My submission for nitwittery follows:
I am moving towards completion of what I can only describe as a humorous memoir, and as I begin girding myself for the query process I keep stumbling over the question of what to submit.
My problem is, the darned memoir reads like fiction, not a traditional non-fiction work, and a submission of several chapters will present it a lot more effectively than a non-fiction proposal. It’s really more like narrative fiction. Are you going to slap me around and tell me to shut up and send a proposal? If so, is there any resource that deals with constructing a proposal for a memoir? The genre seems to be largely ignored in the “how to query” resources I have seen.
Also, while you’re slapping….in the event that one were to receive a request for, say, three sample chapters of whatever they are pitching, is there a convention on the chronology of chapters that you send? First three? First, middle, end?
Memoir is non-fiction, but it's acquired like a novel. That is, on chapters not a proposal. You'll write a cover letter and include sample pages using the agent's instructions for fiction writers. Don't just send three chapters to everyone cause the not-so-subliminal message there is "sent by a nitwit".
As for order: 1, 2, 3. If you send 1 and anything other than 2 I stop at 1.