Navigating the Slush Pile: Option 1

Here it is. A second useful post. Depending, of course, on your life goals and your definition of usefulness.

Quite a few hopeful writers have asked me how to decide. What publisher do they query? Do they start with their dream publisher, or choose a smaller press? Do they query one or two or ten?

I have a few different answers, along with a rant. But no time to rant now, so here’s option number one:

First, research your publishers. (You wouldn’t believe the number of sex books I rejected while working for a children’s publisher.) Once you’ve chosen the ones most likely to accept your book, rank them from one to ten in order of preference. Create a list, complete with addresses.

Make ten copies of your submission. If publishers deign to return your pages, they will be crumpled or coffee stained or smoke-infused, or all of the above. You may as well have your copies done. (And if publisher number one happens to accept your submission, you can tear up the remaining nine copies and throw them into the air as celebratory confetti. You will no longer care about your wasted copying costs.)

Okay, start down the list. Send submission to publisher one. When you have received your rejection and/or six weeks has passed (more on this later), send submission to publisher two. Continue until you have an accepted manuscript or until all ten copies have been rejected. In case of the later, review manuscript (now that a year or so has gone by, you might have fresh eyes), and begin again.

You will probably need ten boxes of dark chocolate to get you through this process. Don’t buy these all at once when you do your copies, however, as you risk eating all ten when you receive your first rejection letter. Limit yourself to one box, and move on…

Option 2 and rant still to come.

2 thoughts on “Navigating the Slush Pile: Option 1

  1. Sorry, I can only think about useful topics once a week. You'll just have to wait for the rest. 🙂

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