4.24.2006

Query Letter Softward is a Waste of Money


Dear Miss Snark,

This may explain the duplicate query letters.


Oh dear dog, Miss Snark faints dead away after reading this site. I can pick out three logic failures in the ad copy just on a quick pass through.

If you are thinking of buying this: don't. If you need to know why I think it's a waste of money, scroll down to the posts on form query letters.

If you really really need a form query letter: here, you can have this one for free:


Name:
Title of Book:
Category:
Word Count:

Tell me in 200 words who the main character is and what happens to him/her in the first 50 pages.

Tell me if you kill any animals in the first 50 pages (if so, take my name off your list).

Tell me if any of your work has been previously published. Tell me who published it and what year. Leave this blank if you don't have it. It's not a deal breaker.

That's it. Include five pages of your work, and we're good to go.



This is pretty much standard form for any agent.
NOTICE: this is for educational purposes only. Please, do not take this as an inviation to query Miss Snark. All equeries to Miss Snark are answered by Killer Yapp with a toothy grin.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

But Wait! There's More!!

A web-based infomercial no less. Order now and we'll double the number of query letters!

Also seems rather misleading to use Alex Haley, Robert Persig (sic), etc. as "testimonies"...

Be afraid, be very afraid...

-ril

Moncrief Speaks said...

Thanks! You've just saved me $37.

Anonymous said...

As a slight aside, regarding your reference to killing animals... I realise despatching a puppy is a cheap emotional trick, but would any type of animal exit be a "not quite right" for you, even if it's relevant and appropriately handled? Would you have passed on "Watership Down" or "Ring of Bright Water"?
I ask, well, for obvious reasons...
-ril

Word Verification: waryb -- how apt.

Writerious said...

Aw, no sacrificial lambs in the first 50 pages? Even if seasoned with rosemary and served up with mint sauce and some nice baklava for dessert?

No?

Never mind, then. ::delete, delete, delete::

My, my, yet another thing to add to my list of "dumb money-sucking scams to lure the unwary would-be author." You'd think that people who want to write would also be good readers, and might possibly read a book or two about writing and publishing. You'd think that. But I've encountered sooo many people on the writing boards who have thrown money at the vanities, then come to the boards to find out how to market their books, and "do you think I could still get an agent for this book, and maybe even publish it with a traditional publisher?"

M. G. Tarquini said...

You should be spending your valuable time writing, not struggling over the "perfect" Query Letter!

OMG! I got the exact same pitch from The Famous Surgeons School!

You should spend your valuable time removing appendixes, not worrying what all those shiny instruments are for!

My flinty little heart wants this soft ware to be priced at $19.95.

Anonymous said...

It gets worse! She's also "created a step-by-step article writing masterpiece!"

Wow!

Buy both... have it write your article and print your query. Now if she could just program a little robot to slip them in an envelope, we writers could retire to a life of complete rest, in luxury of course. As we would be paid so well for these original compositions...

writeaway said...

You have got to be kidding me? People will do anything for a fast buck. People, PLEASE do not waste your $$$$$!

Anonymous said...

I don't really have anything to say. I just couldn't resist bonuzun as a word verification.

Anonymous said...

Kristi Sayles, Successful Author (of way too many publications to list here)

And this says it all, she doesn't list her credentials. No wonder, because she has self-published.
Ack.
And hey, look what other scam stuff she's involved in:

http://authorsden.com/externalsite.asp?authorID=150&destURL=www%2E4122%2E1stepsystem%2Ecom&msg=

That's it, I'm going to be a millionaire!

-Anna

Benja Fallenstein said...

Previous anonymous: If she not only created a robot to write the article, a robot to write the query, a robot to send the query, a robot to accept the query and a robot to print the magazine, but also a robot to read the trash that the above collective robots put out there, this could even work.

(ahem)

ann said...

Given the subject of the query software the word verification of poxsmptb seems so appropriate!

I'm puzzled because writers write. If writing a query is part of the job, so be it. That said, I'm working on a query and synopsis for my WIP and I'd much rather floss the cat.

The term "equeries" makes me think of equerry, a manly servant who will take care of my horses. Perhaps a leather-scented cabana boy ...

Pepper Smith said...

One wonders if this is some sort of belated April Fools joke.

It's interesting to note that the date on the first "letter" on the page is today's.

I'd be certain this was a horrible joke except I've seen similar software for writing press releases. Ugh! Save your money and learn how to write a query letter!

