Query Quagmire – Query critiques with attitude

Querying literary agents and editors can be one of the must frustrating parts of the whole publishing industry…for both writers and those they’re querying. Writers hate queries because they inevitably lead to rejections. Literary agents and editors must wade through hundreds a day, many of them terrible. After a while, the constant cycle of query-reject-query-reject leads one to think of the quote: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.”

One of the best ways a writer can learn to circumvent the many pitfalls of querying is by example. Learn by seeing what others do wrong, what earns them the ire of agents and editors, and then do everything in your power to avoid making the same mistakes.

With that goal, let me present Query Quagmire.

Query Quagmire is a tumblr blog that dishes out anonymous query responses (mostly rejections) in the snarkiest of fashions. It evokes memories of Miss Snark herself, who lambasted writers with the goal of driving off the unworthy and making the rest grow a pair and actually produce high-quality work with professional style.

You’re going to groan and laugh quite a bit with Query Quagmire. It’s painful to see how unprofessional some writers can be when it comes to the business side of the craft. You’ll see many stumble in the same way, over and over. In fact, here are three top issues that can get a query rejecting, without even regarding the material itself:

  • Not reading the submission guidelines.
  • Misspelling the agent/editor’s name.
  • Stalking the agent/editor, either on the phone, chat, or in person.

Query Quagmire provides a valuable service by putting up signs (often with a writer’s skull or giblets staked nearby) to warn others off from dangerous paths. Take the time to read through it all and make sure you don’t end up on there yourself. It’ll be the most entertaining industry lesson you’ll have in a long while.

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