Jan/Feb 2018 Humor/Satire

Guidelines for Submitting Your Query to Our High-Powered Literary Agency

by Wells Woodman

Textile Photo Art by Jeffrey Trespel

Textile Photo Art by Jeffrey Trespel

We here at the Literal Literary Agency (LLA) love words, and we are always looking for new writers to add to our growing fold. We welcome queries about representation, provided you follow our guidelines to the motherfucking letter. Provide a synopsis that wows us, but does not exceed 12 words. Make it original, but don't you dare deviate from the traditional synopsis as explained by scores of people who've never published anything beyond books on how to get published.

You know what? Make it five words. We're already exhausted thinking about your pathetic little synopsis. It's a book you wrote, and it contains all your precious feels, and your mother cried when she read it. Duly noted.

As for your manuscript itself, please, for the love of Christ, send only the first three pages. Not three-and-a-half pages, not three-and-a-quarter pages, but three goddamned pages. Regular-sized paper, cocksuckers. Eight and one half by 11 motherfucking U.S. inches.

And make sure it's polished. Like we'd better be able to see our gorgeous goddamned reflections in it, you hear what we're saying? It had better tell us everything we need to know about your novel, but also intrigue us and keep us guessing. Surprise us. But no surprises.

We suppose we should also ask for your author bio. But mother of God, keep it brief. We don't give a shit about how you won the Midwestern Short Story Convention's Best Non-Genre Under-Two-Thousand-Words Fiction Open, or that you got a literature degree from Northeast Minnesota Technical College. We don't care that you read Eudora Welty when you were 12 and got a tingly feeling in your naughty bits, or that you are the apple of your washed-up creative writing professor's rheumy eye.

We do want to know, on the other hand, if you graduated from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, but mostly so we can piss all over your bio, you precious, preening, epiphany-hating motherfucker.

You know what? Fuck you and your bio. You know what your bio is worth? Jack shit, is what. You're indiscriminately begging 23-year-olds who open the mail in windowless New York City offices all within spitting distance of one another to represent your sacred literary creation. Go take a look in the mirror. Your ancestors would be ashamed.

The point is, the very fact that you're petitioning us is proof that you're nobody. Your bio is irrelevant. The truth is, we used to ask for author bios just to be sure we didn't publish a Nazi or a pedophile or something, but hell, that probably works in your favor now. So just spare us the bio, unless you happen to dress up like Hermann Göring and prowl playgrounds, in which case you go to the front of the line, freakjob.

Oh, quit your sniveling. You think this is mean? You think we're being harsh? Welcome to the Big Time, cupcake. Harsh is a real artist laboring for years over a book of poetry that will sell 20 copies, while an unlettered skank who got her start writing Twilight porn just bought her third Ferrari.

So don't talk to us about harsh. We have to read this shit. We have to wade through your derivative, grammatically unhinged drivel, page after page after page of it, none of it any different except for your zip codes. We have to drink coffee until our eardrums burst as we try to predict what will be the next goddamned Honey Boo Boo of literature. So go fuck yourself.

And as God is our witness, if you fucking mail that shit to us, in this digital day and age, we will hunt you down and give you a papercut on the genitalia for every page in your manila envelope. You know who uses manila envelopes any more? Anthrax-mailing domestic terrorists and your whore of a grandma, is who.

But if you absolutely must send us a hard copy of your manuscript, be a professional and include a goddamned SASE. We like to let you know you suck by sending you the first page of your manuscript and nothing else, like the body part of a loved one, so you know they're dead but you never know how they died or where they're buried.

Alternatively, you can email your submission to submission@LLAshitheap.org. Our illiterate intern checks the inbox every other third Tuesday, between the hours of 11:30 p.m. and 11:33p.m. We don't know how he decides what to pass on to us and what to delete, and frankly, we don't give two shits. All we know is he hands us 10,000 new manuscripts a month and we fucking hate him, but he's the publisher's grandson, so there you go.

Well, that about wraps things up. Thank you for your interest in the Literal Literary Agency, where your publishing dreams have become our waking goddamned nightmare.


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