The subtitle for LITERARY FAILS: TOTALLY (SIC)! shows the contents of this little volume: "101 Crazy Query Letters Sent by Writers in their Quest for Publishing Fame." As an acquisitions editor and former literary agent, I've seen similar submissions from writers so I know the truth of these strange submissions.
These writers have forgotten the truth in what humorist Will Rogers said years ago, "You only get one chance to make a good first impression." The authors of these letters have definitely made an impression and not the one they wanted.
As an example, here's #20, "I'd be honored to have one of my most cherished poetry books/ 600 pages appx represented by you. In this hour of gory terrorism, this poetry book of mine irrefutably proves that no matter how sacreligeously (sic) terrorism has stung the face of our society; love conquers everything…" Then literary agent and author Sharlene Martin's witty response, "Indeed it does, my probably intoxicated friend! So wait right there while I run to the nearest coffee house and search out the commercial audience for 600 pages of poetry by an unknown author. Order yourself another round. This could take a while." (page 27)
Reading this book will provide tons of head shaking amazement at what writers actually send to literary agents wanting them to sell their book ideas. It will also validate your belief in the "over the transom" submission process. Literary agents and other publishing professionals read their email. Why? They are on a constant search for good writing and the next big breakout book.
If writers will only study the final portion of LITERARY FAILS, they will see three successful pitches which Martin turned and got writers book deals. I loved LITERARY FAILS and if you require some extra encouragement to polish your submission, this book is just what you need.
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
W. Terry Whalin (terrywhalin)
I am an Acquisitions Editor at Morgan James Publishing. I have written more than 60 books for traditional publishers and for more than 50 magazines. My blog on The Writing Life has more than 1,100 searchable … more
Sharlene Martin is the Founder of Martin Literary Management located in Seattle. She specializes in highly commercial nonfiction genres including memoirs, prescriptive (how to) parenting, health, business (entrepreneurial driven) true crime, celebrity related books and pop culture. She is the co-author of Publish Your Nonfiction Book: Strategies for Learning the Industry, Selling Your Book, and Building a Successful Career (Writer's Digest Books). Considerate Literary Management for the 21st Century is her motto and she tries to honor that daily in her business relationships. For more about MLM, see: www.MartinLiteraryManagement.com