query quagmire

omnipotentauthor  asked:

I just spent the past few days reading through your entire blog (it's relevant research boss, I swear!) and I must offer Cheez-Its to your greatness. I was wondering, what's the difference between a copy editor and proofreader? And do they follow the same/a similar path to getting a job in the publishing world as other editors, as you've previously discussed here?

Of course it’s relevant! I am a font of indispensable knowledge. I happen to have been quoted in at least two (2) high school English class papers (no srsly… they referenced me as “Quagmire, Query” and it was awesome).

The difference between a copyeditor and a proofreader is the jobs they do and the order in which they do it.

A copyeditor takes the manuscript after it has been written by an author and tweaked by a developmental editor or agent, and they do what people traditionally think of as “editing”: correcting spelling and grammar, checking for consistency, formatting according to house style. There are different levels of copyediting (light, medium, heavy), all of which depend on how much work a particular manuscript needs. Sometimes a copyeditor will leave “queries” (not to be confused with query letters) on the manuscript for the author to answer. These are usually yes or no questions, or fact-checking things like “Hey, did you mean Broadway or Lincoln Street? Because Broadway is one-way going downtown and your character is driving to the burbs.” After copyediting, the author answers the queries, and then the copyeditor does query integration (QI), the act of integrating the author’s answers into the manuscript.

A proofreader generally works on the typeset pages, or at the very least, a draft of the manuscript that has gone through copyediting and query integration. They are checking for any little things the copyeditor missed, or any mistakes introduced by the typesetter. Proofreaders use a special set of marks in the margins to indicate what changes need to be made. The typesetter then introduces the proofreaders corrections into the typeset files before passing the files on to the printer. In general, proofreading is a faster process than copyediting, and it can be a good skill to learn as you ease yourself into learning copyediting. If you’re a broke-ass author and you can only afford one or the other, pick copyediting and then proofread it yourself.

Most freelance copyeditors and proofreaders I know took a career path similar to most other publishing professionals I know (college, grad school or publishing institute, internships), though most of them also took a specific class in copyediting as well. Fun fact: I am a trained copyeditor and proofreader, though it is not my favorite form of editing and I don’t do it often. 

Make sense? That’s kind of a very general overview, but there are lots of editors and authors among my minions who can fill you in a little more if you want. Minions?



Yes, that’s right, minions! In honor of my thousandth post (good grief), it is my pleasure–nay!–my honor to announce THE THIRD NOT-AT-ALL-ANNUAL ELEVATOR PITCH GAME, WITH YOUR HOST… ME!

“But wait!” some of my fresh-faced new minions might now be saying to no one in particular, “What exactly is this ’Elevator Pitch Game’ of which QQ speaks?”

Worry not, my precious darlings! For as an American, I believe in instant gratification, including the answers to all your questions before you’ve even really asked them. The Elevator Pitch Game is something I periodically host here on my blog to give authors the chance to get feedback on their elevator pitches from me, a real live acquiring editor. Still confused? Check my archives under the tag #Elevator Pitch Game to see how past games have worked out.

“Hold the phone, Marie,” you are now saying to your cat, “What the everloving fuck is an elevator pitch?”

Once again, I shall put your tender, confused brain at ease. An elevator pitch is your fast-and-furious attempt to impart to an editor or agent the concept of your book in three sentences or less. It should work well both verbally and in writing, and it should grab the editor or agent’s attention and interest immediately. Emphasis on the short and sweet. Imagine you are at a writing conference, and you see the agent of your dreams entering an elevator. On the wings of hope, you squeeze in to join them just before the doors close. It’s just the two of you and they can’t run away. You now have until they reach their floor to pitch your book and snag their interest, and the last thing you want to say is “Well, um, it’s kind of hard to explain…” And that’s where we get the term “elevator pitch.”

The rules are as follows:

  1. Submit one (and only one) elevator pitch directly to my ask box.*
  2. You will have one week, from right the fuck now through Sunday, February 23rd, to enter the game. Any submissions received after midnight, Eastern Standard Time on the 23rd will be disqualified.
  3. Please include your name if you’re submitting anonymously so we know who to credit. Initials or online handles will do.
  4. I will begin posting the elevator pitches right here on Query Quagmire on Monday, February 24th. 
  5. Every elevator pitch I post will come with personalized commentary about what worked or didn’t work with the pitch. As this is a learning experience, I will be as constructive and precise as possible. I will not be answering follow-up questions on any pitch.
  6. I definitely will not be able to post every submission to the Elevator Pitch Game. Apologies in advance. It’s just a numbers thing. 
  7. If you submitted an elevator pitch to the last round of the game, you are welcome to submit a revised pitch, though I can’t guarantee it will be chosen for posting on the blog.
  8. Do not fuck with me. Pitches for published works, fake pitches, and joke pitches will not be tolerated (seriously, someone tried to pitch The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe last time to see if I’d notice). I do not have time to humor your infantile pranks, you spineless cretins. 

Your regularly scheduled Query Quagmire program will continue over the next week, with periodic reminders about the Elevator Pitch Game. Tell your friends. It’s gonna be big. Now…

*If you don’t have a Tumblr account, you may submit your elevator pitch to me via email at QueryQuagmire@gmail.com. 

Patience is a virtue

So please bear with me. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks at work, and as a result my inbox is getting rather full. If you’ve asked me a question this month, please do not ask it again. I’ll get to it when I have a chance. Or I won’t. I do what I want, motherfuckers!

When things return to normal, I’ll have lots of fun activities and shiny things to distract you with. Until then, read a goddamn book and do your homework. Yes, I’m looking at you.

anonymous asked:

I come with an offering of the world's largest white cheddar cheese cheez-it to ask you a question. i write on wattpad and saw that a 1D fanfiction had been picked up to be published by 1 of the big 6. It's not well written, boring and one dimensional. I get that they want to make fast cash from all of the teeny bopper fangirls but in the long run, would it actually be worth it?

I’m going to give you probably the most important piece of advice I have ever given any author during the history of Query Quagmire. Prepare thyself.

Ignore any and all news about fan fiction getting published by the Big Six. 


That way lies madness.

It will be impossible to replicate their success, and the attempt will cost you your personal sanity. If you don’t try to replicate their success and instead simply marvel at the news, you’ll wallow in bitterness and indignation as you contemplate the injustice that Simon and motherfucking Schuster is acquiring One Direction fucking fan fiction while you can’t even get an agent to look at your carefully crafted original literary fiction.

So don’t even, my child. Don’t even.


*Yes, this absolutely includes Fifty Shades of Grey.