As many of you know (via my #queries sessions on Twitter), agents receive a lot of bad query letters. No, not bad; horrendous.
In an effort to share the delightful reaction I have to these letters, and add a little levity to the no-nonsense submission process, I present to you: In Bad Taste: the Horrendously Hilarious Query Contest!
Dear Ms. van Haitsma,
In 1993, an all-male secret society in Tuscany conspired to publish a string of English books about the beauty of the region and the passion of its men. For the next two decades, they reaped the rewards of streams of easy-to-seduce American divorcees. Their plot is discovered by a woman who gets invited to a shack in Tuscany by someone who appears to be a vampire, but is actually God. She meets the vampire while hiking the Appalachian Trail.
My 379,000-word novel is very similar to the new Julia Roberts movie "Pray, Eat, Love." I have never actually been to Tuscany or the Appalachian Trail, but I have Einstein-hair like Malcolm Gladwell, which will convince people that I am a genius, despite doing almost zero research and using people from my personal life as major examples of my ideas.
I have been trying to fit in a group of repressed Muslim women who were empowered by American teachers, but couldn´t quite manage it. I would appreciate any suggestions about where to add them. In the back of the novel, I will include several Tuscan recipes that I downloaded from the internet. I have also added references to many currently popular YouTube videos, in order to enhance the novel´s appeal to younger readers.
I haven´t written the book yet, so I will need an advance of at least $125,000. I think that will be enough to help pay for translating the story into Swedish, then having it translated back into English, so that the cover can say it was translated from Swedish, because I hear that is a hot publishing trend now.
PS: If you want, I can rework the novel to be about zombies.
-kindly provided by Dax Oliver, a writer and recovering comedian living in Queens, New York.
Contest opens Monday, September 13th at 8 AM EST
-post your query in the comments section below the "contest open" post (to come)
Contest closes Friday, September 17th 12pm EST OR after the first 75 entries, whichever comes first
Queries must be no longer than 500 words
Please note that, due to the volume of submissions received, I am only able to respond to those I am interested in.
1st Place: I will WRITE a query for you.
-Yes, that's right; a bona-fide agent pitch, just for you! Query, detailed synopsis, and first ten pages of your manuscript will be required. A critique of all materials sent will also be included.
2nd Place: critique of query, synopsis, and first ten pages.
3rd Place: critique of query
My reading period is .2857 days. If you have not heard back from me within that time, unfortunately, I have passed.
Winners will be announced on Monday, September 20th
Mock your novel; mock a published novel. Mock the industry, mock the guidelines. Flaunt humor in the face of rejection and despair. Rant your frustrations on paper. Whatever you do...get ready, authors, to DO YOUR WORST!