Tuesday, June 29, 2010

#∑

Attention Madam Shark,

But Surely They Don't Apply To ME is an absolutely marvelous story. I know you will be delighted with my attached partial manuscript of 285,000 words.

The protagonist, who is known for her skill at slinging burgers, Lily 'Princess' Lollipop, was born in a town.

She grew up there with Johnny and Ted and Alfred and Michael and George (who was actually a girl but she much preferred to pretend to be a boy and so she refused to go by the name Georgina and even cut her hair short which made her mom really mad but her dad didn't care just as he never cared about anything about her which was, of course, the reason she was pretending to be a boy in the first place) and a bunch of other people I won't tell you about because that would be Name Soup and I've read your blog where you say that is a bad thing.

Now Shark Soup, that could be tasty and even a good pot of Stone Soup can be fun, but I must remember to stay away from the Name Soup. Now where was I? Oh yes, the protagonist. I've told you about the protagonist so I'm supposed to move on now to the conflict.

But do you really want the conflict first? It really won't make sense unless I give you the backstory!

How Princess Lollipop got her name and who she met, it's all so much more important than what's going to happen. And trust me, you'll need to know about the real life character she's based on in order to understand the themes I'm using this character to illustrate. You are going to love these themes! And so will people from every walk of life.

People who enjoyed The DaVinci Code or Outlander or even The Road will adore But Surely They Don't Apply To ME.

You see, the Princess is really a secret alien. Her race is sort of like vampires but also crossed with were-rabbits (which are really nasty creatures, don't let those big eyes and long, soft ears fool you). That makes them very pettable aliens but also thirsty for blood.

They've been on the planet for a long time, as evidenced by the killer bunny in Monty Python's A Holy Grail. And because they are being hunted by the FBI (the CIA determining that the vampire-were-rabbit-aliens were strictly an internal American problem) they are very nervous and shy creatures.

Except when love could be involved. Then their lust for heart blood comes to the four.

But it's when Princess Lollipop starts stripping to support her younger brother and hopefully regain her family's birthright that everything interesting starts happening.

But Surely They Don't Apply To ME is a fantasy fictional novel that is a fabulous romp through the various countrysides of places I've visited. I've also spent hours googling were-rabbits and feel completely and utterly and assuredly confident that I am as close to an expert on were-rabbits as this planet, no, this universe has ever seen!

I know, I know, you've said that it's 130,000 maximum for a novel but I'm telling you that this novel is the best that you've ever seen and you will be exstatic that you'll get to spend so much longer reading and reviewing and editing my story. I did mention that my sister read it and she thought it was the best thing she'd ever put her eyes upon? Every one of the 318,000 words is completely precious and perfect.

As for me, I've written stories and essays and papers since first grade and every grade thereafter. I then got a job at a gas station.Then I went to work at a copy centre where I would sometimes get to bind people's writing into booklets. Now I'm a manicurist.

I've joined every writing group in the tri-state area (I don't actually live in a tri-state area, but it sounds good, don't you think?) and while somehow I keep getting dropped off their email lists, I'm still their biggest fan!

Thank you so very very much for reading my email and I know with all the joy my heart possesses that you are absolutely going to LOVE my story. I'm waiting by the phone to hear from you but don't worry, if you haven't called me within the next two days, I'll call you.


Or maybe stop by your office. That probably works better, don't you think?

109 comments:

GuitarShank said...

Hm... so if this is an example of everything we should avoid when sending a query to you, that might save me the time I would spend reading through all the other queries you've reviewed and rejected.

Annette Lyon said...

Hahahahaaa! FB'd this one. Awesome.

Robin said...

I have only been following this blog for a short time. I am very new on the how-to of writing the query letter, but even I was rolling my eyes on this one. If you come back with this being a good example of a query letter, I am going to poke myself with a sharp stick.

Theresa Milstein said...

You forgot to misspell "shark" and do something fun like "wear-rabbit", but other than that, it's perfect. I laughed the whole way through.

Tahlia said...

