OVER the TRANSOM and SLUSH PILES – what are they?

Over the Transom and Slush Piles – words that should make you shiver!

Query Letters are the Answer

OVER THE TRANSOM: Over the transom = unsolicited material received by publishing houses. This pile of mail gets tossed aside and if and when editors dig out from under their work, they go through the mail in the transom. Finding a needle in a haystack would be easier than finding your manuscript there.

SLUSH PILE: Slush pile means unsolicited material sent to editors. So the question that begs to be answered is – how do you stay out of the transom and slush piles? The answer is easy. Don’t submit uninvited material unless you’re fond of the trash heap. Once there, your chances of being noticed are somewhere between slim and zero.

Locate the editors/publishing houses by using good online research (or ask a librarian for help) and query them. Ask permission to send your material. Once you receive the go ahead – prepare your submission and write “REQUESTED MATERIAL” on the bottom left of the envelope. (Need help writing a query letter? Ask for help in the comment box below and I’ll send you an article on it.)

Is it really that easy? Yes – but it takes a lot of time. It takes up to three months to receive an answer for a query and another three months to receive an answer after you send it in. So the truth of the matter is this: Nothing about writing is easy. You learn to wiggle and squirm through the cracks until you get a connection somewhere and from then on, it gets easier. Keep writing! (If you like this post, please click “Like” and/or leave a comment.)

For more free writing tips, get The Writer’s Choice Newsletter at http://www.creativewritinginstitute.com. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn under deborahowen.


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