Desperate Writer Query Template*
Can I bribe you with coffee and the promise of a prize-winning book?
I’m seeking representation for my [300,000-word rhyming memoir / novel-in-grocery-coupons / famous literary graves calendar**] which is a cross between [Maid and Green Eggs and Ham / a bag of Halloween candy and that novel-in-texts you just sold / an apple watch and a mortuary pamphlet]. I was referred to you by [my cousin, who babysits your three incorr—admirably independent children / a writer you represented until you discovered his historical novel was actually The Diary of Anais Nin / Stephen King, if by referred you mean escorted off his property by security]. I thought of you for said [memoir / novel / calendar] because [I once saw someone who looked like you reading Angela’s Ashes in the Strand / you represent authors? / given the direction of publishing, I figured you’d get excited about something featuring famous authors, even dead ones].
Slogging away in this hair shirt they call a profession for fifteen years, I’ve racked up some impressive publishing credentials: [My work has appeared in the literary magazines Wish We Could Pay You and About To Fold and are forthcoming (I think) in Didn’t We Ghost You? and on my memaw’s PC / Last time I was querying, my prose poem “Shoot Me Now” went viral on TikTok / My Writer Affirmation Calendar sold out after Christo used the entire run to wrap a bookstore in an installation titled, “Despair”].
(Describe your memoir’s arc here. If it has no arc, use lyrics to an Adele song.) / (Describe your novel’s plot here. If it has no plot—wait, your MFA cost more than the Hope Diamond, and your novel has no plot?) / (Describe calendar images here. There’s no way you’ll be able to license those photos, but first things first.)
I look forward to hearing from you [in a few years when technology changes have rendered my manuscript file inaccessible / after I’ve given up and painstakingly published the book in a series of sand paintings / Is tomorrow good for you? I’ve canceled all my appointments and await your call]. Below, I have pasted [the first ten verses / a bunch of coupons (still good at most Super Targets) / last month, just ignore my ovulation schedule]. I know the likelihood is that [the last time you checked this email account was 2015 / you’ve switched from agenting to a more lucrative career as a farrier / you’re looking for books you have a hope of actually selling], but should you desire further materials, I would be happy send the entire manuscript via [drunk texts / Instacart delivery / a file form you specifically said not to use].
A Desperate Querying Writer
*From the people who brought you the Desperate Writer Novel Template, the Desperate Writer Novel Synopsis Template, and the Overwhelmed Agent Rejection Letter Template. Purchase all three and receive the book How To Stage a Writer Intervention for free.
**I’m also working on a Graves of Obscure Writers Desk Calendar and an Urns of Writers Who Never Published at All Wall Calendar.