Slushpile, now it’s own site, is witty but never tells you what is wrong with its “slushes”,thankfully this book by Mike Nappa does. Both the book and the site, are written from the Agency’s point of view of what they found to be a waste of time, money and postage — hence “slushpile”.
Nappaland, the agency, states pretty clearly what they cover as well as what they do not want, but that does not deter people from sending in memoirs, children’s books, etc. That is the big lesson from Mike’s book, due diligence of what a publisher wants and doesn’t want will help you alot with your postage and getting closer to to your target publisher.
For me, who worked in a publishing house, there wasn’t much to learn, like example, No 2, You lied to me (or should it say, you are lying to me? small quibble); it is rather blandly entertaining. What it does do better than the SlushPile site is drive home the issue in bullet points at the end of the chapter. For some that maybe enough in itself but overall I found it repetitive.
Here’s one example:
Dear Nappaland Literary Agency,
The proposal you requested……
After studying your company, I’m confident you will be overjoyed about receiving my proposal for ….
His response to this is that “they are big fat liars” because he did not request a proposal nor does he does his literary agency cover this venue so this writer failed at the door.
If you want to know what is out there and what kind of cover letters not to write, I recommend the blog to start If you want more salient information with checklists drawn out for you, then head over to your local bookstore and check out Mike Nappa’s book. For some this is common sense, for others the hammer is needed…& you know who you are.