This is hysterical.

On my blog in a couple of days, I'm going to post the querie letter my agent sent to publishers. It took me ages and many rewrites to get it where it is. It musn't be too bad because I got an agent from it. A major achievement in Australia where there aren't many.

If you're interested in YA fantasy, you might like to take a look at ch1 of the novel. It's called 'Lethal Inheritance’ and you’ll find it at
http://publishersearch.wordpress.com/lethal-inheritance/

Aimee LS said...

Laughing. Out loud.

Bernard S. Jansen said...

That is pure gold. It is the sum of everything evil. There must be fifty do-not-do elements in this letter.

I enjoyed "exstatic", which I'm assuming means "now dynamic, or moving".

Claire Dawn said...

Oh, I want to read! I want to read! lol!

Sarah said...

As soon as I read about the were-rabbits, I thought of Monty Python.

Imagine my joy when, a paragraph later, I realized I was on the right track.

Do you have a series planned? Surely were-rabbits could provide fodder for at least a trilogy.

A.R. Norris said...

Haha! Love it. You just made my evening.

Justin W. Parente said...

What in the world is this thing? Why does this seem like something that would be sent in by FakeEditor?

M. Rose said...

I'm not sure if this is brilliant, or suicidal... I'm thinking it might be brilliantly suicidal?

Plane Wryter said...

Fabulous! Delightful. Genius!

Until "Shark Soup" you had me exactly where you wanted any reader. Which is...knowing the Shark would publicly eviscerate such a hack. Horrified at the imminent—yet deserved—doom about to explode...I relished the joy which accompanies realization that...one had just been had...in a most clever and elegant way.

Good job; done well.

JS said...

I am quitting writing forever, because this person has said it all.

Look for me in my new career as an Xtreme Mime.

Sarah Laurenson said...

LOL!!!!

Perfect.

Barbara Martin said...

I had a really good laugh, and I can see why you would reject this. If you get queries like this often, I have a chance after all.

justwritecat said...

YES! My query made it to the Shark! Oh, what a bloody wonderful day. Oh wait, blood and sharks don't mix.

And I thought it was fictional fantasy novel not fantasy fictional novel. Shoot, I'll have to fix that.

Double and...that's not my query letter.

Stephanie Barr said...

Wow.

Alright, I'm hooked. I want to be a manicurist, too.

JoAnn said...

is this for real? It's the funniest thing EVER!

Sydnee said...

Awesome parody. I think that third paragraph made my eyes bleed... who's Georgina again?

Fortuna said...

Just when I was ready to chuck my laptop out the window, finally a connection and the sigma query is what I found! Still laughing!

Cheri Chesley said...

so dang funny! thanks :)

cswaydens4 said...

What the...I think I need a drink just to clear my head.

Francis said...

Best query ever.

Mackenzie said...

While reading this I think I was wearing the dumbest grin I've worn since I stopped being a teenager. Best thing I've read all week.

Hilarious work there, and hopefully it'll stop the flood of "CAN YOU CRITIQUE ME YET" types. And it serves as a rather hilarious cautionary tale for those of us who don't know what they're doing.

alastairmayer said...

So let me guess. That's not a form rejection, that's a restraining order. Right?

_*rachel*_ said...

I'm guessing you requested a full?

Well done!

Victoria Dunn said...

Dear Query Shark,

FBI agents Moulder and Skulling must solve the Rabbit Hutch Murders before the killer strikes again. But how can they focus on the carrot strewn crime scenes when their hormones are hopping down the bunny trail of lust?

Were-Rabbit Run is a fictional fantasy dramatic romance novel that's currently 38 words long and counting...

M. G. E. said...

This query is based on a true story, right?

myimaginaryblog said...

Aw, man, this is the identical premise to the book I've been working on. For the last 15 years.

Amy Laurens said...

*applauds*

Amanda said...

