Sunday, 25 December 2011

Twenty ways to get an instant agent rejection

1.      Send a three or more page query letter.
2.      Start your book with a flashback.
3.      Start with a prologue (Yes - some experienced authors getting away with it).
4.      Get someone to write the query letter on your behalf.
5.      Confuse some common words - of/off, to/too, there/their/they're, past/passed, allay/ally, cash/cache, accept/except, bate/bait, sight/cite/site.
6.      Make lots of spelling mistakes and typos.
7.      Handwrite your query.
8.      Use lots of redundant expressions like. 'dark black', 'fiction novel', 'loud shriek' (quiet shriek anyone?)
9.      Send your query as an email attachment.
10.  Beg an agent to accept your work.
11.  Mention how many times you’ve been rejected by agents.
12.  Tell the agent how much your grandmother/aunt loves your book.
13.  Start by moaning about the quality of other books being written.
14.  Submit work which isn't finished.
15.  Lie to an agent. E.g. "Enclosed is the work you requested...."
16.  Don't include a stamped, self-addressed envelope for the reply.
17.  Use another author's well known character or plot.
18.  Include lots of profanity on the first pages.
19.  Submit work less than 40,000 words long.
20.  Submit a first novel of more than 120,000 words.

From my e-book "An illustrated guide to getting published" Get it free at (or buy it at Amazon). There's a new version being produced which includes publishing at Smashwords and other places.


  1. Bloody hell, that's what I've been doing wrong. No wonder I'm still poor. In my last novel I had Silas Marner going to visit Dorothy whose an American In Paris and she is An Astronauts Wife. I thought that was okay. I guess it didn't help when I referred to Dickens as a hack either. I'm going to download your e-book now.

  2. You might try sending in your query letter written in Gaelic to a London agency and putting a footnote that England rugby team are a load of wa*%!&^ too :)

    Note to other readers: Read Anne's blog (click her name) - it's hilarious.

  3. I wouldn't put a lot of stock in an agent who instantly rejects a novel simply because a prologue is used.



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