Had to Share

Laura Miller’s Salon piece on self publishing. The section on slush was what I found the most interesting:

It seriously messes with your head to read slush. Being bombarded with inept prose, shoddy ideas, incoherent grammar, boring plots and insubstantial characters — not to mention ton after metric ton of clichés — for hours on end induces a state of existential despair that’s almost impossible to communicate to anyone who hasn’t been there themselves: Call it slush fatigue. You walk in the door pledging your soul to literature, and you walk out with a crazed glint in your eyes, thinking that the Hitler Youth guy who said, “Whenever I hear the word ‘culture,’ I reach for my revolver” might have had a point after all. Recovery is possible, but it’ll take a while (apply liberal doses of F. Scott Fitzgerald). In the meantime, instead of picking up every new manuscript with an open mind and a tiny nibbling hope, you learn to expect the worst. Because almost every time, the worst is exactly what you’ll get.

I’m sure Miller’s article will be getting a lot of discussion on the publishing blogs, and I’m very interested in seeing how it’s received. I obviously have a stake in this matter, and I’m one of the partial. But I also know that my book under the bed was rightfully rejected. Does the query process truly act as quality control, or is it stiffing good books? All the reading I’m doing is beginning to hint to both.

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