Rei said...

Hmm. *Any* animals?

I have a squash worm accidentally bitten into on page 42. It assumedly died.

On page 56, I have a small hawk die a natural death. Well, more like a supernatural death. At the very least, not a death that anyone intended to cause.

Saundra Mitchell said...

Oy, this inspired me to post two of my successful query letters, for free. Nothing irritates me more than a scammer trying to make money off the new and naive.

Elektra said...

"You should spend your valuable time removing appendixes, not worrying what all those shiny instruments are for!"

hehehe

BuffySquirrel said...

I regret to announce that a horse dies on page 12. As this small tragedy drives the plot, it cannot easily be removed.

Corn Dog said...

Bummer. A back roads truck driver runs over a snapping turtle in my first sentence. Then teenagers chase him with a .22, popping the back of his trailer. So, I have animal death, guns, teenagers and a chase scene in the first paragraph. Trashilicious.

April said...

Ok, I have to ask... This is a joke, right? That... um, "software" is fake and some wierdo with too much time on their hands decided it would be funny to make it up, right?

One can only hope...

McKoala said...

Uh oh, I slay a black lab. And a small boy, but I assume that's OK as long as the lab makes it.

MTV said...

Have you ever heard that it takes 8 hrs to write a one hour speech, but 20 hrs to write a good 5 min speech. Well, I just spent almost 8 weeks on and off crafting a powerful query that fairly represents my writing and accurately pitches my novel in five sentences. Not only that, but usually each letter I send out is crafted to that publisher or agent. BPRA, that is before publishers required an agent, and it wasn't that long ago, say ten or 15 years ago, my success rate was 100 % in terms of getting a personal reply from publishers, including editorial VP's and a 50% take rate for a full!!! SO... hard work and focus does payoff... I'm kinda busy right now ... now what kind of software did you want to sell me again?

In the arts and writing, talent is a given - though for me it's not about just the numbers - it's about how you present your talent and to whom. Networking is a critical element, as in all business endeavors. Miss Snark and others have noted this as well.

McKoala said...

hang on a minute, I write YA, I can do whatever I want to doggies 'cos Miss Snark ain't interested in YA.

OK, OK, I'll be humane.

just Joan said...

LOL! Thank you for the form query Miss Snark! :-)

It is sad that people buy into these things.

Oh, ye people of the writing world . . . If you must spend your $$ to improve your writing, purchase reputable books about writing, or use your $$ to attend a conference and submit your work for a professional critique. Don't throw it down the internet garbage disposal!

Peter L. Winkler said...

If you can't write a one- page letter, how in heck will you complete a saleable article, much less anything else?

A. J. Luxton said...

Hmm. You do realize that when someone eats a baloney sandwich, that's technically animal death...okay, the result of prior animal death, anyway.

*makes note: send Miss Snark the novel about the PETA activists

*makes second note: remove tongue from cheek once comment complete

M.E Ellis said...

I think the second par in my e-book Pervalism has 'animal' death.

Whoops.

:o)

Rei said...

Dear Miss Snork,

Name: horsechic@yahoo.com
Title of Book: Elvira, Slayer of Puppies
Category: Romance
Word Count: 183,812

The story is started with Elvira, when she the first puppy is killed by her. It is a cute beagle puppy, with long floppy ears who had a habit of wagging its tail at everyone who passed.

The joy of killing puppies is discovered by Elvira, and she registers herself as "Elvira, Slayer of Puppies" in the Superhero Directory. Soon, however, innocent puppies being killed by her isn't enough. She moves on to kittens, penguins, and a few baby hedgehogs wearing pink bows and owned by a six year old.

In the end, Elvira falls in love with Zebulor, who shows up in chapter 14 from the planet Xenxis, and marries him.

I have a long list of publishing credentials. My previous book in this series, "Peter, Peter Dolphin Eater" was published by IUniverse in 2004. I won the prestigious NaNoWriMo contest in 2002, 2003, and 2005, and have letters of recommendation from several family members.

Steorling said...

Dang, you mean I shouldn't mention that I won NanoWrimo in 2004?

*getting out her query letter and the big eraser*

(You know, I almost won in 2005. It was just that I was writing TWO novels at once so my 180,000 words didn't count!)

Mirym K. said...

Wow. It has bold, italics, all-caps, and underline in the same sentence for no reason at all, so it must be an excellent product for writers to have!

-Mirym