Monday, July 09, 2007

Extra. Extra.

Slightly more than two and a half years ago, when I began writing The QC Report, I gave myself two rules: each entry had to be no less than 750 words and I had to post one every other day. When friends and loved ones asked about these two restrictions I would say something vague like “…gotta draw a line somewhere, right?” which was true but not entirely so. As near as I could tell, 750 words was a column.

If I could write 750 words every other day that meant I could be (she looks around and whispers) a newspaper columnist. Someone from a newspaper could read The QC Report and say to themselves “Why, that gal’s got moxie! Get that dame on the horn and tell her to get down to the editor’s office, pronto!” I imagined this man wearing a fedora indoors, chomping on a cigar and speaking the rapid, clipped speech of a 1930’s screwball comedy.

Of course, the 1930’s were one of the last times newspapers were frantically looking for new columnists. As I wrote and waited, I read articles about the DEATH OF THE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER and the AGING POPULATION OF THE NEWSPAPER-BUYING PUBLIC! not to mention the WHOLESALE FIRING OF EVERYONE IN THE NEWSPAPER BUSINESS NOT NAMED MURDOCH!

Still, I waited patiently and revised my plans. Now, not only would I get a column but the bulk of columns would add up drawing the attention of a literary agent who would then get me a book deal with a tiny publishing house trying to break out of its reputation as the second-best publisher of dermatology textbooks. My literary career fantasy had that perfectly Quinn blending of delusional and humble. I held it through seeing four nationally known columnists lose their jobs.

Two years later, I was still waiting for a call from the majors. I had so rarely made long-term job goals -- besides things such as Wait to audition for the funny and unattractive best friend of the lead on a sitcom or Unlike every other former child actor, try not to get arrested -- that it didn’t occur to me to revise them once I actually conceived them. Nevertheless, my audience kept growing. My regular contributors (including Mel, Judy, Houseband, Mel the Second, Valerie, et al) were a gracious, funny and talented lot and I enjoyed the writing for its own sake. I had reached a cruising altitude where I wasn’t scaring myself any more or forcing myself to stretch; it was an altitude where I could settle in and watch a fairly average in-flight movie while eating pretzels.

The email came without warning.

An editor wanted to talk to me about a book. I did what any sane person would do: I Googled her. She was, in fact, a senior editor at one of the largest publishing houses in the United States, Hyperion Publishing, who had steered several books I actually knew all the way to my local bookstore. I wrote her back with my phone number, still trying to decide if I knew anyone cruel enough to have set this up as a joke. The phone rang and no one yelled “SUCKER!”

She was exactly who she said she was. I found her to be lovely and funny and smart, which might have had something to do with all the nice things she said about my writing. I did, however, give her every indication I had severe cognitive difficulties:

EDITOR: I’ve taken your blog to the head of publishing and he’s very excited. We’d love to publish your book.

QUINN: Great, where can I send you a writing sample?

EDITOR: I…don’t need a writing sample. We’re offering you a deal.

QUINN: Terrific! So, I’ll just be waiting for you to think it over, decide if I’m right for you.

EDITOR: (Very slowly) Hyperion…wants…to…publish…your…book...now.

You’ll have to forgive me. People get book deals all the time but the book deals come though years of hard work and the tender ministrations of a dogged literary agent (or because the author has had sex with a famous person, which is another kind of hard work and tender ministration). Book deals don’t just leave emails saying “Hey. You want to write a book?”

Only, apparently, sometimes they do.

A book agent was hired and a deal was hammered out. I am to write 90,000 words, very few of which will have already been seen in the blog. I found this mildly annoying as I had planned to hand in what I had already done, only get paid for it. And, of course, for the first time in about a year the prospect of writing is sending adrenalin to my stomach and brain. The chance to succeed or fail is real again and while I can’t say I like it exactly, I am reminded of something Consort says frequently:

After a certain age, your life is either expanding or contracting.

And with this book deal I am in expansion mode again. So, I am here to say thank you to my regular readers. Knowing you are out there kept me writing when my inertia threatened to annex my muse. I am going to try to keep to my schedule of one post a week (the every-other-day business had to stop when I realized I would be cannibalizing Daughter’s childhood) but please excuse the occasional re-run.

You see, I got a job.

51 Comments:

Blogger Jen said...

Congratulations! I knew it wasn't a question of "if" but rather of "when." I am SO happy for you!

8:59 PM  
Blogger L said...

Congratulations! I would have bought a blog book in a heartbeat, but new is even better.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I read your blog every week and I love it. Can't wait to buy your book.

10:48 PM  
Blogger houseband00 said...

Congratulations, Quinn! =)

See you at the bookstore! =)

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Stefanie said...

Oh, how wonderful! I'm always so delighted when my RSS feed tells me you've updated, but this will be even better!

Oh, yeah.. I suppose it's a good thing for you, as well. Congratulations!

