Querying is something most authors will do at one point in their career–whether it’s to a publisher, agent, blog, or to the media.
There tends to be a formula that most authors use, but Tripsy South wants to tell us about her unique query letter that brought her positive results.
It’s no doubt there are certain things you should always follow, such as checking their submissions requirements, but if you pitch to them in a unique and original way, and you do it just right, it may yield you better results!
Let’s hear what Tripsy has to say about this.
You’re a writer, struggling to get your work out there and earn a living, while juggling a “real” job, family, friends and home duties. Seems impossible to get your foot in the door, huh?
And to think it all starts with a simple query letter, a few clever paragraphs to WOW an editor or agent, make them beg to see your manuscript, be it fiction or nonfiction.
Conventional query letters to book and magazine editors and literary agents are boring as ever, and 99.9% of the recipients know it. Fact is, they expect to receive them.
So why not submit something that will truly wow them? Something that will make you stick out in the hundreds of query letters they received that week.
A great query should reflect who you are, not what convention tells you to be.
My philosophy is simple: No one’s rules apply to me; I have my own.
The following is my little contribution to the mundane world of How To Write A Dynamic Query Letter.
Thing is, I spiced things up a bit with something that would blast an editor out of his chair, a letter that bends and breaks the old and current rules. My convention was designed to get immediate results, i.e. a strong, positive response from the editor of a major magazine and an invitation to write something cool for them, or get noticed by a high-powered literary agent.
Mine was directed at the senior editor of a major men’s magazine, a guy who quickly invited me to submit an article. In the least, he agreed to read my first novel, and we now have a really good ongoing dialog that, so far, has lasted six months. Woo-hoo!
Meantime, I hope you take away something positive from my suggestion.
Any questions or comments? Ring me sometime and share! TripsySouth@gmail.com. Thank you!
Dear Mr. Cool Editor,
Thank you for replying to my message on LinkedIn this morning. Sorry to get back to you so late. Please accept my proposal below.
First grab a bottle of Gran Patrón Platinum, and sprinkle it with this maxim, “The healthiest approach of all is to shut up and enjoy it.” “It” = Platinum + Tripsy’s artwords.
The Mr. Cool Editor Effect
I’ve read all your articles in ÜberCool ‘Zine and other cool outposts: you’ve a subtle way of drawing in your prey (excuse me, reader) and grabbing him by the cojones. Love your conversational flair: very entertaining and fun.
Evolutionary biology mandates the reader has three life/death options, some in various temporal combinations: Fight. Flight. Freeze.
But there’s another phenomenon to consider.
I proffer The Mr. Cool Editor Effect, which is synonymous with indulge: a reader is flushed with excitement, dives in headfirst, swims and toodles about, and discovers fresh thoughts and ideas, little gifts to share with loved ones, LinkedIn amigos, Instagram inmates and Facebook conspirators.
Fight. Flight. Freeze. Mr. Cool Editor. [Disclaimer: I do not recommend the Mr. Cool Editor option when approached by a 400-lb. lion or 2,200-lb. white shark.]
I propose to share stories that trigger this curious effect.
Tripsy’s Dreams, Wishes, Wants and Needs
Simple: I want to write for you, Mr. Cool Editor.
It’s a dream, wish, want and a need. I love your writing style and the subjects you feature. Clearly, you’re passionate about what you do and you do it effortlessly, and so so well.
Why Work With Tripsy?
Everyone loves a great story or a cool poem. And great images and paintings. I do all, and I do them well. Plus, I love life and all in it. I’m a curious little thing with a spicy old soul who’s kind, decent and respectful. And professional.
All-in, deep-dive research; critical, accurate analysis; and innovative, bitchin’ presentation are multiply coded in my DNA to ensure liberal cross-pollination of all corners of my thinking mind.
Daily laughter, a soupçon of 420, and affordable tequila are my self-prescribed medicines, and I don’t abuse. Actually, 420 is an official med.
My editorial passions are discovering and reporting on those diamonds in the sea, be they in food/drink, business, economics, physics, marine biology, neuropharmacology, or psychology. Also keen on how prolific artists create.
Perhaps you saw an excerpt from an upcoming novel on LinkedIn Pulse: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/got-scotch-tripsy-south/
LinkedIn features 61 of my articles, including some short fiction (Suffering the Indignities of Female Hygiene; Sex with Coma Patients, Tripsy’s First Day at University, plus many other sexxy stories).
An editor read my upcoming novel, WTF, Dorkus! Schoolin’ My Shrink On Teen Suicide, and said, “Tripsy South could cut off your balls, feed ’em to you, and you’d be like, can I have some more, please? Yeah, you’d actually say please.”
Another reader wrote: “Tripsy South is off the chain!”
