Dear Ms. Reid,
No, this isn't a query or a request for information. It's a simple note to say thank you for your remarkable blog, Queryshark.
I think I'm a decent writer. Perhaps I'll never get my novel published, but I should at least be able to interest an agent in reading a few pages. Yet the way I was going about composing the query in my head, it would never have happened.
I'll spare you all the gory details, but the main reason my letter would have prompted the auto reject is that I simply had no idea what a good query looked like. Now, thanks to Queryshark, I think I know. No, I know I know!
I found myself laughing out loud and nodding my head at many of your comments—and wincing at the tortured writing that provoked them. You see, I'm a university professor, and every semester I have to slog through a dreary stack of term papers, 90% of which should never have been written. After the first couple of sentences, and definitely after the first paragraph, I know whether it's going to be a good paper or not. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of pressing auto-reject, nor can I be as snarky as you are in your comments; so the bloodied, dissected letters you post on your blog provide me with some much-needed catharsis.
One very illuminating thing you've done on a couple of occasions is to say, "If this had been a real query, here's where I would have stopped reading." I'd love to see that with all the submissions: maybe a big "X marks the spot" or a set of teeth marks :)
Thanks again for the blog. Perhaps one day you'll receive a real query from me. If, after the wealth of guidance you've provided, I can't interest you or another agent in a few pages, then I'm a nincompoop.