Dear Cheryl Tardiff,The above is an actual query letter received by an author, and the subsequent replies. Though I always give credit to authors who follow their dream, there is following it boldly and there is not doing your homework and being a bit annoying. The last thing you want to do is annoy a publisher.
It is with great pleasure that I am submitting my manuscript sample. Hoping to hear from you in due course.
In the above email, the writer clearly shows me he hasn't got a clue what we publish or what we're looking for. I appreciate those who take two minutes to read the guidelines and review WHAT we publish...and spell my name correctly. To be honest, I could have overlooked the spelling error if it weren't for the fact that this writer then proceeded to pitch us something entirely different from what we publish. NON-FICTION.
Our logline is: Quality fiction beyond your wildest dreams. One look at our book list tells you we publish...FICTION.
Dear Author,My reply to the author was polite and friendly, explaining the issue, rejecting his manuscript kindly (the way I'd want to be rejected), with a positive message at the end. That should have been the end of this conversation. But it wasn't.
Thank you for your submission to Imajin Books. Unfortunately, we only publish fiction at this time and do not publish memoirs, so we’re not the right publisher for you.
We wish you the best success in your search for a publisher that can properly market your work. Keep trying!
All the best,
Cheryl Tardif, Imajin Books
Dear Cheryl,The author basically redefines his work and still describes it as NON-FICTION. Um, sorry but what part of "we only publish fiction" don't you understand? And by attaching OUR guidelines, he's insinuating I haven't read them. Um, I wrote them. And our guidelines say: "A novel..." Heads up, people! A novel is FICTION. Then he urges me to consider reading his memoirs...yeah, no, that's NOT going to happen.
Although my manuscript is memoirs, it can also be classified as narrative non-fiction. Your submission details (which is enclosed as an attachment) does not say that you do not publish memoirs. I would urge you to read the chapters that I have sent you and then decide.
His emails tell me a lot about him: he's new at querying publishers; he's probably never been published before; and he doesn't understand the business or some very simple etiquette that every writer should learn BEFORE they query an agent or publisher.
I'm not posting this to embarrass this writer--he probably won't be checking our blog any time soon. I'm posting this to help educate other writers who may be under the misconception that any of this would be a good way to approach a publisher. It isn't. We're busy people with deadlines and we have a lot of juggling and coordinating. We don't have times to argue with people about what we publish and what we don't publish. Read our guidelines and for goodness sake, check out our books. Buy a couple; see what exactly we're publishing, what we get excited about. If you give us something similar yet unique, we may just get excited about your FICTION work. :-)
And please...pitch us FICTION. We don't do NON-FICTION--and that includes memoirs.