Writer’s query in Black. Query Seal’s reply in blue
Deer Ice Cube Press:
Deer? What deer? Oh, you mean dear. For Heaven’s sake, please don’t misspell the first word in your query. Misspelling dear will get you an automatic rejection.
I looked over your submissions notice, and even though it says your (you’re) not taking submissions I want to tell you about my book.
I know some agents and publishers will look at queries even though they’re not taking submissions, but most others don’t. When the guidelines say they are not taking submissions, they’re not seeking submissions. And if you’re going to send a letter to a company not seeking submissions, you better have a very outstanding query with an outstanding story.
You say I get four seconds to try so I will try.
No, no, no, NO! First, you already wasted your first four seconds with your first sentence on submissions. Second, being a smart aleck and joking about the four-second rule wastes our time and makes us send you a rejection at this sentence. Every letter should open with a hook. The four-second rule is not a hook. Begin with your story.
My book is about my family growing up.
And?… That’s it? That’s all you’ll give us about the story. What problems did your family face? What is the plot? What makes your story different from anybody else’s? Why should anybody care? Story needs plot. No plot. No story.
I am always told I have a way with words, and so I think people will like my story. I know I like it (Well I hope so. If you don’t like your book, we won’t either).
If you will accept it I can help sell it. I am sure people will like it.
Thank you for my chance to do this, J.M.
None of this strengthens your letter. It is pointless. First, we don’t know if people will like your story when we don’t know what your story is. There’s no word count. You don’t tell us the genre or the kind of people who would read your book. And don’t tell us people in general. We want to know who’s your specific audience. Do you have any previous publishing credit? I’m not even sure if you have written a book and you’re just pulling my leg.
Verdict: First word misspelled
No useful information
The Query Seal will send a rejection