Sunday, June 19, 2011

EVIL EDITOR CLASSICS

The author of the book queried below (in 2006) published (with a co-author, in 2010) a book titled Performance Fuel Injection Systems HP1557: How to Design, Build, Modify, and Tune EFI and ECU Systems. No idea how much of the original book became the published book. The published book received five stars from Grassroots Motorsports magazine. No Guess the Plot, as the book is nonfiction. Perhaps this will inspire other nonfiction authors to send us their queries. By my count we've had 15 nonfiction books and over 900 fiction.


Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

We learn from our mistakes. [Not Evil Editor, who, for thirty years has continued to purchase shirts that fit fine in the store, but become comically small after one washing.] When it comes to trying to make cars go faster, I have made such mistakes as buying a car that caught on fire two days after purchasing it, [The mistake wasn't buying the car; the mistake was parking it on-street in Baghdad.] spending hundreds of dollars on inappropriate parts, [You're complaining about spending hundreds? Evil Editor spends thousands on car repairs. Half the mileage on my odometer comes while being towed to automotive repair shops. I once took my car in for its annual inspection, and told them to fix anything that didn't pass. I come back six hours later, and there's a bill for $47,000. True story.] and many other costly mistakes. [While it's admirable that you've learned from your mistakes, I'm not sure it's a great idea to broadcast your proclivity for making them, when presenting yourself as an authority.] Sometimes I wish I could go back in time to when I was in high school and give myself a book of what I have learned to spare myself common beginner mistakes. [I think you're on to something here. Instead of this book, you write a time travel novel. When the younger you is about to blow $200 on a needless part, the older you shows up in a time machine and sets him straight. To appeal to science fiction fans,Old You can accidentally spray battery acid on Young You's face, and Old You's face suddenly becomes horribly disfigured, leaving Old You to wonder whether it was really worth going back in time to save Young You 200 bucks.] [Then Old You decides to go back in time to just before the battery acid mishap, to prevent it, but when the other two Yous see him, with his horribly disfigured face, they think he's a zombie and beat him to death with tire irons.] While that is not possible, [Maybe not, but which book would you rather read?] perhaps such a book could save other budding hot rodders from needless pain and expenses.

The book I have written, tentatively titled Mods 101: A Beginner's Guide to Selecting Automotive Performance Parts, provides valuable information about what performance parts do, how to find the best parts for your car, and basic automotive workshop techniques. [Evil Editor doesn't know what "Mods" means; he thus wonders whether your target audience of beginners know.] This book covers engine modifications, suspension tuning, exterior customization, and more. The book is not model specific and applies to a wide variety of cars, from the '57 Chevy to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. [If everybody looking for parts for a '57 Chevy buys your book, you'll be rich, rich, rich!]

I am a member of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Sports Car Club of America. I currently am working on a fuel injected, turbocharged 1966 Dodge Dart. I also competed in the Grassroots Motorsports $2004 Challenge, a contest to buy, repair, and race a car on a shoestring budget. Please let me know if you are interested in seeing more information about this book. I have enclosed a SASE for your response.

Sincerely,


Revised Version

Dear Evil Editor:

Not since the days of American Graffiti has hot rodding been so popular. But beginning car enthusiasts can easily fall into the trap of buying unnecessary and inappropriate parts in an attempt to make their cars go faster and faster. My book, Soup up Your Junk Heap Without Getting the Shaft, provides valuable information about what performance parts do, how to find the best parts for your car, and basic automotive workshop techniques such as engine modification, suspension tuning, and exterior customization. The book is not model specific and applies to a wide variety of cars, from the '57 Chevy to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

I am a member of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Sports Car Club of America. I also competed in the Grassroots Motorsports $2004 Challenge, a contest to buy, repair, and race a car on a shoestring budget.

We all make mistakes, but when it comes to high-performance auto parts, those mistakes can be expensive. This book could pay for itself many times over. Please let me know if you are interested in seeing the manuscript. I have enclosed a SASE for your response.

Sincerely,


Notes

Evil Editor has no idea whether this type of book would sell better in bookstores, parts stores, or at hot rod conventions. There's surely a limited number of potential publishers, and a limited number of editors qualified to judge whether you know what you're talking about, but you could start with those companies that publish similarly themed books.

4 comments:

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

This guy (and I'm pretty sure it's a guy) is quite a good writer.

His sentences say what he wants them to say. No disturbing metaphors, no confusing sideplots, no thesaurus-itis.

New strategy for query writers-- pretend it's a nonfiction book?

Wilkins MacQueen said...

My best car was a 1964 Comet Caliente convertible with 268 cubic inch V-8 engine. My favorite was a 57 Cev followed by the MG A. Dodge Swingers were a poor man's whatever my my fav is a TR 4. I won a bottle of wine for my team in Chengdu at the Bookworm quiz night one night because I know stuff about cars.

What car was named after an Indian chief? Pontiac. What US car has a French name? Chevrolet. My dad worked for Ford.

Fun to wander back down memory lane. Thanks, and what does BLM stand for?

no-bull-steve said...

I think that's hands down the funniest Battery Acid Shtick in the world.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I like your title much better, EE.