I'll list a few ways to get a rejection letter...but I'll also post a few ways that might help you get a request. Each agent/editor is different so what one might like the others may not.
Automatic Rejection for your Query Letter:
1.) Spell the editors/agents name incorrectly.
2.) Use all types of fonts/colors on the query letter
3.) Send the same query letter email to several editors/agents at the same time where everyone can see everyone else listed.
4.) Tell them you are the next Nora Roberts, J K Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Dan Brown.
5.) Don't proof your query.
6.) Forgetting to include your contact info other than the email address.
7.) Telling the agent/editor how your book is the next New York best seller.
8.) Don't follow submission guidelines. (okay, I cheat a little on this one)
9.) Leaving the editor/agent without knowing the end.
10.) Tell the editor/agent you've been rejected 10 times.
There are so many reasons they can reject your query, don't give them the chance. Research how to write queries. One place I found very helpful Kristin Nelson's Agency (www.nelsonagency.com) Kristin and Sara often post loads of tips on their website...
Another helpful site is www.charlottedillon.com
Okay, so here are a few tips to make your query better.
1.) Don't go over one page for a query. Use one paragraph for the heroine, one for the hero, and one on how they came together and solve the major conflict. (Should put their goals. (what they want, why the want it, and why the can't have it.)
2.) If you've won any contests and such, put it in last. And if you have any personal experience in what you are writing about, maybe add a line about that. Example: My series is about women in construction. I work in construction, so I can relate to what I'm writing.
3.) Mention if you belong to RWA or other writing groups. If you belong to critique groups. Some of these things might help let the agent/editor know you are serious about the business.
4.) A website. Lots of people say you don't need one, but I think it is a good idea to start one now before you are published. Put your website on your query so the agent or editor can see your samples of your writing. Most editors/agents are like us, and they want to see what you are about, just like we want to see what they are about.
5.) Please research editors/agents who you are submitting to. See if they represent books that you write. One way to do that is look them up on the web and most of the time they put their authors who they represent or they will flat out tell you they don't want this genre' or that genre'.
6.) Please spell check. And please don't forget to "thank" them for their time. (this one is a biggie for me...always always thank them!!!)
I could go on and on with my list, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. I hope this helps....
Good luck staying out of the rejection pile....and remember if you do get a rejection try to learn as much as you can from it....at least you are ahead of the game for those that never ever submit.
Never give up your dream of becoming a writer....
Keep reading, keep writing, and keep submitting....
Not An Angel, coming 2010 from The Wild Rose Press