Welcome Guest Blogger Lisa Logan!!!

Well I’m still not sure what occured to have Lisa’s Blog disappear, but I have it back now and we will repost it.  She’ll be picking a winner soon.

Thank you for your patience and once again here’s LISA LOGAN!!

WORST QUERY LETTER EVER 

My mother always told me I like to learn things the hard way, and she was right. I often discover how to do something after exploring (thoroughly) how NOT to do it.  For instance, when I took up web design years ago,  my bible was Web Sites That Suck: Learn Good Design by Looking at Bad Design. And I won’t bring up the fact that I’m on my third marriage.  I rest my case.


As an author and editor, I frequently hear, “How do I write a good query letter?” Pshaw! Let’s explore what makes a query really, thoroughly awful…and give you guys a chance to win a prize for doing it! 

The Contest: 

In 500 words or less, post the worst query you can come up with. This does not, I repeat, does not have to be an actual query you’ve sent out! (If the shoe fits, however, let ‘er rip.) Let your imagination soar…or rather, drag through the mire.


Post entries here in the comments between now and July 6th at midnight (Pacific Standard Time).  I will be judging queries based on originality, gawd awfulness, and sheer groan factor. I will post the winner’s name here on July 7th.


What’s the prize? 

Besides the genuine thrill of a job well done, the winner will receive: I’ll post the winning entry and design a special feature interview to showcase your work—whether or not you’re currently published—on a trio of blogs during August.  I’ll post announcements to my mailing list and groups as well.  So, who’s up for a bit of fun and free promotion?  To get the ball rolling, I’ll start you off with an example query letter I did as a joke (really!): 

To Whom It May Concern: 

My friend read some book you published and said I should give you a shot because my book is gonna be great.   

See, the publishers I wanted rejected my manu-script.  It’s like I always say, publishers couldn’t see white if you put ‘em in a snowstorm.  Really missin’ out, man.  And those agents I tried?  Worthless as a penny in a jewelry store–don’t get me started.  So what the hay,  my parole officer canceled my appointment and I had nothin’ better to do, see, so I figured I’d let you prove you’re not as thick as those 44 other guys and will give me the recognition that Mother says I truly deserve.  (Not my real mother—that’s what we called Big Ralph back in the joint.) 

I know you’re dying to hear all about my book but WHOA, stop right there!  Before you get all soaped up about it, let me assure you I had plenty of time to read about law the past coupla years. I’m all edumacated about a little thing I like to call ‘copyright infringement.’  So I’m too smart to tell you my whole idea right NOW.  AFTER I get my six figure advance, then we’ll talk details. 

Now that’s settled, here’s about my book.  It starts with me trying to get ahead.  I’m a good Joe, but the world keeps smacking me around, see?  So I embezzle some money here, “borrow” a car there–you know, tryin’ to make my way.  And the bank thing in Muskogee, too, but it wasn’t my fault about the ATM blowin’ up.  They should build ‘em better.

 Anyway, I wrote a book about how the country doesn’t work right, see, for guys like me, but no one would publish it.  Not one of those good-for-nothin’ editors saw how genius it was.  So then I get to thinking.  Hey, I says to myself (Big Ralph was there, too), what if I write a book about how I wrote that book and no one would publish it?  Expose the whole freakin’ mess, see?  So I did and it’s called (you’re gonna love this!)  “Editors Schmeditors: Why Those Lyin Freaks Won’t Give a Guy A Break.”  Great, huh? 

You’d be smart to jump this. We all looked and couldn’t find a single book like it in the joint’s library.  It’s one of a kind.  I’m sure you wanna phone me right now to talk movie deals and all (I want Robert Downey, Jr. to play me in the film), but I don’t have a phone.  Guess you’ll just have to fork over for a stamp, like I had to do.  Ha! 

Simcerely,

James “The Cramp” Fowlup  

Wasn’t that touching?

 So rev up those keystroking fingers, folks, and let’s see what you’ve got!  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lisa Logan is the author of two novels and an award-winning short story author. She is the editor of MysteryAuthors.com’s flash fiction zine Minute Mystery, and for Eternal Press. Visit Lisa on the web at http://lisalogan.net.

