Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My unscientific study: how to get out of the slushpile

I'm sure you've seen Agent Obscura's posts this week where she's doing a "choose your own adventure" lesson on how the process works when you pitch an agent. I don't have the energy to turn this into a "choose your own adventure" post, but I thought today's mail might be an interesting study.

Today, I received a box with 13 self-published books to review for YA Books Central.

1. My first pass through these, I picked up three to examine more closely. I chose these based on the interesting cover art.

2. I opened this box before I opened THE box...the box containing material I was waiting for (Princess Academy, Zen Shorts and Cowboy Camp).

3. Of course, I browsed through the self-published material and quickly focused my attention on the highly-anticipated material.

4. I read one of the books from my Amazon box and LOVED it. So, I stopped everything and wrote a review. You can see my Cowboy Camp review here.

5. I attended to some urgent matters (dinner for the kiddos) and then came back to one of the three books--the one with what appeared to be the strongest opening.

What can we learn from this (besides that I need to spend more time writing!)? Whether you're trying to target a reviewer, an agent, or an editor, it's important to stand out, to be original, to target a person who is interested in the type of things you write. I know I don't always like what I'm "supposed to" like. It's all about personal taste; don't be offended if your writing doesn't make a connection with the agent/editor/reviewer. It's all subjective. Also, it's easy to see why some books make it out of the slushpile and others don't. When an editor has to choose between manuscripts she's requested vs manuscripts that just appear on her desk, she's always going to read the juicy stuff first.


At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

big kisses to you Kim!
checking your blog today made me realize that getting an agent is the next step for me! I've been goggling around and doing some research, thank you!!

I'm stepping away from academia and moving towards a new identity as "a writer"

I need to do a big long post on this sometime soon!

At 8:43 PM, Blogger Kim said...

YEA, Sharon. I'm so proud of you!


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