Publishing Logic 101

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Aug 08 2011

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.


34 responses to “Publishing Logic 101”

  1. Avatar Jill Thomas says:

    And please do not forget to pick up your nose, which you have just sliced off your face, from the floor before departing. Thank you.

  2. Avatar wry wryter says:

    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.

  3. Avatar G says:

    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.

  4. Avatar Todd Smith says:

    Best post ever! Thanks for a great laugh to start the day.
    I wonder what other stupid things get put into query letters.

  5. Avatar Colin Smith says:

    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!

  6. Avatar Jaime Wright says:

    Thanks for posting that today. It made me smile. Logic can be – humorous ?! – sometimes 🙂

  7. I'm aghast someone would say this. What are people thinking? Has anyone ever compiled a book of crazy queries? It'd make a great e-book!

  8. Avatar Kristine says:

    Someone used that word in a query? Heavens to betsy …!

  9. Avatar ryan field says:

    I love logic.

    Takes me back to my LSAT days, when logic was still something we could depend on 🙂

  10. That's a lot of crap.

    But no, seriously, why would a writer even say that? How could it even occur to someone that saying something like that to an agent would be a good thing to do?

  11. Avatar Stacy says:

    Why on earth would someone say that? Queries are supposed to be about selling your book. Just…wow/

  12. 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.

  13. Avatar Eileen says:

    Oooh we could make a writer SAT. There would be a logic section, a math section where you had to sort out percentages, terms/vocabulary…

  14. This is one of those times where I shake my head and say, "Oh, people…"

  15. 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

  16. Avatar lynnrush says:

    Please tell me someone didn't write that. Please . . oh dear.

  17. Avatar Lucy says:

    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….

  18. Everyone is different and have their own ways of expressing things. This individual was obviously facetious. His humor got your attention. Of course, it was negative attention….

  19. Avatar John Wiswell says:

    I'd be pretty impressed to meet someone who has read every published book.

  20. Somebody needs help extracting their foot from their mouth.

    (My word verification for this is aggents. I love the internet sometimes.)

  21. 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!

  22. A comment like that will be sending someone to the unemployment line. Richard from Amish Stories.

  23. I can totally believe someone would say that. I love this blog, it makes me feel like I might be almost a house trained writer.

  24. I agree we need an e-book with a compilation of the best and worst query letters!
    That would be a good read.

  25. Avatar tamarapaulin says:

    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!

  26. Avatar Lucy says:

    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."

  27. "Bitter herbs are sometimes used to treat mild depression." I am sure there is a relevance here.

  28. In his defense, crap sells. How else do you explain "Jersey Shore?"

  29. Yes, I'm kidding!

  30. Avatar T. Wolfe says:

    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.

  31. Avatar Joanna Roddy says:

    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.

  32. Avatar Inky says:

    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.

  33. 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.