One Way Not to Get Published

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

Taking a cue from Janet Reid, who over the weekend posted a truly amazingly bad agent pitch letter (yes, I do know who the agent is, and no, this person does not have any sales), I thought I’d start the week off by posting the spam I received this morning from an aspiring author (sent via a DIY email marketing service).


Hello, my name is [name redacted]. I am the author of [title redacted] (now available nationwide). I am also an unsigned (hungry) artist, and very creative. I have two more books I need to finish, and I’m looking for any opportunity that anyone of power and influence may offer.

I’ll like to invite you to my website [link redacted].

Author [name redacted]
[email address redacted]

Writers–don’t do this. I mean, for a start, I’m not an agent or publisher, so there’s no reason for me to be receiving any kind of “get me published” request. Just a small amount of research (as opposed to snagging my email address from somewhere and doing no further checking) would have made that clear. For another, if I were an agent or publisher, I wouldn’t give five seconds of consideration to a mass-mail pitch, even if it were much more informative and better written than this one. (Not to mention, being a cautious Web user, I’m not going to click on a link in a spam email.)

Alternatively, this author may not be seeking an agent or a publisher at all, but a patron. Um….yeah. I don’t think I need to say any more about that.


  1. ..and they admit the two books are not even finished? Um…does that mean they have one or three hundred pages left to write???

    I'll bite my tongue and smile sweetly now.

  2. that's just the most idiotic way to get traffic to their site.

    Cuz they weren't trying to sell a book. They didn't even give a teaser about it.

    Sad. Really sad.

  3. Wow, stupid is as stupid does. And the scary part. I know too many writers who would write that letter and think it was a gem.

  4. I really wonder sometimes if authors do the mass emails and such so they can tell themselves, "Well, I gave it a try, and no one appreciates my genius." I was sorely tempted to do just that when I first got started.

    Personally, I think it's easier to take the disappointment from a half-assed try than from a full-fledged, 100% best try. If I throw my heart and soul into it, and it's rejected, therefore there's something intrinsically wrong with me. I think it's a subconscious defense mechanism.

    One can follow agent blogs, learn from them, do everything right, and still fail. I pray I'm not in that situation. Ever.

  5. I can't believe they did something so stupid. Someone who doesn't take the time to research an agent or publisher they are submitting to probably didn't take the time to research their book either. Careless.

  6. And you provided them with an opportunity to learn from their mistakes–and with the courtesy of redacting their name as well.

    See, you are using your power and influence wisely.

    {big smileyface here!}

  7. Is this how Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo convinced the Medici family to give them money for pizza and vino?

  8. I just started looking for an agent in the past hour. I found your blog by googling David Mocknick. I officially feel overwhelmed and possibly a bit nauseous, but I am glad to have found you!

    This is going to be a long process!

  9. It's probably too much to hope that the spammer (or any similar spammer) would read this post and learn from it.

  10. ::sigh:: It's so selfish of those people with power and influence to deny opportunities to such talented creatures.

  11. And you just can't get good patronage any more. I blame these post-video-game modern xillionaires, who are out to run up their point scores when they should be trying to impress other people with their style and taste through art.

  12. That's amazing. I wish it had been posted six months ago when there was a contest running for the worst query letter – I'd have just used that!

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