The Book I Will Write by John Henry Fleming is a serial novel-in-emails about a would-be writer named John Henry Fleming who is desperate to publish a book. The Book I Will Write is a work in progress; readers are invited to make comments and influence the outcome. In the first episode, Fleming wrote to a senior editor at Knopf for help with his book. Here’s the reply from her assistant.
The Dense, Ill-tempered Replacement
Dear Mr. Henry Fleming:
Ms. Hollymore wonders why you are writing to her. Do you know her? Have you met her at a literary conference? She thinks you might be the young man she hired to walk her dog a few years back when she attended Norman Mailer’s funeral in Provincetown. If so, she would still like to know where her actual dog is and not the dense, ill-tempered replacement you left behind.
Regarding your request to discuss your would-be novel with Ms. Hollymore, the answer is unfortunately no. Ms. Hollymore suggests that you first write your novel in its entirety and then submit it to an agent for possible representation. Please do not send it to Ms. Hollymore, as Knopf does not read unsolicited submissions or queries and further emails to this address may be deleted (unless they concern the missing dog, in which case you should note this in your subject line).
We at Knopf wish you the best in all your literary endeavors.
Mary Ann Lankowski
Do not be discouraged. The world is full of Mary Ann Lankowskis, enemies of talent, blind to brilliance such as yours, jealous of anyone with more creative potential than themselves.
The dog angle holds great promise, I see a crack in the door.