“I Slept with the Prophetess” and other ways not to start a query

I’m hoping to develop a longer version of my Faith in the Poor post for a magazine. So, I pitched a hip Christian magazine that likes to challenge their readers. I began with this…

I slept with the Prophetess. How many folks can say that?

Yep, probably not the best way to begin a query.

Needless to say, I probably won’t be hearing from them. If they made it through the whole sleeping with the Prophetess bit, they were probably put off by the question that followed. Sleeping with the Prophetess is bad enough, but bragging about it…

It was one of those pitches that I sent out between a bologna sandwich and a diaper change. Somewhere post-diaper change I realized that they might think that I, in fact, slept with the Prophetess (not just a prophetess but THE capital P Prophetess). Actually, I spent the night in her son’s apartment on a small couch. It was an amazing and powerful experience that I hope to share soon.

The opening sentences I wrote might be appropriate in a query to a Christian Porno Magazine.

Dear Porn-Again Christian,

There I was in the slums of Nairobi. Seeing all that poverty made me horny. And then I saw her dressed in a purple uniform. Our eyes met. She said, “I can see the future. And I see you and me…

(Okay, I’ll stop there. I was starting to weird myself out.)

This got me thinking about other inappropriate ways I could start a query.

A pitch about how curious children are: I once stuck my finger up a Doberman’s butt.

A pitch about how I feel bad killing lighting bugs when I drive: I’m a killer.

A pitch about a bond between a mother and a son: My mother took me to my first topless show.

A pitch about Key West: I was molested by a 6’5” drag queen.

I could go on forever. But I should get busy sending out some new queries.

If you have any other “Ways Not to Start a Query,” I’d love to here them. @kelseytimmerman me on Twitter or leave ‘em in the comments.

Sincerely this guy (I’m considering using this shot in my bio and sending it along with all my queries. What do you think?),

Bruce says:

Maybe you should have footnoted the “Sleeping with a Prophetess” and given the credit to a ordained Baptist minister.

Well, depending on which “hip” Christian magazine it was, they may latch onto you for dear life in an attempt to prove that they are, in face, hip. 😉

Kelsey says:

Bruce, I should have done something. Next time I’ll send along your contact info to vouch for me.

Joanne, You are too kind.

Let your voice be heard!