Books from Behind Bars

Editors at publishing houses not uncommonly receive letters or submissions from incarcerated persons — “jail mail” or “prisoner posts”. (For some reason, almost always men — very few female prisoners write to publishers, it seems.) Of course, almost all of them mention somewhere in the letter that they are innocent of the crime for which they were convicted. Or else have various whines about how it was all due to their bad environment or awful parents or whatever lame excuse. Actually, books by admitted felons could be more interesting. Anyway, these letters, often handwritten in pencil, can be entertaining or confusing or just plain awful. So enjoy how not to write a query letter.

Exact text as received:

I spent the better part of the first 12 years of my incarceration pursuing a college education in general business with a minor in psychology in my endeavor to understand how I went from my first year of college on the street with big plans to make something positive out of my life to a convicted murder doing 17-life.

I don’t even know what that run-on sentence is saying. I don’t think I want to read a submission from him.

What I foundout after some ten courses in the human behavior field wasn’t a pretty picture replete with a second life I uncovered in repressed memories from childhood trauma to a chemical assited hypnosis session which lead to an involuntary guilty plea for someone else’s crime. This total recall type of experience caused me to abort my graduate studies for what resulted in a ten year pro se mission for justice that further opened my eyes to the corruption in state and federal judical systems.

Huh?

After concluding the party’s that conspired to bring and keep me down were untouchable, I spent another ten years or so which partcially overlaped my futial mission for justice pursuing various jail house hustles with intentions to buy my way out of prison. For one reason or another these endeavors proved as futile as my mission for justice and some 3 years ago I started to write with an eye on the N.Y. best seller’s list as my ticket to freedom.

Really? Your conviction gets overturned if you write a bestseller? And I’m so sorry to hear that your ‘hustles’ didn’t earn you enough money to finance an escape attempt via bribery.

One of my biggest problems in getting published will be the challage my stories will be for editors and legal department in my use of celeratives from the music, motion picture, and TV industry as characters. I believe sunanims and other devices can be utlilized to avoid the delimation of charactor law suite. As you can see a spell checker will also have to be utlized to bring my work to market. I look forward to your request to review some of my work.

That is not your biggest problem, guy. But nice to see the writer understands the legal issues in publishing. And why didn’t he use a spell checker on this letter?

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