Chip MacGregor

June 30, 2012

The good and the bad…


The good news: I just saw my first copy of Rob Eager’s SELL YOUR BOOK LIKE WILDFIRE. It’s great. Rob runs Wildfire Marketing, and he’s got very helpful things to say to writers trying to build a brand and increase book sales. We’ve had him guest blog for us in the past, and it’s exciting to see him create something an author can actually pick up and use. Check it out at:

The bad news: After just blogging about the worst query I ever received, I got a doozy this week. First, there was a letter that said, “Paying scant attention to your ironclad rules regarding submissions those are the reasons why I’m sending you the completed book with the pretty cover.” So, in addition to that sentence barely making sense, he basically wants to say, “I don’t know you, but thought you’d be impressed if I blew off your guidelines.” As you can imagine, I’m impressed already.

But wait, it gets better. The letter ends with the words, “Uncle Neal is quite angry with me — wants to ship me out of the country. A friend has promised to forward any messages directly to you in the event this should happen.” Um… what? I had no idea what he was saying. But not to worry, the next day I received an envelope from him, with a barely legible note in felt pen that said, “Help, I’m ina Korean rererehabilitation camp you tube. See youself.” (Trust me — that’s what it said.) It was written on a paper airplane. None of it made a lick of sense, particularly when nothing in his query said anything about Korea (though it did promise “a NAKED gypsy girl”). I eventually figured out the author was trying to be cute. He just ended up looking amateurish. Or crazy. Or both.

THEN the book came. “Amateurish” doesn’t even begin to cover this one. Any self-respecting amateur would roll his eyes and hide this one in disgust. The cover was laugh-out-loud bad, The spine was too big for the page block, so it lapped over onto the front and back covers. Best of all, the trim lines weren’t square, so all the text was at an angle. The writing was, charitably put, on a par with that of a slow fifth grader. In fact, the whole thing felt like it HAD been put together as a class project by a group of fifth grade boys, possibly after sniffing too much glue. Without question the WORST project I’ve had sent to me in years.

So my apologies to the Two Witnesses of Revelation, who formerly held the rank of “Worst Query in History.” They may have been crazy, but at least I could figure out what they were doing. This one? No idea. The wacky letters, the inscrutable jokes, the awful book (crooked pages and all) went right to the recycling bin.

And they say the fun has gone out of publishing…

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