Friday 15 February 2013

Twenty-five ways to get an instant agent rejection

1.      Send a three or more page query letter.
2.      Start your book with a flashback.
3.      Start with a prologue (Yes - some experienced authors are getting away with it).
4.      Get someone to write the query letter on your behalf.
5.      Confuse some common words - of/off, to/too, there/their/they're, past/passed, allay/ally, cash/cache, accept/except, bate/bait, sight/cite/site.
6.      Make lots of spelling mistakes and typos.
7.      Handwrite your query.
8.      Use lots of redundant expressions like. 'dark black', 'fiction novel', 'loud shriek' (quiet shriek anyone?)
9.      Send your query as an email attachment.
10.  Beg an agent to accept your work.
11.  Mention how many times you’ve been rejected by agents.
12.  Tell the agent how much your grandmother/aunt loves your book.
13.  Start by moaning about the quality of other books being written.
14.  Submit work which isn't finished.
15.  Lie to an agent. E.g. "Enclosed is the work you requested...."
16.  Don't include a stamped, self-addressed envelope for the reply.
17.  Use another author's well known character or plot.
18.  Include lots of profanity on the first pages.
19.  Submit work less than 40,000 words long.
20.  Submit a first novel of more than 120,000 words.
21.   Start your query letter with "This is the best...."
22.   Submit more than one project.
23.   Write a fawning query letter thanking the agent for looking at your work.
24.   Address the query to 'Dear Agent'.
25.   Send the agent a genre they don't represent.

From my e-book "An illustrated guide to getting published" Get an early version free at There's a new version (see the link at the right) which includes publishing at Smashwords and other places.

Of course, I'm sure you can think of many other ways to get your work ignored. I invite you to submit your suggestions and perhaps example letters in the comments below.

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