Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Worst Query Letter Ever Contest

Five Scribes readers, now I've heard everything.  I know we have contests for great query letters.  But did you know at the 32nd annual Cocoa Beach Writers' Conference in Florida, they actually asked for entries for bad ones? Author Bill Allen took it as a personal challenge, and, sadly...sadly as poorly as the following letter is written, Bill didn't win.
So with fun in mind, we'd like to present an example of what not to do when submitting a query letter.  Although, keep in mind, there really are worse letters than this.

Dear Mr. Publisher Man or Woman,
Drop whatever yur readin cuz I got sumpen thats gonna blow all them other writers outta tha water and you aint gonna wanna miss it cuz its guaranteed to sell millions a copies. I call it Hot Times in the Coal Mines and its bout my pappy Darryl and my other pappy Darryl and their insexual relatins. They had it hardern most folk on accounta it was so tough for em to work the mines and carry on their insexual relatins what with them being joined at the backside the way they was. I dont wanna spoil nothing but it turns out real good up until the fire. Well yule see when it hits the shelves and you and the rest a America get to read the endin. I dont wanna brag but my girlfriend Ellie—shes the one helped me fix up this letter cuz sometimes I dont get all my spellin and grammer just right—anyway she also fixed up Hot Times and she says its the best book shes ever read, which is sayin a lot cuz she went to school and everything all the way up through the fifth grade. And shes not the only one likes it. Momma says its grate and even ifn she cant read, shes a right smart lady. Oh your probly wonderin bout that black stuff that blew upin yer face when you opent my letter. That theres real coal dust from Harpers Mine up in Harpers Holler where my pappys carryd on there insexual relatins. Bet that suprised yer dint it. Them lighter specks is real special. Theys some of Pappy Darryls actual ashes. Oh and some of Pappy Darryls ashes two.
Well Ellies gonna be here shortly so I best run. Im sendin all my book pages up yer way in my possum catchin box. Sorry bout the smudges but you know how it is with coal dust has a way a getting into everythin. They aint typed but I figure thats what yer for. Dont take too long cuz I need my money right off. Momma needs a new truck on accounta the one we got now makes these whoop whoop whoop sounds when she steps on the go pedal. Momma says its a problem with the plugs but I dont think sheed be havin these kinda troubles if sheed jus stop fillin the tank with Granpappy Darryls corn squeezins. Well it don't matter no way cuz wheel be able to buy loads a trucks once all that money starts rollin in. Oh Ellies here so I gotta go. Im so excited. If only Pappy and Pappy were here to see this. Cant wait fer yer call. Oh did I mention we dont have no phone. Dont worry. If you just ring the Whistle Stop up in Harpers Holler they all know me and momma up their. Everybody knows me and momma. Specially momma but I cant tell her story cuz she aint dead yet. Dont say nothin to her but it shouldnt be long now. Shes nerely forty. K gotta go.
Cletus Blackspot
PS Ellie says hi.

Now keep in mind that Bill Allen did not paragraph when he submitted, but your humble blogger decided to have mercy on your eyes.  (So for those of you who may be impressed by Mr. Allen's submission, don't be.  It's an example of what NOT to do ;)



P.S.  Although Mr. Allen was heartbroken at not being considered, he’ll have to content himself by writing fabulous children’s books, that believe it or not, are perfectly spelled, humorous and a delight to readers.

Bill Allen may be described as an unusual man who has accomplished an unusual many deeds. In fact, it has been said that if you total up all the things he claims to have done, he cannot possibly be less than seven hundred years old.

No one knows if this is true. All that is certain is that for a good many years he has been living in Melbourne, Florida with his wife, Nancy, writing software by day and, well, mostly sleeping by night. Every now and again he writes stories, too.



Karin Huxman - Romance Author said...

That was fun! Thanks for posting it. :)

Lisa Potocar said...

That was wicked fun! I was peeing my pants laughing...

Thanks for sharing!!!!