Monday, June 9, 2008

#42

When I send you a form rejection letter for this, you won't know it's cause I literally can not read it.

Test your query letters before you send them!


MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="0-557785268-1213061379=:66140"

--0-557785268-1213061379=:66140
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-7
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Would you consider my query letter for your critique? Thank you!=0AAttn: (n=
ame of agent),=0A=0AGiven today=A2s high cesarean section rates, increasing=
maternal and infant deaths, and the rising incidence of postpartum depress=
ion, what is a Christian maternity care provider to do?=0AMy recently compl=
eted book, Inspired Birth: A Fresh Perspective on Childbirth for Christian =
Maternity Care Providers, is a 61,000 word inspirational guide that confron=
ts these and more challenges of American maternity care from a Christian pe=
rspective. With an estimated 153,135 or more Christians offering various ma=
ternity care services in the United States, Inspired Birth would be a usefu=
l resource to all those who read it. Many books are available to childbeari=
ng families, but none offer this unique and highly needed perspective. Topi=
cs within Inspired Birth include: God=A2s view of medical and natural child=
birth; how fear, pride and greed affect maternity care services; the power =
of prayer in childbirth; learning to work with difficult colleagues; pain i=
n childbirth; postpartum depression; salvation at birth, and several more i=
mportant discussions. =0ANow, a little bit about me. I have been a Bible-be=
lieving Christian since childhood. My writing experience includes over 30 p=
ublished articles through Associated Content, Inc., all on topics relating =
to pregnancy, childbirth and the early postpartum period. My education in c=
hildbirth includes birth doula certificates through Hope House, Inc. and tr=
aining through Doulas of North America, Int. My experience includes six yea=
rs of attending births and teaching childbirth education classes, in additi=
on to having two children of my own.=0AAfter finding that you specialize in=
subjects on health, spirituality, and women=A2s issues, I knew that you wo=
uld be a wonderful agent to represent Inspired Birth.=0AI have enclosed a S=
ASE for your convenience. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward =
to having an opportunity to share my book proposal with you soon.=0A=0ASinc=
erely,=0A(my name)=0A=0A=0A
--0-557785268-1213061379=:66140
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-7
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

36 comments:

Julia said...

This person doesn't seem to be able to use the Google properly, either, seeing as they think you're a specialist in "health, women's issues, and spirituality."

Apparently, somehow their machine garbled "mysteries and offbeat literary fiction" that badly. Who knew?

ksmith said...

Okay, yes, very bad. But why does something like that happen anyway? I've received messages like that before... anybody know the story?

blue said...

you should of taken mine before that one

Janet Reid said...

should have could have would have...but you have to send me something to have it posted.

Unless of course you're sending me stuff under a nom du guerre, in which case, how would I know.

jeanoram said...

You make a very good point, Shark. My ears, although a bit hard of hearing at times, are not deaf.

Natalie Hatch said...

Interesting email problem, I'll keep the testing in mind before I send my query to you.

Jinx said...

Wow! I have always wondered what this looked like from your end. Interesting. Testing will commence on my end. I certainly don't want to have my query turning out like this one. =)

corine @ Hidden In France said...

i don't see the problem.

genkischuldich said...

This query might be the answer to life, the universe and everything.

Andrew said...

I like it....I especially like the line "Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-7"

Really sums the whole thing up nicely and the added "="'s bind the whole query together

hehe

Southern Writer said...

The problem is caused by differing formats. The person probably typed the query in something like WordPerfect. Or maybe it was copied and pasted from the author's website without being unformatted through Notepad. I sometimes see a similar problem when writers go from Macs to Windows.

I was able to pick through it enough to find this: Topics within Inspired Birth include: God's view of medical and natural childbirth; and I'm wondering just where in the Bible that's located. I don't recall ever seeing it. Maybe it was divine revelation for this author alone? I think someone may be a little overdone by The Son.

ksmith said...

