Honest Critiques

No, I mean it. REAL honest. Email your excerpts or full stories, up to 1000 words or so, to honestcrits [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk. Synopses would also be welcome. My backlog is so daunting now that I recommend not submitting anything you are not prepared to wait a couple of months for a response on.
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  • Wednesday, September 14, 2005


    A couple of questions from David -
    I was wondering if you could tell me how a slushpile is organized. Are they generally arranged in a FIFO system or is it more random? Also, is all unsolicited work that gets submitted to a publisher bound for the slushpile? One last question; is it acceptable to submit to several publishers at the same time? Or should submissions be done one at a time?

    I reckon FIFO means First In First Out, and that's broadly the case. The exact order of submission may not be perfectly preserved. It may be also that the quicker you get a response, the worse your submission was; if something's half-decent, an editor might have it knocking around their desk for a while waiting for a proper read. But then again, they might just have lost it. The sheer weight of manuscripts arriving at most houses usually plays havoc with the most well-intentioned administrative system.

    As to the second question - yes, by and large. Agented submissions - from agents known to the publisher or who appear to really truly be agents - are turned around much more quickly, because you don't want to get on the bad side of agents. Unagented stuff goes in the pile. Even if you send in your MS with the name of an editor affixed, intending to bypass the pile, they will open it up, see it's a manuscript they weren't expecting, and send it right back to sit with the rest of the slush. That is one trick that Does Not Work.

    The third question - you need to check the submission guidelines really carefully (but you did that anyhow); and if they don't say, No simultaneous submissions, go ahead. I suggest, however, not labouring the point in your cover letter. Things like 'this book has also been sent to 15 other people, so look sharp' do not endear you to the reader.
    Torgo, 12:30 am


    Many submission guidelines specify the editor to whom a manuscript is to be directed. I was under the impression that it was not only a courtesy but also an indication one had done some homework. Certainly not a Trick.
    Blogger Bernita, at 1:43 am  
    Fine if it's been specifically asked for in the submission guidelines - certainly, follow those to the letter. Sometimes the guidelines say send them to 'the editor' or similar, in which case writing to a specific named person instead will not help.

    As to courtesy and homework... courtesy is nice, but the only homework you need to do is 1) discover publisher who publishes your sort of thing and 2) research submission guidelines. Showing that you can find out an editor's name really isn't going to help tip the scales in your favour.
    Blogger Torgo, at 1:53 am  
    My, my, I can tell cricket season is over. It's almost 2 AM over there and Torgo is still up and making comments!
    Blogger Bonnie Calhoun, at 4:13 am  

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