Slush: liquid mud; watery mire.
Citation: slush. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved October 26, 2011, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/slush
When an agent or editor dives into the pile of query letters or manuscripts in search of that "gem", they dub the mess the "slush" pile. As a writer on the hunt, how can you increase your chances of trudging through this liquid mud, this watery mire to land at the top?
- Target the right agent or editor. This means putting on your research cap and investigating everything you can about the person. Use sources like querytracker.net or agentquery.com. Follow their Twitter feeds. Use Google Books to see what they rep or publish. Read through their profiles and submission guidelines. Subscribe to Publisher's Marketplace.
- Make your query letter AND manuscript shine. Use writing forums, critique partners, and beta readers. Revise, revise, revise! Take workshops or classes on the elements of the craft. Read through books like Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne, Dave King and On Writing by Stephen King. Revise, revise, revise again!
- Make connections. Networking may not open THE door, but it can open many windows. Form relationships with other writers. Learn from their journeys. See what's worked and what hasn't worked for them. And most of all, be sincere. Don't ask what they can do for you, ask what you can do for them. Be the giver and you'll be amazed at how much you get back.