Friday, November 30, 2012

From the Publisher's POV

by Jackie Randall

I follow a publisher in her blog. She is anonymous. She drinks and swears A LOT. She lives in America. And she shares with incredible frustration and honesty how much bad writing and bad querying ends up at publishing houses.

Following the blog of this lady, who calls herself Query Quagmire, has helped me see what publishers look for in a new book and what stuff doesn't even get past their intern's desk onto theirs'.

Here's a quote from her overnight: 

"The last thing I did today at the office was read a manuscript that made me smile. It was… whimsical. It was understated. It had me reading way more of it than I had intended. And when I glanced at the clock and realized most of my colleagues had gone home while I was absorbed in this unpolished manuscript from an author that no one had ever heard of… I knew I had a winner. And I wrote back to the author immediately and requested not only the full manuscript but “whatever they needed from the press to support their work” which is my euphemism for an advance contract.

"That could be you. 

"Or it couldn’t be. It could really go either way.

"But neither of us will know unless you try."

I've followed her blog for a while. In most of her posts, she quotes and exposes some of the lamest writing that she sees or hears about. But this one has left me feeling very encouraged, and has given me something to aim for. I want my writing to make a publisher (and reader) forget where she is at the end of the day. I want her to mutter 'Yes!' into her wine glass and leap to her reply to me. 

Because, then my writing would be life-changing for the people I want to minister to.
I would like to write more here, but my 3-year-old grandson needs surgery today and I will be left holding the (9-month-old) baby and I have to drive to their house in the next few minutes. 

I hope I've given you something today. (And if you're thinking of following Query Quagmire's blog, make sure you have a thick hide... the language there is... full on.)


  1. That's the aim of the game, isn't it? Make people forget where they are. It makes sense to shoot for that when submitting to a publisher. Thanks Jackie. :)

  2. That's what we all want to achieve a reader absorbed in our work. Thanks for this, Jackie. Sounds like it has been helpful though when I tried to locate the blog via Google,it didn't come up, so an address would have been good for those game enough to have a look.

  3. Thanks for sharing this Jackie,
    It encourages us to raise the bar and push for a deeper writing.
    Hope your grandson's surgery went well and you enjoyed your day with the 9 month old.

  4. Thanks everyone. The web address is this: