**Or earn you a restraining order from your agent of choice
Recently, the YA Confidential gang had the honor of reading submissions for the Surprise Agent Invasion. Many of the chosen entries received mad love from agents, in some cases resulting in partial and full requests!
Congratulations, word miners!
As the contest wound down, Cupid was kind enough to host us in her Super Secret Literary Lair (think Batcave meets The Library of Alexandria, plus mani-pedis). While lounging on overstuffed pleather recamier's, smoking Gauloises and quaffing absinthe, we marveled at the creativity and originality of the submissions.
We did, however, notice something that made us sit upright in mid palm frond fanning. Each entry included a query letter. And while all the query letters were GOOD, they were not PERFECT.
And that's just not acceptable.
Let's be honest. There's been plenty of good advice on how to craft the perfect query letter. So it must be out there. But try as we might, we couldn't find any reference to it online. So YA Confidential and Cupid put our heads together.
That's right, we crafted a query so engaging and foolproof, there is no reason an agent should receive anything else from now on. Just sign your name at the bottom and start cashing residuals checks!
After hundreds of woman-hours (and about one-and-a-half man-hours) we humbly present to you:
The Perfect Query Letter*
*Google analytics just exploded!
If a mysterious stranger promised you three wishes but said granting them would result in the guy of your dreams dying in a fire. . .would you do it?2
Hi, I'm Alfonse, and my author asked me to contact you.3 I'm the charming but troubled main character of an epic 850,000 word4 fiction novel5 ready to make you a bajillian dollars American6 if you will let it. The story takes place in. . .WAIT, I don't want to ruin it for you!7 Suffice to say my author has spent nine years teasing out who I am, what I do, to whom, with what, where and why. I think you'll find that his extensive knowledge of medieval armor lubricant makes him the ONLY person qualified to tell this continent-hopping story about me and some broad8 I'm destined to be with if only the Evil Ruler of the Dark Side of the Badlands doesn't destroy kind-hearted Morian Darcanus's Immortal Flame of Flamius which I need in order to forge a new Shield of Cornelius Ur'Chap!ng to replace the one that was stolen from my son Chooch T@chinak who, because of a crack in time caused by an improperly cast Tempus Fugit spell is also my brother and is being pursued by the more-evil-than-Morian-Darcanus-but-less-evil-than-The-Evil-Ruler-of-the-Dark-Side-of-the-Badlands ruler of Neo Thailand known as Siriporn Trangsangsombat; plus the three wishes stuff andbutalso I am part bat.9
Clearly this book will happily coexist with the currently popular Urban Contemporary YA titles10 you insist you don't rep at this time.11
The resultant ocean of awesome constitutes the greatest story ever told (oh, yeah, better than the Bible12)! Attached is a list of actors I think should play me in the inevitable film adaptation.13
What's that? You want to know a little about my creator? Sure. He's five foot ten, hunnert'n fiddy pounds, winner of Publish America's Best Novelists Who Paid Us Over Three Thousands Dollars but Less Than Five Thousand Dollars.14 He's also a five-time divorcée with no health insurance and twelve kids,15 all of whom LOVE THIS BOOK16 and think you're an idiot if you pass it up!17 He's never written so much as his name before now18 but he figured if that stupid vampire book can make money, it can't be that hard.19
His bank account info is attached so you can just wire the signing bonus right now.20 Where should he send his head shot for the dust jacket?
Looking forward to our first book tour,
Prince of Neo Thailand
(on behalf of Kelvin Blech - rhymes with letch)
PS: Too bad you only accept e-mail queries. My snail-mail queries get an envelope full of glitter.21
1. Refer to agents as male because it's TOTALLY not offensive or degrading to female agents.
2. ALWAYS start with a hypothetical which, if answered 'No,' would result in a two sentence story - shows you have balls.
3. You spent a lot of time creating your characters. Why not let them speak for you?
4. Generally accepted word counts are for chumps. The longer the better.
5. This is, of course, the best kind.
6. Jingoism NEVER goes out of style.
7. Treat your agent like a horny male (he's never gonna buy the cow if the milk is free).
8. Have fun with genres. This word automatically makes the story noir.
9. Boom! You just dropped the word anvil on this agent's ass!
10. Or whatever is popular at the time regardless of what your story is about. This is called “positioning.”
11. Agents ALWAYS say they don't rep stuff they really want. See #7.
12. Go big or go home.
13. Show 'em you're a good long-term bet.
14. Let him know you're kind of a big deal.
15. Remind agents when time is of the essence.
16. This is what agents refer to as “having a platform.”
17. You can handle criticism. Can your agent?!
18. Gotta start somewhere.
19. Be subtle but imply you're super smart about the industry and stuff.
20. Always behave as if the agent already said yes.
21. This does two things: visually demonstrates the conceptual magic that is your manuscript and also makes it easy to remember who you are.
What do you think, folks?! Can you smell that? That's what genius smells like!
Our work here is done!
Now go forth, dear writers, and tell us how many bidding wars our Perfect Query Lettertm started for you!
NOTE: This letter is not at all perfect and is, in fact, a complete and utter clusterf**k. Not only will you NOT get an agent with this letter, you are likely to have computers, iPads, laptops, pens, pencils, typewriters, quills and inks taken away from you under newly enacted provisions of the Patriot Act. The idea for this came, not from the lack of quality in the queries we received but from exactly the opposite. The queries were all so good, we wondered where all the BAD query letters were. Obviously we found it. If your query letter includes anything familiar from the sample above you might want to have another go before submitting it.