The Sole Qualification for Becoming an Author

About a week ago, I read a query in which the author made the following statement: “I possess the sole qualification for becoming an author: reading and writing is my passion.” He also described his book as being “the perfect fusion of modern, myth, and the unknown.” At the end he proceeded to inform me that he was in high school. He also told me that he had a “brilliant marketing strategy” which he assured me I would like.

Alright, before I get into this, I’m going to give this kid a fake name. Let’s call this cocky teenager John.

While I gave John the form rejection, you all get to hear in detail why this type of query letter is full of major suckage.

First off, it’s okay to be passionate about your work, but never, ever use the word “perfect” to describe it. Nothing in this world is perfect. Coming off as cocky is not going to impress an intern, let alone a literary agent.

Second, I don’t care how old you are. No one is going to give you special consideration because you’re younger. That’s great that you’ve discovered writing at a young age. And if you do get picked up at an early age, that’s awesome. But honestly, wouldn’t you feel better about yourself if you didn’t give your age? Then you would know that you were picked up out of all of the older, more experienced writers. And saying that you’re really young can also be a bad thing. It can scream “inexperienced!”

And now for the last thing I would like to tackle, this so-called sole qualification for becoming an author. (And, John, reading and writing are TWO things, so that would be two qualifications, not one. Anyway…) This was what really got me. First of all, sure, maybe those are the only things you need to be an author. Nowadays, anyone can publish something on the internet. But if you want to be a SUCCESSFUL author, there are many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many more qualifications. Like being able to take critique, knowing how to revise, being capable of researching, establishing an online presence, working professionally with others. And those are things outside of actually writing the story. When it comes to writing, you can’t just write (see my first blog post, Writers Don’t Just Write). You also plot, develop characters, write satisfying endings, pace the story, find your voice, develop setting. And many authors do these things wrong the first few tries. Yes! I do believe these things can be done wrong. Some people will think that there is no right or wrong when it comes to writing. To that, I say FALSE. This is why we have writing excuses. (www.writingexcuses.com) And this is why we blog.

And because I feel like I didn’t include enough manys earlier, here are some more:

Many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many.

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