Blog Talk Radio: On the Road to a Bestseller

Last week I was a featured guest on Christine Rose’s Blog Talk Radio program “On the Road to a Bestseller,” where we talked christine-roseabout the pros and cons of being agented or unagented. I presented the view from having no agent and being published. David Odle on having an agent on the way to being published, and Jane Kennedy Sutton, who had an agent who turned out not to be the right fit. You can listen to the program here.

Christine also discusses “queryfail,” a discussion thread among several agents on Twitter recently, with examples of what makes them reject many queries. Here’s a sampling from Publishers Lunch:

As a taste, we pulled a selection of our favorite lines and stitched them together into something that’s almost a query letter on its own:

Dear________

“Please be advised of my request that you consider reviewing a page- turning novel that I have recently completed.”
“I’M TYPING MY QUERY IN ALL CAPS SO YOU WILL BE SURE TO NOTICE IT.”
“Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be pulled up a waterfall or to be flushed down a toilet?”
“This is my first attempt at writing a fictional novel.”
“…this, the first book in a seven-book series…”
“I’ve been working on this novel for twenty five years.”
“This book is The Notebook meets The Lord of the Rings.”
“It’s a unique combination of memoir and novel.”
“My book is the first in an imagined autobiography of my tragedy.”
“This is groundbreaking work that will change the way we view everything!”
“My book is differentiated from Twilight because the vampires have wings, and are half-breed angels.”
“I’ve been rejected by three other publishers who said my work was interesting.”
“I’ve queried more than 50 agents and have gotten nowhere and now I’m querying you.”
“I don’t think you’re the right agent for me, but could you pass my query along to some of your colleagues?”
“I hope you don’t mind that I found your personal email address…” ‘
“I know you don’t represent children’s literature, but I hope you’ll make an exception in my case.”

For the moment the focus was on author’s query letters rather than agent’s submission though one editor dared to shift the focus
briefly: “The most common #queryfail I get from agents? Alas, I hate to say this, but “a debut collection of lyrical linked stories.”

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Published in: on March 14, 2009 at 11:58 pm  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for being on the show! It was great fun.
    Nice collection you have here from #queryfail!!

  2. Oh, crap, too funny, in an exceedingly painful way.

    I have a wonderful agent but haven’t sold yet. Not the agent’s fault and I hope not the work’s fault. Just a really lousy, timid marketplace.

  3. Thanks for sharing Heidi.

    The first time I attended a conference where an agent spoke, the read excerpts from query letters and had the crowd roaring with laughter. I assumed he made the whole thing up for comic relief. Since then, I’ve heard similar stories from many agents and editors. People really do write this stuff and expect results. Amazing. Entertaining. Sad.

  4. Good post, Heidi. Do you happen to know whether Blog Radio is on one station or many? I’ve been invited to appear on a broadcast, and wonder how many people are actually listening in.

    Jean
    http://mysteriouspeople.blogspot.com/

  5. I like your selection of query letter excerpts. I also enjoyed “meeting” you on the show.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton
    http://janekennedysutton.blogspot.com/

  6. way to go… girl.. congrats
    gp in mt

  7. O.o Please don’t tell me editors actually get query letters like that. How awful!

  8. Great site this heidiwriter.wordpress.com and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂


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