Friday, 10 April 2015

LET’S TALK ABOUT SLUSH-PILES: Waste Incineration or Manuscript Recycling?

Who oversees the slush-piles? What regulations are in place? I’ve always been paranoid about unpublished material getting into the wrong hands - hence, the reason why I’ve only sent out a handful of submissions. But surely no one would borrow, tweak and/or deliberately steal someone else’s material? That would be stupid and quite literally CRIMINAL. After all they could be sent to gaol for this crime.

At some point during the trials, an unpublished writer is bound to start believing that something’s a foot, irregularities are going on and everyone’s out to get them. If a person’s work keeps getting rejected, it’s only natural for them to feel this way, but are they really imagining this? They might not be paranoid, but intuitive. I would advise all unpublished writers to keep your wits about you. There could be more than one bad apple out there.

However, you must become self critical. Re-read a rejected submission as if you were an agent/editor: learn to spot flaws, delete anything that interferes with the pace, ask questions such as, "How would I market this proposal?" Make the required alterations and send it onto the next agent on the list. Keep improving your submission until agents are fighting over your novel! Don't send mass submissions at any one time. Avoid slush-piles like the plague! 

If an agent expects aspiring writers to abide agency rules, then agents need to respect every submission they receive. All writers have to put a certain amount of effort into every submission. If they’ve not exactly come up with the goods, it is not for any one else’s entertainment. It is unprofessional to refer to/or discuss rejections even if the author’s identity remains anonymous, and highly unethical if it isn’t. The author owns that material. All work has copyright from the minute it is time-stamped. The writer must give their permission to anyone who wishes to distribute or publish any aspect of that work. If the writer dies, the unpublished work dies with them. All agencies must incinerate rejections. This work is not for recycling.




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