Sassy Gay Apologies: A Querying Disaster

So I wrote a book (think Eat, Pray, Love except less international and more riddled with penis references) and lately I’ve been doing this thing that writers have to do in order to get books published, which is query literary agents. It’s not as fun as actually writing books, but it’s like, “a necessary next step” or something, and so it must be done.

The good news? I have two ridiculously talented fellow authors, Julia and Steven, who are also in the throes (or soon to be in the throes) of the querying process to help guide me along the way.

I don’t know where to begin with Julia, but I guess I’ll start by saying that she is the best thing to ever happen to me as a writer—the woman has read not one, but two typo-ridden drafts of my manuscript. Her eye has been invaluable, providing no-nonsense feedback and always urging me to dig deeper. For example, in my earliest drafts, I’d write things like, “…and then I had sex with my ex-boyfriend after having been estranged for two years,” and she’d be all up in the margins like, Um. This is kind of a big deal. Explain?

Julia has helped me grow. And? She’s basically me. Except heterosexual and female and (only slightly) less profane. Read/follow/worship her here. Steven, meanwhile, is also basically me—except he has a boyfriend and harbors an inexplicable hatred toward (the goddess that is) Christina Aguilera. Read/follow/worship him here.

So, querying. The other day I was sending out some letters, infusing every line with equal parts positivity and personality (and absurdity, of course), when I impetuously hit Send on an e-mail to an agent whom, for the purposes of this blog post and the protection of her real identity, I will refer to as Natasha Toestor.

Why was this a big deal? Because I forgot to proofread and accidentally addressed the e-mail like this:

Dear Ms. Toaster,

…I know!

It was an instant debacle. My heart flipped and my palms moistened and I cried like Taylor Swift circa “Teardrops On My Guitar” as I watched my credibility with this agent disintegrate into the ruthless black hole that is Gmail’s lack of an “unsend” feature. (OMG, remember that function on AOL, though?)

Before making this heinous mistake, I had been chatting with Steven on Facebook in a separate window, so I promptly clicked over to get his advice—but of course Firefox froze and happened to be NOT fucking RESPONDING in that moment, and my panic escalated more quickly than you can say Ctrl+Alt+Delete. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer (where I had my Gmail window open) was functioning dangerously perfectly. So in a dramatic, hazy moment of desperation, I decided to frantically follow-up with Natasha on my own accord.

Here’s what that looked like:

Dear Ms. Toestor,

My sincerest apologies for misspelling your name the first time around! I’m sure it drives you crazy when writers make this (major) faux pas.

Nic

Then Firefox started working again.

  • Nic: OH
  • Nic: MY
  • Nic: GOD
  • Nic: I just queried an agent. Her name is Natasha Toestor. And I wrote in my query, “Dear Ms. Toaster.”
  • Steven: oh no
  • Nic: SO THEN
  • Steven: …
  • Nic: I MADE IT WORSE by sending an immediate follow-up

[Steven reads my apology email]

  • Steven: omg
  • Nic: I don’t know who I am
  • Steven: My entire life is
  • Steven: I just
  • Nic: WHAT DO I DO?!
  • Steven: I am experiencing ALL the emotions
  • Nic: I’m that guy
  • Nic: I’m THAT guy
  • Steven: I am laughing hysterically… I am cringing…
  • Nic: Should I send a third e-mail saying, “Dear Ms. Toestor – again, I’m so sorry”?
  • Nic: Should I have kept going in my original follow-up e-mail?
  • Nic: I’m so fucked
  • Nic: with her, at least
  • Nic: hello?
  • Nic: Oh well
  • Nic: Just gotta #KeepItMoving
  • Nic: #DearMsToaster
  • Steven: omg
  • Steven: please
  • Steven: stop

The next morning…

  • Nic: Twitter has just assaulted me
  • Nic: ASSAULTED
  • Steven: ?
  • Nic: my e-mail notification popped up, and I was all “Oh, an agent!”
  • Nic: but it was one of those Twitter suggestions e-mails, based on whom you’ve recently followed… and I kid you not, it was “Suggestions similar to Natasha Toestor”
  • Steven: OH MY GAWD
  • Nic: she is my demon
  • Steven: “Dear Ms. Toestor, My sincerest apologies for the misspelling of your name the first time around! I’m sure it must drive you crazy when authors make that (major) faux pas”
  • Steven: I’m STILL dying
  • Nic: and, by the way, the “sincerest” was in ITALICS
  • Nic: it’s almost like I was mocking her
  • Nic: like, “Oh I’m SO sorry, bitch”

[Author’s note: I swear, I wasn’t mocking her at all. That apology, with the italics and all, was just my honest-to-God knee-jerk reaction based on years of being a certified crazy person.]

