No. 1 thru 14 of 1,000 Ways to Write the Worst Query Letter to a Publisher

  • Begin with Dear Sir/ Madam/ Agent/ You Awesome Person, You. First impressions are everything, and what better way to start off one of the most important letters of your writing career than with a general sir/madam opening.
  • Include a photo of yourself, your three cats and your pet parrot. How can any sane agent say no to your parrot’s adorable face?
  • Declare your book to be the next Harry Potter/ Great Gatsby/ The Catcher in the Rye/ Hunger Games. This shows the agent that two things: 1) you like to read (or you at least know the names of uber-popular books) and 2) you’re very confident in your work, and confidence is key!
  • Make sure your query letter is an attachment. I mean really, who types their query letters in the body of the e-mail anymore, anyway?
  • Send your query letter via Twitter. Bonus points for fitting your query into 140 characters!
  • Send your query letter to the agent in a long list of agent e-mails. Not only do you save yourself the time of sending each e-mail individually, but now the agent knows who they’re up against.
  • Include the full manuscript as an attachment with the query letter. You already know they’re going to want to read the full, anyway. You’re just saving them the extra time of having to e-mail you and ask for it!
  • Include lots! Of exclamation points!!! And sentence fragments! And typos! Yay!!!!
  • Include a blurb from your mother. No self-respecting agent will even look at your manuscript unless it has the Mommy seal of approval.
  • Write a book that’s 200,000 words long. Instant approval.
  • In fact, send the query letter before you’ve even finished writing the book. Fully written manuscripts are overrated, anyway.
  • Query three different manuscripts in one query letter. Not only does this increase your chances of the agent possibly liking one of your manuscripts, but they also know you’re a prolific writer. Win-win.
  • Call them immediately after you send it. You know, to give them the heads up that your fantastic query letter is on its way and they should probably stop whatever they’re doing to read it immediately.
  • Send your query letter to every agent at the agency simultaneously. One of them are bound to like it, right?

~ Meyer Lane

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