Last month I shared an article from Writer’s Digest on our social media regarding publishing terms (see article, it’s a good read!) and wanted to expand upon it and provide a few more terms to know, so tune in each month on the first Tuesday for a new term!
To quickly mention the previous terms in the WD article:
MANUSCRIPT, MIDDLE GRADE, NARRATIVE NONFICTION, NEW ADULT, PLATFORM, PROPOSAL, QUERY, SAMPLE CHAPTERS, SYNOPSIS, UPMARKET, YOUNG ADULT
Common Definition: a stack of unsolicited manuscripts that have been sent to a publishing company for consideration.
Note: These days it’s your electronic submission being rejected–no waste bin needed!
Avoiding the Slush Pile
Tip: Avoiding the slush pile can be tough, but keep in mind a few items-
- Be sure you are trying to sell it to the right literary agent (you’ve researched them, their clients, read their blog and believe your book is right for them–mass emailing agents is a great way for your novel to be in the slush pile-knock it off!)
- Do not mention you are a ‘new’ or ‘aspiring’ writer. Be professional and please allow your synopsis and query letter to be widely read by friends so it comes off as professional. (Also, your eye doesn’t always catch errors and grammar mistakes, so get as many people as you can to proofread before sending out your work).
- Dear editor….no, get the contact information–it will be available and only takes an extra moment to include (you’d be surprised at how often this step is missed). Additionally, follow their guidelines…just do it, don’t fight it.
- Assuming your book is finished, it’s formatted correctly and spelling/grammar error free, try to keep your query letter straight to the point. Your work will speak for you.
- Know that even if you do everything right, you still might end up there/rejected = the struggle is real.
Now that a few tips have been provided, there is one thing as a writer, if you have any dignity, you must avoid: sending a follow up email that is unprofessional (even threatening/angry) regarding being rejected. You’ve been rejected; nothing you say is going to change that for that particular agent, and an angry response is a great way to never be considered in the future (and if you think the agent won’t tell other agents in their office, you’re wrong).
Getting Around the Slush Pile Hump
Listed are a few sites to assist in writing an excellent query letter, synopsis and just general tips!