You said my writing was experimental. That was my first book. You wouldn't (laugh!) possibly be able to publish it! To me, if that book hadn't been experimental, it would be worth nothing
You stopped talking with me when I explained why I was using multiple tenses. We had been talking. You liked my story. When I explained my use of tenses, you stopped writing me—you never wrote back!
You tried to re-write my book. You liked it, except the ending. You suggested a more typical, easier-going ending. I didn't change a thing. If you wanted to write books, why not become a writer instead of trying to write mine
You told me my subject matter was disgusting. I sent you a book about a child abuser. You assumed I was the abuser, and told me my book was disgusting. I was the child—how can I write about child abuse without the abuser? You sent me a one-line email saying my book sounded "unbelievably disgusting" and you told me never to write your agency again
You gave me 10% while you took 90%. I finally published a book—with a critically acclaimed small publisher. When I wrote my publisher about another book I wrote, you never wrote me back. Was there no interest? Did you never get my email? When I say I have written a book that is better than the one you published, I expect you to listen. And how am I supposed to feel about the immoral 90/10 split? I didn't write 10% of that book—I wrote 100% of it
I stopped querying. Wrote more books. Decided I'm never querying again. I'm not giving up. I'm growing up. To the realities of your industry (which is related to but has nothing essential to offer my industry). To the reality of the internet, where writing is publishing—and if you doubt that then this note really will smack you in the face. I don't doubt that you will publish more political memoirs. That you will check every item off your "list." Instead of worrying about you, I have been focused on writing
The result: very little time spent by me thinking about "publishing" or "the industry." My job runs counter to that. Writing for me is more about fascinating myself in front of a keyboard than "getting published" or becoming a captain of the industry
So, this is the last query letter I will ever write. It's not an invitation to agents and editors to publish me. It's an invitation to you—to read, for free, these 42 books you will not be publishing this year