Loved this. I think it will definitely be a bestseller as I've seen a lot of interest lately in the were-rabbit genre, but I think brings a whole new original twist in ways that audiences will love because the author is so much cleverer than anyone else who has previously written books of this kind.
:)

Chirstina Lee said...

ahchooahahahahchoo

Sorry, I'm allergic to sarcasm.

spesaeterna said...

Point taken. But Surely It Doesn't Apply To US!

Jennifer said...

So...I take it no response means no?

:P

Rick Daley said...

Oh, hell yes!

Dana Donovan said...

Jet, I think you left out that the novel is based on a true story. I'm sure I read that in the Inquirer somewhere.

Seven N Blue said...

Hilarious stuff! I was feeling sorry for our manicurist! Awweee!

Patty Blount said...

LMAO.

Clutching my sides.

Mopping my eyes.

Oh, Lord! This was hilarious. You see, Janet? People do listen to you! Though, in this case, chose to do exactly the opposite, but still, they listened.

Love the vampire sprinkle on top.

KO said...

bwahahahahaha

John Woodington said...

This must've made your day, huh Janet? I love that Princess Lollipop was "born in a town." I think that adds a lot of character depth. For the win!

Em-Musing said...

I see. I get. I won't.

morphine-moniza said...

I just KNEW were-rabbits were going to become the new vampires. It's just a matter of time.

Lynnda - Passionate for the Glory of God said...

Aw, Victoria, are you sure it's not April 1st?

I think I enjoyed the comments as much as I did the letter. The whole e-event was hilarious. Thanks to all.

My favorite sci-fi book in the alien killer-rabbit genre' is Alan Dean Foster's QUOZL that was published in 1989. (If you can find an original copy, you can see a page-flipping animated cartoon - no electronics requried.)

Thanks, folks, for the fun.

Lynnda

CB Hoffman said...

Heheh. I enjoyed this immensely, and I even saw a dim glimmer of hope for myself.

Kristin Laughtin said...

Well, this must have been fun to write.

Pia Veleno said...

Not a single correction... this must be The Perfect Query!

My snickering is attracting attention, but this query was worth it.

John Jack said...

Oh my, a lot of creative work composing a lengthy ironic commentary that shorted me out on the query by the first line.

Joanne Sher said...

Ooooh my. DEFINITELY brought me to tears with laughter.

Bill Greer said...

Once the were-rabbits were introduced, I was expecting the holy hand grenade to follow.

Uma said...

Sharky has bitten into too many rotten fish! And now she's sounding DANGEROUS!!

Shelley K. said...

Now, that is just plain funny. However, you may wish to consider the removal of all the white spaces, because as it is written, it is far too readable!

fairyhedgehog said...

So very, very funny.

I'd better cross were-rabbits off my list of writing topics; I'll have to go with zombie cows. What a shame.

Okie said...

lol...love this. thanks. :)

Erin Kane Spock said...

I'm in process of reading through all the past posts. I came back today to grind through -- and VOILA! This made my day. Thank you.

Creepy Query Girl hosted a blogfest contest for the worst spoof query. The entries are worth reading (and not just mine). http://creepyquerygirl.blogspot.com/2010/06/time-to-vote-for-your-favorite-query.html

Jolene said...

Awesome.
Really, there should always be more were-rabbits in blog posts.

Nate Wilson said...

With apologies to T.H. Mafi's fantastic Query-YES! system, I have to say: Best. Query. Ever.

Beth said...

Since I know this has to be a joke, I won't run screaming from the room and pitch my laptop into a the dumpster out of sheer terror that anyone could write a query like that.

moosebabble said...

If someone sent you this, you'd have to request pages. Well, you wouldn't actually have to request any since you'd have those 200k words attached, but you know what I mean.

I love that you numbered it sigma. I assume it's to represent the sum of all bad queries.

The Zuccini said...

This was very interesting. I'm gland none of it applies to me.


(I'm kidding. Sheesh.)

frigngruvn said...

total waste of my time and yours...do your job and get to the real stuff

Samantha said...

So glad to hear you all enjoyed it! I had a lot of fun writing it.

