Saturday, January 3, 2015

5 WAYS TO AVOID THE SLUSH PILE



No two words strike more fear in the heart of a writer than "slush pile".  And I think no two words cause more confusion for a writer as well.

Whether you are a newbie writer or established author, sometimes it's hard to either figure out exactly what an agent or publisher wants to see in a subbed manuscript, or even what a slush pile is. So let's clear up confusion number one...

What exactly IS a slush pile? Simply put, it's where all manuscripts end up if they haven't been specifically requested by an agent or publisher. No matter how fantabulous your story is, if the right person doesn't request it, you're still going to fight to make your way to the top of the stack..

So what's a writer to do?

Bottom line, you want your story to have the best chance to catch the eye of that agent or publisher who will be so blown away by your stellar storytelling style they can hardly wait to mail that fat advance check to you, right?

Well, I can't guarantee THAT, but I CAN tell you five ways to help you avoid swimming at the bottom of some poor publishing assistant's "to read someday" stack. Here they are:

1. Writer's Conferences...if you can afford it, conferences are one of the best ways to meet agents and publishers face to face. Publishing professionals are only human and that human connection, along with a perfectly polished pitch, might just be the thing to get a request for your manuscript.

2. Twitter Pitch Parties...participating in pitch parties like #PitchMas, #PitMad, and others are the next best thing to meeting agents and publishers face to face. Participating in a Twitter pitch party is how I met my editor, Jessica Schmeidler, and the rest as they say is history.

3. Agent Contests...entering contests like Miss Snark's Monthly Secret Agent Contest at http://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com/p/secret-agent.html or checking out more contests at http://www.routinesforwriters.com/contests/ helps get your pitches out there where agents and publishers can see them. It only takes one well crafted pitch to entice them to ask for more.

4. Publishing Contests...there are literally hundreds of contests out there offering publication as part of the prize package. Valid sites to check out include the Poets & Writer's list at http://www.pw.org/grants?gclid=COX1otb09sICFcKHaQod6SkAeA, Pen America's list at https://www.pen.org/ns-grants-and-awards?gclid=CNLwkpr19sICFZOCaQodnYwAdg, or even specific submission sites like Creative Nonfiction at https://www.creativenonfiction.org/submissions.

5, Author Platform & Social Networking...the path to publication is long and rocky and weighed down in twisty curves to frustrate the newbie writer. Building a strong author platform to include a website or blog, Facebook Author Page, Twitter presence, Pinterest boards, etc. shows potential agents & publishers you are deeply committed to your craft and your career. Seek out the agents or publishers you are interested in and connect with them through social sites. Take the time to interact with them on their blogs, on Twitter and Facebook. One of those connections could eventually be just the thing you need to garner that coveted manuscript request.

There you have it. Publishing is a subjective business and as a professional writer, you must do your due diligence to make sure your manuscript has the best chance to avoid the dreaded slush pile.

I hope you learned something new today and be sure to check back tomorrow for the next post in my month long celebration!

You can preorder my book, THE STORY CATCHER, now through Amazon, www.amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble, www.barnesandnoble.com. It is available in both ebook and print copies. Here is the book blurb and book trailer.






 




Blurb:
 
Addie comes from a long line of readers, or "story catchers," as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.
 
Trailer:




16 comments:

  1. Some great and very helpful tips. Thank you so much for sharing :)

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    1. Hi Joss! I'm glad you found this post helpful. Please visit throughout the month for more tips and tricks...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  2. Thanks for compiling this helpful list, Donna! And congrats on your book again. WOOT!!!

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    1. Hi SA! Thanks for your kind words. I hope people will indeed find this month of posts somewhat helpful...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  3. Thanks Donna, I visited your site before today but wanted to say thanks for these tips. I have been a bit scared of the whole twitter thing and need to work hard on a pitch that catches.

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    1. Hi Cecilia! I don't think there is any reason to be afraid of Twitter. I really don't know what I'm doing when I'm on it but I treat it kinda like my Facebook or Pinterest accounts...I just post things that interest me and presume there will eventually be someone who will stop by to say hi to me...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  4. Oh and congratulations on the book coming out. The trailer is cute and I do love the art you have paired with.

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    1. Hi again! Thank you for your kind words. I have to give Anaiah Press and especially my editor, Jessica Schmeidler, credit for helping me to get to this point. I couldn't have done it without her faith in THE STORY CATCHER, and I agree...the trailer IS cute!

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  5. Good tips and links, Donna. Thank you!

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    1. Hi there! Thanks, Sydney...I try...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  6. Good tips, Donna. It's tough to be in the right place at the right time with the right person.

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    1. Hi Genevieve! That's why I've been told I have the patience of JOB...and all the stars have to be aligned just right...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  7. Thank you for sharing these tips! I wish you the very best with your new book!

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    1. Hi Michelle and welcome to my blog! Thank you for your kind words. If you get a chance, look around at some of my other posts...maybe you will discover something else you like...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  8. I have attended several SCBWI regional conferences and the LA conference. It is not my style to hop into a circle of publishers/editors/agents and start a conversation. I treat Twitter like Facebook. I hope they do not think I am a stalker. I really appreciate your great tips. Thanks. Best wishes with your new book!

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    1. Hi Sandie! I think most writers are more introverts than extroverts and I can see a lot of them doing what you do. I don't think I could jump into the middle of strangers and just start talking either. I think ANY positive way we can get our names out there is a good thing...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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