Saw this post at MediaBistro this morning.

*insert laughter here*

I recognized it immediately. We (Toasted Cheese) received this “query” about two months ago. I snarked at the sender’s extreme cluelessness, considered ignoring the e-mail, but in the end, whipped off a quick “our submission guidelines are here” response. We haven’t heard anything further from the guy.

Anyhow, Claire at MB covers all the salient points. Honestly, I don’t think there’s any hope for people who are as out of it as that letter-writer but her advice may help others.

Mine would be:

1. Learn how to write a query letter. There’s plenty of information available online. Google is your friend.

2. Professional correspondence–even in e-mail form–should always have a greeting “Dear Ms. Editor” and a closing “Sincerely, Jane Writer.”

3. Don’t: tell the editor your life story, list every story you’ve ever written, lead with a negative (“I’ve never been published”).

4. Do: show the editor that you’ve done your homework (why is your work right for the editor’s publication?), list a few relevant writing credits if you have them &/or your credentials (e.g. a degree in writing), follow the publication’s submission guidelines.

5. It’s your job to find your target publication’s submission guidelines, READ THEM, and follow them. This takes time, but it is not rocket science.

6. Only submit work that is appropriate for the publication. If the publication says it accepts fiction and poetry, don’t send a book review! If it’s a romantic-themed journal, don’t send a horror story. If it says “stories under 1,000 words only” don’t send one that’s 2,000-words.

Every submission period, we toss ~20% of the subs we receive because they haven’t followed our fairly basic submission guidelines. Submissions are most often disqualified for the following reasons:

*wrong e-mail address / incorrect subject line

*too many pieces submitted at once / two or more genres submitted at once / more than one submission during a submission period

*exceeds 5,000 words (our maximum)