How to Avoid the Slush Pile

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Editor’s Note: The Following is an article written by Tonya Barbee, a client of Paulette Harper, one of our regular contributors.

by Tonya Barbee

Do your homework first.  I recommend checking out the most current Guide to Literary Agents that is published yearly.  Don’t move forward without getting a hold of this book. Review it first and foremost to see what agents you are interested in writing. It’s difficult when it’s unsolicited because you have to search for someone who will be willing to review your material.  Check out the instructions for submissions and be sure to follow those instructions completely. Otherwise, that’s a sure way of getting your manuscript trashed. And be sure to have your agent’s name spelled correctly and include a subject.  I read that you would be surprised how many authors do not spell the agent’s name correctly and include a subject line such as the title and the genre as well.  Many times the agents allow for so many types of manuscripts and if you’re sending just one more of what has surpassed their quota of submissions. That would not be a good thing.   When agents give specific instructions to only send the first six chapters, do not send the entire manuscript when they didn’t ask for it.  That would be another mistake and could possibly get it in the slush pile.  It’s unfortunate but think of it this way, they probably get hundreds a day depending on the publishing company/agent.  It’s a massive business and I’m sure more manuscripts than there are agents to review them.  Another factor is to watch how you communicate on social media. I read an article that spoke about kindness.  Not only are employers reviewing social media sites of their future employees, agents are doing the same thing. Who wants to work with someone who is unkind? No one.  If you’re not being kind to people on your own personal Face Book site, who on earth would want to take a chance of being in a working relationship with you.  If you want to get your material read, follow these steps and be sure to proof read.  Being so close to your own material, you may not find any errors so I would advise paying either an English teacher or another professional editor. 

About The Author:

Tonya BarbeeTONYA BARBEE is a novelist and aspiring playwright. Her most recent published work is titled, The Little Girl Inside Owning My Role in My Own Pain. She is currently working on another project that complements this book. Tonya grew up in Durham, NC, a family of four daughters and one son. Her father, Woodrow served his country for twenty years as an Army officer, retired then taught ROTC for another twenty years and her mother, Doris, a college administrator. She is a proud 1980 graduate of Frank W. Ballou High School in Washington, DC. She worked in operations and management for Department of Agriculture for twenty years. For the past ten years, she’s worked as a project manager for Department of Defense in Washington, DC. She studied at National-Louis University where she earned her Masters in Business Administration in 2009.

Although she’s worked her way up the ladder in the federal government, she had no idea she would end up writing professionally however she has always enjoyed sharing her personal life through story telling with those she thought she could help. Then something clicked. As she writes, she is in hopes that her work reaches her readers that have been through something and have contemplated giving up. Her goal is to enable her readers to become empowered to keep moving forward to accomplish their dreams no matter what challenges they have been faced with.

Tonya resides in Bowie, MD with two of her youngest children, Christian and Zachary. Her eldest two, Andrew and Jessica left the nest years ago and have blessed her with seven beautiful grandkids.

About The Book:

The Little Girl InsideThe Little Girl Inside is a prolific story of triumph and discovery of inner peace. With each page, the reader will be captivated while the author uses the writing pen as a sowing tool-seaming a garment of praise, banner of victory and fabric of joy. With imaginative color, the book is a perfectly designed combination of patterns expressing the maturation of a woman.

A uniquely designed transparent jewel every woman should own in her jewelry box. The Little Girl Inside is a ministry resource tool for women in search for transparency in the human heart. The author shows us how to overcome the inner battle of doing the right thing the wrong way, going from finding love in the wrong places to allowing love to be revealed in the right time and in the right place.


I made room for Sir Intellectual to bring what I thought were the remainder of hi things. I also made room on my health insurance policy just in case he didn’t have any. Too bad it didn’t occur to me to ask him. My ability to confront was non-existent. I decided not to wait until I returned to work to handle it. I contacted my carrier and updated my policy to include my new husband. The whole time I felt sad that he wasn’t contacting his carrier to include me. I had a husband, though what caliber of husband, I wasn’t sure. Sometimes I wanted to slap myself for being so needy that I overlooked important things and ignored flags, bells, and whistles been faced with.

Tonya resides in Bowie, MD with two of her youngest children, Christian and Zachary. Her eldest two, Andrew and Jessica left the nest years ago and have blessed her with seven beautiful grandkids.

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