Thursday, November 22, 2007


Let's talk a little about mailing. What to do and what not to do.

Believe it or not, this is an important thing to consider when mailing. Because you want to look professional, your paper should show it. So what should you use?


That's it. Yes, it's plain, yes it's white, yes, everyone else will be mailing their manuscripts using plain white paper. But plain white paper shows that you're professional, but also that you're realistic. Why? Because most of the manuscripts that I read go straight into the recycling bin. So don't send out a cover letter on pretty stationery or illustrated papers. And please, don't send your manuscript on fluorescent pink paper in the hopes that it will stand out (yes, I really did have someone do that). That won't make you stand out at all (and in some cases, you may irritate the editor who will not even read your submission). The only thing that will make you stand out is good writing. Let me say that again.


So save your money for the postage, not the paper.
And that brings us to our next topic,

I once read in a guide to publishing that a hopeful author should use professional stamps, such as a flag. Now I don't know about adult publishing, but I can tell you in children's publishing, a pretty and colorful stamp really makes me smile. No, it still won't improve your chances, but if you want to stick old Olivia, Superman, Darth Vader, or anything else that you like, go right ahead.

These are a lot more fun than just flags, don't you think?



There are a lot to choose from and you can use any you like, but here's what I recommend:


These babies stand up very well to the pressures of the postal system, are cheap, and very easy for me to open. And in the end, guess where they go? Right into the recycling bin.
The fancier ones also hold up as well, but some I have to open with scissors and can't go into the recycling. So be easy on your wallet and the environment and just use a plain manila envelope.

Do You Enjoy Reading the Slush Pile?

I LOVE IT!!! I am always looking for that diamond in the coal mine.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

How Many do You Read a Day?

I try to read a stack from the slush pile everyday. On a busy day, I read for about an hour (perhaps one hundred). On a less busy day, I read for several hours (several hundred). Currently, I have completed the slush from March 2007 and am delving into April. That gives you a clue about how far behind most houses are.

Who Reads the Slush Pile?

Some editors have unsolicited manuscripts that come directly to them, but the bulk of the reading goes to editorial assistants and interns.

How Many Unsolicited Manuscripts Does a House Get?

Thousands and thousands. Most editors offices look like this.

This is why it takes so long for a response (if the house even sends one at all). When an editor says she's six months behind in her unsolicited manuscripts, she usually means she's ten months behind.

What's a Slush Pile?

The Slush Pile is the term (albeit not very nice) for unsolicited manuscripts. This means that the publishers did not ask for the manuscripts, but the authors mailed them to us anyway. Unpublished (though not always unpublished) authors send their manuscripts to a publishing house in the hopes of being discovered without the use of an agent.