Kick-Thyself Moments

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
Yoshima
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Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by Yoshima » April 26th, 2010, 6:06 pm

I often find myself ranting and kicking things (sometimes myself, depending on how creative I can get) after I perform a spectacular query blunder. Just wondering if anyone else feels the same, and wants to rant/share. It is lovely to rant, sometimes.

Here's my latest:

So I write my queries on a word document and have "dear agent" as my greeting, just as a placeholder. Since almost every agent website I've been to says that agents HATE that greeting and often reject or throw away the query because of that, I always remember to remove this placeholder and put in the appropriate name before I send out the actual query.

...I think you can guess what I forgot to do. D'oh!

A.M.Kuska
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by A.M.Kuska » April 26th, 2010, 6:39 pm

Oh I've done worse. ^^ I actually sent an apology card to an editor for a spectacular short story blunder. Happily she loved it and the relationship was nicely smoothed over. It was very embarassing.

CafeCliche
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by CafeCliche » April 26th, 2010, 8:41 pm

Three words for you: "Dear Ms. Bransford."

Poor Nathan was the first male agent I queried, and my template already had a female agent's name typed in, and... well, it's safe to say that I've never been so embarrassed.

Margo
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by Margo » April 26th, 2010, 10:01 pm

I have two that don't entirely fit the bill (the faux pas were not with agents), but they might make people feel better.

1) I told an author on an online writing group that I thought her work was great and she was thoroughly publishable. At that point (I later learned) she had about 8 books out already...in my own genre, even.

2) I sent off a cover letter and resume for a position as a copy editor...with a typo in the cover letter.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Quill
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by Quill » April 26th, 2010, 10:20 pm

Not me but our main local writers group here, around a hundred dues-paying members (including me for a while), had for a couple of years its slogan posted on its website as "Where writers of all levels strive to improve thier craft".

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by Nathan Bransford » April 27th, 2010, 12:27 am

Oh, I get lots of Dear Ms. Bransford e-mails. Best thing to remember about these things is that it happens to everyone!

A.M.Kuska
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by A.M.Kuska » April 27th, 2010, 12:31 am

That's hilarious. ^^

CafeCliche
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by CafeCliche » April 27th, 2010, 2:28 am

It was sweet of you to be so understanding about it... though I think my heart stopped when I noticed my mistake. I know you're a guy, I swear!

Yoshima
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by Yoshima » April 27th, 2010, 10:45 am

Whew, glad it wasn't just me. :) Here's one from the vault: back when I first discovered what a query was, I made a few drafts of them on email. Terrible. Drafts. Anyway, I was working on one and went to click "save draft" but accidentally clicked "send" instead. This wouldn't have been a problem if I hadn't had Nathan's address put in already. And I did this to our poor resident fabulous agent. Twice. My face was so red when I received very polite responses...to both, lol.

wildheart
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by wildheart » April 27th, 2010, 5:10 pm

Your queries are great so I wouldn't worry about it! Chances are if the agent is as forgiving as Nathan they won't reject you because of that! I read your queries so I know your premise is awesome :D And I am not just saying that. Just breathe. Everyone makes mistakes. At least you found out now....
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kenpochick
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by kenpochick » April 27th, 2010, 10:16 pm

How's this one: The first word of my sample was "you're" used incorrectly. *sigh*

Ghost in the Machine
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by Ghost in the Machine » April 28th, 2010, 2:35 pm

Hi Yoshima,

I have made so many query blunders since starting last August, I posted them on my blog (see link below). They're under the title: My Beef with the Query Process.

Ghost

JuiceinLA
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by JuiceinLA » April 30th, 2010, 7:55 pm

So glad I am not alone and so mortified- an odd coupling indeed. Today was my first major gaffe in Query typoland. I have 4 slightly different query letters that I tailor to each agent I query, depending on how much personality I can derive from their web bio, or how relaxed or reserved they website, client list, represented works indicate. I tailored one very specifically for an agent who lived in the city where my memoir takes place. Trouble is that I was so enamored of this letter that two days later (that being today) when I wanted to query another agent, I used that "epic work of literary genesis" for another agent, not remembering that the form was peppered with Ms "X"'s name. to wit: Dear Mr. Agentwhowillneveracknowledgemyexistence, I seek representation for ... And Ms. Otheragentwith samehometown", I know you'll recall what it was like to spend an evening or two at the X-bar"...

Sigh.

BlancheKing
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by BlancheKing » May 1st, 2010, 4:05 am

Head thud moment...

So after reading through the partials, I realized that I had accidentally sent out the wrong draft of my first 50 pages to the first agent that requested my partial. I don't know if there's any way to remedy that, but lesson learned. Double check everything X)
One manuscript, One dream, One stack of stamps that needs to be bought...
Writing Process: http://blancheking.blogspot.com/

Erica75
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Post by Erica75 » May 1st, 2010, 12:13 pm

An acquaintance of mine published a posthumous memoir for her father and I "liked" her Facebook fan page for the book. She later graciously accepted to look over the 3 working versions of my query. I went to her page, found her email address, wrote a hugely long letter detailing my problems with each of the queries, hit send. . . and then realized I sent it to the publisher of her memoir rather than to her. If my email gets published before my book, I just might kill myself ;(
we blog - erica and christy - http://lynneawest.blogspot.com/

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