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James Barclay
September 26th, 2002, 07:11 PM
Dear All,

Thanks for the excellent response to the poll in such a short time.

Right, I'm going to organise the interview - can't guarantee when it'll be done as I've got a deadline looming very fast but I'll see what I can do.

Post here any questions you'd like me to ask, any myths you'd like confirmed or dismissed.

One thing - I won't guarantee answers to all the questions - if they're business-sensitive, you might be disappointed. I'll do my best though and will let you know if any questions are answered 'no comment...'



September 27th, 2002, 12:51 AM
First thing I'd like to know is, "Who reads the submissions, and what qualifications do they need?"

September 27th, 2002, 01:56 AM
Here are some random questions:

1. How far into a "story from the slushpile" would you read before you gave up on it? The first paragraph? The first chapter?

2. I imagine everyone is looking for the next "Harry Potter" or "Lord of the Rings." As an editor what kind of things might indicate that a particular work would have that kind of potential - if there is anything at all?

3. How much reading does someone working through the slushpile do?

4. What are the current hot trends in the SF/F market at the moment? Are editors trying to capitalise on the rush for Tolkien material with the release of the movies still, or is the idea to branch out and diversify, avoiding an overtapped market?

5. I understand that writing is a business and everyone invovled wants to put something out that sells, but how important is it that you as an editor, or the company in general, maintain intellectual integrity with the works you publish? For example, we all know that sex and violence sell, but if you had the choice, would you avoid the "sensationalisms" for something that has a stronger, more significant theme?

6. Does a radio-active cat have 18 half-lives?


September 27th, 2002, 02:09 AM
How much weight do credentials listed on a cover letter carry, or do you base all judgement on the manuscript, regardless of the standing and contacts of the author?

September 27th, 2002, 11:08 AM
1. How many slushpile entries are read a year?

2. How many new science fiction/fantasy authors did your publisher put into print in the last 5 years?

3. On average, how many slushpile entries are bought a year?

Gary Wassner
September 27th, 2002, 02:49 PM
1. When a manuscript is submitted by an agent, do you automatically give it more attention than one that comes in from an author you do not know? Is an agent's name sufficient to get your attention, or must it be an agent you already know or one you know of?

2. Considering how difficult it is today to get published by a major press, do you still look down upon authors who choose to self publish either with a vanity press or a company like PublishAmerica? Would you ever read and consider a manuscript that was submitted to you in book form published by xlibris for example, assuming the future rights to it are still up for grabs?

September 28th, 2002, 11:49 AM
when novels in the slushpile are read, what do you look for? ability to write a neverending series? certain formulaic elements which you know will sell a book?

what in your opinion is fantasy's most important target audience in terms of race/gender/age/nationality? who are you publishing for?

Pirate Jenn
September 28th, 2002, 04:04 PM
Do you avoid new ideas and themes because of their unpredictability, or, are new ideas rare?

James Barclay
October 5th, 2002, 07:08 AM
Thanks for these - hopefully I can get you the answers you want!

I'll keep you all posted with progress but don't expect it too soon - I've a submission deadline and that has to come first.