We had our weekly staff meeting early this week because my publisher’s daughter is getting married on Saturday. Since we’re between editorial interns, our slush sorting has gotten behind. We use our editorial interns for many tasks, but the most important for me, is the sorting of slush. He/she goes through every submission we receive and logs it. Then after a quick scan, the intern decides whether or not to reject or to pass on to an editor. The intern rejects for various reasons: the submission is inappropriate for our press, it’s not a genre we accept, or it’s flawed in some way – no plot, no character development, etc. Then, if it passes the intern, she/he passes it on to the appropriate editor. I get the true easy readers, some of the mid-grades and YAs. I then read. If I see potential for our press, I ask for the rest of the manuscript. If not, I send the MS back to the intern to reject for the various reasons listed on the form we attach to our submissions. Once I have the full manuscript, and I’ve decided whether to reject or continue, I pass it on to the other editor and the publisher. I do a P&L. When everyone’s read it, we meet to decide if we have a place on one of our lists. If we do, we acquire. If we don’t, I send a personal rejection. I sometimes send personal rejections at other points, too. However, I’m a big baby and hate rejecting manuscripts. I make the intern do most of them.

But, I’ve gotten off track. My point was that since slush hasn’t been sorted, I didn’t receive my weekly dose of queries. I have the week free of slush! Yeah! I can work on requested manuscripts. I can go to dinner with the other editor. I can start to claw my way out of all my slush. I think there might be light finally filtering through the paper. Of course the slush is piling up back at the office. When we do get another intern, I’ll get a deluge of sorted slush. And if the unthinkable happens and we don’t fine one soon, I might have to sort the slush myself. Insert mock shocked gasp here. Maybe I’ll see if the other editor will do it . . .

© Copyright 2006-2011 Madeline Smoot. All rights reserved.
May be excerpted and duplicated for educational purposes.
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