Monday, August 23, 2010

In Bad Taste: Horrendously Hilarious Query Contest

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.

Sincerely,

Elva Donaldson

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.




Submission guidelines:

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!

29 comments:

  1. This sounds great, so awesome. :)

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  2. You keep getting cooler:) What an awesome contest!

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  3. Hey! Isn't that Bella Cullen's birthday???

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  4. This is AMAZING. I will most definitely be entering.

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  5. I am certain I can come up with something for this! What a fantastic idea for a contest.

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  6. Aw! This sounds awesome. I'm completely bummed I can't participate. Oh well! Fantastic idea and good luck to all of you. Can't wait to see how BAD you can get!

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  7. clients can participate; you're just disqualified from winning (and won't count on the 75 entries rule). :)

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  8. I can't say that I'll try. But I'll try to try.

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  9. What a great contest--and those prizes! Okay, I'm off to write the worst multi-genre fiction novel query letter ever!

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  10. Oh man. This is awesome. I can't wait!!

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  11. I'll pass the word. Can't wait to read all the entries!

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  12. Too much! This is GREAT! I'll post a link to this contest on my blog.

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  13. Yay for bad queries!
    I look forward to reading all the entries (and harvesting them for tips on what not to do).

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  14. Okay, you do realize that you WILL get 75 entries within the first thirty minutes, don't you?

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  15. Question: Will colors or swirly font come through?? I don't know if my pink Comic Sans would have the same impact if it is translated to a generic font.
    --a-and sparkles. Gotta have sparkles and unicorn hair . . .

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  16. I've already written up a rough draft. Yes, I love these sorts of contests. Come on, Sept. 13, I'll be waiting for you. . .

    AWESOME prizes, too, btw!

    :)

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  17. Ah! This sounds so fun. Great prizes, thank you.

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  18. HA! Oh, this sounds fun. Flagrantly petting my cat and grinning in the manner of Dr. Evil.

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  19. Magolla - I had no idea how people would react, but I had to limit the entries -- otherwise, I'd just be laughing FOREVER!!! :)

    And I don't think the font or the sparklies will come through, sadly. Though...well, I'm not giving ideas!!

    And Tina - yeah, it is

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  20. I am so amped! I just blogged about this contest!
    http://blog.juliealindsey.com/ and Tweeted of course :) Hope you get hundreds of entries, I'm working up my worst ideas as I type. LOL! Thanks!

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  21. September 13 is MY birthday! Does that mean I get a free entry? ;) We West Coasters will have to get up early to get our entry in the first 75 for this one!!!

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  22. I just wrote a rough draft. It was fun!

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  23. I'm going to send you a query today and hopefully you'll like it LOL

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  24. Great Idea!! I've already got my submission written and ready. Do you accept multiple submissions?

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  25. This is great! I'll see if I can get an idea … I want to enter though, if inspiration strikes! :D

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  26. This is hilarious! What an amazing idea.

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  27. I've decided it's a whole mess of a lot easier to write a horrendous query letter than an actual professional one worth anything. Awesome contest idea! I'm having lots of fun reading everyone's submissions.

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