Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dear Editor

Well, I recently began looking into having some of my short stories published by people other than myself.  I had no idea how complex this process actually is.  Little by little, however, I have been figuring things out.  I started out by sending a story out to a whole bunch of publishers just to see what would happen - and, hip hip hooray - I got an offer to publish from a small literary magazine.  I also learned a couple of lessons.  The first is that you aren't actually supposed to send the same story to 40 different publishers because whoever prints it has exclusive rights to it, and then if somebody else wants to publish it they will get pissed because they can't, and you just wasted a whole bunch of their time - oops.  The second is that if you put your story on a public forum such as a blog site, many publishers consider it previously published and therefore not eligible which gets them all pissed because you just wasted a whole bunch of their time - oops.  The third is that editors receive thousands of stories a month and if you don't have a really good query letter that catches their attention, they probably wont even read your story - oops.

So, anyway - the first time was a trial run - and I learned, and I will do things differently the next time around.  I figured I should start with a really good, attention grabbing cover letter that would make an editor want to read the story I send.

Here's what I want you to do.  I am going to post my query letter, and I need you to pretend you are some big shot, rude, egotistical, thinking you're God's gift to the world editor and tell me if this letter would make you decide to send me a nasty e-mail about how I need to read your submission guidelines before I even attempt to send you any more of my crappy writing, or if it will make you want to read my story, thus discovering the hottest new talent on the writing scene.  So, let me know which it is, O.K.?

Dear Editor,

Let me introduce myself.  I am an overweight, naturally lazy 39 year old woman with a very busy, full life.  Specifically, here is a list of all the things I have to deal with each and every day:

1.       An extremely annoying husband who has absolutely no handy-man skills.
2.       A house that has an ever increasing need for a handy-man.
3.       Four sons who were all born with a natural love of and talent for destruction.
4.       A dog who loves me so much that he feels a need to be constantly touching me no matter what I am trying to do (which is very irritating, especially when I am sleeping and he cuddles up with my face).
5.       Way too many cats which I, for some mysterious reason, have accepted into my home.
6.        Some strange, unknown disorder, indicated by my allowing all those cats to live in my house,  which I am actively working on diagnosing and curing through the services of both a therapist and a very tall shaman.
7.       A job as a preschool teacher (for a classroom of children who tend to be even more destructive than my four sons).
8.       A lizard, four frogs and a hermit crab who may or may not be dead.

    Now that you have a clear idea what I am up against, you will understand why I, not so long ago, made a decision that something had to change.  You see, I woke up one morning knowing I couldn’t take it anymore.  I found myself at a crossroads – I could either pack my bags and leave everything behind, finding myself a small hut on some uninhabited island where I could live out my days alone, in total peace and tranquility or I could begin complaining about every little thing that bugs me on a public forum, therefore garnering the sympathy and empathy of the world.  The better of the two options was obvious, so I started to pack.  Then I realized that, if left unchecked, my children would quickly demolish the house and escape – thus being let loose on the world.  Because I know them so well, I could clearly envision the trail of disaster and devastation.  I just couldn’t let that happen - so the blog Fat Lazy Soccer Mom Gets Healthy was born.

    I began posting essays about the daily madness that is my unfortunate existence.   Soon after that, I began receiving correspondence from others like me  – poor souls who had wanted nice, normal lives only to find themselves surrounded by lunatics.  These people are numerous, and I continue writing for them – so that they will know that they are not alone. 

    I have attached a short story with the hope that you will consider publication, thus touching more readers than my blog alone can reach.  Feel free to read more of my work on my site:

    I would appreciate any feedback or criticism (unless you don’t like my writing, in which case, I would appreciate it if you would lie).

    Thank you for your consideration,

    Kristina Yapp

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