What are you? If your query states that you have a novel, then proceed to call it a memoir, then my sometimes-firing synapses are going to wonder; which is it? Must I ask? If so, you’ve outed yourself.
Are you asking questions in your query instead of answering them? If your query ends with the very riveting questions that should have been detailed in your pitch, you’ve outed yourself. Nothing bugs me more than reading, “Will Jane Character find redemption from having flat feet?” “Will she find love through eating Twinkies?” GAH! This IS your pitch…it’s the guts, in fact.
Email receipt: If you ask me to confirm receipt of your email; you’ve outed yourself.
Promotion: If you tell me you’ll “do anything and everything” to promote your book; you’ve outed yourself. “Anything and everything” is a very wide range and can encompass hiring a publicist and getting celebrity endorsements to dropping jellybeans bearing the title of your book from a helicopter flown by a pilot who’s “high on life.” Always be specific. That way, I know you’ve put some long, hard thought and planning into your book promotion.
So what do I mean by saying you’ve “outed” yourself? Noobish stuff. Stuff that makes me think, “Ah, you really should know better.”
I think what slays me most of all is the failure to understand that publishing books is a serious business and should be treated as such. That means writers learn how to do this properly. They learn the business so they can make decisions that will enhance their chances of success.
Outing yourself guarantees one thing: You’re wasting everyone’s time.
Honor yourself and your writing.
If you’re a hobbyist writer who doesn’t want to take that kind of time to learn the process, then avoid serious publishers. Consider a POD press or Lulu.com instead. We pour too much money into each book to entertain someone who isn’t a serious player. Besides, it irritates the beagle, and she refuses to make margaritas.