12:56 AM  
Blogger Gail S said...

Congratulations! I will be right there at the bookstore waiting!!

1:06 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

I cannot wait to buy your book!

I will read it with pen in hand, so I can add a comment to the end of every chapter.

Congratulations!!!

5:01 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

This is great- I think they are making a wise move. Your writing is certainly better than much of what you see on the Internet- and certainly the equal of columnists and books I have read. Good luck! (But maybe cannibalizing the daughter's life just a little bit would be ok? I love some of the mother/daughter exchanges.)

5:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much deserved congratulations. You have a lot more readers than you think. Not all of us leave comments.

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I'm new to reading your blog and I've really enjoyed it. I usually read craft blogs and this has been a nice change.

5:59 AM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

Congratulations! I've been reading your blog since I found it, always excited when I see a new post.

I love your writing style, and general outlook.

Ya got moxie!

Good on ya.

6:23 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

kid! ya got moxie AND a book deal!! i am SO excited for you!! congrats and i will SO be at the book signing!

woo-freaking-hoo!!

6:37 AM  
Blogger LilMissHipsway said...

Your blog is always insightful and well crafted, but the best part, and what truly sets you apart from the others out there: you have a voice. You manage to communicate yourself effectively and, better still, entertainingly. I often read your blog and think: "Yes! I noticed that SAME thing." Or, sometimes, "I wish she lived in Virginia so I could have her over for tea. (because I make very good tea.)"
I will buy your book, and it is already my pick for the month I get to pick the book for our book group. (Cause I am tired of the earnest parenting/ sociology books. Our book group has a "raising daughters" theme that has begun to wear thin. We need to branch out.)
This is great news for a Tuesday morning!

6:45 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Congrats!

My wife and I have been reading faithfully for years (though I - note I am not speaking for my wife - never have anything clever emough to justify adding a comment.)

As others have said, it's been clear for years that it is only a matter of when, not if - your storytelling and writing style are always fantastic.

If you do ever decide to publish the blogs as a book, I will buy multiple copies as gifts for my non blog-reading family.

Good luck with the book!

7:09 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

it was only a matter of time... fabulous news and three cheers to you!

i am eagerly awaiting the book, and the soon to follow merchandising options like t-shirts, lunch boxes, and the inevitable ride/ride simulator at universal studios orlando.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Splendid news! It will be wonderful to have a book to pass along to friends in addition to all of the blogs I forward. (Maybe you can write an chapter about summers in the pool at the MTC?)

8:31 AM  
Blogger Dodi said...

Congratulations! Even though I've never met you, I feel like I'm seeing a good friend succeed - and I'm so very happy for you.

Please make Denver a spot for your book signing. I'll be there with a "Team Quinn" shirt on!

8:33 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

That's fantastic news, and nobody but you, it seems, would find this surprsing. :) Can't wait to read the book when it comes out!

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats to you! Love, love, love the blog so I can hardly wait for the book (no pressure!)

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

Wonderful news and congratulations! I love reading your blog and can't wait to read the book!

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

How awesome for you! Congrats!

8:54 AM  
Anonymous skerrib said...

Hooray for you, Quinn! Now get to work.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous laura said...

Yay, hooray!! What great news! Can't wait for the book!

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am a long time lurker who simply has to chime in and say how happy i am for you. it was only a matter of time before your incredible talent was recognized. i have the feeling that this expansion is going to be a big one - so glad i will be able to say i knew of you when you were "just a blogger".

great things are in your future. makes me want to get a big tub of popcorn and sit back and enjoy the show.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Quinn! There are more of us readers than you realize. Congratulations and I look forward to seeing your book at my local B&N.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

Congratulations, Quinn! I can't think of anyone else who deserves this more.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Let me add to the congratulations here. We are anxious to read the developments and finally the final work and the book signing!! Again congratulations to you!

10:59 AM  
Blogger JJ Tierney said...

Quinn, I am so unbelievably thrilled for you, congratulations on your new expanded vistas. You are one of my favorite writers and a direct inspiration to my own work.

You deserve it, and I can’t wait to read what you come up with.
Please have a book signing in central NY. I’ll go, I promise. I’ll bring coffee.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I look forward to enjoying the finished product. You deserve all this success and more.

12:42 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Congratulations. I love your writing and look forward to your book!

1:02 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

CONGRATS!!! I love reading your weekly updates and can't wait to read the book!

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Kathryn said...

Ya got Moxie, kid. (how's that for editor-like?) I've been hoping for this kind of news from you!

1:28 PM  
Blogger Goslyn said...

A big Hurrah! and a Congratulations! too.

Can't wait for your book. Do let us know when we can haunt our local bookstores demanding to purchase a copy.

I am SO very excited for you! Can't think of anyone more deserving of having a book deal fall in her lap. Yay Quinn!

