Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Amazing Writing Advice #21: How Many Manuscripts Will an Agent Accept from the Slush Pile?

How Many manuscripts will an agent accept? In a year? In a month? In a day? Some agents will tell you that it all depends on what they actually get. They might accept three in a row or none in a hundred submissions.

But, not that long ago, I met an agent I know for lunch. She's a really good agent, so good that she asks people to pay her to read their work. After a bottle of vodka and some frazzles she revealed to me the five steps agents use to 'work' the slush pile.

Step One
Submissions are divided between the sexes at roughly 90% from females to 10% males. This is clearly sexist so she bins the majority of the ones from girls.

Step Two
Eats all the chocolates included in the submissions. Sometimes, if it's been a tough week, she'll get the chocolates out of the ones in the bin.

Step Three
Delete all the email submissions. No chocolates, no representation.

Step Four
Read the extract and act out the scenes with some ewok figures. If it works with ewoks it might just be good enough.
Your cast

Step Five
Make sure the cheque has cleared. This is what all the waiting around is about. If it does and the extract passed the ewok test then ask for the full manuscript and a larger cheque. Then prepare the Yoda and the droid figures...

So there you go, get filling in those cheques (and acting out the opening of your book with ewoks).