An Open Letter to All the Literary Agents I’ve Not Yet Contacted

I know that among the readers here are some who are actively seeking an agent, or who are anticipating doing so soon. You may find yourself having to create a separate file for agent rejections one day, and for that, I offer my sympathies in advance. Plus this tongue-in-cheek open letter, which I coincidentally penned immediately before signing with WordServe Literary. Please feel free to use it in the advancement of your own writing career.


Dear Literary Agent,

If you think I haven’t read your blog, you’re wrong. I thought I’d clear that up right away.

I am so diligent, I’ve even delved into your ambitious archives, perusing entries from as long ago as two weeks. At this point, I know what you’re looking for in a client even better than you do. In fact, because I am such a devoted student of your career, writings, and personal life (including that foxy photo of you on your Harley, va-voom!), I feel I can say without a doubt that I am your next dream author.

How can I be so sure? I am glad you asked!

For one thing, you’ve very clearly expressed your preference for having “good writing” sent your way. At first when I read this, I said “Doh!” but then I gave it some serious thought. I’m betting your definition of good writing is the same as my BFF’s, which means I’m in luck.

Attached is the only scene I’ve slapped together so far. After you read it (get a move on!) and I’ve agreed to be represented by you, I will gladly crank out the rest of the novel. It could take a while, though, so I’d advise you to keep your high hopes in check. I am currently in communication with many notable agents. I even know several of them by name and have called their assistants to verify whether or not “Ricky” is a Mr. or a Mrs. or a Miss. You’ll certainly realize that developing these relationships represents a considerable time commitment on my part.

In addition, submitting a proposal for a book I haven’t gotten around to writing would be a giant waste of my time and talents, as I am sure you will agree.

Second, you have indicated you don’t want to sign any high-maintenance, best-seller wannabes. I can assure you that I’ve never personally obtained a mani-pedi (photos availble upon request). Also, I can produce a matched set of yellowed postcards from my dentist verifying that I am nine years behind in my supposedly every-six-months (ha!) check-ups. No way am I high-maintenance! If you’ll either call me on my cell or email me within fourteen minutes of receiving this—as you should if you are truly the professional you profess yourself to be—we can discuss this point until I’m satisfied that you understand.

Third, you state that any client you take on must have a platform already in place. Bingo! We have a winner! I have been an active blogger for twelve plus years, during which time I have chronicled with sterling clarity my aging mother’s propensity for swearing like a drunken Marine (no worn-out cliches here, baby!) as well as her advancing incontinence.

Google my stats and you’ll see I now have six regular readers, half of whom have agreed to be sent free copies of my first book in exchange for 1-starred reviews on Amazon. You cannot buy (though I’m not against the idea, per se) that kind of fan loyalty.

Finally, you say you are seeking authors who seem unlikely to end up one-hit wonders. While I’d prefer not to promise you the moon until my staggering work of heartbreaking genius reaches the top of the NYT list, I think it’s pretty safe to say there’s PLENTY more wherever that first scene came from. Or I guess I should say, “from where that first scene came.”

In conclusion, I am absolutely brimming with potential, just the way you like ‘em.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Very soon.

Best regards,
Katy McKenna

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About Katy McKenna

Katy McKenna revels in fictionalizing her true-life stories and, conversely, infusing genuine truth into her made-up stories. She loves it when a reader reports having laughed and cried, all in the same paragraph. Katy and her hubby empty-nest in Kansas City, which is home-base for three grown kids, two in-law kids, and two grandkids. They operate a web design firm, for which Katy provides copywriting, editing, bookkeeping, and coffee-making services. Katy is not, repeat NOT, a hoarder! However, she embraces the thrill of the thrift-store hunt with untethered enthusiasm. A dual citizen of America and Britain, Katy adores haunting her ancestral ruins and relatives in Scotland and Ireland, excavating stories galore.

