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Friday, September 30, 2011

Top Ten Ways to Get Insta-Rejection

Nobody can deny that agents have a tough job.  I mean, just think of all those horrible queries they have to sort through!  *shudders*  Agents, like everyone else, deserve to have a good laugh every so often.  Here are ten ridiculously easy ways to ensure that agents will fall out of their chairs laughing.  Okay, probably not.  But you'll still probably get rejected.
  1. Pitch them a 20k YA novel/250k MG novel/999,999,999 word picture book.* 
  2. Physically knock on the door of the agency in order to pitch your book.**
  3. Describe your book as "like Twilight, but different".
  4. Pitch them an unfinished novel (if you're a first-time author).
  5. Say that your book needs a ton of editing.
  6. Tell them how much your mother/best friend/cousin's dog loved it.
  7. Dare them to reject your query.
  8. Tell them how your book was originally 300,000 words long, so you split it into a trilogy.
  9. Promise that your book will be an instant bestseller.
  10. Pitch them a fantasy/paranormal romance/mystery when their website clearly states that they don't represent those genres.
This is by no means a complete list.  There are infinitely many ways to ensure instant rejection.  I should hope that you see why they'd laugh at you for these, but just in case, I'll explain.
  1. These word counts just aren't acceptable for the given genre.  Do your research to find out how long your book should be.
  2. This isn't professional.  It's just stalkerish.
  3. The Twilight craze is long over.  And how can a book be like something, but not like it at the same time?
  4. If you've never published a book before, you always, always, always need to have it done before you query.  If you haven't even finished the book, the agent can't be sure that you're motivated enough to pull through the entire thing.
  5. Agents don't want rough drafts.  Before you even think about writing a query, edit and revise and bash your brains in until the book is as perfect as possible.  Then start contacting agents.
  6. Face it: agents don't care what your mother thinks.  Your mother loves you, so of course she's going to like it.  She's biased.
  7. They will take you up on the offer immediately.  They don't have time for you.
  8. If your book was originally that long, this tells the agent that you have no control over your plot and you can't keep your descriptions short and sweet.  Plus, you can't just split up one huge book and call it a trilogy.  It would just be one book in three volumes.  I will post more on this later.
  9. There's absolutely no way to guarantee this and the agent doesn't have time for someone that cocky.
  10. To quote The Lightning Thief:  "What do the children say these days?  Do they say 'well, duh'? ...Well, duh, then!" 
There are many other ways to make agents laugh.  These include: calling yourself "the next Tolkien/Stephen King/Jane Austen, sending an online Amazon gift card as a bribe, saying that all published books are worthless, beginning your letter with Dear Sir/Madam, typing your query in French/text talk/Gnomish, pitching a fanfiction, personally insulting the agent, pitching to an agent that left their post five years ago, sending a video query with your email, directing the agent to your blog to read the letter, pitching a masterpiece that only a select few will be able to appreciate, pitching a novel that chronicles the adventures of your Dungeons and Dragons role play group, pitching a novel with Neopets or Pokemon***, listing Inkpop as a writing credit, including a list of actors to play your main characters, and many, many more. 

I hope you've either learned something from this list, or at least smiled a little.  Who knows...maybe I've just saved someone from a cruel, heartless rejection.

*Then again, if you pitched me that, I might be inclined to ask for more just because...well, if you're that insane, maybe your work is actually worth something.
**This is also the quickest way to ensure that the agent will call up other agencies to warn them of you in advance.
*** Actually, if I was an agent, and you actually managed to write a full-length novel involving Pokemon, I'd ask for more.  I'm just sayin'. 
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1 comment:

  1. I know an author who got an agent by knocking on her door. The agent wasn't too happy at the time though. And SMeyer submitted a rough draft.

    The funniest is the one about the mother liking it.

    Some of this stuff makes agents seem like uptight swots haha!

    Calling them bruv or dude would probably also get you a rejection.


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