Monday, October 10, 2011

Guest Ciara Knight

And I need to start with a HUGE apology to Ciara--I totally had this in my head for later this week!  I should have checked my calendar last night...

Ciara is a fabulous blog friend and I'm honored to be a part of her book tour, so I really feel awful for my tardiness here... so without further ado, welcome Ciara!

I’m not perfect?

This post is dedicated to everyone who has ever faced the DREADED query letter. Did you just cringe? I see head nods and hear chuckles. You’ve sent a few…thousand? How many of you have received form rejections? Come on…raise your hands high. Don’t worry; I’m here to make you feel better. Wait, you won’t share this with anyone will you? Okay, so, I received a rejection that will top all of yours. Oh, and I received it in five minutes! Yep, I think that’s a record for a non-form rejection.

You see, I worked on a query for my dream publisher ‘that shall not be named’ for a month. I researched and read books by this publisher, talked to current authors, wrote and rewrote this query so that I referenced material to ‘show’ my research, without looking like I was just trying to ‘show’ I did research.

The day came for me to send my baby out into the world. It had my critique partners’ stamp of approval. It had been proofed a hundred times. I opened my word doc with shaking hands and copied my perfect query from my word document to the email. I triple checked links in my signature line, the email address, etc… All was perfect.

Anyone want to guess what went wrong? Why I received a rejection to my perfect query letter?

Well, within five minutes of hitting that send button I received an email back from the publisher ‘that shall not be named.’ With baited breath, I opened the email and noticed it wasn’t an auto response. Wow, I really rocked it. They can’t wait for my manuscript! Then I read the one line rejection. I’m paraphrasing here because I can’t bear to look at my humiliating rejection again—it’s in my folder for the IRS proving I’m a serious writer.

MS. Knight,

If you did not find the time to locate my name clearly marked on our website to address this email to me, then I do not have time to read your query.


Publisher ‘that shall not be named.’

OUCH!! My perfect query was NEVER read. He stopped at the first line, the line that I had somehow omitted when I copied and pasted my, not so perfect, query letter.

Okay, who guessed? Two points for you. The next time you struggle with sending a query letter remember, the response couldn’t be more humiliating than mine. 


Ciara is happily married and enjoys family time. She has learned to embrace chaos, which is a requirement when raising three boys, and utilizes the insanity to create stories not of this world including, Fantasy, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, and Young Adult Futuristic.

Her first love, besides her family, reading, and writing, is travel. She's backpacked through Europe, visited orphanages in China, and landed in a helicopter on a glacier in Alaska.


Facebook Fan Page:

Buy links:
Turquoise Morning Press
Amazon Kindle
All Romance Ebooks/OmniLit

And again--I'm so sorry my brain fitzed out!!!


Unknown said...

Ouch! Thank you for sharing this because it serves an excellent reminder to all of to be sure we proof the copied and pasted query letter as well. We think we select it all, but you never know.

Jessica Bell said...

Oh my gosh! That must have been so awful :-/

Jan Morrison said...

Yes, part of me went OUCH but another part went WTF. I simply don't understand the gamey part of the publishing biz. Do they not want fiction that rocks? Or do they want automans who know how the game works and NEVER make mistakes. I am stunned when I hear that publishers and agents are furious because we don't know their names (and yes, I know in your case you did) because often it is all but impossible to find out their names. Like it is some weird devious test to make sure we are worthy. I hope you send this post to 'the publisher who shall not be named'. Yes, I do.

Southpaw said...

Ouch is right. I know you paraphrased it but it still slams right in your face.

Julie H. said...

Wow! Bet that doesn't happen again. What a lesson for everyone out there trying to break into the business. Thanks for sharing a horrific experience so the rest of us can hopefully save ourselves from this experience.

Brinda said...

That was HARSH! I think that courtesy is something we should look for also in a publisher, so maybe it is for the best. I will be checking my greeting line twice now. Thanks for this post. It tells me that the little things may be the most important.

Ciara said...

Hart - No apologies necessary. You rock for letting me guest post on your amazing blog. Thanks so much for posting it. You are all sorts of awesome!

Ciara said...

Melissa - You are so right. We need to always check the subject line and the email.

Jessica - for about a minute. Being the klutz I am, I had to laugh about it after that. Hey, at least it is an easy mistake to fix, right?

Jan - I didn't really judge the publishing house as a hole based on this one person's response. It was a little harsh but I also know this person is an employee not the entire identity of the company. You are right, some publishing companies it is nearly impossible to find a name on their website or blog.

Southpaw - It was one of my first so all the rest were easy to take. :)

Julie - I hope it does help someone pause and check their email prior to hitting send.

Brinda - I think sometimes little things count a lot. I hope this helps others think about that. Thanks for stopping by, Brinda. It's always a pleasure!

