Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor

How Not to Write a Book Proposal


Eat,Pray,Love En Francais, Seattle travel Blogs

I hear she writes historical fiction now.

If I learned one thing in my writing career, it is to pay close attention to those contributor guidelines. I wrote these after reading editors’ complaints about bad submission practices.

Dear The New Yorker:

Attached please find my aritle on “10 Pig Mating Rituals You Weren’t Aware Of.” I don’t read The NEW YORKER, but I have heard you’re a quality, top ten literary journal. I really, really want to be a Writer because I want a heap of money to show up at my door along with beautiful women and I can tell all of my friends I am a PUBLISHED WRITER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay. You can submit payment to 1244 Monkey Sock Street, NY, NY.

Billy, “the Pen” Henderson

Dear Hiring Editor Person:

I AM HOPPING YOU COULD PUBLISH MY WORK. Oh sorry about the all caps, I am just super excited that excited about the possibility of writing for your website. Well really it’s the work of someone named Mark Twain only I replaced 20% of his words and sprinkled 30% of keywords related to your website in. this stolded article will get you losts a website traffic. please let me know how and when I will be paid.

Yours truly,

Sal Forrester

Dear Pure Fiction Magazine:

I know your publication says you don’t accept poetry. But I figured you would make an exception for me because some of the lines of some of my poems rhyme. And I live in Brooklyn. And I won a poetry contest in 8th grade for my poem about rabid orangutans. And I have just the big glasses you’re searching for. Attached you will find the poems “Bee Stings Suck” and “Venomous Milk Shakes.” I am quite sure no one has ever written poetry this good before. Please let me know when my millions will be coming in.


Someone with too many cats

Dear Poetry Magazine:

I saw a paragraphs about how to submit a query letter but I didn’t feel like reading them. Heh heh. So, how can I write an article for you and get paid? Get back to me soon, ‘cuz I am out of work and the wife is naggin’ me.


Jack O’Lantern

Ps. (This will be my pen name).

Dear Penguin Publishing:

Please accept my very serious book proposal.

Born in Bronx in 1954, Mickey grew up with the knowledge he was in some way profoundly different. During a stickball game with the Thunderbirds, Mickey made the ball hover right in front of Jackie Johnson’s face. Later, he casts spells to help the neighborhood mafia make “deliveries.” He gets sent to juvy where he gets in all sorts of hijinks with his friends and kills one of the guards using black magic. Here comes the elevator pitch: it’s Harry Potter meets Goodfellas meets Sleepers.

I have a few chapters (warning: editing will be needed) and movie script prepared for when the book gets turned into a movie. And if you dare steal my idea, I will come at you with a whole pack of hungry wolf lawyers. (whoa, another idea! Werewolf lawyers! Think Twilight meets A Time to Kill.) I am prepared to negotiate for either idea, which will surely make you billion$. I now have to sign off so I can start writing my other proposal for my new upcoming novel, Werewolf Lawyers. Expect to receive it in 4-7 days.

-L.B. Tucker

Ps. Speaking of books, please don’t forget to join my giveaway. You could win a signed copy of I Thought We Agreed To Pee In The Ocean by Alena Dillon.

PPS. That last one is for real, from me, your travel-humorist, not LB.


Author: HalmCreative

Provides out-of-the-box copy and travel writing that meets strict deadlines and resource restraints. Worked with T-Mobile, Fodor's Travel, Delta Sky Magazine, Today Is Art Day, Zoka Coffee, and others.

4 thoughts on “How Not to Write a Book Proposal

  1. I’m waiting for the Werewolf Lawyer bobblehead.

  2. I really enjoyed this! Next ~ please write a satirical piece on editors/Literary Agent/publishers responses! Such as:

    “Dear Mz. Smith,
    Thank you for your query letter. While indeed your manuscript sounds fascinating, it would be a financial risk for our publishing house since it does not contain:

    a) vampires
    b) zombies
    c) a college girl having weird sex with a billionaire
    d) is not a part of a trilogy

    We strongly suggest self-publishing.

    Books R US Literary Agency”

    • Ha! Will do.
      Dear Esteemed Writer:
      “Thank you for your writing, but that art house shit ain’t going to make us no money.”
      Signed- Hustle Joe.
      (I just realized writing rejection letters/fake query letters could be my new career.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s