Live Webinar: Slush Pile Showdown

Nothing in the world of writing can cause anxiety-induced panic attacks quite like waiting on a response from a literary agent. And crafting that perfect query letter is as important as anything else you’ll do as an author. Without a strong query letter and a good, quick hook to a manuscript, an author’s submission threatens to be lost in the dreaded slush pile. Separating yourself from the competition and creating a successful pitch has never been more paramount.

That’s why Writer’s Digest has a unique, upcoming opportunity for writers. On Tuesday, April 29, literary agents Barbara Poelle and Holly Root will pull back the curtain and show authors exactly what goes on when an agent reads a query during a liver webinar—Slush Pile Showdown: How to Make Your Submission Stand Out. They’ll simulate the slush pile, critiquing queries that you submit, while giving insights into which ones stand out and why, how queries can be improved, and the common pitfalls to avoid.

This is a one-of-a-kind sneak peak into what it’s like to be a literary agent, sifting through the slush pile, hoping to strike gold. You’ll see exactly what they’re looking for, and can better tailor your submissions to meet those expectations. Remember: your query is your first introduction to the world, and it’s the first step to getting noticed, requested, and signed!

The webinar begins at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 29, and will last about 90 minutes. The registration price is only $89.99, and each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for one year. This means you don’t have to be present for the live event, as it will be recorded.

Attendees will have the ability to chat with Barbara and Holly during the live event and ask questions. Answers to questions that they don’t get to in the webinar will be answered and e-mailed out approximately one week after live event.

All registrants are invited to submit a one-page query letter, plus the first page of their manuscript (300 words or less) for the critique. If you are interested in having your materials critiqued live, they must be submitted and received before 5 p.m. EDT on Monday, April 28. All submitted materials are guaranteed a written critique, and Barbara and Holly will cover as many of the query and page submissions as possible during the live webinar.

For more information about registering, submitting your query letter and materials, and setting up for the live webinar, please visit our official page for Slush Pile Showdown: How to Make Your Submission Stand Out.

About the agents:

Holly Root is a literary agent at Waxman Leavell Literary Agency who represents adult fiction, select nonfiction, and novels for children and teens; she is not seeking picture book clients or screenwriting clients. She heads up a Los Angeles office for the New York City-based Waxman Leavell Agency. Visit her online at,, and

Barbara Poelle is Vice President at Irene Goodman Literary Agency representing fiction for teens and adults. Her roster trends toward thriller and suspenseful women’s fiction as well as mystery, young adult and horror. Barbara also writes a monthly Q&A column for Writer’s Digest magazine and has previously signed three clients from attendees of her Writer’s Digest webinars. Visit to learn more.

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