Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Don't Feel

Today I'm going to share another bad query letter because I promised myself I would do at least one each week. They were the original impetus for this blog and I don't want to go back on that. Still, I am running out of funny things to say about them, mostly because they are each so similar. Sometimes I almost want to make up some new terrible ones, just so we can all have something (or someone, me) to laugh at together.

I won't though. As much as I'm tempted I do believe honesty is the best policy. So, today's is going to be one of the shortest ever. The rejection certainly is short and sweet. The reason for this (in addition to my laziness) is that I was interviewed by Jessica AKA The Alliterative Allomorph today. Well, actually it was a couple of days ago, but she's posting it today. So be sure to head over to her blog and read it.

Oh, also if you don't follow Jessica, what's wrong with you? She is a very funny blogger, an excellent writer, and an Aussie living in Greece; so there is really never a dull moment over there. For that matter if you're here, reading this and you don't follow me (or my blog rather) what's wrong with you? Please follow us both we'll love you for it forever.

Now, the query:

May 29th, 2009


I am writing to you seeking representation for my young adult novel, which has the working title WARRIOR-MONKS and is complete. I feel obligated to inform you that this is not an exclusive submission and although I do not yet have an offer of representation there are several other agents who have requested and are currently reading full or partial versions of the manuscript.

Hey, here is a new thing I can point out, not sure why I never thought of this before: there is no point to saying "working title". Every title is just a working title until it's approved by the publisher, or at least your agent. In my correspondece with the Roecker sisters they shared a story with me about how their agent suggested they change the title of LIAR SOCIETY. She told them the previous title they had selected was "wet".

The admission of non-exclusivity is okay. I mean the idea is good. It is professional and polite to be honest about these things but the way I worded it sounds pretty arrogant reading it back now.

The book is about a teenager named Lee, who is from a broken family and who eventually ends up being sent to a unique reform school in Northern Idaho after he is expelled from a normal boarding school and kicked out of his aunt and uncle's home. He is very worried about what will go on at this school but eventually discovers that he enjoys the curriculum. They teach him things like Aikido, Meditation and Calligraphy and take him and several other students camping and backpacking in the mountains in Montana as he grows and puts his self-conscious and shy tendencies behind him. It is an introspective and character driven novel in which the plot is not necessarily the focus but still has enough interesting occurrences to move the tale along as the reader comes to know and love the characters.

This is very blah. I mean it's better than some earlier examples but it all sounds very dry and boring put this way. Probably because it's all telling. Give it some voice for god sakes man!

Oh, was I talking to myself? Sorry.

I have never been published but I am confident that many authors like Christopher Paolini and Brunonia Barry have proved that you do not have to be a highly experienced or best-selling author to write an incredibly entertaining book.

Yeah ... don't do this. Is you must make comparisons at least don't do it this way. See earlier query/rejection posts for more details if you don't already know why.

Please feel free to reply to this email, or to call me on my mobile phone at any time at 206-555-1212, or even to write to me at home at:


Not necessary.

Thank you for your consideration of this proposal. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Matthew M. Rush

Her reply:

Thanks for your submission query. I’m sorry, but I don’t feel it is one for me.

Best wishes


I actually like this rejection a little. Just a little. I mean a rejection is a rejection is a rejection, why waste any more time than necessary, right?

You didn't like my idea? Okay, forget you, it's your loss, let's move on.

Okay, it's not quite that simple, but trust me, if you never give up one day you will look back on all your rejections with this attitude.

So that's it. Go here and read the interview I gave Jessica NOW. Please? It's really fun. I promise you'll enjoy it.

Thanks for visiting!


Christina Lee said...

You are brave to share these! But it really shows your growth (and mine too I guess, as i read along)of knowing the industry and how to make improvments!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Thanks for sharing- as I read your thoughts on the query we see how far you've come on how you view it. GREAT INTERVIEW btw! Had a blast reading your story while having bloffee over at AA's.

Christine Danek said...

I'm not looking forward to querying. The waiting and rejection. Argghh. Great interview. It's nice to know you better.

Will Burke said...

Came from Jessica's interview. Great theme -- I've found the query process to be a mysterious shadow of a stage I've yet to encounter, now I won't feel like I'm going blindly into it. Thank you!

Stina said...

Wow, how many old queries do you have?

Great advice, especially about the comparisons.

I know what you mean about the short rejection. I once received a two page form rejection. Seriously, who reads beyond "sorry"?

Unknown said...

Your interview was fantastic Matthew! I loved it! Great getting to know you better!

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Stina, I was thinking the same thing. The pain and 'ugh' you went through, Matt. Here...take a Hothead. They always make me feel better.

Love your attitude. Thanks for sharing it. Yup, following Jessica. Be over in a minute.

Michelle McLean said...

Good point about the working title thing - that was the first thing my publisher changed LOL

Heading over to your interview! :)

Candyland said...

I like the short and sweet rejections. They're not too personal:)

Giles Hash said...

Heh...that's quite the long-winded query letter :) It's definitely a good example of how not to query. If I had some truly awful queries, I'd let you post them, but mine were just boring and mediocre. Nothing stood out about them, and now I'm fixing them.

Kinda risky putting your phone number on the interwebs, though...just a thought :D

JE said...

Whoa! Super short rejection letter. Your right though, get down to the point - get it over with - move on!

Now I'm off to Jessica's!


Hannah said...

I too like that rejection letter. Short, sweet, to the point.

I don't know if I'm ready for so much rejection. But I can distract myself easily so I'll probably get sad for a minute and shake it off.

You're amazing for doing this time and time again.

Vicki Rocho said...

Oh no, you're not running out of queries are you? I'm sure we can supply you with more examples if you need material.

Unknown said...

Thanks for directing us to Jessica's blog - great interview!

Jaydee Morgan said...

I think the best thing about these is your attitude towards receiving a rejection. What a great way of looking at it!

Lindsay said...

Love your attitude to the rejection. I think sometimes it's really hard not to take things personally, but we all know it's a business and personal taste counts for a lot.
Off to check out the interview now.:)

Talli Roland said...

I think you've got a great attitude, too. And I'm headed over to Jessica's now!

Shannon said...

Heading over the Jess's blog now!

Thanks for sharing another query, Matt. You rock.

Angie Paxton said...

I bet you could ask for donations of crappy query letters and get enough material to blog about for the next twenty years. I'm off to check out your interview.

Matthew MacNish said...

Angie, you're probably right. I think it might be HOW bad my early queries were that makes them so entertaining though.

Joanne Brothwell said...

Hey Matthew,
I enjoy reading these! I guess it's the "misery likes company" thing.

I'm heading over to the other blog now.

MBW aka Olleymae said...

Yep. I love how you share the blunders (that we have pretty much ALL made).

Getting published is such a learning experience. *blushes*

awesome interview by the way!!

Lydia Kang said...

You are so good to share these. I'm going to check out your interview now!

lisa and laura said...

I love your commentary! And I think it is so helpful to have it all right here in front of us! Checking out interview right now...