As Southern Writer pointed out, a formatting problem like this can be caused by different formats (I for one have a Mac and always worry about PC users opening my emails and finding this kind of mess). I get the WordPerfect or copying/pasting from a website deal, but how can you KNOW if your email is doing this? What is this secret test that can be performed?

benwah said...

I tend to cut & paste into gmail for all my "literary" emails, but when I test email them, I find some of the formatting gets all bolluxed up. It's one of those little things that becomes annoying and time consuming, but it beats sending a query that comes out like one giant paragraph.

Julia said...

How do you test this, folks?

Email trial versions using different approaches (a cut-and-paste from Word, a cut-and-paste from Notepad, etc.) to your friends and see what happens.

birthamiracle said...

I am the author of the query and book in question. As I usually do, I cut and pasted the content from Microsoft Word. For some stranger reason, it didn't work this time.
As for the query shark's specialty, I was under the impression that the topic of the query was irrevelant, forgive me if I was wrong.
Also, since discussion of the topic of my book is also irrevelant to critiquing my query letter, if you are interested in learning why I wrote "Topics within Inspired Birth Include: God's view of medical and natural childbirth", feel free to email me at kilbrethfamily@yahoo.com for more information.
I will be resubmitting the query letter in full, hopefully this time it will come out in English.

AmyB said...

I haven't sent any queries out, but I'm considering, when I do, putting them all in plain text. I'm hoping that will prevent any problems like what happened to this query letter. I'm using Microsoft Windows Mail, and when writing an email, there's an option in the "Format" menu. You can choose "Rich text (HTML)" or "Plain text." I've gotten in the habit of switching to "Plain text" (rich text is the default) when sending to certain email lists, in order to avoid bizarre formatting problems. Can anyone confirm whether this is likely to take care of the problem?

Just_Me said...

Good question brought up....

Dear Miss Reid,
Will the query shark choke and die if I submitted a query for a genre you don' represent? I know that isn't a genre you are maddly in love with but I do value your opinion.

JM

tinhutlady said...

Ouch. A problem, obviously, but how do you test for it? Could be a glitch between systems, formats, emails, or just a corrupted paste from Word. I'm sure it wasn't intentional.

I'm curious. If you receive something like this in a true query, would you remark on the garble? Or just toss?

blue said...

I did send you something. I have changed my name since then. I am in the witness relocation program because of blogger stalkers. This chick named Pearl hated my guts for God knows what reason. Mine was the one about Brother Jim and the baptizing murders.

Dave Shaw said...

I'm a computer professional, and have been mucking about on the 'net since before the Web - since 1989, to be precise. When in doubt, use plain text for emails. You will NOT get a mess like this query if you do. The recipient may still get unreadable garbage, but it's rare, and if it does happen, it almost certainly will contain garbled characters rather than garbled formatting, so only cryptographers will be trying to decipher it. Call it a hint from the 'net gods, sacrifice another goat, and edit it one more time before resending. ;-)

Julie Weathers said...

You can send a query letter to the Shark.
It might get posted and critiqued.
It might not.
You'll know either way.

"you should of taken mine before that one"

No offense, but I didn't see a guarantee anywhere about being published in order received, if at all.

It's a gift, not an obligation.

Flick said...

I thought Blue was making a tongue in cheek comment!

As for not discussing the topic of the book, isn't that rather hard not to do when you're commenting on a query about it?

benwah said...

I also thought blue was joking.

Particularly given the use of "should of."

Moth said...

birthamiracle:
Why don't you cut and paste the ungarbled query into a comment here so we can actually take a look at it? Instead of re-sending it to the Shark I mean.

Julia said...

As for the query shark's specialty, I was under the impression that the topic of the query was irrevelant

The topic of the query is, I believe, irrelevant to getting a critique by the Shark.

However, one of the biggest mistakes people make in querying is inappropriate "personalization".

Therefore, your sentence that begins:

After finding that you specialize in=
subjects on health, spirituality, and women=A2s issues


is problematic, considering that none of those are Query Shark's specialties.

It's also not a grammatical sentence, even without the formatting artifacts.

Good luck with your book!

BuffySquirrel said...

