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Typical Day

Editor-in-chief Quentin Query of Green Sparrow Books (you're really not a publisher worth your salt unless you name your publishing house after a type of bird) wakes up at 7:15, showers and shaves, kisses Emily (his wife-in-chief) good-bye and is out the door by 8:15.

He gets in to the office at 9, and immediately starts going through his emails, reading through the proposals and query letters that have been deemed to have at least some small degree of potential and have been forwarded to him by his reader.

Here's one for a children’s book called The Selfish Shellfish. It's about a crab who learns that it isn't fair to pinch everyone else’s stuff. Even if he was born with pincers. Cute. Not right for Green Sparrow, but cute. He signs a form rejection letter and puts it in the pile for his assistant to pop in the mail.

Next is a proposal from an author who wants to write an entire book about the importance of taking your cat for walks. The author does not cite any background, expertise or relevant degrees. Basically, she's a cat lover who thinks animals shouldn’t be cooped up all day long, and wants to open the eyes of the rest of the cat-owning population. Oh, my. Quentin actually wants to do a personalized rejection letter for this one, so that maybe he can intervene before the woman actually writes 300 pages on such a ridiculous subject matter, and save her from wasting precious months of her life.

At 10:30 Quentin makes a phone call to one of the writers whom Green Sparrow Books has contracted to write a cookbook, to check up on progress and to request the next set of pages (turns out the author has been getting a little bit of writer's block somewhere between "Soups" and "Entrees").

"Hey, Quentin," says Emeril Boyardee, the cookbook writer.

"Hi, Emeril. Just checkin' in…any more pages for me?"

"Soon…soon, I promise. I've been in the kitchen all day…just need to perfect another two or three salad recipes and we'll be good to go."

"Salads require recipes? Don't you just throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl and toss it?"

Emeril starts to laugh, then realizes Quentin is serious. " Anyway, should have those pages to you tomorrow, Thursday at the latest."

"Let's say tomorrow at the latest. I was supposed to have them today…I've already given you an extension. I can't start editing this thing until it's in my hands, you know."

"I know, I'm very sorry…. Okay, I'll have something for you by tomorrow. They may not be recipes for the best salads known to man, but…."

"That's perfectly fine, Emeril. No one ever prepares anything from the Soup and Salad section anyway. Just get me the pages."

After hanging up with Emeril, Quentin has a quick meeting with some of the other editors at 11 to discuss current and upcoming projects and timelines, then orders lunch. Over his plate of Rad Na and for several hours afterward, Quentin goes through the manuscript he is currently editing—a book called "How to Write Your Own Book on How to Write a How-To Book." He pulls out passages he feels are unnecessary, makes corrections where needed and supplements the text with additions that he feel will flesh it out more fully.

Before he realizes it, the hour hand on his wall clock inches past the 7. He’s made a lot of progress on the manuscript, but he's still a long way from where he wants to be. He doesn't need to have the entire thing edited tonight, but he has made himself a very strict schedule and wants to stick to it so he doesn't end up working any 20-hour days as he nears the home stretch.

He takes the other half of his lunch out of the office refrigerator and returns to his desk. As he eats his sorry excuse for a dinner, Quentin continues to power through on the manuscript, until his eyes start growing heavy and he knows his brain is worthless. It won't do him any good to keep burning the midnight oil if he's starting to see doubles of every word on the page.

Quentin responds to a few emails that have filtered in during the evening hours, then closes shop for the day and heads back home to the wife-in-chief.