Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Too Much on Our Desk

I think I'll throw another bad ass query up onto the wall of shame for you guys this morning. These are getting a little boring to put together. Not because I'm embarrassed, trust me I'm way beyond caring by now, but mostly because they are all so similar. I'll try to make this one as sarcastic funny as possible.

As you can see I finally decided to look up how to use strike-through text. It's fun but I'm sure it will stay interesting for a long time get old quickly.

Anyway here's another drab query:

June 2nd, 2009

Dear Sir or Madam,

Yes I actually wrote that. In the query no less. There is an excuse reason though. This agency had a very thin website with very little info about the submission guidelines and the actual agents who worked there. If I were querying now I probably would not contact them but I knew less than nothing back then. I think I was probably trying to be a smart ass about this lack of info, at least that's what I'm telling myself now.

I am writing to you seeking representation for my young adult novel, which has the working title WARRIOR-MONKS and is complete. Warrior-Monks is intended for young adult readers ages 13-17, who are buying books in droves these days, but I am certain that once you read the manuscript you will find that it is mature enough and compelling enough to enthrall even the most discerning adult reader as well. I also 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.

Yep I went there. Over and over and ... you get the picture. This is such a bad example of how to go about this that if it were my first time sharing it I would be hanging my head in shame. Instead I'm skipping through an alpine meadow filled with heather ... and wildflowers and other pretty stuff.

The book is about a young man 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. The story does not begin to incorporate any magical realism until about halfway through, when the students begin to discover some magic in the curriculum, which is based on east-Asian calligraphy and Buddhist/Hindu mysticism.

1) List MC.
2) TELL what happens.
3) TELL the exact theme of the novel in the most clinical manner possible.
4) Don't SHOW anything.
5) Remove foot from mouth keyboard from toilet.

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.

I wonder how many agents actually know who these authors are. I mean sure the comparison here is egomaniacal enough already but I think the fact that these authors are somewhat obscure only makes it worse much more hilarious for us to look at now.

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:


Or even to pin my query to the wall in the break room at your agency so all can laugh together at my ignorant desperation.

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


Matthew M. Rush

Their reply:


Thanks for thinking of our agency but we have to pass at this time. Too much on our desk we must first attend to. Good Luck in your quest.

Literary Agency REDACTED

I suspect that this rejection was written by the AI software that runs this agency. I'm only kidding, at least in the reply I learned a person's actual name. Too bad it was a gender ambiguous name and it was too late anyway. No matter, this query stunk like toe jam anyway.

I do like that he/she/it used the term quest though. That makes it sound much more noble than this query made it look.


Jessica Bell said...

Stunk like toe jam! LOLOLOLOLOL That's new for me. hahahah - love it.

Vicki Rocho said...

Too much on our desk...that's a new one! Is that the literary equivalent to a girl turning down a date because she's "washing her hair"??

Candyland said...

Haha what a rejection. And now that you've found the strikethrough, you can cross out jaded, lol.

Matthew MacNish said...

Aha! Great point Candace. I already edited that post but maybe I'll go back and put it in again - struck-through of course.

JE said...

Funny stuff! Remove keyboard from toilet? Hilarious!

And that was the worstest form rejection I've seen in a while. "Too much on our desk". Does that mean if they didn't have a cluttered/messy desk they would look at your pages? Gah...what terrible wording.


Jaydee Morgan said...

You have such a great outlook and sense of humor about these - and look on the bright side, you'll never make the same mistakes again :)

Unknown said...

The quest part was funny. It least it was original. I should have just checked your blog for form rejections for my post yesterday. I ended up googling the term since I had long since erased mine. :)

Lydia Kang said...

I like that she used quest too. Softens the blow a little? Maybe. Not really.

Eric W. Trant said...

I count each rejection as a SUCCESS!

I anticipate the rejection, the form letter -- which usually reads Not our bag, sorry -- and when I receive it, I put a Y in my submittal spreadsheet. I have a lot of Ys in my sheet, and they are happy letters.

I haven't gotten many rejections lately though, because I haven't been submitting. I granted exclusive review to one publisher, but said I would begin submitting again in June...

Great post, and I thought you did a great job on the query.

- Eric

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I know who Christopher Paolini is! Not actually too obscure, so... :) It's awesome that you post these online - and it's really helpful to someone who hasn't dared brave the query waters yet. (me)And your positive attitude makes the whole thing seem less intimidating. :) Thanks!

Tahereh said...

hahaha WELL DONE, my friend.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I'm glad that your running through fields of pretty flowers instead of head hanging! We all know how far you've come- and look at that cross out writing! lol.

Melody said...

Okay, this is my first comment here. (I lurk until I have something to say. I'm sorry, but I have been reading!)

I think most people in the book-world (both professional editors and agents, and professional library visitors) have heard of Paolini, honestly. Though short-lived, he was definitely talked about and referenced. Now the other guy...I don't know who he is. :/

Shannon said...

Stunk like toe jam. Gross, Matt. /shudder

Matthew MacNish said...

Melody, you're probably right about Paolini, I was just trying to be snarky I guess (badly). His books are really good too ... too bad they ruined the movie.

MBW aka Olleymae said...

awesome. I love it every time I read these because it makes me feel better about my first pathetic queries :)

Lindsay said...

Hmm too much on our desk. I agree with Vicki, that's new.
Loved the remove keyboard from toilet bit. :)

Renae said...

Too funny, great post. I can honestly say that I have never heard the too much on our desk line before.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey, at least they sent some kind of a reply!

Aleeza said...

1) List MC.
2) TELL what happens.
3) TELL the exact theme of the novel in the most clinical manner possible.
4) Don't SHOW anything.
5) Remove keyboard from toilet.

HAHAHAHA. No, really, this made me CRACK UP!

Jemi Fraser said...

This makes me smile and remember my first attempt at a query. I'll have to see if I can find it one day and see how bad it really was. :)

Sarah Ahiers said...

haha! awesome.

Also i'm sure they know who Christopher Paolini is. i'd hope so, for YA agents anyway

Hannah said...

B. Barry? She wrote the stone books right?
nope, that was Bujor...nevermind.

mmmm, toe jam. LOL! You do a great job at keeping us entertained no matter how many times you post queries. :)


I think you should resend that query, but with your new comments on it--they're really funny, and I did laugh several times. It could be a meta-query. And what's so wrong with a little dear sir or madam...