The Unanswered Query Letter & Other Mysteries

By: Jeff Herman

Dear Agent (not jeff herman, though it could have been): Five-years, three-months, and 19-days ago, upon this very computer I printed and mailed you my query letter to welcome your interest in a completed work of fiction. As of this writing I have never heard from you, though a SASE with extra postage was included. In the interim, my suffering and alienation from the process by which you earn the benefits of your labor has eroded my will to care. It is not for me, or for even the countless masses who stand with me, to judge why you never responded to my query letter. This circumstance in itself will be of no consequence beyond my wounded soul and their wounded souls. But the world cannot forever deny this growing vortex of uncultivated creation by the writers for the readers. You and your kind owe me my history and due destiny, and you owe those who have been denied the chance to share my abundance. However, if you choose to respond affirmatively to my query letter, please disregard everything that precedes this sentence. Regards, Lou V. Ma

Dear XX, I read your letter with a mixture of awe and indigestion. My unpaid interns went through 19 boxes of unsolicited queries before they located yours. I read with total focus and open mindedness. I then put it aside for a full 24-hours to ensure that I maintained no impulsivity in my response. I cannot deny that it is the most brilliant query letter I have ever read, it brought tears to me eyes and a near fatal fluttering to my heart. Sadly, we don't and never have represented fiction and must therefore pass. I encourage you to keep trying and hope that your next experience brings a more speedy and satisfying resolution. Yours, Headly Upton Ash

I believe that irreverence and levity are good ways to learn something, or at least a more interesting way to teach something. What does the above correspondence suggest to you? What if anything can you learn from it?

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