Thursday, November 06, 2008

How To Be Stupid

Pin It Usually when you're ready to start looking for an agent, you typically:

a) have a completed manuscript that has been edited and critiqued,
b) have worked hard to produce a well written and engaging query letter, and
c) have identified specific agents who would be a good fit for your work.

But - me, I'm a rebel. Here is the process I suggest:
  • Write a query letter at 2:30 in the morning, when you are sleep deprived and punchy. This letter will seem HILARIOUS at 2:30 in the morning when you are taking a break from writing technical documents, but not quite so hilarious in the cold light of day.
  • Email your hastily written query letter to a few of the top literary agents in the industry before you really think it over. Because hey - why not? What's the big deal? It's JUST YOUR FUTURE.
  • If you haven't actually finished your manuscript, that just makes the whole thing more exciting. Basically you want to set it up so that the best you could possibly hope for is a rejection.
I don't know. Sometimes I think I must have a brain tumor.

68 comments:

  1. Those are the very things that endear you to everyone. Agents too, I'm sure.

    I hope you're wrong because I need to get your book(s).

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  2. It will all work out. Consider this a practice run on tempting fate. What you should question is if you do get a response from your 2:30am mailings! How wild would that be? Positive thoughts and good luck.

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  3. Oooh, sorry to hear all that.

    And you're posting in the middle of the night. Not good.

    Let's hope they all just press delete without noticing your name.

    It'll make a funny story in a couple of years!

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  4. But at least you DID it. I mean, here I sit. Even a brain tumor wouldn't get me off my rear, apparently.

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  5. Yeah, that's not really the very best plan but hey, maybe you'll get lucky. Hey, it could happen.

    But on a cheeier note, the top 15 agents get so many queries that you can probably go ahead and send thema real query letter in a few months and it'll be like that other one never even happened.

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  6. At least now you can claim a split personality. You'll be eccentric. Those are huge nowadays. Look at the guy that lies and says his book is true and then takes it back. He's famous. But I can't think of his name. There's always self-publishing.:)

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  7. In my best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice, "It's not a tumor."

    Maybe it's an elf with a pointy stick trying to take over your body so he can take over THE WORLD!!! MUAHAHAHAHAH!!!

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  8. I know nothing of query letters and manuscripts, but I do know about the wondering about a brain tumor part. And I do know this is prolly the only chance I'll get to write the first comment on one of your posts.

    HEY EVERYBODY! LOOK AT ME!!! I'M ALMOST FAMOUS!!!!!!!

    Still lovin your blog. And prolly your punchy query letter too:)

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  9. oh, that's why......you're censoring the comments. Never mind then:( So much for my 15 minutes of fame.

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  10. I used to want to be the person who would read those letters and reject them. But how could I have rejected something with lots of capital letters, especially if it were from you!

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  11. Just show them this post, then they'll see that you are really a levelheaded, smart, hilarious person. Not just a tired, typo-happy writer. Good luck with that. I would love to read a book by you!

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  12. Actually, I don't think you need to have it finished. Just an outline sometimes, they don't really want to read the whole thing unless they have already decided they want it. I will hope that you are really funny and they get it. You know what I think you should do? Write up your fake blog incident for a women's magazine, cause while you might be writhing still, it is funny!

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  13. I LOVE IT! How to be stupid, professionally speaking! Love reading your blog!

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  14. I find this totally hilarious--yet I've had friends do the exact same thing. Let us know what happens. (With your luck, you might actually get a bite!)

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  15. If they read your blog then you'll have no problem.

    Plus, if you do have a tumor, keep it maybe it'll get the sympathy vote.

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  16. I hear Steph Meyer just emailed portions of Twilight to agents--and before it was done being written. So, hey, you never know! Maybe your query letter will hit the right note with someone. I hear it is harder to get an agent than to get a book published,yet most publishers require you have one. You would almost think that the publishing industry is against books or something. It's so not right!

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  17. Like you said. Just your future. No big deal.

    And if the stuff on your blog is written in this same 2:30 in the morning sleep-deprived mode, it'll be hilarious. 'Cuz you know we all think you're the funniest lady in blogland.

    So, um.....good luck with all that. Hey - at least you're trying to live your dream and have STARTED a manuscript and were brave (arguably "stupid," but I'm trying to be positive here) enough to send a query letter to agents.

    But seriously. I wish you lots of luck!!

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  18. May be they will realize what time you sent the letter, and know that if you are that great at 2:30 in the morning, your regular daytime writing must be brilliant!
    Good luck!
    I loved the part about the typo's the most!

