Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fun With Litany: The Slush Pile

Book publishing is a weird business. I've been in it for a couple years now, and I still don't understand what separates a publishable versus an unpublishable manuscript. So much, as any editor will tell you, depends upon timing, nepotism, luck, and the red wheelbarrow glazed with rainwater beside the white chickens.

A majority of the manuscripts a publisher receives, however, will never see the light of day. They'll be consigned to that stack of boxes, unopened envelopes, binders and loose paper sitting in the overheated room in the basement glazed with mold, beside the pale interns. This is what is known as the slush pile. As an intern, I was intimately acquainted with the slush pile. The editors reach into it and hand you manuscripts that everyone--including you--know for a fact won't ever see publication. But you read it anyway, and you file an in-depth report, and then spit out a stock rejection letter. Everything lost to time immemorial.

In recent years, book production schedules have been dramatically compressed to accommodate the pace at which we react to news and to compete, in some respects, with other forms of media, like the internet. This means that publishing will stay alive for a few more years yet, but also that the slush pile has seen an unusually high number of severly failed ideas recently. For the sake of posterity, I have been lucky enough to salvage a couple of these documents for your reading pleasure.

So, without further ado, here's a litany of them:

Living With a Girl’s Name: A Guy’s Guide
By Mr. Lindsey Daniels

Scandal in the Wind: The Nor’easter’s Dirty Little Secret
A Tell-All
By The Sou'easter

We Will Leave Iraq Soon
A Novel
By George W. Bush

No, We Won't. Shut up, George.
A Better Novel
By Dick Cheney

Sorry, I’ll Be Quiet
A Novella
By George W. Bush

Anybody Wanna Hear What I Think?
New and Selected Poetry
By Condaleeza Rice

Uh, No!
By George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

By Don Imus

The Audacity of Hope
A Better Version
By Hillary Rodham Clinton

You Stole My Title, Hillary
Another Memoir
By Barack Obama

The Audacity of Hope
A Novel
By Jonathan Lethem

Fuck! So Did You, Jonathan Lethem!
By (A Very Angry) Barack Obama

I Know I Plagiarized You, Barack
A Meditation On Plagiarism
By Jonathan Lethem

Can I Just Expl—
Don Imus

…I Dare You To Write a Book, Don Imus!
An Interruption
By Rev. Al Sharpton

The Sequel
By Don Imus

A Self-Satisfied Grunt
By Rev. Al Sharpton

Why the Five-Paragraph Essay Is Dead
An Essay in Five Paragraphs
By Mik Awake


kelly teem said...

i tried to find a link for Mr. Daniels' essay then realized there was not one

Bryan said...