Psst…want to waste your time?

Well, here’s how to do it. Don’t read anyone’s submissions guidelines. Eh, those are for the tourists!

Print out a cover letter that has nothing to do with what the publisher produces and include:

  • Your title page
  • Your dedication page
  • Your Acknowledgment page
  • Your TOC
  • Your forward
  • Your first thirty-odd pages
  • And separate them with really cool gold paperclips

Hey, it’s only ink, right? Then go blow five or six bucks to mail it…and make sure you don’t include an SASE. And why should you? You’re the next Hemingway. Why be bothered with such trifles?

If you do that, I promise you one thing – the overworked and underpaid editor will demand the beagle make her a fresh pitcher of margaritas, and toss the entire submission into the recycle bin.


She’ll keep the really cool gold paperclips.

8 Responses to Psst…want to waste your time?

  1. NinjaFingers says:

    I only ever use the cheapest paperclips money can buy ;).

  2. Is ok. I’d keep them anyway. One can never have too many paperclips.

  3. tbrosz says:

    Ouch. You can bet anyone who sends Lynn a proposal would be watching this blog like a hawk. I would.

    And how many people sent a manuscript exactly like that?

    Yeah, that would be you out there, sliding slowly down in your chair. Hey, I’ve been there too, under slightly different circumstances.

    The next step is sitting straight up in that chair and diving back in again, having learned something valuable that will help you sell that book the next time!

  4. Bill Webb says:

    Crap, Lynn, now I gotta go to plan “B”

  5. It’s not just me, tborsz…it’s querying anyone. This sort of thing happens to all of us. I’m just merely voicing it out loud to help authors be successful.

    As for how many writers send stuff out like this? Just in this past week, I’ve received 25 queries. 20 were in various stages of disarray, meaning they sent pages I didn’t ask for, or were in a genre we don’t publish. 4 were rejected because they didn’t wow me. 1 made it through the gauntlet and I asked for a full proposal and the first three chaps.

  6. tbrosz says:

    Wow! One full request out of only 25 queries is actually pretty good for a typical agent or publisher. I’d heard averages as low as 1 out of 100.

  7. It happened to be a good week.

  8. I am loving your ‘tackle box’ book – No matter how much I think I know, it’s always good to get refresher courses.

    I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning.

    Which makes me sad in a way – I’m not spending that much to fill my head with good information. A few books here and there, a blog or twenty, twitter chats, fora. Most of my “spend” is time. I truly believe there has never been a better or easier time to get information about everything a writer needs to know.

    And yet . . . there will always be people who ignore good advice and common sense.


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