Lisa Logan

20 Responses to Welcome Guest Blogger Lisa Logan!!!

  1. Ginger

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Whew, I finally found time to tell you a little about my latest story, Forget-Me-Not. With all the blogging, writing, critiquing, and returning emails, it’s just hard to find the time to do the really important things. Luckily, today, I’m not inclined to do any of the aforementioned tasks because I’m in the ‘cleaning process’ for my colonoscopy tomorrow. I figured I can keep myself away from the refrigerator and kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

    Anyhow, I’m sure you’ll love Forget-Me-Not. I think I saw something on your website once—at least I think it was yours—about your passion for stories with the ‘ah’ factor. I’ve captured that in this saga. Oh, excuse me. I have to run to the bathroom. That fleet’s phosphate is like a time-bomb, except without the timer to warn of the pending explosion.

    Okay, I’m back. Where was .? Oh yeah, the ah factor. Boy, I just experienced that myself, but I digress. In the Forget-Me-Not, my heroine’s mom has just croaked, and she’s all choked up and stumbles on some tarnished old pieces of jewelry. After she has them cleaned, she discovers their true meaning, and of course everyone lives HEA. I just know you’ll love it.

    I planned to expand more on my credentials, but I feel gas building again and that urge to visit the ladies room looms. As if it wasn’t bad enough ingesting that vile tasting liquid. I’ve never tasted cat’s piss, but I imagine this might come close. 

    I’m multi-published with internet companies and looking to find someone to get me signed with one of those houses that pay royalties up front. It’s not really about the money, but it sure would be nice to earn some. If you really want to know more about me, then visit my website at http://www.gingersimpson.com. It pretty much sums up my crummy life as an author. Help me out, would you? I really would like my family to believe I’m published.

    You can contact me via my website. Gotta run now…and I put emphasis on ‘run’. You’ll understand when you’re doctor browbeats you into a anal tubal invasion.

    Sincerely,

    Ginger Simpson
    P.S. I made this up for the contest. God forbid anyone ever be so stupid as to send something like this. And don’t pirate my story line. It’s really something I’m working on. 🙂

  2. Brenda Weaver

    To Whom It May Concern,
    I hear tell that you are a great publisher well…I’m a great writer!
    I think the two of us should get together and make some money.
    I know you’ve heard about that movie, Pirates of the Caribean? Well,
    my story, Booty Sails, is along those same lines, but different. We are going to make millions with it!
    Just email me the contract and we can get started right awy.

    Sincerely,
    Brenda Weaver
    Romance Novelist

    p.s. Ok, you did say 500 words or less…I opted for less.

  3. Jan Verhoeff

    Dear Publisher:

    After our meeting at the conference *wink* *wink*, I’m sending this query about my book as I promised. I included our love scene in the book, but I’m sure your wife won’t recognize you, even if she does read the book, because I put your birth mark on the left butt cheek instead of the right. What an inspirational night that was! I still can’t get over the gasping orgasm you had when you fell off the bed in the Embasy Suites!

    You were fantastic. I’m so impressed that you allowed me to take notes during the process, so I wouldn’t forget a thing. I didn’t mention that you were so tiny, I’d never have been able to enjoy making love with you. That gerkin you called a pickle was just too funny.

    I’d have never guessed we were on opposing ends of the political spectrum. I still can’t believe you’d vote for that two-timing, husband swapping wench after her husband’s excursion through political infamy. You must be a glutton for punishment. But then, your insatiable desire indicated that also. Your wife must be an acrobat to tolerate those positions you were coming up with?

    Although, you must have had something going for you, the residual effects of our session will be arriving about the time you publish my book. I’m certain the child support will be arriving then too?

    Remember, your wife never has to know who the quivering member in my book belonged to… provided publication is swift and not a word is edited in my book.

    Please do contact me immediately. I have your number!

    Jan Verhoeff

    PS: This was created for the contest. I can’t think of a worse way to send a query, or to get a book published! Besides, since I don’t write erotica, I’m sure this would never work!

