I know that slush pile

Phil: While the BBC was reporting on NaNoWriMo, they inadvertently showed something fascinating – the “slush pile” at the Caroline Sheldon literary agency.

A slush pile is the mountain of unsolicited manuscripts received by literary agents and publishers. According to the report, this one agent is getting 1000 books a month sent through and from this they reckon to publish no more than one every year. It’s a pretty high attrition value. The pile is given to junior assistants to read and if they find something they like, it goes on to the next level where it’s read by someone who can make decisions.

Like most authors, I firmly believe that the readers involved with this pile are idiots. And illiterate. In fact blind, illiterate idiots who couldn’t find gold in a jeweler’s shop.  Blind, illiterate idiots who couldn’t find gold in a jeweler’s shop and probably spend the whole day struggling to count their fingers, drinking poncey coffee and texting their “bezzie friends” instead of paying attention to the work in hand.

My evidence ?

Well, “Kate vs The Dirtboffins” was in this pile in April. May arrived along with a nice e-mail that read:

Thank you for your recent letter and the material which we have now looked at.  As a small agency we take on very few of the many writers who approach us each year and, having considered your work, we do not feel we can effectively represent you.

We trust you will understand that the sheer volume of submissions to this office unfortunately prevents us from providing you with a more detailed and personal response.

May we take this opportunity to wish you success with another agent or publisher.

In other words no one realised what a great story they held in their hands. Or maybe they don’t like being in on the publishing phenomenon of the century. Perhaps they are scared epoch-shattering success.

Not that I’m bitter or anything.

(Please note: If you are from the Caroline Sheldon agency, I don’t mean you personally, I mean the other idiots you have to work with. You know, the ones who do nothing all day while you are doing the hard work. Allow me to commiserate and offer you another chance to look at our manuscript. And some nice cake to go with it. And perhaps some tea.)

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1 Comment

Filed under Phil, Publishing, Writing

One response to “I know that slush pile

  1. Boo hoo – do we need to wrap it with that exploding tractor we discussed to get them to bite!

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