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Writing Resources Resources for those serious about getting into publishing

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Old 17th June 2011, 11:14 AM   #91 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

True - but usually they don't come out and say it, for fear of encouraging sloppy submissions
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Old 10th July 2011, 07:41 PM   #92 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

This is great information. One question: is there a book or article or website that spells out, in exhaustive detail, all of the rules you need to follow to generate a presentable novel or short story manuscript suitable for submission? Inquiring nooblets want to know. This information may have already been posted somewhere else, and apologies if that is so.

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Old 10th July 2011, 07:50 PM   #93 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

If it's formatting for novels, then Teresa's thread is here FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subject!!
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Old 10th July 2011, 08:21 PM   #94 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Bent View Post
This is great information. One question: is there a book or article or website that spells out, in exhaustive detail, all of the rules you need to follow to generate a presentable novel or short story manuscript suitable for submission?

No, no, no (as I have said so many times before) it is not great information, most of it. There is some good information (like the part about not using staples) slipped in there with the nonsense, but the article is meant to be funny, and was written for readers who were savvy enough to know that it was meant to be humorous. It has no business being spread around the net where it can confuse, and often dismay, newcomers.

By an odd coincidence, I was just talking to someone who used to work at Speculations. She hadn't seen the article before, but she thought it was hilarious, and was surprised that so many people took it seriously.


Elizabeth, there is a standard manuscript format, and that's been described many places, including the thread for which TJ has provided a link, but it's really quite simple, and there is no need for exhaustive detail. The rules are not complicated -- although people make them complicated because they can always think of reasons why they should be some other way and want to know if they can do things that way instead (the answer is almost invariably "no").
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Old 10th July 2011, 10:38 PM   #95 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

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Originally Posted by Elizabeth Bent View Post
This is great information. One question: is there a book or article or website that spells out, in exhaustive detail, all of the rules you need to follow to generate a presentable novel or short story manuscript suitable for submission? Inquiring nooblets want to know. This information may have already been posted somewhere else, and apologies if that is so.
No - publishers vary. Some want double-spaced Courier with underlining for italics, etc, like traditional typed manuscripts, mine prefer Times New Roman with italics intact as they read everything on ebook readers.

Check the magazine/agent's website for guidelines, and if there's nothing specific, use the standard format described in the thread above.
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Old 10th July 2011, 10:49 PM   #96 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

Oh my. To clarify: I understood that the article wasn't meant to be taken literally, but it was useful for me (a scientist without much knowledge of the publishing industry) to realize that there are, indeed, formatting rules and that if they are not followed it's less likely that a manuscript will be considered.

In my field, editors are happy if you can write in grammatically correct sentences and follow the general format for a scientific paper. Things like margins, font, use of headers, US vs UK spelling, etc. can take many forms and while journals will correct these things into a standard format once a manuscript is accepted for publication, the initial manuscripts sent in by contributors can take a myriad of forms, not all of them pleasing. It's useful to me to realize that it's not quite like this elsewhere.
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Old 10th July 2011, 10:51 PM   #97 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

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Some want double-spaced Courier with underlining for italics, etc, like traditional typed manuscripts, mine prefer Times New Roman with italics intact as they read everything on ebook readers.
But, it should be said, those are the only variations you are likely to see. You should always check an agent or publisher's website to see what they want, but if they don't say, you can feel confident going with the old standard format.
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Old 11th July 2011, 12:11 AM   #98 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

*Plants tongue in cheek*

strangely some of these rules though often stated DO run contrary to how we treated it when I was doing such things (granted my experience is hardly world encompassing...) The point? just because one publisher has certain guidelines or they are industry standard, does NOT mean that following them will get you read, because sometimes an agent or publisher MAY vary the rules for their submissions. ALWAYS read the agent or publishers guidelines before sending to them. Some of them DO hate courier. God knows I do and when I am handed a manuscript in it I am less likely to read it because I am a grumpy old curmudgeon! Courier is a worthless, ugly, unnecessary and unwelcome font that offends the eyes in my opinion and I will only use it when I am required on point of death to do so! When and if I wind up on the dark side and open an agency or publishing house, courier manuscripts will be the first to go in the bin!
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Old 2nd February 2012, 04:11 PM   #99 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

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Originally Posted by I, Brian View Post
Sweeping Back the Slushpile: a First Reader's Primer

As Told To Kent Brewster (Reprinted with kind permission from http://www.speculations.com/slush.htm.)
...
If there's a stamped, self-addressed envelope (SASE) in there and any of the conditions in the list above are true, stuff Form Number One into the SASE along with the front page of the manuscript--nobody ever sends enough postage or a big enough envelope for the whole manuscript, so don't worry about it--and seal it shut. Do not lick a strange envelope for the same reason you don't blindly stick your finger in one: you don't know where it's been.

