1. when your email address is something like “email@example.com, because it’s kinda unprofessional
2. when you start out in the first sentence by telling me you’re a lawyer/nurse/garbageman/astronaut when it has nothing to do with your manuscript, because honestly, I don’t really care
3. when you try to blow smoke up my skirt by using phrases like, “Dear esteemed agent,” or “…because I know you have such discerning taste” because it’s just weird and makes me feel all uncomfortable
4. when you quote me back to myself, like “because you like to learn something about another time, place or culture while engrossed in a gripping story, I’m submitting my manuscript blankety blankety blank to you,” because I know what I said, just tell me about your story and trust me, I can make the connection myself to what I already know I like
5. when you use words like “uproariously funny” or “devastatingly dark” to describe your manuscript, because I’d like to decide for myself what’s funny or what I’m devastated by
6. when you put a © symbol on your title or manuscript, because it makes me feel like you don’t trust that I’m not going to steal your work
7. when you tell me you’ve self published your book but don’t tell me that you’ve only sold 12 copies in 2 years, because WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THAT?
8. when you don’t tell me you’ve already been agented and your manuscript has been out to 20 editors who’ve all passed on it, because seriously? Do I need to explain this?
9. when you compare your story to Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lord of the Rings, etc… or compare yourself to Roald Dahl, Nicholas Sparks or Dan Brown, etc… because you can’t make that comparison, only other people can
10. when you tell me you were referred to me by someone I don’t know, because that’s not a recommendation, that’s a suggestion, and it is meaningless