Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pet Peeves

We agent bloggers often teach, or try to teach, writers how to write a stronger query. Sometimes, though, in those lessons, we also discuss our pet peeves, those things we wish writers wouldn’t do, but things that probably don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of how an agent considers your book.

So today’s post is going to be a list of pet peeves. Things I see all the time in queries that for whatever reason bug me, but that don’t make a lick of difference in how I consider a query. I’m sure you all have those silly things in your everyday life that drive you crazy, but that you really can’t control.

Impersonal Email Addresses—for some reason it bugs me when people don’t have a more professional-sounding email address. I hate when the email comes through and says something like Mom’s PC, Doggiedoo, PetFamily, or Brainfart. I’d prefer people set up an email address that, no matter what the actual address is, the email comes through with a name. In other words, even if your email is, I’d like it to read in my in-box as Jenny Jones.

Changing Fonts—sometimes emails come written in an array of different fonts. I always assume the changes were made after the writer hit “send,” but it still drives me crazy.

Emails in Letter Format—emails should not have your address, etc., at the top of the page. That format is reserved for hard-copy letters. Email format is to place your address and other contact information in a signature line at the bottom.

Queries addressed to Jenny or Jennifer (unless of course you really did mean to send it to Jenny or Jennifer, but there is no one with that name at BookEnds.

Quoting this line from our web site: “unique fiction with a strong hook”—yes, this is what I’m looking for and certainly it shows that you’ve done your research, but I’d rather you show me how your fiction is unique with a strong hook, then quote it back at me.

And keep in mind, this list was written with a slight smile because yes, I know none of these really matter in the grand scheme of things.