Monday, December 6, 2010


Just when I think I've seen everything, I discover, ta-da!! SUPER-QUERY-WRITER-FOR-U!!

Let me back up. I've been on a magnificent roll for the past week--dealing with a huge back-up of emailed queries and getting my responses down to under 4 weeks. (I'm now finishing up my November queries and am so proud of myself.) But, for the past few days I've been noticing an interesting phenomenon. I've been receiving clumps of queries for different books from different authors using different email addresses. HOWEVER, these clumped queries (sometimes as many as 8 0r 10 in a row) are virtually identical in their format, font and type size. Even the writing style of the queries is the same.

Let me explain how this works. I open query #1 for the day sent on November 10. It's a nice book, but not for me. I email my standard rejection and close and discard the rejected query. I open query # 2 from a different author with a different email address. BUT it's the identical format!! Same thing for queries # 4, 5, 6 and so on. Tonight I was really on a roll--I opened 10 of these in a row!

So what's the problem?

It seems to me that some nice authors are getting ripped off. I am assuming that these authors are paying someone to write their queries. And, to be fair, the queries are pretty good. They are brief and to the point. BUT the person writing them is sending them one after another to the same agent. Didn't that person think that it would begin to look a little fishy that all the queries look the same?

The problem is that this is annoying to this agent. I don't like it. I feel like I'm being played and soon, I stopped reading these queries and just rejected them because they were in that same confounded format!

I really don't have a huge problem with authors getting help with their queries. And, if they want to hire a pro to write a query for them, I can't complain. But, whoever is sending these queries is a bonehead. A great business idea, writing queries for a living. But, for heaven's sake, be professional about how you send them out!

Does anyone out there know more about this?


Anonymous said...

I've never heard of this! And I can't imagine how it would work. I feel like the query-writer would have to have read the entire book in order to write the query. Otherwise, a writer could just get help for free (or at least a low one-time payment) on things like Backspace and other sites like that. If there's someone out there offering that, they are probably making a mint.

Thankfully, I haven't run across this.

That's my little contribution. I do plan on querying you one day, actually, because I think you're cool and you like what I like. :D I write my own queries. I wrote the book, after all, so it's only right. ^_^


Phoenix said...

And to think I've been giving it away for free!

Hmm, if you do find out who's capitalizing on this, I'd like to know so I can talk to them about their business model :o)

Anonymous said...

I know there are web sites out there like that help teach people how to write queries. Is it possible that all of these people went to the same site and followed that format???

Steven E. Belanger said...

Another example of someone with decent business sense but zero common sense. (I catch business-savvy students pulling similar shenanigans all the time.) Chalk this up also to the depersonalization of the technology. The sender simply forgot he/she was sending those queries to an actual person, who may have a good eye, a decent memory, and some sense.

Michael J. Kannengieser said...

If the author is paying someone else to write their queries, then maybe their writing is not up to snuff either. My experiences at our magazine is that a poorly written query letter is often accompanied by an equally poor submission. This ghost query writer is not doing his clients any favors -- not just because of the obvious scam factors, but because the writer does not learn anything from the submission process. There's an opportunity for the author to grow and adapt to the business aspect of publishing which is being missed.

elizabeth seckman said...

As a hopeful writer, this rankles me to my very core. If I have to sweat and cry over a query, then everyone should. It's like competing with a bimbo with fake boobs when I can't afford them. It's just not right!