The phrase “slush pile” generally doesn’t paint a pretty picture in the minds of either authors or agents and editors. For authors, being in the slush pile means a long wait on the good side, and never hearing anything on the bad side. For agents and editors, the slush pile means long hours of work reviewing proposals and manuscripts.
But for both authors and agents/editors, the slush pile offers hope. It’s what keeps authors submitting and agents and editors reading. The author’s work may be discovered and the agent or editor might find a bestseller.
Wading through the slush pile is like going on a treasure hunt. The items found on this type of treasure hunt generally fall into three broad categories:
2) Some of the finds are like diamonds in the rough. They don’t always look pretty on the outside, but if they’re polished and cut properly, they become beautiful. It takes a trained eye to recognize these treasures, as well as someone who has the time to put out the effort to help polish them.
3) Then there’s the rare jewel. It may be buried under layers of rough, unpolished manuscripts, but when you see it, it the light shining off of it is brilliant and beautiful. This is why the agents and editors keep coming back to the slush pile, in search of the rare jewel.
The goal of the author should be twofold:
a) to make sure the manuscripts they place into the “treasure box” are polished enough that when an agent or editor reads it, the beauty of its shine will be so intense that it simply must be snatched up.
b) to make sure that the jewel of a manuscript is placed into the correct “treasure box.” If a non-fiction manuscript is dropped into a treasure box labeled “Science Fiction,” it will only be viewed as a rough stone. The beauty will not be seen because the person searching in that box is not looking for that type of shine.
We at Castle Gate Press like to view our slush pile as a treasure field. Whenever we start walking through the field, we always do so filled with hope that it will be the day we spot a beautiful shine. So if you’ve got a manuscript that fits our Mission, then check out our Submission Guidelines and send us your jewel.