  4. Dani

    I can’t begin to compete with those! LOL. But, Lisa, it’s ADVertising Wednesday at Blog Book Tours… go post this link and tell the kids to join the contest! Too fun. 😉

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/blogbooktours

  5. Dave Levin

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I have like a totally great book idea that I’m positive will be a bustblocker. I know this for sure because my mother-in-law said so and she’s such a good writer that at the supermarket where she works the boss always asks her to do the signs that say tomato’s on sale and stuff like that.

    But before I spill the beers, I want to know if your one of those sleazeball publishers because if you are I don’t want you to make lots of money and me not.

    Assuming you’re legit, my story is kind of a combination of the best parts of The Godmother Part L and The Even Couple. I can’t tell you more because it’s not written yet. But all I need to write this fantastic book is for you to get me a laptop, a room at a nice hotel with a pool because I do my best thinking when my head’s underwater, and a full-time personal assistant so that I can devote a full four hours a day to the book. And it would be nice if the assistant was attractive so that I’m not bored the rest of the time.

    You need to replay right away because I can easily find someone else to publish it if you’re to dumb too.

    Sincerely,
    David H. Levin

    p.s. – This is the first query letter I’ve written. I hope it lowers the bar.

  6. Tanja Cilia

    Tanja

    To who it matter

    Dear all

    As the man said, you aint’s seen nothing yet until you read the herewith enclosed, or rather attaché, typescript for a book about the Sceince and Art of Writing, at which I am the expert past master (mistress sounds so crass doncha thing?)

    As I was saying, you don’t know what’s going to ht you right between them eyes, my man, but when you read my book about the Sceince and Art of Writing, you will have to admit that I am the be-all and end-all of experts in the field of the Sceince and Art of Writing.

    As you might be saying, this person is a genius, and I want to sign her on the books at once. But before I even consider working with you, you have to tell me in Writing that you are willing to learn the ropes from me because I have been through your web-sight and I have found several typos that could not be misprints they are so silly. So for an additionally fees, I might as well correct your spelling and grammer.

    As the orturs which I quote in my book say, you never no what you can do till you try and when I beganed Writing the book about the Sceince and Art of Writing, little did I know that I would come up with such a compendiuming of knowledge about the Sceince and Art of Writing.

    As Dr Spock, of the child expert’s famousness said, not the one with the ears on Star Track, you know, he said you know more than you think you do. In my case this has been proven to be excellently truth because as you can see, I explain the Sceince and Art of Writing so well that nobody can approach me about it.

    As my relatives and my friends to which I gave the manuscript to read kept repeating, it is a heck of a job to write so much about the Sceince and Art of Writing. Ha ha, I am not an scientist or a Artist but I managed to write 2,340 pages about the Sceince and Art of Writing, can you beat that of course you can’t.

    As my mentor and consultant and best friend said, and I quoit him to make sure that you understand the worthy of my opera, “If you can get them to accept it for you, you will indeed be one happy bunny.”

    As my aunty who lives in Malta says, their bunnies are not happy, because they eat them, poor things, they do the spagetti or the chips with them and they are so cute, the rabbits. But that has nothing to do with the Sceince and Art of Writing of course, but I wanted to tell you that I know the culinationary skills of the Malteses because my aunty, when she comed over for a holiday, she thought me how to cook the things of Malta kitches.

    Yours truthfully

    Tanja Cilia

  7. Wendy Noble

    Dear Sir/Madam/Ms

    I’m sending you my book in the hope that you’ll like it enough to publish it. I’ve worked my way through the list of publishers in the writters market and you’re my last shot.

    I’ve been published lots all ready – church newsletter, school magazine (back inthe seventies) and letters to the local paper, so its not like I’m not experienced.

    I’d rather not tell you what the story is until we have some legal stuff in place as I know how people get their stories stolen and I don’t want any bad blood between us. Not that I think you’ll do something like that, but these days a person can’t be too careful. All I can say is that my husband read it and a couple of my friends and they all loved it. They said it was the best I’ve ever done, so I can promise you your on a winner.

    I’ll look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Cheers,
    Wendy Noble
    PS I don’t want to give out personal details like phone number and address to someone I don’t know, so just hit Reply to this email.

  8. Marvin D. Wilson

    July 4, 2008
    Jonathan B. Well
    14 E. State, Kansas, MS
    800-222-2342
    johnybgood@aol.com

    Mr. Michael Severenseworth
    ATNA Agency

    Hi, Mike!

