||Warning to Writers!
||Wed 01 Sep 2004
I've recently been bombarded with query letters that have been 'ghosted'.
There are companies in the land of Internet who will, for a fee (of course) ghost your query letter. Isn't that sweet? You don't have to tax your wee brain trying to think how to reach your market or to establish a rapport with those you wish to work with now or in the future. This Internet Mommy-figure will do it all for you. Their goal is your $; your goal is to turn that nasty chore of writing endless queries over to those who 'know'. They'll even sell you labels already addressed. All you have to do is write your story and leave the rest to them. For a fee.
I'm going to share with you the note I wrote to one of them just today. YOU decide if this is really the wisest way to spend your hard earned money.
"As a literary representative I can tell you that having your company write a query letter is one of the biggest disservices you can do a writer. It's that letter, received along with hundreds of others each week, that helps us weed out those whose work we'll read, and those we won't. If the writing is intelligent and the log line interesting, they'll get our invitation to submit. If they submit, and the writing is inferior to that of the query, I know instantly the query was ghosted - and we will never accept a script from them again. Because of the volume of queries received, we have to find a way to eliminiate those with no potential, and invite only those with some promise. By writing letters for them, you give them false encouragement when we invite their submission. You also needlessly take up our time and energy when it's already taxed to the maximum. It's another reason why aspiring screenwriters have such a difficult time breaking in; they don't know the business and don't realize the harm you've just done them."
Now, dear writer/reader, having just seen what I zapped off to the Internet entrepreneur, please don't think that we fail to invite a writer to submit for this one reason; not so. Many times we're just overwhelmed with material and have to put a temporary halt to submissions - but the point is still valid: having a query ghosted is one of the dumbest ideas every devised (except from the entrepreneur's point-of-view! He wrote a few form queries and is now raking in bucks from unsuspecting writers).
Writing your script was simply the first phase of your new profession. Marketing is the biggest job of all - and yours to do. The only exception is if you have an agent, but you know how I feel about that, too, if you've read everything on this site.
Please, please don't take the easy way. It's the most difficult way, in the long run. And it's not honest with those you query. - Esther