Here’s some query and submissions do’s and don’ts that any practical writer can understand.
DO: Address your query to the right person and spell everything that follows correctly.
Example: Dear Ms. Smith,
DON”T: Submet gleering problims or mispel names.
Example: Deer Ms. Sm8th. (They might presume the ‘8′ is silent but why take the chance?)
DO: Introduce yourself in a professional and normal manner
Example: I’m seeking representation for my erotic urban fantasy, A Time For Lust Stations.
DON’T: Be crazy or overly familiar with this unknown person.
Example: I just finished this sucker and it’s a real pisser! Check out page 43! That backdoor ain’t in a house! *wink* *wink*
DO: Detail a nice, clean and understandable synopsis.
Example: Drillwella is an eighteen year old nymphomaniac who gets lost on the way to The Lust Station.
DON’T: Be confusing with the details.
Example: Drillwella nervously sets out on the rapid car fleeter and watched the driver, the engine sweep, and The Wish-Making Dandelion Picker, while she thought about Willhedome, waiting at the distant lust station, with its white rooms and furry beds.
DO: Present some story question that hints at conflict.
Example: Drillwella abhorred Willhedome, so maybe being lost in the worst part of the galaxy in fear of her life had an upside after all.
DON’T: Be predictable.
Example: Drillwella eventually finds her way to The Lust Station and has hours of glorious sex with Willhedome. ACK!
Hm. When you look at it like this, it seems like it should be pretty easy to go from slush pile to editor’s laptop, doesn’t it? But keep in mind that every agent/editor is different. Each one has their own pet-peeves and you’ll never be able to pinpoint or remember them all. So my thought? Since there is no rhyme or reason – fall back on the basics. A neatly typed, correctly spelled and properly structured introduction with just a hint of writer voice applied will go a long way in impressing a bleary eyed agent/editor.
So, my last do and don’t?
DO: Submit clean and well organized pages with a great story that leaves the person you’re targeting with additional questions at the end of their read.
Example: Drillwella hurriedly turned the corner and sighed with relief when she spotted The Lust Station. She stepped off the curb and would have stumbled if The Wish Making Dandelion Picker hadn’t caught her.
“Careful,” he hissed close to her ear. “You’re smarter than I thought…”
DON”T: Be boring or too precise.
Example: Drillwella hurriedly turned the corner and with a sigh <- you ended here because your 50 page limit was up. Really? What a missed opportunity. No one said that you had to submit your work verbatim. Do you think an agent or editor will call you on this? I don’t.
**Disclaimer: If you listen to me you’re not a serial slush pile reject. Your nuts. Just sayin’