    You don’t now me yet, but soon all the world will! And out of all the literary agents I’ve looked into to represent my first book, “Why God Chose Me to Save Mankind,” YOU are the one I’ve picked to have first crack at representing this AMAZING work of literature!!

    You see, I am a visionary – a prophet, really. I’ve had some revulations that I want, no NEED, NO – MUST SHARE with the world!! This book will change our destuny as a race of people! There will be no more war, only peace. No more famine, but insted a world of bounty for all. But first, EVERYONE must read this book! This is a more than a book, no meer publication – this is destined to be a scripture, a Holy Sacrament that will outsell the Bible by billions over the next decade!!!

    Now I know what your thinking. “Who is this ‘Jonathan Wells’ – I’ve never heard of him,” right? But that’s the beauty of it! You are the first! To your credit (and vast fortune) will go the recognition as the one who brought “Why God Chose Me to Save Mankind” to the world!!! Now, don’t thank me, thank God – for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m just a humble servant, anempty vessel for His glorious words and instructions which WE will deliver into the world of printed literature and sit back and smile with satisfaction as millions of people will come to realize the truth while we rake in millions of dollars!!

    I read your submission guidelines, and while I could write volumes more (and I know by now you WANT to read more) – I will honer your request to keep this query letter to just 1 page. However, I simply MUST (even though you suggest not) attach the entire manuscript – all 250,000 words, so you can SEE AND READ FOR YOURSELF that I am not just another nobody, some writer wannabe groping for attention with no talent to back it up. Read, enjoy, be amazed, and I will await your reply, KNOWING that you will want to be THE ONE to champion the release of “Why God Chose Me to Save Mankind.”

    Very Truly Yours, In God’s Service,

    Jonathan B. Well

    p.s. – For your own best interests – please hurry with your answer – I am sending this query to dozens of other agents, and it will be first come first serve!!!

  9. Jan Verhoeff

    I just came back to read some of these. My gosh! They’re good. If only the writers of these things could write books, they’d all be published!!! LOL

    Jan

  10. Lisa Logan

    LOL Jan, no kidding!! That’s Entertainment (and education), Folks..keep ’em coming!

  11. Barbara

    Dear Pope,
    I was talking to my therapist the other day and we both agreed that since you {and the church} had such success with the Bible that you’d like to publish my book.
    After all you seem like such a nice man {I’ve always admired your dress sense, sometimes I get these wonderful dreams about rubbing you down with olive oil and garlic } .} The restraining order ends next month so I’ll be able to go back on church grounds.
    It was all a misunderstanding between the priest and me. He thought I was conducting a genuine satanic ritual. I tried to explain that I was only doing some research for my book, and I would have never actually hurt the cat.
    If it hadn’t have been for that Nun who wouldn’t stop screaming. The nuns have always had it in for me ever since convent school, they’re so unforgiving {not like you of course!}.
    Anyway enough of my little indiscretions. I truly am repentant so I think the least you could do is publish my book for me.
    Silly me, I forgot to tell you what the book was about, well it’s really like a Dylan Thomasesque , Story of O style exploration of the modern woman’s search for love when she’s abandoned by the mainstream church.
    I was appalled when Ken Russell reported me for ‘sending him obscene and threatening mail’. I thought he’d appreciate the artistic integrity of my manuscript, not be such a puritanical old fusspot. I guess some people just can’t handle the realities of modern life.
    I’m sure that won’t be a problem with you, because you’re such an erudite man so you’ll overlook the less savoury details I’ve had to put in but the artist must stay true to their muse * giggle *
    I don’t want to have to threaten you with anything but I really am dedicated to getting this message out to the world so if I have to demonstrate to you that I am serious I will!
    Please don’t force me to have to do that, I abhor the destruction of priceless artefacts and you are so surrounded by them.

    Yours Sincerely

    Delicia del Lusuria

    PS Please don’t ring after dark , a girl has to make ends meet and my more specialist clients really don’t like to be interrupted.
    Big Kisses and missing you already * wink*

  12. Mary

    These are GREAT! I wouldn’t be able to choose the best!

