Kick-Thyself Moments

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work

Kick-Thyself Moments

Postby Yoshima » 26 Apr 2010, 15:06

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!
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Postby A.M.Kuska » 26 Apr 2010, 15:39

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.
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Postby CafeCliche » 26 Apr 2010, 17:41

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.
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Postby Margo » 26 Apr 2010, 19:01

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.
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Postby Quill » 26 Apr 2010, 19:20

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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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Postby Nathan Bransford » 26 Apr 2010, 21:27

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

Postby A.M.Kuska » 26 Apr 2010, 21:31

That's hilarious. ^^
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Postby CafeCliche » 26 Apr 2010, 23:28

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!
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Postby Yoshima » 27 Apr 2010, 07:45

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.
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Postby wildheart » 27 Apr 2010, 14:10

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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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Postby kenpochick » 27 Apr 2010, 19:16

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

Postby Ghost in the Machine » 28 Apr 2010, 11:35

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.

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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Postby JuiceinLA » 30 Apr 2010, 16:55

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.
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Postby BlancheKing » 01 May 2010, 01:05

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)
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Re: Kick-Thyself Moments

Postby Erica75 » 01 May 2010, 09:13

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 ;(
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