  • Steven: LMAO
  • Steven: I’m dying
  • Steven: it wouldn’t be so funny if you didn’t SPAZ the fuck out and e-mail her right away with sassy gay apologies…
  • Nic: Sassy Gay Apologies! That is so the name of my next book.

So, yeah. That’s how good I am at querying.

Pray for me?

 

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Comments

  1. I’m DYING all over again.

    I’m also praying for you.

    Also, I’m curious as to how your brain decided on the name “Natasha Toester.”

    But, in any event, querying is a soul-sucking endeavor, but one that must be undertaken in order to reach that next step.

    • Thank you for the prayers, my friend. RE: Natasha’s alias, IDK, I figured that, though it doesn’t necessarily capture the feel of the original, it DOES allow for a very similar appliance-y typo to occur. Choosing fake names is an art.

  2. That’s just greatness! Well done sir, well done!! I predict she will either become your new best friend or will avoid you like the plague! There is no in between anymore!

    • Ahaha thank you! And yes – I am hoping for the former but VERY aware of the fact that the latter is a much likelier scenario! LOL.

  3. Well, I wish that wasn’t an alias because I would totally send her a query letter with the same faux pas just so it would seem like people do that all the time. I’m sure that would really help you out. I just love seeing your blog posts in my in-box. You always make my day. And, yes, I definitely think you have the title for your next book!

  4. This post made my day!!! Thank you 🙂
    Personally, I think the follow-up e-mail sounded fine.
    Once I queried an agent and mentioned how much I enjoyed the humor on their web site but then realized I actually mixed them up with another agent, so the agent I actually sent it to was one with a very boring, humor-less web site. Fuck querying.

    • No, thank YOU! and lol, OMG that humor-web-site thing sounds exactly like something I would do. Further proof that we are the #same.

  5. From a random stranger who stumbled across your post via my WP reader, I’m sending you all the good vibes and jugs of moonshine I can manage (dude, been there, done that). Lots of luck with your publishing!

    • Haha, THANK you for the good vibes, and – most importantly – the moonshine! Your “been there, done that” means everything. #WeAreNotAlone

  6. Sending you my sympathy, my friend. And good luck!!! You’ve accomplished so much already and I’m proud of you.

    (… and in light of the emails and this blog post, let’s hope she won’t google your name. Or… maybe that’d make the difference? 😉 )

    • Thank you for the sympathy, darlin’! And LOL, yeah. I’m inclined to think that Googling my name, at this point, is never a good idea.

  7. I think you should send her a link to this post with a lighthearted, “Thought you might get a kick out of this!” Maybe throw in five extra exclamation marks while you’re at it.
    Poor you.

  8. If your book is ANYTHING like this blog, it will get snapped up by an agent (although mayyyybe not by Ms. Toaster) immediately. Your blog always makes me smile and giggle at the well-placed penis references. Good luck and keep plowing!

  9. Gmail has an unsens feature lol! You have to in your settings allow it because it’s a tester feature but it’s on there

    • I’ve been getting texts/e-mails about this ever since I posted this piece!!! WHY is the good advice always just a little too late??? #AlanisMorrissette #Ironic

  10. I will attempt to make you feel better by ignoring the typo, and congratulating you instead on the fact that you are actually at a point where you can publish. I have been saying for years that I want to write stories and get published, and try to get on the same fame level as Harry Potter. Buuuuuut…. I don’t even have a solid chapter written yet. 😛

  11. OH nooooo…. thank God you don’t have her phone number because that could lead to a ton of really bad voicemails.

    Why did you put (major) in parens? hahahahaha

    xoxox

  12. Oh this is too funny, mostly because i can picture myself doing EXACTLY the same thing, complete with multiple follow-up emails digging myself in deeper and deeper with each one.
    Keep up the good work!

  13. Thanks for the laughs. I just wanted to point out one thing though. Gmail does have an “unsend” function. You just have to turn it on in your settings. Mine is set to give me the option to unsend a message for up to 30 seconds after I click send.

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