by Rachel, Editorial intern
Last month, on my first day of work as an editorial intern here at Albert Whitman, I walked into the office anxiously wracking my brain: What was that word all the editors used during my interview? Slurp? Slug? Mush? Oh, that’s it:
Slush is, as I have come to learn, what people in the publishing biz call the mountains of unsolicited manuscripts that the editors read and, maybe, decide to publish. We receive over 5,000 manuscripts every year and each one contributes to the collective slush. But maybe, this is one of those phenomena that only a picture can really describe:
While the editors are always chiseling away at the slush pile, taking on chunks when they can find time, sometimes it is necessary to wage a full scale attack on the pile: you have a slush party. A slush party, to strain the metaphor to its breaking point, is the surge in the war against mountains of slush. Equipped with boxes of slush, letter openers, and cookies, we did some serious damage, two whole boxes of manuscripts: sorted into submissions that weren’t right for us and others that intrigued us. Victory tasted sweet, sort of like oatmeal raisin cookies.
Every time I confront the slush pile, I am amazed and humbled by the number of manuscripts. Apparently, people of all ages, from all over the place, and of all different walks of life, want to connect with and educate children through their stories. For me, a college student trying to figure out where I want to fit in the worlds of literature and education, it is really inspiring.
So keep the submissions coming. Don’t worry; we can take anything you throw at us. We’ve got a secret weapon: the slush party.