I like editing children’s books; I truly do. But some days I look at the weird stuff in my slush pile and I want to scream. Take all the bizarre examples that turned up this week. I’m not talking about queries with strange subject matter or material inappropriate for Blooming Tree. The queries themselves are just strange. At Blooming Tree, we take only unsolicited queries. You can submit an unsolicited manuscript to a specific editor if you know his/her personal policy, but generally you should send a query. This doesn’t stop people who don’t read our submission guidelines from sending them anyway, but they are the absolute last things read. We are not fond of people who can’t follow the submission guidelines. It does not bode well for a future relationship.

Which leads me to the bizarre queries in my slush pile. This week I got a query with the first 5 pages of the novel. I couldn’t tell anything from it. It wasn’t even the first full chapter. The pages were just enough to show me the person could build suspense, but not enough to show me if they could do dialogue, character differentiation, etc. I found that submission frustrating.

– But not as frustrating as the one that enclosed three chapters from the middle of the book. Initially, it appeared to be a standard query with three chapters attached. Of course, that was until I discovered they were chapters 14, 15, and 16. This led me to many unpleasant thoughts like: What’s wrong with chapters 1-13? What is going on? Why doesn’t this book make sense? What important details am I missing because I haven’t seen previous chapters? This query wins the Strangest Query Ever Received award.

Current thesis word count: 25,000 words
Goal: 40,000

© Copyright 2006-2011 Madeline Smoot. All rights reserved.
May be excerpted and duplicated for educational purposes.