Must be the heat getting to the interns at Meredith Bernstein's agency. I sent her a query at the end of last week, without expectations of success. What I got back today was not what I sent.
Somewhere in Gainesville, Florida, a man who studied creative writing at university is no doubt looking over the pink slip rejection from Ms. Bernstein, sad to see that she does not want more of his debut novel. Bad enough that the query letter was double-spaced, but a novel of 56,000 words is not what most agents are after. Apparently, the cost of producing a book is not significantly cheaper if it's 80,000 words vs. 56,000, and the narrowness of the book spine is a problem for bookstores. And for browsers with poor vision. Tough to squeeze a title on a narrow spine. As for the plot, it's a bit bizarre. Nurse steals drugs from hospital to supply her prostitution ring after hours. I didn't read any more. Felt a bit like a voyeur, looking at what I shouldn't.
Another gentleman elsewhere in the country discovered my query letter in his SASE, and he was kind enough to send me an e-mail to let me know. Who can say where his rejected query ended up? There must be a chain of these, numbering in the hundreds, completely screwed up. All it takes is to be off by one envelope and the entire stack is thrown into disarray, with queries being returned to the wrong party.
The lesson here is simple. Don't put something in your query that is not suitable for public consumption. You don't know who might be reading it. Oh, and by the way, that's a most speedy turnover time from receipt to rejection. But maybe the intern could slow down just a little bit, pause to wipe the sweating brow and engage in quality control.