Each week, Team Fuse posts on this blog to inform, enlighten, and entertain our readers. Queries are a popular blog topic for me because I want to help Romance authors land me as an agent. Heck, I want all authors to land the agent of their dreams!
So, why does most of the stuff in my query box read like a prank? Is “Punked” still a thing? Are the queries better for ditching those pesky submission guidelines I’ve posted? Clearly, it’s my fault for not seeing or imagining or predicting the blinding success and financial windfall the writer promises (in the query, no less) we’ll share. I should represent more than Romance. Actually, I should represent Romance I don’t read or like, too. Why not!
How about you be the judge? Below are snippets from ten actual queries I’ve received (and rejected). Was I wrong?
1. “I kept a diary throughout my life and put it all together in this 130,000 word novel.” Nope. I rep romance, not memoirs. Also, the writer didn’t follow my submission guidelines and attached the synopsis and pages.
2. “I have attached to this email the first 10 pages of a Christian novel I am working on.” Nope. I don’t rep religious books.
3. Historical romance set in 1140 England (yay; matched my medieval romance interest). Nope. First four paragraphs of Chapter 1 spent blandly describing the town. In. Great. Detail.
4. Romantic suspense. “The short story is approximately 25, 000 words or less.” Nope. I don’t rep short stories.
5. Historical romance. “For your review, based on your submission guidelines, I am including some sample chapters from my novel [redacted] (153,292 words).” Nope. My guidelines state the first 10 pages. That’s roughly 3,000 words. This query was 26 pages and 15,000 words, not including the synopsis or query.
6. Christian romance. “Attached are the first 3 chapters. I haven’t had any luck finding an agent so far, which could be that my writing is either horrible or the subject matter scares people away. My wife actually said that reading it scared her at night. The first three chapters outline the creation of the Universe and the evolution of living organism.” Nope. I don’t rep religious books. Maybe the other agents who received this didn’t either.
7. Contemporary romance. “A novel that exposes ho (sic) too many females wrap the victim role around them like a favorite blanket.” Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. And nope.
8. “I am upcoming new writer and I have written an inspirational memoir book entitled [redacted]. I am looking for someone to represent me and I can (sic) across your name.” Nope. I don’t rep religious novels or non-fiction.
8. “I am aware you only wish to see a Romance Manuscript, however this is a Historical Fiction which takes place in Ancient India and incorporates a new perspective in Global History.” Nope. Author knew I didn’t represent his work, but ignored that little part of my wish list. I love diversity, but come on. That doesn’t mean every diverse book has an “in” with me.
9. “I am seeking representation for [redacted], inspirational romance fiction. This novel is complete at a 66, 900 word count.” Nope. You know why. Sigh.
10. “My co-writer and I are looking into publishing an adaptation of the [redacted] script we wrote. Unfortunately, we couldn’t fit everything into the more acceptable 90 page format, so we want to get into the book business.” Nope. I don’t rep screenplays, and this? Seriously?