Why I will never stop imbibing in the drink

"Rahhrrrr...I'm an angry beagle"

Jim, our PO guy alerted me that I had a package to pick up. Since I don’t accept mailed queries, I knew it had to be something else. A gift from an admiring author? First class tickets to the Bahamas? Those adorable Toms I’ve been lusting over for the past couple months?

No.

It was a book. Now before you get all soft and chuffle out an “aww, how sweet,” let me just say that it was a query. Of a book. If this had been a bumbly type of thing, I’d possibly conjure up a smidge of sympathy. But no, this person knew exactly what he was doing because in very large font, he wrote, “WAIT! Don’t feed this to the beagle!”…which makes me sorta laugh considering my own beagle was the first photo on “angry beagle” google images. Sounds like it sound be a game, right? Angry Beagle? Ah, I digress.

He goes on to say two pages worth of nothing – no synopsis, just description that tells me nothing about the plot of this book – and ends with a plea that I take the time to READ HIS BOOK. In a word, no. In two words, HELL no.

Does this person believe I sit on my lower forty while the beagle peels me grapes, and my entire raison d’etre is to await his tomes of brilliance? Okay, I exaggerate – I do that when I’m irritated.

Words fail to do justice to my frustration over idiocy of this nature. He knew he shouldn’t send me a published book (from Xlibris with ISBN and all), yet he felt himself above it all and did it anyway, and then expected absolution. No, no, no, a thousand billion times, no. This is worse than being plain clueless. And you know where this book ended up? Straight into the trash right outside the PO, along with his business card and bookmark. I didn’t even crack the cover. It never even made it back to the batcave.

So what this person did was waste good money. He may as well have flushed that money down the toilet. And, okay, I admit that I’m peeved because I wasted my time picking it up. This is normally the beagle’s job, but she has a suspended license for failing to pass a breathalizer test. I really hate to waste my time on dumb things. And this was dumb. Dumber than dumb. It was dumb times a million.

Folks, don’t do this. Just…don’t. I have repeated this plea so many times I’ve lost count. I see the same plea on other editors’ and agents’ blogs all the time. And still, the willfully stupid try it anyway. “I know I’m being bad, but I’m so cute and I write sooo well that you won’t mind that I’m bad. In fact, you’ll thank me because I’ll make you a millionaire.” Makes me want to mainline bad gin.

Submission guidelines aren’t there for the tourists. You ARE the tourist. And yes, I will allow the beagle to rip it up and make dootie on books that wend their way to my mailbox.

12 Responses to Why I will never stop imbibing in the drink

  1. Becky Mushko says:

    I wish you had posted a picture of the beagle ripping the book to shreds. Maybe next time?

  2. It never made it back to the office. I dumped the book while still at the P.O. Next time. Promise.

  3. Laura W. says:

    It didn’t even deserve to be recycled.

  4. Sally Zigmond says:

    Lynn. The breadth of some people’s total idiocy (or is it egotism?) knows no bounds. He thought he was being so, so clever. I think you should have named and shamed.

  5. Sally, you’re as evil as I…and why I love you. But, alas, I would never name names. I think it’s terrifying enough to see you as the subject of someone’s blog. And hopefully this poor, deluded soul will be shamed enough to never do it again.

  6. Frank Mazur says:

    The author is a “literary Klinger.” Kinda makes you wonder what he’ll do next to get you to look at his book!

  7. I think he shot his wad, Frank. But I suppose there’s nothing to preclude him from contacting me to see if I received his book – at which time I’ll have to inform him that I didn’t, but the local landfill did. Yikes.

  8. Lauren says:

    That’s really a shame, Lynn. He no doubt reads this so I hope he will take your ran … er, advice to heart and learn from it rather than curse you.

    That said, if he ever decides to do something like this to another editor listen to this idea from a magazine editor I heard talk many years ago. She was with ISLAND magazines (based here). A writer sent her a query, which had been folded into a clean, empty wine bottle, sealed with wax and raffia, and prettily packaged. She was sufficiently amused that she took the time to fish the paper out. Unfortunately, they query wasn’t that well written, and while she admired the writer’s style and enjoyed the clever approach she advised her listeners that it wasn’t something to copy, that a well-written query was the way to go.

    P.S. She kept the bottle to show it off to audiences .

  9. Reminds me of the silly things I’ve received over the years. One query came in a can of tennis balls, another was inside a coconut, and another was filled with choccie bars that melted while still at the PO, which then drew ants and a quick fumigation. They weren’t very happy with me.

    Clueless is as clueless does. If he does read this and decides he hates me…well, I can live with that.

  10. Irene says:

    I still can’t see the point. Why publish the book first and _then_ send it to a publisher? :-)

  11. This isn’t too unusual, Irene. Authors who know next to nothing about the industry pay Lulu or some other company to publish their book after reading the likes of Konrath, and feel they can be equally successful.

    It isn’t until they get a giant box of books that they realize how hard it is to be your own self-promoter – especially if they have limited time, energy, and resources. Then they toss in the towel and try to get a commercial press interested. The drawback is that they still haven’t learned anything about the industry, so they continue to make blunder after blunder.

    And become the topic for blogs on what NOT to do…

  12. tbrosz says:

    The real secret is to hand-write your query or proposal on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of the finest parchment, and then pack it into a solid gold casket large enough to lay the parchment sheet inside it flat. The casket walls should be at least half an inch thick to protect your valuable paper (gold is kind of soft).

    This approach has never failed.

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