31 thoughts on “An Open Letter to All the Literary Agents I’ve Not Yet Contacted

      • Maranatha, Thank you!!! I think you could include a description of yourself crying huge tears in your own open letter. Agents are sympathetic souls and would definitely respond to such a pitiful tactic, hahaha!!

  1. Ohhh wow!! This was like comparing my resume with that of a bad example resume!! But you hit upon interesting, and horrifyingly familiar points. I promise on a stack of Harry Potter novels that I will NOT query an agent without a completed (and heavily edited and rewritten) novel. 🙂

    • Good for you, Nicole!! You captured my true purpose in writing this letter. Girl, I have made so many mistakes along the way—and still am, I’m sure. For instance, shouldn’t I have known that agents have “templates” they like their clients to use when developing proposals? DOH!!! Amazingly, my agent hasn’t lost patience with me. I wish the same for you!!

  2. That was hilarious! Thank you for the giggles. I really wonder, though, if there are writers that behave this way. And then I’d want to know what the agent/editor/publisher thought and how they reacted, etc.

    This could be a fine series, Katy! My advice? Write half of the first chapter and send it to your agent. Twice. Beause they might not get it the first time. I’m positive they’d love it and would be sure it will skyrocket to the top of the lists for all-time awesomeness. Then it would be photos of you on your very own, brand new motorcycle. However, you may want to hold back your smile as I’m sure things look pretty grim after nine years of no dental work. 😉

    • Amanda, I would LOVE to know how editors and agents respond when they receive letters that are way out of left field! I saw an agent on facebook a few days ago say that he had received the very WORST proposal of his entire (long) career and MAN I wanted to see that proposal! But alas, we can only conjecture. 🙂 And your idea about a series?? Why, a series of posts just like this one could become a book, don’t you think? I’m SURE my agent would LOVE to see that one, haha.

  3. Too funny. The sad thing is I expect several agents have gotten a seriously written letter similar to this one.

    Warning! Wannabee Writers . . . this is a joke. A joke. Satire. Tongue-in-cheek.

    DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!!!

    • Sharon, I HOPE no one thought this was serious advice, but you never know!! I appreciate you watching over our flock of readers. 🙂 I suppose it would represent a serious breach of ethics, but it would be so fascinating and instructive to read some REAL letters agents have received, wouldn’t it? Wow.

    • Margo, I understand that you are eager to acquire an agent who will arrange for your “research” trip to Paris to be funded, and why not? Didn’t the Eat, Pray, Love chick get her trip around the world comped by her publisher? Hang in there, girl. The Eiffel Tower is in your future, and a sidewalk cafe for writing purposes, too. Ask, Bug, Force!!! 🙂

  4. What a way to start my writing day!

    Katy, I can’t thank you enough for a great laugh. I must admit though, the power in your humor is the familiarity expressed in Nicole’s comment above. Just because I didn’t pen it, doesn’t mean I didn’t think it — at least on a couple of points. Ughhh!

    Sharon, I think you were wise to alert folks that this is truly a satirical joke. And I agree — Do NOT try this in your query.

    Still chuckling….
    😀

    • Anita, oh, YEAH. What I have done here is called “writing what you know.” Or at least what you’ve been terribly tempted to do. Isn’t it WILD the ideas that cross our feeble minds, and how so darned BAD they can be??? 🙂 I am thrilled to have made you chuckle. Thanks for letting me know!

    • Amy, I think you may have now safely made it past the gauntlet of Unadvisable Letters to Agents. I am so proud of you and your upcoming books, AND that I can still on occasion make you SNORT. Love you, girl!!

    • Count it my pleasure, Robin! Believe me, I’ve done enough goofy stuff on this trek toward publication to make nearly everyone’s self-esteem rise exponentially! You should feel GREAT! 🙂

    • Dear Writing, you should feel fanTAStic!!! Nothing can stop you now. 🙂 Loved seeing your comment here–thanks.

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