Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Querying it up Colorado-style

Tip of the Day: Snow is incredibly beautiful, even in April, as long as you don’t have to drive in it and it hasn’t turned into slush, sludge, or any other questionable looking liquid/solid form.

This blog is coming to you live from the great state of Colorado.

Do you feel the low atmospheric pressure due to the high altitude? And the cold, mountain air?

No? Are you sure? Because I sure feel it.

Colorado is known for many things aside from high altitude, such as awesome skiing, the Rockies, and being the home to some pretty kick-butt literary agents. I’m sure many more agents than my current home state of Michigan is known for. So being out here I can’t help but pretend how fun a covert operations to said agents' offices would be to find a way to plant my manuscript secretly on their desks to get them to read it.

Not that I would actually ever do anything like that.

Or at least not do it after I joked about it on this blog.

Because that’s just not how this business is done. No matter how much more exciting a covert operations involving…say, binoculars, bubble gum, shoe strings, a Swiss Army knife-screwdriver, and any other gadget I could fit in my purse…would be then the normal way of getting an agent through the slush pile with a query letter.

So since I'm on vacation and having fun, I thought it would be extra fun to do a list of five things you should also not do to get an agent’s attention, in addition to secretly trying to break and enter into their office:

1.) Don’t send your query in a bolded, 58-type script font.

2.) Don’t send your query for your sports-related story in a dirty athletic shoe.

3.) Don’t send your query for a pie cookbook with the frozen-chocolate pie from page 14 in with the package. Especially in summer. (Flashback: did anyone else see that episode last season on Beauty and the Geek when Joshua actually wanted to put a pie by itself—no wrapping or anything—in a gift basket?…okay, sorry way off topic…back to our regularly scheduled programming…)

4.) Don't send your query for a fantasy written entirely in the made-up language of your world.

5.) Don't call up an agent and tell them you are doing them a favor letting them represent you since you have a book that’s worth one-trillion-million dollars, despite the fact it isn’t finished yet, you don’t have any publishing credentials, and you have to ask them what the word “literary” in literary agent means. While we are at it, this probably isn’t a good thing to state in a query letter, either.

Not that anyone has attempted the above (well at least all of them, but No. 5). I’m not an agent or anything, so I’m just guessing these are big no-nos, and since this is Author2Author, I thought I’d give a heads up to avoid these in case anyone was considering these ideas.

Okay, now I’m off to go back to skiing in my pretty new ski outfit…

No, this isn’t me. Or my outfit. April Fools!!!!!!!

I totally had you fooled for a second there, didn’t I? ;-)

--Emily, Miss Awaiting an Agent


Kristina Springer said...

Em! You crack me up! I was like, WTH is she wearing??!!!! :-)

Ok, and I have to say that there is a YA literary agent about 10 minutes away from my house and I SO thought about just driving over to her office back when I was querying. I thought it would be so fun to have an agent that I could meet for lunches etc. Of course I didn't actually GO to her office. I, luckily, talked myself out of it.

amuse me said...

Hi Emily -

Loved reading your post. I'll miss our conversation tomorrow but happy you are having a most awesome vacation. See you next week. Marion

DeenaML said...

What? That's not you? I thought you were determined to bare skin while hitting the slopes!

Kate Fall said...

Ha ha, that's a great picture! You had me going for a second.

I think we should start the McGyver Literary Agency where we only accept queries delivered using household materials to make a slingshot/trebuchet.

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

Hot look, there, Em! Love that agency, Kate! Duct Tape and a Tube Sock--essential!

Don't break any bones out there on the slopes, Em, but Do shake it, baby!

Emily Marshall said...

Tina, I would have been tempted to do the same thing if I were you. It would have been hard to resist.

Marion, it's so great you are blogging now. How fun. I look forward to more posts from you.

Deena, I know it is a spitting image of me with my flat stomach, but alas I just don't own that outfit, regretably :) That and I don't think any of my family members would ski with me if I wore that.

Kate, I am so with you on that agency!!!!!!!!

Ghost Girl, I'm really hoping for no broken bones, but I'll definitely have fun for all of you.