The Magic of Ordinary Documents, or, News for August at PQL

Every summer, my thoughts are invariably drawn (with some alarm, it must be said) to the impending deadlines for tipsheets, or title information sheets, for all the new spring titles. These tipsheets are crucial in that they establish the basic information needed to create webpages promoting each new title, they help generate metadata, which we send bookstores (both bricks and mortar and online), they establish initial plans for promotion and marketing, and in general act as a road map for the publication of each upcoming book.

man copying from a book using a quill

For me, it’s a gargantuan task that is at once positively stress inducing and wildly exciting. On the one hand, it can be difficult to be at one’s professional best in the summer, when everyone’s talking rest, relaxation and vacation time. Plus, the Southern Ontario heat and humidity have a way of making my brain feel like it’s melting out of my ears. I find it harder to concentrate in the summer, not least because I feel like I’m constantly getting up to hydrate, or turn on a fan, or enjoy a cold snack, or what have you. Not exactly welcome distractions when the deadlines for tipsheets feel like they come earlier every year.

On the other hand, I absolutely love diving into new manuscripts and really spending time meeting the characters, discovering their stories, and figuring out the main themes of the stories as a whole. It’s usually the first chance I get to spend solid, quality time with each manuscript, and I devote lots of time to careful reading as well as handwritten notes to help me keep track not only of important details but also my questions for later. Tipsheets are also an opportunity to reach out to authors before the editorial heavy lifting gets done. We get to collaborate on product descriptions and author bios, trade publicity ideas, and discuss expectations about promotional efforts. It’s an organized way to get on the same page, which has the added benefit of coming in handy later!

In the end, it’s a time-consuming but rewarding project, and I always finish tipsheets with a feeling of relief, but also excitement at what’s to come. Be sure to stay tuned over the coming weeks to see what we have in store for you next spring!

What’s happening this month…


Took You So Long

Rolling off the press any day is C. I. Matthews’s debut collection of shot stories Took You So Long, which explores the complicated relationships and deeply flawed characters of non-urban Ontario. Also coming soon is Wesley W. Bates’s Out of the Dark, a beautiful collection of wood engravings reproduced alongside anecdotes and explanatory texts that help contextualize the images and really bring them to life.

In the world.

August 9 is Book Lovers Day, obviously a holiday near and dear to our hearts.

August 15 is Relaxation Day, and what better way to celebrate than with a good PQL book or two?

August 20 is National Radio Day, which sounds to me like a great opportunity to kick back, put on some tunes, and find that perfect soundtrack for your summer reading.

From the porcupette’s corner…

scholar sitting at writing desk and gazing out the window

I am happy to report that I have just finished the second round of edits on that upcoming story collection I mentioned last month. It’s always nice to see some progress being made, and it feels great to be one step closer to publication. Now it’s the nervous waiting game to see how those final comments are received by the author, and how they’ll be incorporated into the final product. So far it’s been a really positive experience, but I’m always nervous about proposing big changes or new ideas.

I’m also pleased with my progress on the aforementioned spring tipsheets. I’m finishing up my reading on the last spring manuscript, and then it’s on to the challenge of distilling fifty or more pages of handwritten notes into four neat and tidy product descriptions that reflect each manuscript with enough accuracy to be honest and enough sparkle to be enticing to book buyers. Wish me luck!


Thank you for stopping by our blog to see what we’re working on this month. We hope to see you back next month for another update on our literary progress.


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3 Responses to The Magic of Ordinary Documents, or, News for August at PQL

  1. Mark Frutkin says:

    Good luck. You can trust in the fact that you are very good at your job. A fine editor indeed. Much thanks.

  2. Pingback: The Porcupine’s Quill

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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.