I post this mostly so that you can see that a lot of our mail is very, very strange--and those scary statistics you hear about the odds of getting published are misleading--needlessly grim--as they include the very odd submissions, too.
- Apologizing for your query in the very first line. Four people did this today. This is akin to saying, "I'm sorry you have to spend time with me. If you want to leave, you can" the moment you meet a romantic prospect. No no no.
- Queries under fifty words. If brevity is (as Dorothy Parker wrote) the soul of lingerie, yours consists of one ribbon and one doily.
- Writing a book about recreational activities while under the influence of illegal drugs. Bad enough, but then assuming a, "So, you know how...? Isn't that funny?" tone. I'm sorry, no, I don't know about going to a skate park after shooting up. And it seems somewhat impolite to imply that I would.
- S&M queries in the second person. I think Emily Post would agree that one should not include such things in business correspondence.
- Sending a beyond-deadpan query for a humor book.
- Sentences like, "