Saturday, November 01, 2014

Mad Dogs, Englishmen And Conville & Walsh Go Out In The Noonday Sun

Are they mad? What else would you think of a literary agency that openly invites slush? Begs for it, essentially. Don't they have enough coming in?

Conville & Walsh is a respected London literary agency that has opened up a contest that will attract enough slush to sink the British isle. What they are getting by way of submissions is not enough for them to find the talent that they are sure is out there, so they are inviting that talent to come calling.
Word of Mouth Prize, comes with its own logo

There's a hashtag for those of you on Twitter. There's pins on Pinterest if you're doing that sort of thing. To say that this contest is being promoted would be an understatement. They are just begging for an inundation of manuscripts. Pleading with writers to fill up the inbox until the internet is overloaded and collapses on itself, exhausted.

Authors can submit manuscripts electronically, and it makes no difference to Conville & Walsh if it's previously self-published or totally unpublished. Send it along. Maybe there is something there that could be turned into something real.

Why haven't they found it yet, if the agents already accept queries?

If you've done a fair amount of submitting you're familiar with the process. Attach the manuscript and two page synopsis to a cover letter, and be sure to include the genre and your publication credentials which you probably don't have because you're not published.

MFA holders with some literary ramblings to their credit can thus be plucked out of the general morass from the start, to simplify things.

Those capable of composing a respectable query letter might get a chance at having their synopsis read if the genre is something in demand, like romance or thriller or mystery.

But even with tripwires in place to blow away the excess, the culling is going to take considerable time and wouldn't that time be better spent reading regular queries?

How will a contest yield any better result for anyone than the current system?

All any writer wants when submitting a manuscript is to acquire representation so the manuscript can be placed under the nose of an editor at one of the Big Five publishing houses. All any literary agent wants is a manuscript than can sell.

Will a prize of one thousand British pounds make that much of a difference to anyone?

You're submitting anyway, so why not give it a go? The Word of Mouth prize could be yours, with just as much chance of getting representation as what you're doing already. Except this will be even tougher competition from writers around the world.

They must be mad, over at Conville & Walsh. Stark raving mad, or severely masochistic, to wish the world's largest slush pile on their heads.

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