Thursday, April 12, 2012

Getting Out of the Slush Pile

Publishers get thousands of submissions a year. How do we get our manuscript in the small percentage that get published?

How do we get out of the slush pile? How do we stand out in the crowd? How do we get a publisher to read the entire PB or read more than the first page of our MG manuscript?

These are good questions.

Many people write thinking it will be easy to get published. They write their manuscript and send it out the door. They think it is wonderful and the publisher will soon be knocking on their door with a contract.

First you need to follow the rules and submission guidelines and format correctly or your manuscript will immediately go to the slush pile.

Research the publisher. Do not send a PB to a publisher who states they do not publish PBs.

Join a critique group! Edit, edit and edit until your story shines. You may have to cut out a few of your favorite parts. But if it does not fit, take a deep breath and slice away. Add description to your MGs and take it out of your PBs.

Start your story with your first sentence, so the publisher will read the second sentence.

Make your characters unique. Do not have cookie cutter characters or cookie cutter story lines.

Publishers want unique stories. How do you do that when everything has already been written about?

Put a different spin on your story or subject.

Try to narrow your niche. How about historical fiction for younger kids?

Try writing non fiction for children. Write it in a way that makes it stand out in the crowd.

I know what I need to do to get published, but I need to put that knowledge to work for me and my manuscripts.

My husband and I are going on a trip today, I will  be taking one of my PB manuscripts with me so I can brainstorm in the car. I will try to edit, edit, edit and repair my manuscript.

What are your ideas for getting out of the slush pile?
Please tell us in the comment  section. We all  need any help we can get.

Posted by Janet F. Smart at Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.


  1. Janet,
    I hope you and your husband have a great trip and you get a lot of work done on your manuscript. These are wonderful tips for getting your work out of the slush pile. I've often wondered how I could get my work out of the slush pile to get the attention of the editor. Thanks for the great tips.

  2. Yes these are some great tips to remember..I hope you have a nice trip and finish your manuscript.

  3. Hope your trip was great. The best tip I ever heard is to write the best book you can. Sadly, that tip didn't come with a checklist.

    Happy Weekend!

  4. Very nice article and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is actually the best place to ask but do you people have any thoughts on where to hire some professional writers? Thx :)


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