QueryTracker Blog

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Best of The Worst

Holy laughing gas, the entries for the World's Worst Query Letter contest were amazing! Before we get to the winners, I have to post some of the most rib-tickling lines from individual query letters. These made my day, made me smile, and/or made me spew soda right on the screen. If one of them comes from your query letter, consider yourself a winner!

I use grammar and punctuation very loosely and creatively, giving my novel an original voice.

Don't take this as a threat but I sent this to 368 other very carefully researched agents so you best hurry up with that contract!

I am a master of those sometimes annoying “25 Thing” notes on Facebook.

I don't want to get a new puppy because you have to go through that whole shoe chewing thing.


I could probably be one myself, do you guys make a lot of money?

I repeated two grades, so they let me enter extra times.

Hey Pretty Lady!

This book is going to be wibbletastic (my book is so great I had to make up a word to describe it!).

I’ve already finished writing the first twenty books of the series, and planned to do at least fifty more.

Now's your chance to get even.

Word to your mother,

I forgot to mention that I enclosed a rose and a few trinkets from my homeland.

Some might think that the story is close to the book Charlotte’s Web but I assure you that it is different.

I was going to use the Austrailia Yowie at first but I haven't been to Austrailia yet and didn’t know what it looked like but I went to mexico once and visited a really cool pueblo for spring break where they told this super cool story about the Chupacabra and its always stuck with me.

I myself am qualified to write this equerry for her because I just decorated my house in the victorian style.

I learned to type in high school.

Dear Big E. (You don’t mind me calling you that do you?),

I’ve also read it out loud to my many many cats (pictures enclosed), and they loved it two.

I am attaching all of my book, even though my computer has had a few virus problems, as long as you have McAfee or something similar, it shouldn’t be any problem to download my book.

I’m uniquely qualified to write this fiction novel because I love too eat ketchup (I keep packets in my car for a snack while driving to my job at the IRS.)

So, what did you think of the latest Star Trek movie?

Aren’t those lines great? They all came from different letters so you can see the “quality” of the worst that we got!

Here are the winners!

First place: Query Critique by Jim McCarthy of Dystel and Goderich. (See what he's looking for below.)
The winner had me on the floor, clutching my ribs and horse-laughing just with the title. Or maybe it was the booty shorts. Either way, the winner is Justina Ireland!

Dear Dream Grantor,

I am writing you at the recommendation of the girl who sits next to you in yoga class, the one who wears the booty shorts. She read an early copy of my manuscript and told me I should forward it to you.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be abducted by aliens that look like Zach Ephron, taken to their home planet, and used as part of their breeding program?


The novel is a semi-autobiographical account of what happens when an average girl from Ohio is kidnapped by an alien who looks like Zach Ephron and taken to his home planet for sexy stuff. The planet is almost exactly like the High School Musical town, only without women.

My novel is the next Angels and Demons, and readers have commented that “it’s like Lord of the Flies, only better. With, you know, hotter guys.” User qtpie34 on the Zach Ephron fansite called it “hawter than a 1000 suns. Srsly.” My mother said it was so good it made her cry, and my pastor called it “The most amazing thing I have ever read since the Bible.”

I have been writing seriously for the past four years and have gotten gold stars on every paper since my freshman year. Last year I wrote an essay on Jane Eyre and my English teacher thought it rocked. I’ve also been named best hair by the school newspaper and on MySpace. On Facebook I got an award for biggest sweetheart.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this. The complete novel is attached. You can check out my website at www.kandihart.blogspot.com or friend me on Facebook, I’m Kandi Hart O-girl.

Thanx so much!

Second Place: One Year Free QT Premium Membership
The genres in this one had me rolling. And the winner is... Christauna Asay!

Yo Mr./Mrs. Agent/Editor whom it may concern,

I’ve been writing this fiction novel for fifty-nine years and figured I’d let you be the lucky one to have it. It is 10,789 pages long (single spaced) and I wrote it for a completely new audience as it has science fiction, history, romance, mystery, non-fiction, splatter punk, horror, western, and pretty much encompasses all of the genre’s out there. This is for sure the next Twilight.

Why would someone want to buy poo? Why would Mina leave the comfy confines of her comfy home on a comfy quest of this sort? My fiction novel is about this one girl, which is sort of like me since my life has been really interesting. The main character is really in love with this one guy and he totally likes her but aliens take him away and she spends the rest of the book pining away for him on her comfy ranch.

I have 12 dogs and 25 squirrels and we live on a ranch in California where I write only when the fancy takes me. It took me a long time to write this book since I don’t think creativity should be rushed. I’ve started on a sequel that I’m hoping will be as long and as good as this one. I never really went to school but I think it helps with my writing. I use grammar and punctuation very loosely and creatively, giving my novel an original voice. I met this movie star once who told me I should write a story about my life and she would totally play a main role in the movie. So I wrote the book and even though I haven’t been able get in contact with the movie star again, I hoped you would since you’re an agent/editor.

My mother and best friend told me this was the best book they ever read in their lives and they read lots and lots of books. They said it was better than Twilight and Harry Potter put together. Here’s what one of them said, “My little girl is so talented that anyone who rejects her will probably receive cookies laced with arsenic in the mail.” Arsenic is her secret ingredient. I think with the book being so long, lots of people will like it since they’ll have a lot more to read.

I am including my entire manuscript. I know you only want a query, but since I know you’ll love it from the first page to the last page I’m sending the whole thing in an extra large box with lots of glitter for your entertainment. I don’t have email or a phone but you can call me between the hours of 5:15 a.m. and 5:36 a.m. at the store near my home. I’ll be waiting by the phone everyday until I hear from you.

