The setting: Overworked and Underpaid Editor’s batcave. Overworked is slaving over edits while the beagle is going through the mail.
Beagle: (holding up a piece of paper in her grubby little paw) ‘Hallo ‘hallo, what have we here? A query letter?
Overworked: (looking up) Huh? A snail mail query? (shakes head) Yet another author who didn’t read our submission guidelines.
Beagle: Can I growl and rip it to shreds, huh, huh?
Overworked: Of course not. That’s only when they send insulting letters.
Beagle: But I like it when they insult you. It verifies everything I think about you.
Overworked: (glaring) No problem, short pants, I’ll give that designer chewie bone and fresh bottle of tequila to the Rottweiler down the way. He shows me some respect.
Beagle: (visibly backtracking) Riiight…as I was saying, Priestess of All Things Literary and Noble, you want me to read this query to you?
Overworked: Sure, go for it.
Beagle: (jumps up on Overworked’s desk and settles into a patch of sunshine – yes, this batcave has skylights) Ok, she starts out by saying that her story is worth telling.
Overworked: Alert the presses; there exists a type of author who feels she has a story worth telling. This is, indeed, newsworthy.
Beagle: She goes on about how the story is filled with mirth and humility and purpose and passion.
Overworked: Good. I hate it when they tell me their story has no passion, no purpose, and is duller than your humor.
Beagle: (reading on) She says she sees it as her responsibility to bring her particular story to the world, to inform the public.
Overworked: Ah, a crusader, we have. What else? Like what’s it about?
Beagle: (scrunching her eyebrows) Um…well, the author doesn’t want to bore you by describing the story.
Overworked: (puts bloody red pen down and stares at the beagle) Come again?
Beagle: Well, she includes a bio and some of the fun things she’s done with her life so you can get a better feel for who she is.
Overworked: Beagle, I don’t care if she hangs from stalactites in her Victoria Secrets and yodels “I’m An Oscar Meyer Wiener.” If I don’t know anything about the story, then why would I want to continue this ridiculous conversation?
Beagle: Um…well, she seems really nice.
Overworked: So does the tax collector, and that douche bag invested all our city’s money in shaky stock options and lost it all – nearly bankrupting the city. A bio doesn’t get your foot in the door. It’s always, always, always about the story, beagle. Never forget that. A groovy bio is icing on the cake.
Beagle: Groovy? Did you really just say groovy?
Overworked: The poor woman is being coy with her query letter, and she committed a fatal error because I know nothing about her story. She has no idea that editors’ interests can’t be piqued with so little information. She’s trying to tease, and I just don’t swing that way. Send her a rejection notice – and no paw prints this time. I got a nastygram from an irate author who thought it unseemly to allow a small beagle to answer query letters.
Beagle: You know what’s unseemly? The idea that anyone would hang from stalactites in their Vickie Secrets singing “I’m An Oscar Meyer Wiener.” I would at least sing “Born To Be Bad,” and wear my black leather bustier.
Overworked: TMI, beagle…way TMI.