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  19. I love your blog. Please tell me you didn't remove the last post due to ridiculous emails. I couldn't have agreed more and was so glad to see someone have the courage to say it. Just want you to know I loved it!!

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  20. Nah, I removed the last post because controversy gives me a headache. I said my piece, the end.

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  21. Pah - if they can't see your 2:30am humour then they're just not worth bothering about!

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  22. You are my very own personal source of amusement.

    What did I do before I met you?

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  23. As someone who works in publishing, I can say that we love letters from escaped mental patients and the like. Makes our day. Even if you don't get a contract, at least you'll have made some poor, overworked editor smile.

    Megan

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  24. Hey if you wrote the whole CORDY hopeless romance and marriage deal sleep deprived...then I bet you hear back from someone...

    That someone might be insane also...but all the better! :)

    Good Luck!

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  25. Is this for the hopeless story??

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  26. No - something similar though....

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  27. I'm sure there are some very successful people with brain tumors. And if it doesn't work out, change your name and try again later (but not later at night). :) Good luck!

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  28. You're such a cutie! No idea what you're talking about and you still make me laugh...not AT you...WITH you!

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  29. I must say, I am impressed by the speed and enthusiasm with which I am being rejected.

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  30. Wait... did you write as YOU or under a pseudonym? That would be awesome, just bury 'em with funny but ill-prepared stuff so that your REAL, well-thought-out letter is like a shining light amongst the other stuff.

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  31. What if we start an I Would Buy Sue's Book bloggosphere wide petition. You could email that out as an addendum. =P

    Fingers crossed anyway, babe.

    Plus...check on www.youwriteon.co.uk. Fab site for critiques. The top ten each month get a free professional review and people have been published from the site even.

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  32. Holy crap, I totally get your pain! I submitted my first query last night as well and boy oh boy, got my first rejection today! How fun for us, right?

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  33. I think it's a stroke of genius. It might be the kind of genius that made Van Gogh cut off his ear, but whatever. Genius.

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  34. I think I need to see the letter. just to make sure everything's spelled correctly.

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  35. I think you should post the letter so we can all tell you how hilarious and awesome it is.

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  36. Oh, that sounds sooooo much like something I would have done 2 years ago. I've been working VERY hard on my late night discretion. I think I"m SO hilarious at night. I used to have to take down so many blog posts on my old blog because of my late night sleep drunkeness. Don't you know that being without sleep can be like being intoxicated?

    My sympathies!!

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  37. It's more exciting your way. Don't discount the crazy approach- it's worked for a lot of people, hopefully you'll be one of them.

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  38. Sleep deprivation is a tumor all it's own.

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  39. C'mon Sue, be brave and turn on the comments for your last post. I really want to list all the socialist/dictator/thug/worldleaders who entusiastically supported Obama's election.

    I feel so much better now.

    Hope you find an agent, btw :)

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  40. Sweet. Give us a teaser? Someday?

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  41. I don't know hon. Sometimes I think there is something to setting the cart before the horse....

    and may you make millions

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  42. erm...

    not necessarily all bad.

    but if you are talking about Children's or YA literature you would do VERY WELL to make sure, very subtly to make sure they know that you are a Utah author. Seriously, this is a foot in the door in the current market.

    and so far as I know... you DON'T have to have the full manuscript done. Not if you are freakin' brilliant.

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  43. If they don't get the humor in your query letter, they won't "get" your writing. It's a great screening mechanism.

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  44. You actually shouldn't have the whole manuscript done, they like to edit you along the way...as long as you know how it turns out.

    BTW, Barack Obama is a socialist. But, see, so is John McCain. Either way, we get a major lefty, so might as well pick the one with an actual D by his name. HAHA YOU TURNED ON COMMENTS!!!

    (I'm a hard core Repub, and McCain would have been a freaking nightmare as a president!!! NIGHTMARE!)

    Feel free to edit this comment or not publish, I'm good.

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  45. Too bad you turned off the comments on your political posts because I'm one of those rarest of all creatures - the Utah Democrat. And I have just been grinning like a fool for two days now because we are actually going to get a President who CARES about us! Whoo-hoo-hoopty-doo!

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  46. Done is better than perfect, or the perfect is the enemy of the good, or it's better to have tried and failed than not to have tried -- so they say. I wouldn't know *personally,* since my perfectionism and risk-aversion keeps me from accomplishing anything much.

    (I kinda suspect your 2:30 letter is pretty dang amusing, but I'm not so certain the agents will be in the right mood to recognize it as such. They might if you could find a way to make sure they *read* it at 2:30 AM . . .)

