Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Over the transom

Phrase of the day: "over the transom" = a publishing industry term for manuscripts that arrive unsolicited, deriving from the transom window above the door of a publishing firm, through which hopeful writers would thrust their efforts after hours. Most such manuscripts would of course end up unopened on the "slush pile".

I've always heard that publishers, editors (and literary agencies) are overwhelmed by the amount of literary submissions they receive unsolicited.

It is perhaps a lesser known fact that prominent authors also receive many unsolicited manuscripts from writing hopefuls. Janet Frame was often sent manuscripts by strangers, in the hope that she would read them and recommend them to her literary agents or to one of her publishers, or comment upon them and give advice.

What has surprised me, since becoming Janet Frame's literary executor, is that I too regularly receive unsolicited manuscripts and I am asked to read them and make comments or give advice, and it is hoped that I might forward the manuscripts on to Janet Frame's literary agents or publishers. 

I'm sorry, but I really don't have time to read unsolicited manuscripts, and it is not appropriate to expect me to forward them to Janet Frame's literary agents and publishers.

No comments: