Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What NOT to Say In a Query

Several agents recently addressed what NOT to say in a query so consider this post a PSA for newbies.

Janet Reid's blog introduced me to Rachelle Gardner's blog. Rachelle's sense of humor makes me think she would be a fun person to know.

Rachelle offered what the query letter said and then offered her own comment in parentheses. My favorite was this one:
"I realize you require information about my platform and credentials, but Jesus’ disciples did not have impressive resumes, degrees, or extensive evangelical experience... my credential is that I am a disciple of Christ."

(True, but the disciples could get an endorsement from Jesus…in his own handwriting. Bring me one of those and we’ll talk.)
To read the rest of Rachelle's post on the subject, go here.

Nathan Bransford recently referenced one of his blogs here in which he also addressed the subject of what NOT to say. I am amazed that anyone would actually be dumb enough to include this in a query:
- Any rejection letters or references to rejection letters or quotes from rejection letters no matter how positive the person was when they were rejecting you
Nathan also included a link to Jennifer Jackson's post on the same subject here. My favorite of Jennifer's comments was this one:
* Certain kinds of email address names are really not appropriate for professional correspondence. (But sometimes they make me laugh. Or cry. And, no, they don't determine whether I ask for pages. I just notice some of the really outlandish ones when I'm drafting replies.)
Jennifer is kinder than I am. When I am interviewing applicants for a position, I weed out anyone who expects me to respond to email addresses like or Non-professional email addresses suggest a dangerous lack of judgment, which in turn disqualifies the candidate in my eyes.

While I'm at it, I'll confess another email bias: I get irritated with email addresses like

I'm as big a believer in togetherness as anyone, but the (sub)merged identities of two people with a single email address gives me the creeps. I jump to what I will admit is an unfair conclusion: that someone is overly controlling or someone derives a sense of identity from being part of a pair.

At any rate, read the recommendations of all three agents. There's a lot of wisdom in those posts.

No comments: