Friday, May 13, 2011

A Cherry Flavored Slush-Pile

*Dear non-writer readers, sorry for all the writing posts this week. This is what happens after certain conferences. Can’t be helped. Still, be sure to enter the awesomesauce contest to win a doodled and signed advance copy of Possession by Elana Johnson.*

At the conference last weekend, Becca Stumpf from Prospect agency said something profound, something that put the slush pile in a whole new light for me. She mentioned that writers often ask what they can do to avoid the slush pile, but then she said, “Why would you want to avoid it? The slush pile is this really amazing place to be.”

And you know what? She’s totally right.

I mean, from an agent’s perspective, it must be like sifting through the racks at a one-of-a-kind clothing boutique, or looking for a single pair of custom-made shoes that fits them just right. It must be like…looking for the perfect piece of jewelry. So exciting! Thrilling. A sheer mind-spinning, heart-pounding, limb-shaking adrenaline rush.

If you’re a guy (or a girl who is not a big shopper) you might not get that analogy. So here’s another one. It must be what it feels like getting ready to play a championship sports game. Like a buildup of energy just waiting to explode out of you.

And then—then, when an agent finds that one special book—it probably feels like winning that championship game or finding a sparkly, perfect gem (for an unbelievable price) which you then buy and take home to keep forever and ever.

So yeah, I get that. Maybe the question is not how to avoid that amazing, wonderful, cherry-flavored slush, but rather how to make our work sparkle enough so an agent or editor will want to snatch it up and take it home (to their agency or publishing house) like a trophy.

Our work will get read. Agents and editors are always reading, reading, reading. It’s what they do. Our job is to make sure that once they see OUR manuscript, they will know how special it really is. That, my friends, is the real trick.

Do you agree?


Jeff King said...

You’re absolutely correct… nice post.

Stacy Henrie said...

Awesome post, Nicole. I love the idea of not trying to avoid the slushpile, but shine within it.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Hey, not I wish I was shopping instead of writing. LOL

Leslie Rose said...

What a great way to reframe the image of a slush pile. Slide those hangers and voila, a perfect MS.