Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Death of a slush pile?

Over a year ago Catnip stopped accepting submissions. There were a number of reasons why:

  • A member of staff had just left
  • I was pregnant and had to prepare for maternity leave
  • There were too many coming in
Obviously all those reasons are, in fact, one reason: I didn't have time. My excuse is that we're a small company of, erm, one. Larger publishing houses rarely accept unsolicited submissions either, but they do get offered those budget-busting Next Big Things before the agents look to us little ’uns.

With that in mind, perhaps the indies should keep the back door open for unsoliciteds to wander in off the street?

The thing is, so many are unsuitable that it can be disheartening. Not only did I find myself spending hours reading wholly unsuitable material (even rejecting takes time), I felt like I was brutally dashing hopes with every polite but impersonal rejection I sent out. Dream stomping leaves a bitter taste in my mouth because I’m firmly of the opinion that if you love writing, you should keep doing it. (There’s a subtext there, but in case you missed it: do not write because you want to get published.)

In spite of the practicalities, I do believe in the dream. Only a few days after we changed the website to say that Catnip no longer accepted submissions, I picked up a manuscript from the backlog that I promised myself I’d clear…

The Court Painter’s Apprentice by Richard Knight will be published early 2012 and despite being commissioned right off the slush pile, it’s needed minimal editing.

So, although it’s not perceived as being financially viable, and despite the fact that at least 99% of submissions are unsuitable, I do intend, one (far distant) day, to re-open Catnip to submissions, if only to keep a flicker of that dream alive.

No comments:

Post a Comment