Dear Miss Snark,
Here's a query, one I wrote for fun several years ago....
Top o' the Line Literary Agency
Avenue of the Universes
Hi there Miss Snark,
How would you like to represent a future Noble prize winner in literature? I am sure you would! Actually, I can't promise I would win that prize because of all the politicing involved, but I can promise you that anyone who represents my novels will make a bundle of money and become quite famous in his own write (get the pun?). And that could be you!!!!!!!!
In all seriousness, I have just completed a novelistic work of fiction that not only is going to shatter all box office records, but is going to be a major semenal work in literature. The title is THE GODS OF THE BRIDGES AND THE WOMEN WHO CROSS THEM I am sorry that I am not able to provide a synopsis, because it is too risky. There are idea thieves out there, maybe even in your office. You see, I have surmounted all the genres and created one of my own that I call "fusion fiction". I am in the process of copyrighting this new genre. However, one hint (are you ready for this?): the novel is written entirely in the future indicative tense!
Now, Miss Snark, I know your are chomping at the bit, and would like to read the novel like IMMEDIATELY, but first, please send me a pre-paid DHL postal packet for delivery of about 5 pounds of manuscript. To help you save on your freight expense, I have printed the manuscript singlespace, and on both sides.
Hey Snark, here's to mutual fame and fortune!
P.S. I'd save this letter for the history files.
P.P.S. Don't worry about that blood splotch smear on the other side of this letter, that's just a squashed mosquitoe
Ok, this is funny, right? yup, hilarious.
The next letter is from a man who included "reference letters" from US Senators (form letters responding to his letter about the book) and the information he wanted $50,000 from Simon and Schuster for them to convert his website into a book. He wanted to leave the website up and convert it into a paid site...but generously offered S&S a cut of the take.
This is funny, right? yup, hilarious.
Too bad both of them aren't jokes.
Which leads us to why agents seem to be humorless in their query letter responses. More than half the time, you aren't joking.