Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Blog Chain - My Favorite Mistake

Hi!  I'm back with another round of the blog chain.  This time around, Laura wants to know:

Regarding your writing career, what’s the best mistake you’ve ever made and why?

By the way, the Sheryl Crow song is my favorite.  Just sayin'.  Let's just say that I've got a whole lot of those to choose from.  I think I've mentioned in the past that I queried with Deathday before it was ready and got lucky that my awesome agent Chris saw the potential and helped me get it where it needed to be.  But I think the best mistake I've ever made was using a gimmick in my query letter.

I'm pretty sure that if you read the blog of Miss Snark or Colleen Lindsay or any of the other really great agenting blogs out there, you'll find an entry telling you what NOT to do, and gimmicks will be at the top of that last.  Be clear, concise, and get to the point.  I made the mistake of not listening.  I wrote up my query letter as if I were writing a deathday letter.  Basically I sent out about ten death threats.  Which is how I feared they'd be perceived after I'd already sent them.

Luckily for me, it worked.  My query was a hit and it landed me the coolest agent around. I still think to this day how wrong it could have all gone and it makes me shudder.  Instead of offers for representation, I could have been sent restraining orders.

So tell me about the greatest mistake in YOUR writing career.  And go check out the awesome mistake Michelle H made yesterday and then tomorrow go check out Abby's greatest mistake.


  1. Wow, what a story to remember when you're 80. Yeah, I sent a bunch of agents death threats, and one of them offered me representation. So I said what the hell, I'll become a writer. (yes, I know you were already a writer, but it sounds so much better that way LOL). Great mistake to learn from Shaun. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Now I have that song in my head... :)

    That's so awesome that doing something different with your query worked. I've been waffling about mine, because I want it to stand out, but at the same time, I don't want it to be too weird. You've inspired me to step out of my comfort zone. Great post!

  3. LOL! And if you'd had an "Unsend" button, it may have turned out so differently. Best mistake, indeed.

  4. Wow, that's totally cool! Way to "crash and burn," LOL!

    Congrats to your success!

  5. Your query letter is one of my all time favorites. It took a lot of guts and it paid off big time :)

  6. That's terrific! I never knew that! I'd love to see your query. Can you post?

  7. I've met Chris, and he's a funny, funny guy who does seem to like to tell the story of how you hooked him with your query letter. To which he promptly follows up with, "Don't do this. It almost never works out." But in your case, the risk did. How awesome is that? I also love that my word verification is "sychose" which is essentially "psychos." Kind of apt, no?

  8. HA! I guess it was just meant to be!!!


Keep it clean, keep it classy, and jokes are always appreciated.