  13. Deby

    To whom it may concern,

    I normally wouldn’t write to you because I don’t feel my book is ready, but my little sister thinks the story is “best-seller” material. She’s only in third grade, but she’s been reading since she was 4 years old, and I’ve come to trust her judgment. Also, my mother always told me you had to start at the bottom and work your way up, so I thought I’d bring my manuscript to the publisher at the bottom. I’m confident that my “best-seller” is just what you need to make a name for yourself in the publishing industry. It is clear to me, and I’m sure you will see it that way also, that my story is your only hope of success!

    Anyway, my story is about a girl who wants to make a name for herself. Monica Lewinsky, Lorena Bobbit, Andrea Yates, Louise Vermilyea, and others inspire her. So she meets the president of the United States and becomes his lover. When she gets pregnant, he leaves his wife and marries her. Everything is going fine until they run out of money because he can’t get a decent job. So she kills him and the baby. She didn’t want them anyway. Now she’s on the run from the law all the while trying to figure out what she can do next to become rich and famous, get a Park Avenue address, a Rolls, fancy clothes, and all the other status symbols a woman could ever want.

    I’ve never written a book before. In fact, I failed Journalism in school, and could only get hired on at the local newspaper in the Housekeeping Department. I don’t ever give up, though; and I’m sure that when you publish my book, I’ll be able to buy that newspaper and thumb my nose at all those people who thought I couldn’t write. It’ll be great to say, “I told you so!”

    I’m sorry for digressing. Let me get back to the book. I finished writing it in only 2 days, so it was only 20 pages long. I didn’t figure most people would buy it, so I made it longer by detailing facts and using lots of descriptive words. There seems to be some redundancy, but not so much. I even go into family history and talk about farming. In fact, I threw in a couple of mother’s favorite recipes—fried green tomatoes and apple pancakes—YUMMY! When I finished the second rewrite, the book is a whopping 362 pages.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read this letter and the enclosed manuscript. I know you’ll want to rush this to print. Please call me so we can discuss my advance. Sooner would be better for me as I need some money to close on my house next week. My mother says other works you’ve published show lack of taste. Please don’t miss the opportunity to change your reputation.

    Sincerely,
    Eileen Dover

  14. Chaoscat/Samantha Storm

    Dear Berkley Editor,

    I have this great idea for a book. I don’t have the time to write it, but it’s such a fantastic idea I know it will make a zillion dollars. So I was thinking you could give me a three book contract and then I could take the advance money and hire a ghost writer to write the actual book.

    Please get back to me right away since this idea is sure to make us both a ton of money.

    Look forward to that contract. You won’t be sorry you took a chance on me.

    Jane Doe

  15. Lisa Logan

    WELL, it’s TIME TO ANNOUNCE THE WINNER! And man oh man, each and every one of these was a real GEM, so this was not an easy thing. In fact, it was so tough that I’m announcing a TIE.
    #5 from Dave Levin –yep Dave, you surely “lowered the bar”LOL
    #14 from Samantha Storm aka Jane Doe–short and sour heh.

    Both of you will receive a promotional interview and nod on my blogs during August.

    A few comments on other entries:

    #2–Brenda, I actually found this better than many and with a decent hook. LOL.
    #3–Jan, too good–this GUARANTEES an immediate book sale. LOL!!!!
    #11–Barbara, I laughed my head off. If the Pope ever opens a publishing house, watch out!
    #13–Deby, truly awful, but the book premise is so intriguing a publisher might actually forgive the rest!

    Thanks to all who entered…winners will also be contacted separately, or Email me at writerlisalogan@verizon.net.

  16. Chaoscat/Samantha Storm

    Rocken! But what about my three book deal? Does this mean I’m not getting a contract? LOL

  17. Lisa Logan

    Dear Samantha, I’d love to make a million dollars, but don’t have time to reply with offers and contracts and all that. Am querying ghostwriters to run my publishing business for me. LOL
    Sincerely,
    WeB. Jokin Publishing

  18. nedIntinue

    Very nice!!

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    http://shop.sextoy-fun.com/

  20. Tracey Green

    Thank you for the information. Very much appreciated. 5*****

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