queries that are stranger than fiction

Dear Miss Manners:

So, no kidding there I was…. reading queries…. (a surprising way for me to begin a story, I’m sure)

Among the many, one turned out to be a reply to a rejection I’d previously sent. In this reply I was told that the previous query was actually just a trick to see whether I answered my own mail. This new missive was the one true query though it specified that the outline I was receiving did not include the plot twists that were crucial to telling the story.

#1 – How am I supposed to feel about this attempted deception? And why on Earth (or anywhere else for that matter) would anyone think this was a good idea?

#2 – How does one write an outline to send as part of a pitch and leave out self-designated crucial bits?

Signed,
Agent with Name Spelled Incorrectly, Too!

16 responses to “queries that are stranger than fiction

  1. This simultaneously cracks me up, and makes me feel good about my own queries (which are void of any tricks, I promise).

  2. That’s flat out insane. It makes me twitchy just thinking of it.

  3. #1 Not amused, that’s for sure.
    #2 I have a feeling it starts out with finally getting around to using that home lobotomy kit one got from their in-laws as a wedding gift…

  4. I recommend sending a prescription for anti-psychotic drugs and a referral to the local mental health hospital
    S.j.

  5. Well, obviously you must now send the one true rejection — the first one was just to see if they’re really at that address, but this one is real.

  6. You must be sure to frame your rejection with the crucial bits missing.
    “Dear Author,
    I ______ to inform you, that because of your ________ submission, I have chosen _______ represent you. I wish you the _____ luck in the future. Another mail will contain the full details. Please don’t contact me again until you get it.
    Signed, etc etc.”
    On second thought, they might take that as encouragement.

    • I might have snorted soda if I’d been drinking when I read this. Aren’t you required to have warnings posted?
      And you’re right. That’s encouragement.
      Di

  7. This is the sort of thing that really highlights why it’s a good thing I’m not a literary agent or editor. The maxim “do not engage in conversation with crazy people and nitwits” would totally be overridden by the urge to send them a snarky reply:

    Dear Nitwit,
    I reject your query in all its forms and permutations. Further, I reject all future submissions, queries, and communication from you, your assigns and heirs, and your dog.
    I reject your neighbors as well, since they demonstrate nitwittery by neither moving away from you nor hounding you out of the neighborhood with pitchforks and torches as you so richly deserve.
    I also reject you (and all of the above people) on behalf of all agents everywhere, including scamsters, since I am possessed of a sense of justice, but not outright cruelty.
    For the good of all that is holy, please never write another word.
    Barbarienne

  8. Writers can be very, very strange…
    I like hearing these stories. They reinforce what various People Who Should Know have said about my putting myself in the top X5 of the slushpile simply by reading the guidelines, sending what they ask for, in the formatting asked for, and having a sane cover letter that says what I’m sending and by the way the manuscript is disposable.

  9. I can’t believe anyone would be so rude as to waste your time with a bogus query, and then expect you to respond favorably. Think it’s time to implement one of ‘s kill twit coupons.

  10. Ohhhh my god. You can NOT make this stuff up!

  11. Agent with Name Spelled Incorrectly, Too!
    See, that’s the clincher, for me, as if the other stuff weren’t bad enough. I might send an acceptance from the agent he addressed it to, and then maybe when nothing happens and he realizes this person doesn’t exist, somewhere down the road someone will tell him he has TOOLFACE written on his forehead.

  12. I know I’m not a fancy agent, but I’d be sorely tempted to reject it unread.
    brilliant or not, I’m not in the least bit interested in that sort of mind game, and I wouldn’t want to enter a years long business relationship with somebody who would screw around like that, and in such a *weird* fashion.

  13. What a brilliant way to get an agent!
    Or not. Good grief.

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