Slushpile Standouts: episode one

Slushpile Standouts: episode one

Think you have what it takes to climb out of the slush pile?

In our debut YouTube video, two Darling Axe editors read the first pages of several manuscripts and pose the question: would you turn the page? 

Acquisitions editors, literary agents, and writing contest screeners are often faced with a large slush pile: a heap of manuscripts that must be quickly assessed. What makes one manuscript stand out from the next? What snags and red flags will land your work in the bin rather than on the shortlist? 


Seeking participants for future episodes

It's not easy to receive feedback, especially in a public forum. As such, authors' names and manuscript titles will not be given... so there's nothing to fear. Go out on a limb, take a chance, and see if your first page has what it takes!

For more information about having your manuscript included, send us a note:

About the Darling Axe

We are professional editors as well as award-winning writers. We understand the intense effort and emotional investment you have poured into your work. It's our job to help you take your manuscript to the next level.

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  • This is a small sample, and so not necessarily indicative of what Carmen and I are interested in reading. I’ve enjoyed many books as you describe, so I don’t know that we are holding out for lascivious challenges. However, it’s true that every reader (editor or not) will bring a different perspective and set of subjective criteria to their reading.

  • Very helpful, wide variety of openings, and the simple straightforward feedback. Wondering if the subject matter has something to do with your (the reader’s) interest, a facet you didn’t mention. The piece on the murder and the piece on the slave child are subjects that piqued your interest, more than the old woman and the old man pieces. Hard as a writer to write the story you want to explore if the publishing industry readers are not interested and prefer more lascivious challenges. I have actual had agents tell me the writing is beautiful, but the first chapter needs a murder. And yet many of my favorite writers write about everyday people with typical life challenges like aging parents, difficult children or complicated partners.

    Sarah Collins Honenberger

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