Juliana said...

Omg, what a jerk!!


Laura Eno said...

Fate... It just goes to show that dream publisher wasn't where you were supposed to be. :)
Of course, actually getting that response after all the sweat you put into it would have crushed anyone!

Unknown said...

oh Lord, that sucks. seriously. Oh well...I also belabor queries and synopses to death and am currently waiting on a couple of Big Publishers who shall not be named to get back to me...
best of luck in all you do Ciara!
HEY HART: Monday Nite Football in the Tap Room! first round's on me! BBQ available for dinner!

Unknown said...

OK here is your quick turn around response:
Dear Ego Maniac:
since you could not get past the fact that I neglected to suck up enough to type your name as greeting, then I guess I will take a pass submitting all my fabulous work to you ever again.
Future Best Selling Author
Your Loss

Hart Johnson said...

YAY! I'm so glad my posting SNAFU didn't mess with people getting in here... It really IS harsh... I mean I sort of get it--I ignore emails that aren't personalized unless I know someone well, mostly because I figure they are fishing, but at the same time... if it looks like a good match...

Hart Johnson said...

Liz- MAN, I wish I had time free--I am on a self-imposed deadline because I have a project I really want done before starting the one I HAVE to do! I will figure out your schedule though, and get in there.

Rebecca Zanetti said...

Oh man, I'm so sorry! I've made similar mistakes and I'm with you. Thanks for sharing this. :)

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Eeep. I made a similar mistake once, Ciara. An editor had a particularly "mannish" sounding name and I glossed over the fact that the editor was a "she" and addressed it to Mr. So and So. I got a rejection really fast because she had taken insult that I had called her a mister.

LTM said...

you don't want to work with someone whose ego is that big. I mean, seriously. At first, maybe, but after a while, that'll get OLD. :p

Looks like you recovered just fine! The book seems excellent. All the best with it! :o) <3

Michael Di Gesu said...


It wasn't meant to be. I once put in the wrong date.... a month earlier. I never heard from the agent.

It happens to all of us. We all need to learn to just calm down and get it out there. Hopefully we won't come across jerks like yours, but if we do there are dozens more to contact.


This turned out fine too....

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Forgetting the name - oh no!

Stacy Gail said...

I agree with LTM *waves at Leigh* -- I say it all worked out for the best!

Congrats on your new book -- I've heard GREAT things about Turquoise Morning Press; they really work hand-in-hand with their authors. Best of luck to you!

Sarah Ahiers said...

i dunno, that's kind of an ass move on their behalf. I mean, everyone has had that moment where they send the wrong name. It happens all the time. I can't believe they couldn't look past an error that i'm sure they've seen before, to at least read the letter

Helena said...

The whole query letter/publishing process has so worn me out (and I've had a couple agents in my time) that unlike you I've chickened out and have now self-published. Kudos to you for hanging in there and getting published!

Ciara said...

Juliana - I have to admit it stung for a moment.

Laura - you are right. Sometimes dreams take a different direction.

Liz - LOL, LOVE your quick return. Classic.

Hart - No worries. Everything is awesome as always here at the Watery Tart. :)

Michael O- Oh my. I guess you relate to what I'm talking about. I'm sorry that happened to you. It was such an honest mistake.

Ciara said...

LTM - I'm so glad you find my book interesting. Thanks for the warm wishes.

Michael Di Gesu - I agree. Sometimes things just aren't meant to be.

Alex - Not forgotten, just left out. :)

Stacy - Turquoise Morning Press is a great group of authors in a supportive environment. It is a fantastic place to be.

Sarah - I'm guessing he was having a bad day. But who knows.

Helena - You didn't chicken out you just went in a different direction. Nothing wrong with that. :)

Anonymous said...

OUCH!!!!!! I've misspelled names before. I didn't even GET a response to that....LOL!!!

Poor thing. Thanks for sharing!

Happy Release! Love's Long Shadow is a GREAT READ!

Lindi said...

Ciara---Crazy!! But it does happen to all of us at sometime--I promise! I sent a contest entry in and put a colored sheet of paper between the entry and the synopsis and spelled synopsis wrong--in all caps. I put

And things have worked out great for you. :)

Ciara said...

Lynn - thanks so much! I guess we all have our query horror stories. LOL

Lindi - Okay, I know it's not funny but I snickered at that. I couldn't help it. That is SO something I would do. :)

Hart Johnson said...

Thanks so much, everyone, for stopping in today! Ciara-looks like you totally hit a nerve--so many of us have had stupid mistakes, and they really are just human!

Arlee Bird said...

That was pretty harsh and unforgiving. I guess that taught you a lesson, girl!
Really, the guy needs a sense of humor--or at least a little compassion.

Tossing It Out