Thursday, April 14, 2011

More Query Tips for Aspiring Authors

1. Everybody who gets published knows somebody on the inside. So be sure, in your query, to lie about knowing someone famous.

2. Before you pour a lot of time into writing a book, call some editors on the phone to ask if they think your idea is a bestseller.

3. Just because you're too busy to write a book doesn't mean you can't be an author. Hire an unpaid intern to write one for you.

4. Successful authors always write what they know. That's why most books are about alcoholism and depression.

5. Publishers like authors to be kind of ethnic, but not too ethnic. Try to work that angle, if you can.

6. Only submit to literary magazines with names that evoke wide-open, sun-dappled places where nobody wants to live.

7. You drink because you're lonely and life disappoints you. You write for the same reasons, and also because you're a narcissist.

8. No matter what your book is about, describe it as "dystopian" and "steampunk" in your query.

9. Your query should include at least three references to "social media."

10. Tell agents that your main love-interest would be a great movie role for Robert Pattinson. That's a big selling point.

11. The bestselling "Dexter" features a serial killer who only kills other serial killers. But what if there was series about a serial killer who only kills children? Edgy!

12. Why has there never been a book about a girl who has to choose between the affections of a straight-laced hunk and some kind of bad-boy?

13. There's no such thing as oversharing on the Internet. Tweet about your relationships, what you are having for lunch and, especially, all your form rejections.

14. Manuscripts should be interesting to look at. Use fun fonts like Comic Sans and italicize as much as possible.

15. Show you believe in your manuscript by assuring agents that it is a guaranteed bestseller which they'd be stupid to reject.

16. Agents love getting unsolicited full manuscripts. It saves them the trouble of requesting. Ship your unsolicited manuscripts by FedEx overnight, to show you are serious.


  1. Good tips Dan. I've tried them all, but you forgot to mention hiring a skywriter to get the agent's full attention. Failing that you could use a crop sprayer - with hilarious consequences!

  2. oh, Dan, that is fabulous! You are so Followed!

  3. Just wondering, would it be wrong to give them an extra little nudge by mentioning that I don't take rejection well, ever since the tortoise left home when I was six, and that I have the pills and rusty razor blade to hand just in case my novel isn't accepted?

  4. Disturbing. I related to quite a few of these! Have become 'self published' since failing to be able to 'take the pace' of the whole submission/rejection thing. I tried around 20/30 agents & then I read somewhere that someone had to try 147 or so before being accepted! I guess that says it all (or most of it)

  5. I take issue with #14. All header/bolded fonts should be Bleeding Cowboy, and the body font should be Papyrus. Always.