If there's no SASE, dump the entire package into the recycling bin. Do the same if there's metered postage on the SASE; the post office won't take it after the date that's on the tape.

...
Maybe I've read this wrong - but if there's a SASE, send it back, if there isn't, bin it? How would anyone get any further?
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Old 2nd February 2012, 06:42 PM   #100 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

It says "if there's a SASE in there and any of the conditions in the list above are true...

In otherwords If you've provided a SASE and have failed on the eralier envelope conditions then you get a reject slip. If you didn't provide a SASE it just gets binned.

But if you didn't "fail" with the wrong envelope etc. and you provide a SASE then you move on to the next stage.
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Old 17th February 2012, 01:27 AM   #101 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

My experiences with the mainstream publishing world were so dismal that it stalled my eventual publications by some ten years. Throwing a ms. "over the transom" is a simply a ridiculous exercise of self-abuse. Finding an agent even worse. Much less that "agent" being successful with landing a proper publishing house. Praise God and break out the beer for POD and self-publishing tools.
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Old 17th February 2012, 01:41 AM   #102 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

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Originally Posted by WJCherf View Post
My experiences with the mainstream publishing world were so dismal that it stalled my eventual publications by some ten years. Throwing a ms. "over the transom" is a simply a ridiculous exercise of self-abuse. Finding an agent even worse. Much less that "agent" being successful with landing a proper publishing house. Praise God and break out the beer for POD and self-publishing tools.
I'm going to be honest, with an attitude like that of course your experience would be dismal, especially if your idea of submitting manuscripts to agents was "throwing a ms. "Over the transom"" (perhaps you should read a dictionary on the meaning) Any unsolicited submission would result in failure and being ignored. That's what "query letters" are for.

I wouldn't praise God for self-publishing, now we get to sort through hundreds of horrible publications that previously would have never seen the light of day because they were just that, horrible.
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Old 17th February 2012, 04:40 AM   #103 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

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Originally Posted by WJCherf View Post
My experiences with the mainstream publishing world were so dismal that it stalled my eventual publications by some ten years.
Or maybe it allowed you time to hone your skills. I'd be surprised if you spent all that time sitting there waiting for an agent or an editor to pick up your work.
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Old 17th February 2012, 09:27 PM   #104 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

There was a time when publishers would look at unsolicited manuscripts "submitted over the transom." ("Throwing" the manuscript sounds unnecessarily violent.) Such manuscripts went into the slush pile, which is to say, the pile of unsolicited manuscripts, not manuscripts that were automatically rejected. And sooner or later someone did read all those manuscripts -- although only the first few pages if the manuscripts were obviously bad -- and everything that looked promising eventually came into the hands of an editor. Some books from the slush pile did get published. My first book is one example.

Now there are so many manuscripts, it's impossible for publishers to look at them all, they are filtered through agents, and those agents have to make an initial assessment through query letters or small samples (depending on the preference of the agent). This can take a long time, because all of these people have obligations and commitments to the writers they have already decided to publish or represent. But they have to discover some new writers, because old ones die or stop writing, or no longer write books that will sell. So each publishing house does publish a few debut writers a year.

Do writers with publishable manuscripts sometimes get lost in the shuffle? Of course. There is no way around it. There is no use being bitter about it. No one sets out to persecute new writers. They have too many pressing demands to waste their time on sadistic games.

Quote:
Much less that "agent" being successful with landing a proper publishing house.
I'm not sure what those quotation marks around agent mean, but we'll leave that aside. Once an agent agrees to represent a writer, he or she works zealously to land a contract. They don't get paid unless they do land that contract, so it would be absurd to suppose that they don't try very hard to make that sale. Since they do take on so many new writers, of course they can't sell every manuscript. They take that risk with every new writer they sign up: that they will work hard to sell that manuscript without, in the end, receiving a penny in return. Of course they have to be selective -- which means using their best judgement, not that they will be infallible.
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Last edited by Teresa Edgerton; 18th February 2012 at 07:05 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 9th March 2012, 11:05 AM   #105 (permalink)
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Re: How to avoid the slushpile

it might be lazy on my part, but is there any chance someone could post or send me a link with roughly how a covering letter should look!! please, thats one of the things that worry me when trying to avoid the slush pile...
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