aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

The Wall Street Journal looks at the death of the slush pile

An article in WSJ begins "In 1991, a book editor at Random House pulled from the heaps of unsolicited manuscripts a novel about a murder that roils a Baltimore suburb. Written by a first-time author and mother-to-be named Mary Cahill, "Carpool" was published to fanfare. Ms. Cahill was interviewed on the "Today" show. "Carpool" was a best seller. That was the last time Random House, the largest publisher in the U.S., remembers publishing anything found in a slush pile. Today, Random House and most of its major counterparts refuse to accept unsolicited material."

Random thoughts:
- I heard that slush piles really got tightened up after the anthrax scare in the wake of 9-11. It gave people a good excuse not to look at their slush.

- I think you still can get plucked out of the slush with younger children's books.

- And Mark Keating’s debut historical adventure novel, The Pirate Devlin, was discovered in the slush pile in England; U.K. and U.S. rights sold.

- And I saw this about another English author, although it sounds like it was plucked from an agent's slush, not a publisher's slush: "Sue Fletcher at Hodder & Stoughton has paid £800,000 for five novels from a debut thriller writer whose manuscript was rescued from the slush pile.... The deal was done with Luigi Bonomi at LBA. The first title, Dead Man's Dust, will be published by in hardcover in June 2009 with subsequent novels published at six-monthly intervals. Hilton has been a serving Cumbrian police constable for the last four years. His manuscript was plucked from the LBA slush pile by Bonomi's wife, "an obsessive thriller reader"."

Here's the rest of the article.

Do you know any recent slush pile stories?

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