymous said:

    I remember hearing about that here or on another agent blog–and REPEAT that the “Me and My Dick” soundtrack hit #11 on the Billboard Top Cast Album charts. One person’s “WTF” is another person’s “This is the shiz!”

  8. E.D. Rea said:

    Actually, I’ve had an idea like this in my head for several years – The Complete History of Sperm Art. It might be a great book (if I’m brave enough to write it).
    But… I have to finish the one I’m working on first.

  9. Lucy said:

    Does it make any difference that this wasn’t even new in the 80s? :0

    There’s at least one story about the Native American trickster in which he carries his–uh–personal equipment around in a box, and occasionally lets it out to go have adventures by itself.

    The way these things tend to happen, there are probably cave drawings from a prehistoric version somewhere.

  10. Bill said:

    LOL! Every time I feel anxious or worried about what I’ve written or how foolish my query might be… there’s a tale of encouragement and inspiration! Many thanks. 😉