The Devil’s Own Query Letter

I’ve had a very busy day following a very busy weekend following a pretty busy week. So I’m going to have a little fun today and take what I know about writing a good query letter, and use it to write a very bad query letter. Ready, set, irritate!

I heard that query letters should be personalized to fit the agent I’m writing, but I don’t want to have to change anything when I send the letter to all kinds of different people, so I’ll be careful to be as general as possible. (Also, I’ll be sure to email it to at least three people in each agency. One agent might hoard something he or she doesn’t even want and I want to be sure they all get a chance to look at it so they can fight over it and I get the best deal.)

In order to get the agent’s attention, I’m going to make sure they know how great my book is. I’m going to make all kinds of grand claims and USE CAPS SO THEY KNOW I’M SERIOUS. Furthermore, I don’t want to alienate any of the agents I’m writing, so I’m going to be pretty vague on what my book’s actually about, as well as straddling as many genres as possible. Just in case they’re not completely hooked at this point, I’m going to pad my resume a little bit with facts of questionable factuality. I’ll make up a few references, whatever sounds good, and then whammo! I’ll have an agent in no time. Probably three or four, actually.


Dear Agent and/or Editor,

This is the book you’ve been waiting for. It’s going to be the next Harry Potter and Hunger Games and Game of Thrones and Holy Bible all rolled into one, but those books will all look like they suck after mine gets published, because it’s THAT AWESOME. Seriously, this is your lucky day.

My book is hard to describe because it transcends labels, so I won’t waste your time. (You’re welcome.) Suffice it to say, this story would be well at home, and a best seller, in any and all genres. Anybody would love to read it, from middle schoolers to octogenarians, and I’m pretty sure I can get the President to write a blurb for the back because his people are already watching me so he’s clearly interested in my dawning career. In my story, the main character Sd#fnie-7 is a dead sexy alien transvestite lawyer nun/monk who has been framed for the murder of her ex and then accidentally time travels into the Shire and starts out on a quest to… well… I’ll just let you find out for yourself, since I’ve kindly attached the full manuscript at 800,000 words. (You’re welcome.) The book ends on an awesome cliff-hanger and I’ve already started on the next book. Since you need to read them both to have any idea what’s going on, I’m practically handing you TWO best sellers here. (You’re welcome.)

I’ve been published so many times I don’t even keep track of it anymore, in more magazines and stuff than you ever heard of probably, and I pretty much win all the competitions I ever enter. Let’s just say I’m pretty legit. And since my good buddies Stephen King and the Dalai Lama told me you might be a good agent, I’ve decided to let you represent me. I’ll drop by your office to sign the paper work sometime this week- just let me know when is a good time for you.

Sincerely Yours,
Jill Marcotte

What do you think, gentle readers? Am I missing any important elements here?


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