Thursday, March 9, 2023

The Do's and Don'ts of Querying Publishers by CHATGPT and Vanessa C. Hawkins



 Vanessa Hawkins Author Page

Soo, everyone has talking about AI, and unless you haven't heard, there are now programs that can deliver art, essays, and stories at the press of a button. Students, office workers and anyone who doesn't want to pay an artist for their work, rejoice! It's admittedly pretty darn neat. 



A lot of people--artists especially--are worried. Why? Because most of us already make peanuts. Imagine if some dumb AI can do everything we can, but only with a line of instruction. There are a lot of folks on the fence about it, and I suppose I am one of them, but I can certainly understand the concern and/or fascination. 

So I decided to try it out. I told ChatGPT to write my blog post for me! Let's see what it can--currently--do! 

Okay CHATGPT! Write a funny, how to blog post about querying publishers!

CHATGPT: Hello and welcome to this hilarious guide on how to query publishers!

Isn't that a little on the nose, ChatGPT? Ever hear of show don't tell?

CHATGPT: If you're a writer, you know that querying publishers can be a daunting task. But fear not, I'm here to provide you with some tips and tricks to make the process a little less painful and a lot more entertaining!

This must be ChatGPT's attempt at being witty... 10 Points for trying! CHATGPT: Step 1: Pick the right publisher The first step in querying publishers is to pick the right one. Do your research and find publishers who are interested in your genre. Don't waste your time querying a publisher who only publishes cookbooks when you've written a sci-fi novel about aliens who invade Earth to steal all our pizza.

This... is pretty good information, actually. I agree with you ChatGPT. Keep up the good work! CHATGPT: Step 2: Use a catchy subject line When you're sending your query email, make sure your subject line is attention-grabbing. Instead of "Query Letter", try something like "Please publish my book so I can afford to buy more ramen noodles."

Okay, well... as cute as this may be, it's poor advice. In my experience, publishers would rather you be on point. They've heard it all. They get hundreds if not thousands of submissions a day. Spare them your "attempt" at being witty and just get to the point. Example: Submission for Blah Blah Press. Some publishers will actually tell you what to put on the subject line, and if they do, follow it to the letter.

-10 points ChatGPT CHATGPT: Step 3: Be creative in your introduction The introduction is where you really want to shine. Start with a joke or a funny anecdote. For example, "I'm a writer, which means I spend most of my time talking to imaginary people. But don't worry, they're all very friendly."

Ugh, no ChatGPT. Bad. -20 points.

The first line of any query letter should be something along the lines of: My name is Author McAuthorson and I would like to introduce my novel, ChatGPT Is Trying Too Hard To Be Funny. It is a 70,000 word paranormal fantasy that takes place in Internet Space.

Again, publishers want the facts up front. They want to read the first line and be able to tell right away if your book is something they are interested in. After that, sure, you can hook them with a fun, witty, thought-out blurb, but again... Facts first, fun later.

CHATGPT: Step 4: Include a hilarious synopsis Your book's synopsis should be both informative and hilarious. For example, "In my novel, a young woman must navigate the treacherous world of online dating while also battling a horde of zombie llamas. Will she find love, or will she become llama chow?"

Technically, this is kinda true. Though a synopsis shouldn't leave someone guessing, it should be informative. There should be no questions of what happens at the end. A synopsis is a semi-thorough summary of events that happen in the book. I HATE WRITING THESE! Because to me, everything is important: read the book, butthead! But in a lot of cases I find synopsis' come out rather dry... If you can make yours hiliarious, go for it. CHATGPT: Step 5: Finish with a funny sign-off Finally, don't forget to end your query letter with a bang. Instead of a boring "Sincerely", try something like "Yours in pizza and puns" or "Cheers, and may the force be with you (unless you're a Sith Lord, in which case, never mind)."

Sure, you can do this if you want. I find it pretty cheesy, and personally cringe-worthy, but if the publisher got to the end of your query without throwing it in the trash, maybe they will enjoy it.

Ehh... no points taken off, but no points given ChatGPT.  
CHATGPT: And there you have it, folks! With these tips, querying publishers will be a hilarious and unforgettable experience. Who knows, your query letter may be so funny that the publisher will offer you a book deal just for making them laugh! 

Unlikely ChatGPT. Unlikely. 

So there. The do's and don'ts of querying publishers by ChatGPT and yours truly. What do you think? Personally, I think this particular AI has a way to go before it produces something I want to take credit for, though if it means getting Winds of Winter out, maybe George should give it a try. 

And you thought I was through with bringing him up, didn't you? Didn't you? Hahaha!

But seriously, I'd love to know what you all think of AI. Let me know! :)  


  1. Boy, am I happy to have a wonderful publisher. Thank you, BWL Publishing. I wouldn't want to navigate these waters nowadays. These AIs are only gathering commonplace ideas that have been around for a long time, most of which are worn and cliches. I certainly hope the acquiring editors actually read a few paragraphs of the work itself in order to decide. Standing out in the crowd should be for the right reasons, i.e. quality, originality, inspiration, etc. Thanks for sharing this hilarious experience.

  2. Another one who is glad for BWL Publishing. I once had an agnet submit a Regency romance to a publisher who only put out science fiction.

  3. AI - the future is now or... is now the future? Heads or tails...


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