Querying oopsies–did I *really* do that?

Posted by houndrat on Friday Mar 5, 2010 Under writing

Who, me? Make a querying faux pas? Never!

Of course, if you know me at all, you’re not buying that for a second.

All right, fine, I’ll ‘fess up. I mean, querying blunders–everyone makes them. We’ve all heard the story about the overeager writer who called the agent’s office for a status check on his query(cringe!) or sent a package of live hamsters to go along with that cute hamster picture book she was pitching (Okay, I might have made that one up—but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had happened. Because, you know, nothing says represent my book like a box of dead rodents).

Seriously, though—if you’ve made a querying/writing oopsie, you’re not alone. And to prove it, I’m gonna share some of my more special moments with you.

1) I might have cold-emailed this author my first chapter and asked for her input. No, I’m not making this up. In my defense—at the time, I had no idea such behavior was frowned upon. I’d just read about her on an agent’s blog and thought she sounded really cool. And the author, lovely lady that she was, actually responded with a crit! Unbelievable, really, how awesomely supportive so many fellow writers are. Of course, when I sent her ten thousand follow-up questions, she ran far, far away, but that’s another story.

2) I might have sent a different writer I read about on the same blog my query letter to critique. Again, I didn’t know her, and again, she totally responded. I’m thinking maybe she suspected I needed medical help.

3) I sent out about 15 queries for my first manuscript without having any other writers read it. Just a few friends and my mom—yep, I’m *that* girl. On the plus side, I did not mention that my mom liked it in the query letter. But that’s probably just because I didn’t think about it.

4) When I got two full requests from those queries, I did not attach a title page. I suppose it could have been worse—I could have sent that box of hamsters.

5) I decorated my query letter envelope with puffy paints and stickers, and enclosed a photo of myself. Yeah, okay—I totally made that part up. But I bet *somebody* did it!

Like reading about my mistakes? Don’t stop here! Go to our Old People Writing for Teens post on the subject and see what goofs our other writers made!

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12 Responses to “Querying oopsies–did I *really* do that?”

  1. Got querying faux pas? We do! « Old People Writing for Teens Says:

    [...] how? Debra? emailed a complete stranger for a critique. [...]

  2. Krista Ashe Says:

    Man, you may have one the award….that’s some crazy shit! HAHAHA!

  3. Jennifer (Herb) Says:

    OMG that is all hilarious! You actually mentioned your mom in the query letter? Awesome post :-)

  4. JennW Says:

    Ha – those are great!!! That puffy paint and picture got me, thank God that one wasn’t true. Otherwise, I think they’re totally acceptable newbie mistakes!

  5. Other Lisa Says:

    OMG. I laff! I haven’t actually done any of these but thanks for making my afternoon a funnier place!

    My best query story is the one you already know, I think.

  6. Becca Cooper Says:

    You’ve got guts, cold-emailing authors!

  7. Sandy Shin Says:

    I didn’t do any of this, but that’s because I got the good fortune of finding AW and having all these notions beat out of me before I even get anywhere in my writing journey. Thank you for sharing them! :D

    (Also, I’m much too terrified to email authors, otherwise, I’d so have done that.)

  8. Annie Says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA You definitely win!!! But Srsly, if I hadn’t been a nerd and read a bunch of “how too’s” I would have totally went Legally Blonde and sent my query out on pink scented paper–for that something extra–LOL! Great post ;)

  9. Sarah Says:

    Damn girl! You have GUTS!

  10. LM Preston Says:

    Lol! I am so on board here. I too have many, many query slip ups. Hopefully the agents have forgotten my name and email address.

  11. hope101 Says:

    Hahaha. It’s only because of ruthless self-honesty, and disclosure, that I won’t make these particular mistakes when it’s my time. I’m sure I’ll have a whole ‘nother set of my own.

  12. Shveta Thakrar Says:

    *snicker* Only you, Deb. :)

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