SlushPile Hell

I stumbled across this funny site yesterday, SlushPile Hell. Apparently started by a frustrated agent, the site posts snippets from really bad queries, along with snarky comments from the agent. Don’t worry. No names are posted 🙂

Reading that blog gave me flashbacks to the horrible queries I sent when I first started out. I sent some seriously cringe-worthy stuff like, “Do you believe in faeries?” as my opening line. *blushes*

What embarrassing missteps did you make on your first queries?

31 thoughts on “SlushPile Hell

  1. I kind of like the line “Do you believe in Faeries?” It was a lot better than some of those I read on the slush pile sight. No wonder agents hate us.

    My newbie queries were just absolutely ridiculous. 135K words for a single title romance. I mean they were professional but just oh so bad.

  2. Hmm, I'm torn. I think it's hilarious, and most of the snippets chosen ARE completely bat-shit-crazy, but doesn't this go against the professional spirit?

    (That said, I did subscribe to the blog, and I plan to read and console myself with the fact that I'm far more sane and humble than these folks.)

  3. I've been saved from the Query Crazies by finding Nathan's blog long before I ever sent out a query (and I've only sent a few so far – the querying starts in earnest soon). Otherwise, I would have been right up there!

    p.s. “Do you believe in faeries?” isn't that bad!

    p.p.s. I agree with KarenG about feeling bad for the authors. Although we all need to figure out how to do the business and art of writing, it hurts to be mocked.

  4. I think the biggest mistake I made was querying before I really understand the query is an art form. I slapped my mini synopsis on there and was good to go. now I know better.

  5. I have to say that site is hilarious. What is posted is really clueless, and the responses are witty. Made me laugh.
    And thank goodness for all the query-writing advice that's now available if you do your homework. *goes back to check query-in-progress*

  6. Oh. Yes. I have embarrasing stuff. I once started a bunch of queries with, “Imagine that you have such-and-such horrible illness.”
    All the agent had to think was, “Nah. I'd rather not.”

    I can't stop the curiosity! I'm going to check it out.

  7. Piedmont: 135K?? That's a lot of writing!

    Katie: I admit I skimmed to see if anything looked familiar 🙂 But most of these are errors I'm pretty sure most bloggers I know wouldn't make.

    Candy: If you are, you're secret is safe. There's no i.d. on anything 😉

    Hilary: We live and learn, right?

    Kristan: I think the agent is just letting off steam without being hurtful to anyone. I'm sure after wading through the “bat-shit-crazy” queries they need a place to vent!

    Karen: They haven't posted full queries, just a line or two of really over-the-top stuff.

    Susan: Blogging has been invaluable for learning how to query and NOT end up on a site like that!

    Laura: Thank goodness we DO learn 🙂

    JEM: Enjoy!

    Diane: What a great title! We've probably all weeped over rejections.

    Corey: And be thankful our queries aren't that bad 🙂

    Tricia: I laughed out loud at some of them too 😀

    Lydia: My sympathy 🙂 I learned the hard way that those rhetorical questions and telling the reader to imagine something just don't fly in the query!

  8. I've sent in terribly embarrassing queries in the past. It's part of our learning experience, I think.

    The worst? Probably when I compared my work to the masters. Yeah, that was rich.

  9. Great site. Thanks for the link. I'll post it on my blog too. All the newbies out there need to read it so they can avoid the awful mistakes we made.

    Mine was listing three novels in the same query and asking the agent to pick one. Amazingly, I actually got requests for reads. But those were different days…

  10. I made the mistake of subbing before really looking at their websites or book lines. I mostly went off the SCBIW guidebook, which is not as current by the time it actually comes out.

  11. Biggest mistake I made was not having the guts to query at all (for years). The new site is pretty (okay, very) funny but it shouldn't discourage writers from daring to send their work out into the world. Mistakes happen. That's how we learn. And get better. And get published! Happy weekend!

  12. I can write spectacularly terrible queries with the best of them. Really, I can't even talk about mine, but it puts starting with a question to shame. There may come a day when I will share details for the education of others, but it won't be anytime soon . . . I need to go wash my brain off and stop remembering.

  13. Tyhitia: Now the trick is to make both of them rock, right? 🙂

    Tess: Who knows, one day you might be considered one of the masters!

    Anne: I think it's perfect for showing newbies what not to do. Your query must have been amazing if you got requests after asking the agent to pick one of the three!! That's awesome!

    Anna: I wish I could not only repress them in my memory but in the memories of the agents I sent them to!

    Rena: Isn't it great that the internet helps us find all the current information we need?

    T.Anne: 😛

    Beth: Yes, we do have to start somewhere. And hopefully learn much!

    Stasia: We should learn from our mistakes and sites like this can help us learn from the mistakes of others 🙂

    Elaine: Amnesia tablets sound perfect! Especially if I can send them to the agents who read my early queries!

    Lori: Your queries win contests these days. We could all learn from you!

  14. I almost mentioned my lame query beginnings at my blog today. It's so funny and horrifying when you look back, isn't it?! I did lots of things that screamed amateur. I never did mass emails or “Dear Mr. Brown” to a Curtis Brown agent, but I wrote some pretty bad query letters. The details…too embarrassing to share.

    I always love your posts and your comments at other people's blogs. You're awesome, Sherrie. 🙂

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