I get lots of suck-up emails aimed at making me promote, or sample, or buy, or blurb, a stranger’s work. Here are some of the lamest, recent examples:
I’m always looking for professionally-written crime novels and I’m mostly disappointed. Having just published my 16th novel I know solid writing when I see it. I was pleased to discover your work. I’ve now read two of your books, “Watch Me Die” and “King City.” I’m trying to decide which one to read next. If someone were to ask me which books of mine I liked best I would say “XYZ” and “XYZ.” Let me ask you the same question: Of your own books, which are your top two or three favorites?
This guy’s self-published books are ranked in the millions, meaning he’s not even selling copies to his family, and his covers look like they were drawn by hand. I wonder what his definition of “professionally-written crime novels” is?
Here’s one from someone sucking up for a blurb:
I hope you don’t mind my contacting you. I am a published author and playwright of “science-in-fiction.” Whatever it may be – quantum physics, the genetics of gender, or consciousness – such mysteries allow me to explore the big questions. For my newest book, due out this August, the editor at XYZ has asked me if I know an author who would be willing to read and review it in the interest of supplying a “blurb.” In fact, I don’t know many authors, but have a whole host of favorite writers whom I have always wanted to write to. (DELAYED DIAGNOSIS is a favorite.)
I’ve never written a novel called DELAYED DIAGNOSIS, so her attempt to flatter me fell flat. Note to people trying to suck-up: it’s important to get right the name of the person you are sucking up to and the titles of their books and shows that you supposedly love.
Here’s one sucking up for a job:
I am a South African screenwriter who has recently completed a feature length screenplay that I believe your agency may be interested in representing.
Please find a short pitch below for your review.
Title: Side Time [copyright 2015]
Genre: Action Fiction
Pitch: U.S. Marines meeting Nazi’s soldiers throw a time machine
Log Line: The U.S. government is on the verge of completing the building of a time machine underground N.Y.C.
John [Project Manager] decides to test the time machine by going back to Germany during the time of WW2.
His private mission- to steal the Nazis biggest diamonds from Hitler’s treasury!
In general, it’s a good idea to find out if the agency you are sending your pitch to is actually an agency. I am not an agency. I am a writer. Secondly, if I was an agent, I wouldn’t represent you because your grasp of English grammar is iffy (“meeting Nazi’s soldiers throw a time machine”?) and your story sounds awful.