Peace out,

Third place: Steve Weber’s book, Plug Your Book: Online Marketing for Authors.
Congrats to Amy Sonnichsen!

To Whoever This Stroke of Genius May Concern:

"Snarling, snatching, dreaming, matching
Holding, pleasing everyone, but not hatching"

That is an excerpt from my book, which is a book made up of lots of little clever, cute rhymes. I just included that one to wet your whistle (*grin*). The book is called POEMS FROM SOUTH DAKOTA: A PERSONAL MEMOIRE WRITTEN ENTIRELY IN CLEVER CUTE RHYMES FROM THE HEART AND MIND OF MELISSA LLOYD LAMBELLA and is completely finished at 11,622 words.

Melissa Lloyd Lambella is my nome de plum (sp?) because I dont want people to recognize my real name, because then I'd be in the grocery store writing a check and the clerk would start yelling, "Are you serious? Are! You! Serious? You can't be Chrissy Sue Miller! Not the one who wrote POEMS FROM SOUTH DAKOTA: A PERSONAL MEMOIRE WRITTEN ENTIRELY IN CLEVER CUTE RHYMES FROM THE HEART AND MIND OF CHRISSY SUE MILLER!!" And then I'd have to explain AGAIN that I WAS THAT Chrissy Sue Miller, sign autographs, yadda yadda yadda.

And -- segway (sp?) -- I WILL be famous. TRUST ME. I live in South Dakota, which is a HUGE NICHE MARKET. And I will drive whereever I have to drive (as long as the money comes in soon enough to buy me a new car, 'cause the one I have now ain't gettin' there) to make sure this book sells. And believe me, IT WILL SELL.

WHY? Because there's nothing else like it out there. This is an absolutely NEW IDEA. NOBODY has thought of putting their life out there in front of the world in clever cute rhymes before. And that's what America wants. America wants NEW. NEW sells. Right now I work in the shoe department of a large department store. The women that come in want NEW. NEW SELLS SHOES. NEW SELLS BOOKS.

I know after reading this you're going to be hitting that REPLY button as fast as your little finger can hit it. Because you want to read MORE of what I have in STORE (*wink*). To save you the trouble, I'm just going to slip my ENTIRE MEMOIRE in the padded UPS envelope (and a few HOMEGROWN BEETS for you and your pals at the office to munch in your spare time). Just let me know when you're ready and we'll be on the road to publication and BIG BUCKS in no time.

And if for some reason I don't hear back SOON, just know that I have seven or ten other agents who are DROOLING over this book. They are CLAMMERING for it. I told them to wait until I heard back from YOU, so take the hint and feel special.

Dying to hear back...... xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Now, if you didn't win, never fear! Mr. McCarthy is actively building his client list. Send your not-so-worst (that means best, well-edited, and serious) query to him. Here's what he's looking for.

As an avid fiction reader, his interests encompass both literary and commercial, adult and young adult works. He is particularly interested in women's fiction, underrepresented voice, mysteries, romance, paranormal fiction, and anything unusual or unexpected. In addition to fiction he is also interested in narrative nonfiction, humor, memoir, paranormal nonfiction, and anything related to architecture, planning, or real estate.

Elana Johnson writes science fiction and fantasy for young adults. Besides a serious addiction to the Internet, she can never get enough reality TV, Dove dark or reasons to laugh. Click here to visit her blog.


Rick Daley said...

OK I am totally suing someone for the nasal damage incurred when hot coffee shot out of my nose as a response to the unbridled laughter inspired by these queries.

Stina said...

I'm so glad I wasn't eating breakfast or drinking milk when I read these. Way too funny!

Elana Johnson said...

Rick and Stina, I know, right?! So funny. Congrats to the winners!

Rachelle Christensen said...

These were so funny! What a great contest! :) Loved the titles of the books.

Unknown said...

These were great! Although I'm thinking about sending Elana some cookies laced with Arsenic now due to not choosing my Query Letter ;)

Awesome Contest!!!

Mary Lindsey / Marissa Clarke said...

Oh, no, Marybeth. Don't do that. I'm her official food taster. :)

Great queries. I love the "best of" lines you pulled out too, Elana.

Unknown said...

Memo to me...come up with an unfood related plot to get revenge...sigh....

Angie said...

Thanks to the winners for the great laughs!

Linda Godfrey said...

The winners were deliciously wicked and wickedly hilarious. I was happy just to see my line about the other 368 agents quoted. Great contest, and thanks!

Elana Johnson said...

Marybeth, no arsenic! I'm sure yours made me snarf. All I had were email addresses so we wouldn't be biased. I laughed a lot at a lot of the letters. They were awesome!

Suzette Saxton said...

Yay! Congratulations, you winners, those were absolutely (ahem) wonderful!

Suzette Saxton said...

LOL Rick!

Rebecca Knight said...

LOL! These were amazingly awesome! Great job, winners ;). I almost snarfed tea out my nose, too. Another casualty of the truly "great" queries!

Stina said...

Fortunately I've seen both Amy's novel and query (the real one), so I know she's a fantastic writer (as the purple prose contest proved). Of course, that's why she's in my writers group. :0)

Congrats everyone! Even those of us who caused soda to spew out of Elana's nose. That's quite an honor.

Ashley N said...

Wow! I haven't laughed that hard in a while. Thanks for posting all of these! Freaking fantastic. The sad thing is, there are probably several (or more) queries out there circulating that bear some resemblance to those three. :)