Is Your Submission Considered 'The Slush Pile'?

Author:
Publish date:

Q. I subscribe to and pay for Writer’s Digest online [www .writersmarket.com]. I believe the staff of Writer’s Digest insult me and all other serious writers by referring to our submissions to agents as the slush pile. It is my understanding the term is derived from the pile of manuscripts created in the various publishing houses by over-the-transom tossing of non-agented, unsolicited submissions. It is a derogatory term and should not be used for solicited submissions to literary agents. Your response would be greatly appreciated.
- Howard

A. Not to insult you, Howard, but I don't think your opinion is quite right.
A solicited submission is something that is specifically requested by an agent. If you submitted through a referral, it would be solicited. If you met an agent at a conference and they personally asked you to submit some work, it would be solicited. If they rejected your submission but said, "Send me anything else you to have," it would be solicited. But if you simply query an agent about your romance book because they handle that genre, then your submission will indeed end up in the slush pile. And you know something - that's OK. That just means it has to wait to be read. Truly solicited material and pressing matters will get their attention first, then they will turn to their big pile of submissions (slush) and hunt for gems.
For agents, slush piles are normal and healthy. For big-time NYC editors, they are not. Agents expect slush piles and sort through them for good material. NYC editors are getting so much solicited material (from agents) that they have no time or desire to peek through slush.

Mistakes Writers Make: Not Using Your Spare 15 Minutes

Mistakes Writers Make: Not Using Your Spare 15 Minutes

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is not using your spare 15 minutes.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Visitor

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Visitor

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, invite an unexpected visitor into your story.

7 Tips for Writing a Near Future Dystopian Novel

7 Tips for Writing a Near-Future Dystopian Novel

In this article, debut author Christina Sweeney-Baird explains how writers can expertly craft a near-future dystopian novel.

Pam Jenoff: On Writing About Isolation While Isolated

Pam Jenoff: On Writing About Isolation While Isolated

Bestselling author Pam Jenoff shares how she explored themes of isolation in her latest novel, The Woman with the Blue Star, while writing during the 2020 pandemic lockdown.

8 Ways to Add Suspense to your Novel

8 Ways to Add Suspense to your Novel

Authors Mark and Connor Sullivan are no strangers to utilizing suspense in their novels. Here, they share their top 8 tips for writers to do the same.

Lynn Painter: On Rom-Coms and Escapism

Lynn Painter: On Rom-Coms and Escapism

Author Lynn Painter discusses the strengths of the romantic comedy genre and how she utilized them in her novel Better than the Movies.

On Mining Humor From Family Dynamics in Your Writing

On Mining Humor From Family Dynamics in Your Writing

Humor often stems from things that are not humorous. Can you mine your family's dynamics for inspiration? Author Jesse Q. Sutanto believes you can, and gives you her top 3 tips for doing so.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 563

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an after poem.

How to Inhabit the Character You Write About

How to Inhabit the Character You Write About

One key to engaging your reader is to give them a character they love to read about. Author Diana Souhami gives her top tips for making this happen.