Confessions of a Slush Pile Reader — Ann Onymous

If I have to read one more submission that begins “This is a massive work of Literary Fiction that will turn the genre on it’s head…” (Yes, usually complete with the possessive apostrophe!) I swear I will put it through the shredder and feed it back to the author through a drinking straw inserted up his or her nose!

Okay, just to clarify, second person narrative is no longer considered ‘Experimental’. It might just have been experimental two hundred years ago, but today it’s deemed dead. It died on the experimental petri dish of non-starters as literary scientists tried to breath life into it centuries ago. There is no point announcing to the publishing world you’re breaking new ground in experimental literacy when the only place for second person narrative is ‘text only’ computer games! … You enter a darkened dungeon…

Please only use comments from people who matter! If your friends have told you your book is reminiscent of James Joyce or Salmon Rushdie, they might just be saying they gave up on page one as they found it impenetrable and it now collects dust on the bookshelf alongside Ulysses and The Satanic Verses.

Tabs! What is it with new authors and their infernal tabs? Don’t you know just how much it screws up the pages on my eBook reader?

Word count madness. Not a week goes by when I don’t have to wade through yet another 350,000 word behemoth that promises to be the first in a decology exploring the mythology of the lost warriors of Avalon. Huge books by new writers rarely sell, ask Tolkien, The Hobbit came before Lord of The Rings.

I want to hunt down the designers of all those obscure fonts that infest the internet and stamp ‘STOP IT!’ on their foreheads… in Times New Roman of course. New authors think it adds style or pizzazz to their work when all actually it does is scramble the pages on my eBook reader and give the typesetter sleepless nights.

Misery Books, don’t get me started on Misery Books! I started as a Reader for XXXXXX Publishing as I thoroughly enjoyed reading and mostly I enjoy my work. Even the badly written books often have great stories and are therefore fun to read. But increasingly I am presented with stories of such gloom that they make me want to drink a bottle of vodka and slash my wrists. Come on, lighten up! I know life can be hard but the world really doesn’t want to read how your parents sold you to slavers at the age of two and you were forced to mine diamonds with your bare hands and eat coal for supper. Unless that is you started a revolution and became a folk book hero with songs and tales telling of your great bravery.

3 thoughts on “Confessions of a Slush Pile Reader — Ann Onymous

  1. I have two books published by Canadian trade book publishers and have had the experience of submission to publication and book tours. But, there is another set of events I rarely mention: I have fourteen different titles on offer to publishers that I have written over the last 32 years. Although, editors are not to provide comments when providing rejections I have a binder of letters that do provide comments, which detail why the submission should be published, with a final comment that the particular publisher can not publish it. This keeps me submitting, but confused.

  2. I must correct this comment as I have just signed one of my books with a publisher. Now I have only thirteen left to place.

  3. The continuous submissions has paid off again as I book first written in 1992, has just been placed with a Canadian traditional publisher. There is a working title for the work that may change, but it is about Canada’s air training plan of the First World War. The process of finding a publisher is for some a long road, but the rewards are worth it.

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