Query Letters: Don’t Do This

Query Letters: Don’t Do This

Several don’t exist for query letters, and entire books have been dedicating to perfecting the art of querying agents and editors. That being said, as I am a literary agent writing this blog post, I have several examples of things that would fit in that don’t category that I see most often.

We’ve already covered a post on what to DO. Let’s dive into those DON’T categories.

DON’T: Be Demanding

I was in the querying trenches a few years back, I understand. You’ve sent hundreds of submissions, and you want:

  • Answers as to why people have turned you down
  • Referrals to other agents if this one will turn you down
  • And most important: an agent or a book deal

But you do have to keep in mind that we get literally thousands of submissions each year. If we provide any feedback or referrals, it’s on our own unpaid time.

Don’t ask for referrals or extensive feedback. The agent or editor will provide it if they see promise in your manuscript.

(You can put Ms. Bolinger if you want, but really make sure to research someone’s preferred pronouns before putting a Mr. or Ms. It’s often simpler just to do their name).

DON’T: Be Unrealistic

Who wouldn’t love for their book to be picked up by Netflix or Disney+. But we have to be realistic. Unless you have to have connections someone who already secured a Netflix deal for you don’t say, “This is going to be the next Netflix hit.”

Be realistic with social media numbers too. I may have 30,000 followers, but let me tell you, I did not have 30,000 of my followers buy my book when I released in June 2019. Talk about platform, but don’t say that that alone will get you sales.

It won’t.

DON’T: Be Rude

This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised at how poorly people take rejections. As someone who has been rejected literally hundreds (if not thousands at this point) of times, I know how to take a punch.

Don’t ask them to reconsider. Don’t say, “Well, J.K. Rowling got rejected XYZ times, and those publishers sure were sorry.” Don’t insult their agency, their position, or their publishing house.

Simply say, “Thank you for your time,” when they reject you. Believe me, you don’t want to burn bridges in this industry. And industry members do talk.

I have rejected people previously because I’ve heard from others that they were too hard to work with or badgered them constantly on social media for updates. While we’re at it …

DON’T: Pitch Them on Social Media

There is one exception: If they are participating in a Twitter Pitch Party. But even then, they require you to submit via email or Submittable if they like your pitch.

I have a rule of thumb (especially on LinkedIn). If I connect or friend someone and they message me a pitch, I immediately unconnected or unfriend them.

When you pitch someone on social media you not only invade their personal DMs, but you tell them that you only see them as someone you can get something from.

No one likes to feel used.

What other tips have you heard when it comes to queries? We’d love to hear them in the comments.


39 Queries that Worked | Writer’s Digest

Kids Lit | Writers Chat

Writing Queries like a Professional Resume Writer | Serious Writer Academy

Query with Confidence | Almost an Author

Query Letter to Submit a Novel to a Publisher | Almost an Author

Brew & Ink Podcast – s 5 ep 12 – Singularity Ch. 12 Kepler

Brew & Ink Podcast – s 5 ep 12 – Singularity Ch. 12 Kepler

Why are there deadlines? Are they good or bad? Britt Mooney and Steven Faletti discuss the reality of deadlines in traditional publishing, the positives and negatives of them, and how we can set deadlines and goals for ourselves in different ways. Then author MB Mooney shares Kepler, chapter 12 of the Singularity storyline. Listen and vote!

Listen here:

In this episode:

Why are deadlines important?

Are they good or bad for the creative process?

How can a self-published or unpublished author set deadlines?

How can goals be good?

Britt shares Singularity Ch. 12 – Kepler.







Brew & Ink Podcast Season 2 Episode 1 – Flash Fiction Competition Part 1

How do authors balance the discipline of writing with the rest of their life? The Brew & Ink crew discuss the different ways that we try to stay consistent with writing with jobs, families, and more.

Then it’s time for the throw down! Katie drew the genre of Fairy Tale and Britt (MB) Mooney Legends, and both had to use the title “Strongbow.” Listen to their flash fiction stories and then go to our website or here on our FB page to vote for your favorite!

In this episode:

How do you stay consistent with your writing?

How do you prioritize time to write in the midst of family and other responsibilities?

Why is the balance of writing and the rest of your life important?

Why is a support system such an advantage?

Katie reads her Fairy Tale version of Strongbow

Britt reads his Legend version of Strongbow




How to Save Time By Decluttering Your Inbox

Time is the most precious commodity we have, mainly because we don’t have any idea how much of it we have.

There are many things I want to say about time-hacking, but we should start with one of the biggest time sucks ever.

The email inbox.

It pains me to share the numbers, but even after deleting almost 200 this morning, I stand at 14,575 emails in my mail program across seven email addresses with a shameful 5,610 of them unread.

To avoid missing emails from clients, friends, or important organizations, I’ve begun using the VIP feature in Mail. However, now almost everyone I know is in the VIP area and that list is getting longer and longer.

The quickest way I know to delete emails is to start at the top of my Mac Mail program and take the time to 1. Unsubscribe. 2. Search for all emails from that sender. 3. Delete. This time, I’m starting with my Gmail account and unsubscribing within the Gmail framework. While I listen to Frasier and work through today’s tasks.

However, in an effort to finally get this inbox under control (a goal I’ve had for many years), I’m on the search for tips and methods to master email once and for all.

7 Ways to Detox Your Inbox by Entrepreneur.com

Here’s How to Clean Up Your Gmail Inbox, You Hoarder by WIRED

How I Cleaned 1,328 Emails Out of My Inbox in an Hour by LifeHacker.com

The Only Five Folders Your Inbox Will Ever Need by FastCompany.com

You can also use apps like Unroll.Me to unsubscribe from newsletters.

If you have a tip for managing email, we’d love to know!