Thursday, November 20, 2008

What is a Slushbuster?

Slushbusters is the name we chose for our children’s writing critique group. Why? Because one of our goals is to make our way to the top of editors’ slush piles. So now you’re asking, “What’s a slush pile?” Those of you already involved in publishing, bear with me a moment while I explain. When an unsolicited manuscript is sent to a publisher, it goes in with all the other manuscripts that don’t get routed straight to an editor’s desk. It may be months before the envelope is even opened. Usually the slush pile manuscripts are read by an assistant or an intern, and only the very best are sent along to an editor. There are a couple of ways around this process, such as having an editor request a manuscript because they met you in person at a writing conference. “Breaking out of the slush pile” is what many new (and not so new!) authors want, because it means that the people making the big decisions are reading your work.

But Slushbusters with a capital “S” means more than that. We help each other become better writers. We support each other through road blocks and rejections. We offer criticism when work isn’t the best it can be. We share good books and blogs and websites. We go to conferences where we can meet other writers and learn from them. And somehow, in the middle of it, we’ve become friends who happen to have a pretty good time.

We decided that seven was as many people as we could handle in the group. There’s only so much time for critiques! But we’re having so much fun we’re ready to share. Here you’ll read our thoughts on critique groups, children’s literature, and taking the baby steps (and falls!) every writer must on the way to publication. Welcome to the Slushbusters blog.

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