The Official Stuff
Trained in physics, neurobiology and human behavior, and creative writing/editing. Lifelong student of otherworldly marvels. Never bored. A thinker and doer. Good writer, great editor.
Subscribe to what I term The Red Ant Work Éthique: Never complain about anything, do whatever it takes, never quit, always protect your queen (precious cargo), build a water crossing with a thousand of your best friends, do battle only when necessary, be kind to your developing larvae (family, friends, colleagues), celebrate a good life with a good quick death, recycle your carcass.
Writing style: Mr. Cool Editor-esque (relevant, clever, smartassy, conversational, intelligent). Situationally melds expository, descriptive, persuasive and narrative, all nicely wrapped up in a unique voice(s).
My mantra: Artwords, my thing . . . drinking from the sun . . . playing in lightning.
Proposed Feature Articles and Tiny Stories for ÜberCool ‘Zine
The Neuropharmacological Buzz About Tequila and Sotol, or How Pancho Villa Kicked General “Black Jack” Pershing’s Ass All Over the Southwest Without Firing One Bullet.
The Future Chef in America: Infusing Mother Nature’s Endogenous Medicinals into Our Comfort Dishes (think: Heroin Hamburger, Cannabinoid Cheesecake, DMT Dumplings, Nicotine Noodles, Peyote Blueberry Pie, Mescaline Meatballs, LSD Scrambled Eggs and Ham, Nitrous Oxide Nutella, etc.).
More to follow. . . .
A Few Poems and Tiny Stories by Tripsy
Modesty aside, the stuff below is kinda cool. If you’re still jonesin’ afterward, my bad; I’ll send you some 420 and a bottle of José Cuervo. Sorry, no pesos for Gran Patrón Platinum.
Pitch and roll, baby
We met back in October of 1936,
you and I,
during that no-name typhoon
that ravaged the south seas,
slapped Tokyo on the ass,
pinched her nipples,
and swept away dozens of taxpayers,
then got bored and veered off
deep into Halloween.
You were a cold, lonely molecule
of two shivering hydrogens
and one weakened oxygen atom,
just barely holding on,
your bonding energy sapped,
with several electrons threatening mutiny,
your nucleus on the verge of meltdown.
When we crashed into each other,
our collision made a sizable
bow wave that screamed across the Atlantic
and sacked the German
steamer Ursula Rickmers.
We rolled and tossed about for hours,
expanding and contracting,
adding a few other molecules
here and there,
some tearing off during the pitching
of the massive waves.
Ours was an endless tango
and mambo in the morning,
Lee Mavers and Clare Maguire by midnight,
building needed strength for the
long voyage up into the jet stream.
On November 26th, my birthday,
we caught a warm updraft and
sailed up to 50,000 feet or thereabouts,
bounced into a funnel-web spider
from Sumatra, riding his silken thread
like Santa and getting jacked up and down
and all sideways until we bonded to a few
leg hairs and brought some balance
to his sinusoidal-rock equation.
At 75 thou, we froze into a
perfect biconvex crystal that caught
the moonlight just right,
blasted a 9-Gigawatt laser beam down over
Santa Barbara and evaporated Highway 101
for eight miles.
The resulting fires shot across the mountains
into San Ysidro Ranch, creating a firestorm
with wild convection currents that
thawed us into liquid for a few nanosecs,
long enough for the rising sun
to vaporize us back to where we started.
That’s how we pitch and roll, baby:
solid, liquid, vapor, crystal or molecule,
’til death do we part. . . .
Loaded with chains and sorrows,
I step into many uncertain tomorrows
While storms and tempests convulse the sea,
and sweep away trackless paths that bring you safely to me
I am thus wrecked against the breakers of an unfortunate life,
and relegated to traverse all terraqueous ground in tearful strife
I consult the withered hags of my destiny,
they fail to treasure up aphorisms and maxims of ecstasy
Now deeply tinctured with false beliefs,
I go forth bravely, my heart heavy with griefs
Hoping that planetary influences oppose my fate,
and continue to keep me from my beloved mate
I hold out for smiles abundant and frowns a-few,
and many a year at home, my love, with you
But my future is assigned by a distant celestial orb,
whose grievous infidelity I cannot accept, let alone absorb
I take comfort that centuries will roll over even the meanest of my history,
and flatten it into a beautiful truth of mystery
My dreams now a-glimmer on a distant horizon,
I set sail again, all the more wizened
Now filled with the pleasures of a voluptuous court,
my beliefs never again will I abort
No longer am I filled with the repetition of evil thought,
nor the acidic residue of all that is naught
The great planets, sitting in judgment over me,
lay me to sleep in a field of unfractured glee
I then hum incantations of the ancient and new,
that once again bring me safely home to you
I splinter lightning
\ this noon I swim through a midnight sky
over and under a hurricane’s eye /
\ stirring every electron from wild slumber
lucifer’s entourage of untold number /
\ following in my wake, so dutiful they are
carving lightning to splinters so wide and far /
\ ghastly photonics surge across the earthly plane
raising dust and sea so insane /
\ kingdom animalia under the impossible weight
dissolving to a dark unsaintly atomic state /
\\ and so another submystery begins anew
this hot frothy mix of celestiobrew //
A little slice of Pi for your journey
dressed up nicely
as a radian,
will get you across the Pacific,
more or less,
with an extended layover in Hawai’i.
