As we trudge along this winding path we call "The Road to Publication," I think we are always on the lookout for opportunities to bypass the slush pile situation.
A very small amount of research on my part revealed that less than 1% of what is submitted via slush pile will ever be published. (This data is only for a smaller regional press, see see here.) I'd imagine it to be far worse odds for the Big Five Publishing Houses. (I'm not trying to bum anyone out. There are still plenty of people who are lucky enough to be picked out of the slush, myself included :)
But are there ways to avoid the slush piles of agents or small presses?
The answer is YES!!! How, you ask? Here are some ideas:
- Go to conferences and pitch to agents/editors (if they request pages then they usually tell you to put "REQUESTED MATERIAL" in the subject line of your query and that will effectively pull you out of the slush pile)
- Participate in fellow writer's blog contests where agents or editors are requesting pages based on pitches or pages.
- Follow agents or editors on Twitter and establish a rapport with them so that when they see your name pop up in their inbox, they might take special note.
- Submit to the Query Shark and let her rip your head off before she asks for pages! Good luck with that one.
- Or...participate in agent sponsored contests. Like my agent, Sarah Davies' Greenhouse Funny Prize, for example!
Last year Greenhouse ran the first Funny Prize, a competition to find new funny writing talent. They had over 700 entries and Pip Jones was the winner. Pip’s book, SQUISHY McFLUFF, THE INVISIBLE CAT, sold quickly to Faber Children’s Books in a 4 book pre-empt!
Greenhouse had such a great time working on the prize that they decided to do it again. And bigger. This year they've opened it up to the world, so if you’re American or Canadian, or writing from anywhere on the planet (as long as your work is in the English language) then you should enter.
The judging criteria is very simple. Funny, and open children's books of all ages. The deadline for submissions is Monday, 29 July.
Any other ideas/links on how to jump out of the slush pile?