These artifacts happen when the receiving application doesn't recognise the formatting codes used by the sending computer.

One of the commoner causes is the special characters Word uses--ie "Smart Quotes"--and the weird abbreviated ellipse character. The best approach is to set Word defaults to ASCII characters whenever possible, and even then pasting into Notepad for a looksee is recommended.

sindee00 said...

The answer is quite simple. Send your email in plain text format. This person sent their email using HTML, which doesn't jive well with some email programs.

JuwBagel said...

To all the curious and/or lazy, I have decoded the beast:

Would you consider my query letter for your critique? Thank you


Attn. [name of agent],

Given today's high cesarean section rates, increasing maternal and infant deaths, and the rising incidence of postpartum depression, what is a Christian maternity care provider to do?

My recently completed book, Inspired Birth: A Fresh Perspective on Childbirth for Christian Maternity Care Providers, is a 61,000 word inspirational guide that confronts these and more challenges of American maternity care from a Christian perspective. With an estimated 153,135 or more Christians offering various maternity care services in the United States, Inspired Birth would be a useful resource to all those who read it. Many books are available to childbearing families, but none offer this unique and highly needed perspective. Topics within Inspired Birth include: God's view of medical and natural childbirth; how fear, pride and greed affect maternity care services; the power of prayer in childbirth; learning to work with difficult colleagues; pain in childbirth; postpartum depression; salvation at birth, and several more important discussions.

Now, a little bit about me. I have been a Bible-believing Christian since childhood. My writing experience includes over 30 published articles through Associated Content, Inc., all on topics relating to pregnancy, childbirth and the early postpartum period. My education in childbirth includes birth doula certificates through Hope House, Inc. and training through Doulas of North America, Int. My experience includes six years of attending births and teaching childbirth education classes, in addition to having two children of my own.

After finding that you specialize in subjects on health, spirituality, and women's issues, I knew that you would be a wonderful agent to represent Inspired Birth. I have enclosed a SASE for your convenience. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to having an opportunity to share my book proposal with you soon.

Sincerely,
[my name]


Interestingly enough, it seems to have used a sort of variable system, because there are slots where things like

=0A=0ASinc=
erely,=0A(my name)=


are showing up where the writer clearly expected her name to be substituted afterwards. This leads me to believe that you may well have sent a form rejection to a form submission.

danceluvr said...

Sometimes you can email yourself a copy and it shows up OK, but on another's computer, it comes out garbled.

Best to not use any fancy punctuation marks (like the curly quote marks -- they're often recoded to unreadable gobblygook).

Jason said...

It was tongue and cheek for sure.

Ms. Reid sent me the nicest and only handwritten rejection for my last novel. I would never take a "swat" at her.

Jason said...

jason(blue)

Sorry for the name change. I have a blogger stalker who I am trying to shake.

Julie Weathers said...

"It was tongue and cheek for sure.

Ms. Reid sent me the nicest and only handwritten rejection for my last novel. I would never take a "swat" at her."

My abject apologies. Just getting testy about "swats" at people I guess. Then I do it.

Julie Weathers said...

"After finding that you specialize in=subjects on health, spirituality, and women=A2s issues"

I am assuming she is planning on sending this to an agent who actually fits this description and just using the Query Shark to hone it.

To all the techie types here...phew. Yes,I admire you, but the entire process puzzles me.

talpianna said...

I looked up "doula," by the way. It refers to a nonmedical care provider.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doula

birthamiracle said...

Julia - the personalization in the query was intended for a different agent, as I have chosen specific agents to query and simply wanted to run the letter by an experienced person.

Julia said...

birthmiracle:

Personalization aside, that's not a grammatical sentence--"on" is not the correct preposition.

And the thing about personalization is that you have to give the agent new information. They already know they specialize in health or women's issues or spirituality, after all.

New information might be "This book targets the same readers who made {agent's client's book} a bestseller" or "Like {agent's client}, I'm trained as a doula" or something along those lines.

I also think it's worth the time to write a different letter for every agent, rather than doing a blanket mailmerge as you seem to have done here.