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never posted a comment here, but I've been regularly reading your posts for a while. They're smart, witty, and laugh out loud funny. I think you have more readers than you imagine. Congratulations on the book deal!!!! I'm very much looking forward to reading your book.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Karen of TX said...

Obviously, the rest of us knew it was just a matter of time! There you go: 35 books presold already. Congrats!

2:56 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

Quinn, I discovered your blog through an online friend about a week ago. Got halfway through the first page and immediately began e-mailing EVERYONE I knew to get them to go read this amazingly funny writer. I also kept insisting in these e-mails that you absolutely HAD to publish a book! HAD to. And then, a week later...you have a book deal! And I don't even KNOW anyone at Hyperion! So, from one writer (who had a monthly column in a magazine and edited and wrote for numerous newspapers) to another, somewhat better writer...congratulations!

No go write!

Pat (who can't seem to log in properly at all).

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Auntyb said...

Wow! That is great news! And no surprise to your readers I'm sure. Can't wait to get it!

2:14 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Quinn!
Congrats! I'm really happy for you and so proud of you! I, too, knew it was just a matter of time. Now you will have NO excuse not to visit me in Kansas City for the book tour!
See you SOON!!!!
Much love from Cheryl and the gang

7:05 AM  
Blogger cathy said...

that's great quinn! can't wait for the book to come out! i was wondering what book i was going to have to look forward to now that the last harry potter is almost here! get to writing. oh, and make birmingham a stop on the book signing tour. we'll all turn out at the local b&n, i'll buy the latte's!

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont remember how i found your blog , but i am so glad i did! i read it and laugh my butt off. you are truly a natural, gifted writer. i cant wait for your book!! oh ,by the way ,i am a 57 yr old retired machinist! so much for demographics huh!! keep up the good work and many congratulations!!!! bill

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me be the 40-somethingth person to say, "Woo hoo!" or the like. You've so often made me laugh to tears, that I can't wait for the book! Thank goodness I'm still reading the backlog of entries and I'm only on October of 2005. I hope that by the time I catch up, the book will be out. Hooray, and mazel tov!

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Lisa Stein said...

Wonderful news that seemed inevitable to all of us.

I'd like to start off the "Name Quinn's Book" contest with my first entry:

"Tea in My Lap"

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations ! Stumbled across the link to your blog several months ago and I have been an avid
reader since then. Your blog title
says it all for me... I work in a
large university hospital and do the " QC report " for my lab.Sadly
my report is all about numbers and
quotas and in no way as humorous as
your weekly entry. Can't wait for
"Q The Book" .

2:24 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

Well. Two thoughts.

1) I hate you. But that is just jealousy speaking because what I really mean is:

2) Congratulations! I am so thrilled for you!

(Also, I'd like to offer my services as a lucky talisman because you are the second person in my orbit [albeit tangentially] that has received a book deal. It's kind of like when I was wrestling with infertility and everyone I knew was getting pregnant.)

But this is not about me, but about you! And hooray for you!

--the Original Mel

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very excited for you and your upcoming success and for me and my upcoming reading pleasure. Once your publisher sees how wildly successful you are, they will print your blog and I will buy that book (and several extras for Christmas gifts)as well.

My favorite entry has always been Lil Skank and I am trying to work that into a title. It may take some time.

See you at the Orlando signing,

Elle

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Sara K said...

What they said.

Whenever I tell people about your blog (and I do, quite a bit), I always say "Her writing is so great, I suspect she's working toward a book or a column at some point. And it will be great when she does that."

So maybe you didn't see it coming, but we all did. Dodi, make a lot of those "Team Quinn" shirts for the book signings!

7:25 PM  
Blogger anne said...

Another lurker chiming in to say - hooray!! And huge congratulations! I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog. You are a terrific writer.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Congratulations! What a wonderful thing!

It almost restores my belief in justice in the universe.

Can't think of a more deserving writer.

I, too, look forward to publication and release of your book and reading the new material.

Go, Quinn, go!!

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Antique Mommy said...

Yay for you! You are an excellent writing and deserving of a book deal. I'll be the first one in line when you come to Texas for the book signing.

10:05 AM  
Blogger torontopearl said...

"World, meet Quinn."

"Quinn, meet the world!"

I'm so happy for you -- truly I am -- it is a well-deserved honor, even if hard work to write to a specified word count. I worked nearly 20 years in the book publishing industry; I know these things.

I introduced a rabbi to your blog quite some time ago; it was his blog, this time, that enlightened me to your good news. As we like to say, "Mazel tov!"

With every good wish from Toronto.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

This news makes my day. Just when I am thoroughly convinced that the internet only rewards bitchiness, exhibitionism, and illiteracy.

It's FANTASTIC!! Yay for you and yay for Hyperion for their brilliance and good taste (Is it the Everywoman's Voice imprint? If you need to create an emergency diversion them from a deadline, will you send them my way?)

So happy, and can't wait for the book.

k

4:56 AM  

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