After many years of freelance writing for corporate and non-profit clients, I felt confident in my knowledge of words, grammar, phrasing – linguistic gymnastics in general.
I knew that I could deliver a snappy slogan, translate tech-speak for the civilian reader, and hook a reader with information disguised as narrative.
But I didn’t know a thing about writing fiction.
When I set my creative energies to a novel, I was a baby again. Or maybe a toddler – sure of my determination to walk, but spending a lot of time thumping down on my butt or cracking my teeth on the coffee table.
I had a lot of work to do: learning a new vocabulary, honing my craft, meeting industry folks.
Fortunately for newbies like me, there is a wealth of information out there, shared generously by folks in the industry who want to find and develop the best story possible.
There are publishers, editors, agents, authors ( published or not), and illustrators who blog, speak at conferences, and write instructional/inspirational books – all designed to elevate the work.
Given all that generosity and information, there is really no excuse for a bad query letter. There just isn’t. (Extra points for anyone who got the Legally Blonde reference there.)
If you have ever had even a passing interest in the publishing industry, these snippets from real queries to a real literary agent will have you howling.
Because YOU would never send a query like that, would you? I didn’t think so.
Thank you, DaMomma. I needed that.