QS added a couple of extra paragraph breaks and made it stronger. Even with this I learned something.

This was my thank you to her and all chum. Reading through the whole site taught me a lot. Thank you!

Rachel said...

Sadly, this is less painful than some of the real examples!

Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban said...

I also wrote a "best query" a while back see:

http://onpublishing.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/in-search-of-the-perfect-query/

Nancy said...

And I'm guessing this query actually came from one of those query services, which would mean the sending email doesn't match the reply email.

Suilan said...

Sydnee asked: "Who's Georgina again?"

She's one of the "Famous Five" by Enid Blyton and the reason I always wanted to be a boy when I was little. I called my stuffed dog Timmy, Timmy being the name of Georgina's dog of course, also one of the five. Without him, they would only be four, you see. Anyway, I still have my Timmy. I like to smell his fur, it reminds me of my youth. I got him when I was five. My daddy gave him to me, it was the best birthday present ever! Of course, my mother bought him and gave him to Daddy so he could give him to me, but I didn't figure this out until years later -- until then, Daddy was my hero. My mother-in-law once suggested I should put him in the washing machine (Timmy, not my daddy), I was outraged! In 30 years, he's never needed a bath!

Now, where was I? Oh yes, the "Famous Five" series was first published in 1942 (the first part, that is; it's a really long series) and J.K. Rowling probably grew up reading them all, because she stole so much from the "Famous Five", even though Harry, Hermione, and Ron are only three. Unless you count Hedwig and Crookshanks, of course. It's not fair to count Scabbers the rat, since he is really an evil wizard and not one of the friends. Georgina wouldn't talk to you unless you called her George. She had very short hair and scowled a lot, so I guess that's where the query-person got her inspiration from for her most important minor character, and why shouldn't she, if Rowling did so too?

Dave said...

To Whom The Agent Is;

First, let me update you on where I'm at, talent-wise.

I've been published nine times in the comment areas of some of the world's most prestigious blogs, such as the STD Gazette, The Hamster Appreciation Society, and Car Theft For Beginners.

I'll send these comments under separate cover on an audio cassette, narrated by my cousin Joey, an aspiring voice-over artiste. You will receive a query in due course. Anyway, listen to the material, come up with a story idea, then hire a ghost writer. I know, you're salivating. I can see the dollar signs spinning in your eyes already. Highly significant deal, here we come!

The reason I'm delaying the query will blow your mind. To get a viral buzz going among those idiot publishers, we're going to have a pre-query party. Your office would be fine with me. I've a window tomorrow between 10 AM and midnight. Tell Peter Rubie to put up some balloons in the reception area, if he's nothing better to do. You can deduct the cost of the balloons from my advance.

One other thing: Joey's homeless. Would it be okay if he stays in your place for a couple of months. He's been clean for two months now, and hasn't violated his parole terms (yet). Just don't leave any cash lying around! But if you're not cool with this, no problem. It's not a deal breaker.

My considerations in advance,

Wayne C. Flemm (novelist AND writer)

P.S. Call Andrew Wylie. His assistant wouldn't give me his personal number. Tell him to bring some chicks.

Genevieve said...

Come on, folks.

That was HILARIOUS!

Miranda said...

How do I pre-order?

Marian Perera said...

I remember George from the Famous Five books too. :) No need to wonder why she wanted to be a boy; in those times, the boys went out and had adventures while the girls stayed home, cooked and kept house. Anne always seemed like such a wuss.

Jourdan Alexandra said...

I really, really hope this is a joke Janet! Maybe it's the shark in me, but if I was an agent I definitely would have stopped after "marvelous story" and "285,000". Or maybe morbid curiosity would have kept me going...

Uma said...

@Carmen,I enjoyed your 'perfect query' hilarious!

Casey said...

I'd read it. xD.

CourtneyC said...

I only wish she had included some of the fictional novel's dialogue in the query letter.

And, Dave's post was awesome!

Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban said...

Thanks Uma.

I also remember George/Georgina and totally identified with her back then.
The Famous Five (Los Cinco in Spain) was my favorite series as a teen.

