Dear Dorrance and Company, (1)
I am 7 1/2 years old (2), and I am writing a book (3) called "The Mystery of the Growling Dog." It is about Kitty Detectives solving a mystery about (4) some strange noises in Kittyland (5). A few weeks ago, I won $25 (second place) in a mystery writing contest (6). I was wondering if you published children's books (7). I would still like your brochure, and my adress (8) and phone number are on the coupon if you would like to call or write to me.
Thank you very much,
p.s. I would like it if you wrote back to me (9). Thank you!
1. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Oh, you mean the part where this query is HANDWRITTEN? Do we WRITE OUR QUERIES WITH A PENCIL, Author-friends? Or do we TYPE THEM? HMMM?
2. No one cares how old you are. Child prodigies are a dime a dozen these days, as are teen authors. Leave it out.
3. Do we query before our books are finished, Author-friends? NO WE DO NOT. NO! WE! DO! NOT! WE! FINISH! OUR! BOOKS! BEFORE! WE! QUERY!
4. "About" used 2x in the same sentence, second time improperly; sloppy.
5. What is the mystery? Why should we care? This is not a synopsis! Where is the hook! the intrigue! the pizzazz! Where is Kittyland! Are we talking a Kitty Noir, here? A sendup of the genre? A straight-faced mystery featuring cats instead of people? COME ON KID MAKE IT SNAPPY. THE ASSISTANT IS NOT INTERESTED IN THIS STORY AND IT IS YOUR JOB TO INTEREST THE ASSISTANT.
6. "Mystery writing contest"? So what? Did you win an Edgar Award? No? Then no! one! cares! Leave the contests out UNLESS THEY ARE IMPORTANT. Nobel? Yes. MacArthur? Yes. "Mystery writing contest"? NO.
7. Do we do our research before we query, Author-friends! YES WE DO. YES! WE! DO! We have this thing called THE INTERNET! GOOGLE, MOTHERFUCKER!
8. Do we proofread our queries, Author-friends? YES! WE! DO!
9. Do we attach passive-aggressive postscripts to our query letters, stating the obvious? NO! WE! DO! NOT!
There you have it, Author-friends! Our first foray into the world of querying, for your delectation and edification! Don't say we never did anything for you!