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  47. P.S. Tell Cordy not to worry about Seth -- I'm not sure what his Facebook master plan is, but since he currently doesn't have any Facebook friends, it doesn't look like it could be too diabolical.

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  48. How much do I love that Seth has a blog listed on his Facebook. SO SO MUCH. You are an evil genius.

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  49. Wait, Seth is on facebook? Is Cordy too? I didn't know you ever used his last name....hmmm...looking around....

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  50. You're CONTINUING IT! I had no idea. Silly me, I thought it was all wrapped up in a nice little 'love bubble' and they were making out all the time and the end. So I haven't been checking.

    Very fun.

    Do you have something on there now that says it's fictional, or have you just stopped caring? Because most people NOW know it's fiction, but if people find it later, they might think it's real, and then you'll have to go and pickle yourself all over again.

    Not my problem, though. I want Seth's blog address, maybe I'll have to add him as a friend....

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  51. Oh, I see it now. "Because it's fiction..."

    Tired of comments from me, yet?

    Sorry.

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  52. I can't wait until Cordy gets a Facebook account, too. *twiddles thumbs*

    I love writing things at 2:30 in the morning - no matter how crappy they actually turn out to be, the FEELING of brilliance still remains, you know?

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  53. Yeah, I was having too much fun not to keep doing it, so I took the blog back in time - scratching the hasty resolution. It ain't high literature, but it's a fun distraction in the middle of the night when I'm supposed to be working on tech docs.

    I like sending people on virtual treasure hunts. It amuses me.

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  54. Isn't it fun to live in Bizzaro World where we can't wait to see what happens to the fictional characters you created? By the way, I have had to change the time and spellcheck many a blog entry the following morning due to late night typing (and vino, but that's just me).Oh, and one more thing, I was so dying to comment on the last post, so here it goes. I knew I liked you, Sue. I am a blue person in a very red state (AZ) and all I keep saying is "Now it's your turn to not like the President, fair's fair..."
    I just hope he lives upto the hype or I'll never hear the end of it at Bunco.

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  55. I LOOOOVEEE that you are still writing MSHR!! Please don't stop! I just found it on Monday and read it all that day, I just found out the truth today with finding your blog in my reader but I don't care at all! I love it! If this were a book, I would buy it and you can be sure I would tell every other hopeless and non-hopeless romantic I know to as well! Thanks for sharing such a fun story with us all! I can't wait to read what happens next :)

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  56. I would totally do the same thing.

    You're so not alone, isn't that great! Or is that just sad? Shoot.

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  57. So I found your blog through Amber Belmonte's blog. But I found your other Blog through another friend. Long story short. I'm so glad that you are trying to find an agent you are a great writer and people will love your books. I love your other blog I impatiently wait for each post. Hope everything goes good.

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  58. I just read your most recent entry on My Super Hopeless Romance and all I can say is, PLEASE write a book. Sigh...

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  59. Okay, what I REALLY want to do is comment on your post from Wednesday.

    But don't get scared.

    I'm here to give you a huge cyber high 5!

    I too have been biting my tongue on my own blog (although not on other people's).

    But I did a BIG ol' happy dance Tuesday night. BIG.

    thanks for your post :)

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  60. Use a pseudonym and write a better letter and manuscript before you send them next time :) and did you think turning off the comments on the political post would work? I LOVED it. I'm a closet "commie" (unaffiliated)afraid to come out because it might be the last straw for the ultra conservative family I apparently was born into by accident. But I'm sorta attached to them. Forever. And I'd like it to be a pleasant forever.

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  61. You might be surprised at what those random 2am musings get you.

    I speak from experience.

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  62. Oh, how many times have I wished I'd told myself, "step away from that Enter button...step away...." Alas, always too late.

    It's the pinkie finger. They're trouble.

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  63. I'm impressed you approached an agent at all. A few years ago I published a book ("The Accidental Gringo" - instant classic. Seriously, order fifty for the kids' stockings today and receive the Ronco Pocket Taser in time for holiday shopping) and found the experience hyper-intimidating. So hats off to you - semi-lucid posting choices and all - and I'll be watching your progress closely!

    ~DeNae, from thebackorderedlife.blogspot.com

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  64. It's better than how I would handle it.. by forgetting all about it until long, LONG after the date had passed and then feeling forlorn for yet another squandered opportunity. See? Don't you feel better now?

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  65. I ♥ your blog! Thanks for sharing! ♥ Hugs :)

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  66. Yes. Definitely brain tumor behavior. This is why you have friends in the writing world, stupid head.

    And you know I love you.

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  67. Well I hope one or more (how about all) pleasantly surprise you :) I love your writing!

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