May 14, 2019

Actually, we do publish manuscripts sent to the slush pile

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This month the editors are looking daily through our submissions inbox. I know this because I am one of them.

One question I get when encouraging people to submit is, “do you, like, even publish any of that stuff?” Any editor at any publishing house will tell you that publications of slush pile submissions are incredibly rare. As in, you have a greater chance of winning the lottery rare. But actually, we do publish manuscripts sent to the slush pile during the open submission period.

Which is what happened with No Human Is Illegal: An Attorney on the Front Lines of the Immigration War. Author J. J. Mulligan Sepúlveda sent it in during last year’s open submission period and it hit all the right marks, a clear pitch, a comprehensive proposal, and a confident first draft all on a subject that has become one of the defining issues of the current administration. Not only did we bring it out in hardcover, but we are planning a paperback edition with a new afterword. Not too shabby a climb up from the bottom.

All this to say is that, you too could be the next J. J. Mulligan Sepúlveda. You just have to take a chance and submit while there’s still time. Guidelines are here. Good luck!

Michael Barron is an editor at Melville House.

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