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Publishing Logic 101

You say in your query, “all published books today are crap.”

I represent a number of published books.

Therefore you are telling me that I only represent crap.

So, if you want me to represent your book for publication, your book must be crap.


Category: Blog



  1. Writer’s Logic 101

    You say in your posts, “most of the queries you receive are crap”.

    I have written queries to you.

    Therefore you are telling me that most likely my query is crap.

    Yes, I want you to represent my book, so, I’ve reread my query.

    Damn, I hate it when you’re right.

  2. Can't believe that someone would shoot themselves in the foot for opening a query like that.

    Ingnorance can be cured in a few hours, but stupid lasts forever.

  3. Someone really said this in a query? What kind of misguided arrogance is that? For a start, I doubt very much the person has read *every* published book. Second, if they're all "crap," then by what standard of excellence does he rate his/her own work, since, in his mind, there isn't a book that rises above "crap" with which to compare his/her own?

    I'm just glad I'm not an agent. I would go looney dealing with this every day!

  4. Who would you rather work with?

    A writer who holds the entire publishing industry in contempt? or a writer who adores a large selection of books and admires the writers who work so hard to produce literature?

    At least this arrogant writer is doing you a favor and weeding himself out right away.

  5. I like the idea of a writer's SAT, but the math section should include other questions like the following:

    Q) An agent requires queries and submissions to be in 12 point font. Which of the following are acceptable?
    a) less than 12
    b) greater than 12
    c) <> 12
    d) 12

    Q) A publisher's submission guidelines specifies all manuscripts must be a minimum of 80,000 words. Your 72,000 word manuscript meets this specification.
    a) True
    b) False

  6. Ran into one of these on a writing forum recently–who was honestly quite clueless as to why this approach would offend just about everybody in the publishing process. He was attempting to stand out by an–er–confident approach; and has since been advised of his mistake. At length.

    Sharp learning curve ahead….

  7. Ahh, the "Everything published is terrible, so I wanted to write a book that was actually ~good~" crowd. Gotta love them.

    I love Eileen's idea of a writer's SAT. It would weed out those who haven't done their research on the industry, and maybe make a few of them do the research and gain a realistic picture of it!

  8. I think if I were an agent, I'd be tempted to set up some email macros that sort my queries based on certain key phrases. Anything with the word "crap" could go straight to the trashbox. Oh, and "fiction novel" and "better than Harry Potter" and, ooh, the possibilities are endless!

  9. Quote: "This individual was obviously facetious. His humor got your attention. Of course, it was negative attention…."

    Unfortunately, you'd be surprised how many of these people are dead serious. Most of the time it's because they don't know the business, but many do, in fact, think their claims are true. Others, like the misguided soul I mentioned above, think that "outrageous" translates to "confident."

  10. That just doesn't make sense to do that! Why would anyone kill any chance they have? That's like walking into a job interview for say MGM and saying that MGM only puts out crap, Disney is better. That will not get you a job and it makes you look fairly ridiculous.

  11. This reminds me of an episode of Project Runway when a designer said he had no use for fashion design schools. Tim Gunn is on the faculty at one and said something to the effect of, "So you're telling me that my work as a teacher and my expertise in the industry is meaningless?" I think they cut him in the first round.

  12. At least they didn't include a headshot. Though I suspect if they had, a very large foot would be protruding from their mouth. 🙂

    Thanks for the laugh! I needed a power-up.

  13. I was carousing – I mean, browsing – another site where an author confidently stated that "we all know publishers aren't interested in publishing or promoting good books."

    Yes, because even though they could do so, they'd rather publish stuff that people don't like.

    I'm a writer. I write stuff. Sometimes my stuff is good.

    But really, if a publisher wants to buy it, it has to be good for their business. Not because I'm wonderful & think my writing is wonderful.

    You might have written what you & your friends all agree is the next Harry Potter, but your writing is tangled, your plot has gone on a long vacation, and your characters come with their own scissors for easy removal from the cardboard easel they're drawn on. Or, your writing might be apples of gold in frames of silver, writing the ages have longed to see, writing that leaps the restrictions of logic and grammar to deliver truth.


    The publisher wants to make money. If your stuff doesn't fit their needs, they will pass.

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