Sunday, April 3, 2011

"The 7 Deadly Sins of Querying" Guest post from @DorothyDreyer

So, writers... while Carolyn is on hiatus this month,
we are going to
be treated to some wonderful guest
entries from some great writers from
the stream.
Today's post comes to us from @DorothyDreyer. Enjoy!

Bad querying is a sin and can guarantee you a one-way
ticket to Hades. Okay, not really, but it certainly
won't help you get an agent. To help you avoid damnation
on your querying quest, let's go over the seven deadly
sins you must not be tempted by.

GLUTTONY: Do you stuff your query full of more junk than
found in a Vegas buffet? Does your email query address
EVERY agent who ever lived? Is your pitch ten fat pages
long (and still doesn't get the point of the story across)?
We know you want to quadruple your chances by telling as
many agents as possible every single detail about your
BEST NOVEL EVER, but avoid doing this. Keep your pitch
simple and concise with a killer hook, address one agent
at a time, and you shall be saved!

ENVY: Do you use sentences like "My book is ten times
better than the crap found in bookstores nowadays." or
"All the bestsellers I've read suck. I'm a REAL writer!"?
Could it be what you really feel is jealousy that you're
not published? Could it be that you just insulted every
single client your dream agent has? Avoid putting down
other writers, big or small, and you shall be saved!

LUST: Do you slut yourself out in an attempt to land an
agent? Do you send provocative pictures along with your
query letter? Do you offer time-share condos in the
Bahamas or send coffee cups stuffed with your lacey
underwear in hopes to sway an agent's judgement? Do not
try to seduce your way into the hearts of agents, and
you shall be saved!

PRIDE: Do you brag that your mommy says your novel is
the best piece of literature she's ever read? Do you
claim that all your friends think you are the smartest
person alive? Avoid proclaiming how great a writer you
think you are and let your writing speak for itself, and
you shall be saved!

SLOTH: "My fiction novel is attached." Is that your best
attempt at a query letter? Do you address the agent with
To Whom it May Concern? Do you even know if the agency
you're querying represents the genre you write? Don't be
lazy. Do your research, follow submission guidelines,
and take the time to perfect your pitch, and you shall
be saved!

GREED: "My novel is so good I'm certain I'll get six-
figure offers from multiple publishers." "I know the
publishing industry usually takes time, but my novel is
so kick-ass that I'll land an agent, get a publishing
deal, and my book will be in stores IN A MONTH!" We
know this is your dream, and you have every right to
chase it. But don't let your greed make you delusional.
Be sensible, and you shall be saved!

WRATH: "How dare you reject my masterpiece! I'm going to
write a scornful blog post wherein I tell everyone I know
how much you suck! Agents are just jealous because they
can't write!" Have you seen the statistics of how many
query letters an agent gets a week, and the percentage
of those writers who actually get requests for submission,
and the percentage of those writers who actually land an
agent? Do not let rejection make you a monster. Be
professional, and you shall be saved!

Special thanks to Dorothy for that wonderful post! If
any of you
writers out there are interested in having a
guest post on Carolyn's
blog, please feel free to submit
your ideas to writingwithoutthedrama
(at) aol (dot) com.


  1. Part of the words on the right side are cut off. Looks like formatting is off or something.

    Screencap of what I'm seeing:

  2. Ha, I love it. Thou shalt query well.

  3. I had the same problem as Anonymous so I highlighted the post and copied/pasted it into a MS Word doc. I was able to read it fine.

    Great post!

  4. I was laughing so hard while I was reading this, that my cat got scared and run away! LOL
    I cannot believe that there are writers out there who make such mistakes. I think a book should be written about them!

  5. Love this post! Thanks for the great laugh. I am getting ready to query again--always a treacherous wasteland to walk into--and needed a good incentive to progress forward.