Query Quagmire

We regret to inform you that your book does not meet our current editorial needs or direction... bitch

26 notes

celdaran asked: I'm so glad to hear your stance on EFW #34. Which means you'll love MY new fantasy world because it's totally different. It's set in Western Europe circa 1500 AD and includes two slightly-off-white characters. They ride magical mules, use sabres instead of swords, eschew cloaks for hoods, and gather in pubs instead of taverns. I think it's going to revolutionize the fantasy genre. After that, I'll start working on my next original story, Henry Porter and the Psychiatrist's Stone.

Throw in a school for sorcerers (not wizards, that’s so passė) and a Tough Female Character (the market is no longer responding to Strong Female Characters) and you’ve got yourself a book deal, sir.

~QQ

5 notes

softdomme asked: Hey QQ! It's nowhere near done, but what would I call a story where the main conflict is an abusive relationship? The MC is a man in/trying to get out of an abusive relationship with his wife and it's blatantly not romance so it can't be categorized as that, nor can it be considered YA (I think) because the characters are in their thirties or so, not their teens/early twenties. Thanks!

We sort of use the term “literary fiction” or “contemporary fiction” to describe books for the adult market that take place in the real world and don’t have fantastical elements. It’s a catch-all term, despite its lofty connotations. I’d definitely avoid the “romance” genre descriptor in your case.

~QQ

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Anonymous asked: How does the relationship between writer and agent evolve once an author sells a book? Would the agent be kept in the loop on editorial changes to the book? Or does the agent just kick up their feet and cackle while counting their vast sums of money?

Mostly with the cackling and the sum-counting. A little swimming in their Scrooge McDuckian money vault too, though I’m told that’s seen as gauche and frowned upon in the literary agent community. 

In general, agents back off from editorial input once the book has been sold. At that point any editorial changes mostly occur between the editor and the author. But it’s the agent’s job to continue to advocate for their authors if anything goes horribly wrong in the publishing process. So sometimes an author might ask their agent to step back into the ring, so to speak.

But usually once the manuscript is off the agent’s desk, they’re done with it and on to trying to fix and sell the next book.

~QQ

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Anonymous asked: O great QQ, I have a fantasy/magical-realism-ish MS (a little game of thronesy but.. different..) and I'm trying very hard to make it diverse and so NOT a European fantasy world #34. The troupe of main characters is racially balanced, but I'm worried people won't see it because the POV is a white female. The world is vast (and reflective of our own), so yes, there's areas more european-esque, but also so much more! Do you think I'm still perpetuating whitewashing? Or am I breaking the mold?

The fact that you’re even consciously trying to break the mold is a good sign. You’re aware of the problem of white washing in fantasy books, and you’re actively working to avoid doing it in your writing. So I’d say you’re on the right track. :)

Also, may I just say that I love that your question was “How can I make sure I’m not perpetuating a problem?” rather than “How can I get published despite trying not to perpetuate a problem?” Strive for good writing and originality first and the rest will follow. 

Good luck. You’re going to be great.

~QQ

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Anonymous asked: I just got my first writing job last week. Basically I make Facebook posts all day for a company. It's no where near where I want to be but hopefully it's a start. Where did you start?

Much like Black Widow, my origin story is colored with red and filled with dark deeds, regret, and the collapse of a totalitarian regime. It’s a story better left untold.

Just kidding. I got my start as an intern at a magazine publisher when I was about twenty. It was an editorial position, so I dealt pretty heavily with the slush pile (foreshadowing my future in acquisitions?) but we interns were also responsible for writing 200-word side column reviews for the magazine. Mostly I was assigned fancy rich-person luxury travel stuff, like where to rent a yacht when you’re visiting Acapulco. Completely out of my wheelhouse. So it involved a lot of interviews and research to bullshit my way through articles for which I had no real expertise. In hindsight, it was probably great training for if I had decided to go the route of a fiction writer, rather than an editor. 

But that was my first gig in the publishing world, and it was incredibly valuable experience. Before then I was pretty sure that’s what I wanted to do, but that internship really solidified two things for me: 1) I was meant to be an editor, not a writer, 2) I really wanted to work in books, not periodicals. I still keep in touch with my internship supervisor from that job, and I can’t tell you how many times he’s come through with advice or a contact when I needed it.

Congratulations on your first writing gig, and good luck! You’re going to be great.

~QQ

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whatsinsidetheheadofred asked: Just stopping by to let you know that I sincerely appreciated your post on young writers. As a nineteen year old journalism student, I see myself falling into a lot of the categories you described. You definitely have a new follower, love your blog.

Thanks so much for reading! And I’m glad you found the post helpful. It was meant to be encouraging, though I’ve gotten a lot of very mixed feedback on it.

Good luck in your studies, and welcome to the party!

~QQ

40 notes

Hell hath no fury like an editor scorned

QQ:
Ugh. This author was a total dick to me today. He told me to talk to his agent who was (British accent) "much more likely to take you seriously than I, miss."
Friend:
What a dick! Want me to beat him up? Or send him angry letters?
QQ:
I'd settle for negative reviews of his books on Amazon.
Friend:
I feel like that's the publishing industry's version of a flaming bag of dog poo anyway.

Filed under authors publishing book reviews Don't worry we didn't really write negative reviews on Amazon...

8 notes

7 Reasons to Celebrate Banned Books Week

Filed under ALA Banned Books Week banned books