P.A.Brown said...

Darn it, she stole my plot. That's so not fair. I'm the were-rabbit expert, not some overblown, non-tri-state resident usurper.

Good thing I wasn't drinking coffee when I read this or she'd owe me a new laptop too.

LOL. Wonderful Monday morning treat.

For the Love of YA said...

I think this person intentionally wrote a horrid query just to get air time.

Catherine said...

I really hope that this query is a joke.

Steve Stubbs said...

You did not leave a critique of this query , but I have to say, it's a little unorthodox in terms of what you say on your blog, but I like it. It's got back story, which reminds me of King's book NEEDFUL THINGS. It's got heft. I don't like short stories or novellas, so the 285,000 word count is great. It's got lots of characters, and those mutant bunnies are an original and interesting effect. If I were a publisher I would buy this without even seeing pages. Of course, after laying out a huge advance I would certainly hope to see pages sometime.

Is there a pdf file available? I don't know if I can wait for publication.

Sam said...

Um, this is kind of amazing. -grins-
I don't know who wrote this, but if you can make that atrocity so amusing, I bet they can write a pretty awesome story in actuality.

AnnieColleen said...

I'm surprised people didn't get the joke from the title alone...


Well done! :)

J said...

What?
(ahem) What?
Shark circles. Does she or doesn't she?
Aside from the obvious only Janet knows for sure, I get that the query letter must show originality. Speak with a brave voice and a forked sense of humour. Convey a willingness to live the dream of walking down the street in broad daylight, naked.
So, is it? I'm too wary to know.

Rob G said...

I know the query letter I sent recently had mistakes, but hopefully nothing like that!

suzie townsend said...

Waid, did the manuscript's word count grow during the query writing process? :)

Michelle Massaro said...

Where is the shark? She hasn't feasted for 2 weeks. I'm worried- are we out of chum?

Uma said...

hehe great observation suzie!

Richard Waskiewicz said...

@ Suzie: Of course it did!! What good story over 150k words stops growing for revision? I know mine, for example, will be a 100k outline and at least 260k by the time I'm ready to query. Then there's that synopsis thingy, and the partials. "Send first five pages" ALWAYS means at least fifteen. So let's see, we're up to what? 332k? So after editing we'll have - wait! It can't be edited - all of that is needed and I forgot to put in the backstory for how were-rabbits get their names! Shoot! Well, you'll love it anyway.

BTW: "Except when love could be involved. Then their lust for heart blood comes to the four."

I actually laughed out loud - at work - with poeple wondering what the heck I'm doing. But, there's a misspelling. It should be "...lust for heart blood comes two the four."

cherilyn david said...

What is soooo funny and the reason I loved this, is that I truly believe the soul of this querier lives in all of us. I know I am that excited, that convinced, that hyper at times. The difference is we have all managed to get some control of our inner nutcase!

This querier also seemed to me, almost 100% conversational. Again, wouldn't writing be so grand if we could just type like we ramble?! (grand as the act, not the finished products) Too bad querying needs a little structure; less than a chemistry book, more than an afternoon chat!

Nice to laugh at a query other than my own! ~

JD said...

OH! I get it now. But surely the query rules don't apply to ME.
so... you wrote this? Or maybe I'm wrong. Either way, Laugh. Out. Loud.

Reese said...

OHHHHHHHMG!
At first, I was incensed that someone had sent you MY query under an assumed name. Then I ralized I had never worked in a gas station so it couldn't possibly be mine ... someone just stole my story!

No ... wait ... that was just a nightmare I had last night!

Thanks for the flash lesson wrapped in an enigma. (I know you feel as though you have received far too many queries along this line. I am soooo sorry.)

Dee Reidel said...

Ha! I'm new to this and even I laughed most of the way through. You forgot misspellings and some random grammar mistakes, haha!

The Tripster said...

318 thousand words? You're two-thirds the way to the LOTR trilogy. Why Stop there?

"But do you really want the conflict first? It really won't make sense unless I give you the backstory!"

Now I'm thinking this can't be a legit query. This is one of those folks just trying to be a train wreck like on the American Idol tryouts.

People who enjoyed The DaVinci Code or Outlander or even The Road will adore But Surely They Don't Apply To ME.

Because those books are so similar, right? Anyone? Anyone?

Finally, the given the author has read this blog and violated every rule possible in a letter of this length, isn't the title of the work a bit ironic? Maybe this is a made up title to protect the author and I missed the joke?

Michelle Massaro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Write said...

Haven't heard from the shark for so long, I'm hoping she didn't get caught in the Gulf spill. Maybe some shaggy headed beach hippie is rubbing her belly right now.

Josin L. McQuein said...

Please proofread your submission. Capitalizing both letters in ME in the title, made me wonder what didn't apply to the protagonist in Maine. When Maine wasn't mentioned at all, I was sorely disappointed.

You made me think you'd be the next Stephen King, showcasing lovely creepy Maine.

Now I hate you.

A. Kafka said...

Alastairmayer said "So let me guess. That's not a form rejection, that's a restraining order. Right?"

...and I couldn't hold it any longer. I burst out laughing, mopping my eyes. At first I hadn't known what to say when I read this query. I could only stair at my screen, my mouth hanging open, incapable of figuring out how one is supposed to respond to something like this.

And then I read alastairmayer's comment.

Now I am complete. This person has expressed everything that was evoked within me in but a few words.

Kudos to you.
And may this query be preserved to be viewed by all the future generations of writers who ever contemplate sending anything like it.

EVER.

Kay said...

This is awesome! Hysterical! I read this entire blog yesterday upon finding it, and I think I have a good idea of what not to do, but my oh my... this pretty much sums it up. All that's missing is the long-ass blocks of text.

Lars Pergou said...

I think you should refudiate this.

Lorena said...

I read the first paragraph of this, and then started scrolling down looking for this ridiculous "author" to get ripped apart! Scrolling, Scrolling...nothing! Wait a minute..
Ok so I'm a little slow on the uptake but point taken. I had a good laugh and then flipped back to my query letter to make sure I wasn't guilty of any of these query cardinal sins!

eurokinz_trg said...

Oh My Gosh... Bravo dear lady, Bravo...

Chris Casey said...

I can't wait to read the 7 part series. J.K. Rowlimg will be green with envy. NOT!

Matthew said...

O ... M ... G ... !!!!

I honestly can't stop crying in laughter over this!!

wow! just wow!

Now I must try to stop my chortling so the library doesn't boot me out!!!

Valerie Keiser Norris said...

Decided to add Query Shark RSS to my Google page so I never miss another one of these. This is the funniest thing ever, and some of the comments are so clueless I laughed over them as well.

Thanks, Ms. Reid. You are awesome.

Anthony DeRouen said...

I want to read this book, NAO.

Faye Davies said...

Funny, OK. But also slightly infuriating for those of us who are doing none of these things and STILL stacking up the rejections. I'd like to see more examples of queries that follow the rules but just don't cut it for some reason. I don't understand why QS gives so much time to writers who haven't taken the time to read through the archives. Am I alone here? http://theseconddeathofjuanlaroca.blogspot.com/

Zoe said...

You forgot to begin with your contact information and a few paragraphs about how you found Query Shark, not to mention all the self-publishing you've done and the 25 copies of your books you've sold. :D

I totally love how some people weren't sure if this was a joke or not.

M. said...

Now I'm exstatic too. So fun to find an inverted gem after scrolling through perhaps a few too many posts while working through the archives....

Bruce Harrison said...

God, I laughed so hard my eyes fell out of my head and rolled on the floor. I sure wish I could still see well enough to know if I have any typos in this, but missssspellings would be much worse.

I now realize that my whining about having to read every effin' one of these godawful things is misplaced. Running into a jem like this is almost, and I mean almost, worth the pain caused by reading the rest.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Glidden Vargas said...

Hysterical!