We recommend the Royal Mahalo Hotel
on WaoWao Beach.
Get a king room with
free Netflix and a remote
with extra batteries.
Lotsa mana, that space.
In summer, you can stretch Pi
liberally, given its impressive
and hit Kamchatka,
but who the hell would ever
wanna visit Kamchatka,
except to mine for ancient
Me? I’d opt for an air drop
The pretty girls,
long legs and short memories,
all with Master’s degrees
and an outstanding
positive mental attitude,
For that round-the-world cruise,
though, you may need the whole ring:
2 x Pi x Mother Earth’s radius.
Beware of giant floating rocks
at the higher latitudes.
If you’re in a hurry
and need to get to
the moon, say,
we suggest the cycloid
and a million joules
of carrot juice,
which is really just a metaphor
for a shitload of rocket fuel
and a child’s prayer.
Fasten your seatbelt.
And don’t forget your tray table.
And, for the truly discerning frequent flier,
may we suggest the Slingshot Express*,
a spicy mix of Pi, active uranium,
discarded wishes and a kilo of pono
that will launch even a sizable ass
like yours [just sayin’]
well into Earth orbit
for many many years,
allowing you and your Plus-One
to experience a soundless
and, quite literally,
from 3,600 feet above
everything you can possibly think of.
*The fine print:
This is a one-way flight, dear,
so please say aloha-ciao to loved ones
and do pack appropriately.
I fucken love trouble
Rhymes with fun
Synonymous with hot-mess sexxx
Banned in most countries
Once upon one time,
when I was still crappin’ diapers,
dad drew me a map
of how to avoid trouble:
a billion little dots
overlaying a Rand McNally atlas,
tellin’ me to go around
all them nasty obstacles, son!
Save yourself from the devil hisself,
the old man preached
from sunup to sundown,
New Years to Christmas, uh-huh
Sure enuf, over the next 30 years,
some six times
Trouble is spicy
Burns the tongue
Makes ya sweat,
even in winter
A thousand scents,
to Tierra del Fuego
Trouble chassés in the door
wearin’ a little black dress
two sizes too small,
under palm-tree lashes
that swat your heart like a fly
Oh, yeah, trouble comes to town,
I’m a goner
trouble gonna kill this one
for good measure
I love trouble
Rhymes with pleasure
Synonymous with danger
Banned in most countries
Oh, yeah, trouble comes to town,
I’m bouncin’ all the way
to hell and heaven
and all dots in between
The Downside of Tripsy
Haven’t read your cool book. Send me yours, please, and I’ll send you mine.
I cuss like a motherfucker and do it frequently. Even my beloved Smootch, an Australian rainbow lori, has a potty mouth. My ParksTheKitten just farts and squeaks. I’m sure he’s repeating what Smootch tells the mailman. What can I say? My Pops was an Army Ranger who knew four words: Fuck. Heineken. Motherfucker. Heineken. I’m just the product of a four-letter environment.
Anxiety and depression are still my best friends, although 420 assuages the worst.
Still fall off my surfboard a lot, mostly ‘cos I’m a maxed-out, amped-up, aggro surferchick who’s always doing something bitchin’ on a wave.
I am not trained in journalism, but I compensate by being open and honest, approachable and friendly, solicitous and curious. Then I write a compelling story.
I have not yet written for ÜberCool ‘Zine.
Farewell, for Now. . . .
Thank you very much, Mr. Cool Editor, for considering my proposal. Before I leave you, I’m gonna perform a small Japanese ritual, something they do while creating a work of art: intentionally yet reverently place an imperfection somewhere in the grand design.
If I don’t hear from you by the end of this week, gonna fly to NYC, all the way up into ÜberCool ‘Zine ‘s offices, chassé in the door, wearin’ a little black dress two sizes too small, blood-red lipstick, and come-hither diaphanous blues under palm-tree lashes that swat your heart like a fly.
As you think on my words, please remember this maxim: “Listen to the insane voices in your head.” —Mr. Cool Editor
Tripsy South is the author of the novel WTF, Dorkus! Schoolin’ My Shrink On Teen Suicide. Trained in physics at a cool surfer university, she lives and plays in Los Angeles where she’s a freestyle writer/editor and copywriter. Ring her here.