Sloshing through the slush pile

Picture of stack of manila colored paper file folders with papers inside
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Guest post by Charles Frankhauser

I received numerous rejection notices for manuscript submissions that were returned (some were never returned). Rejection notices were brief scribbled notes written in pencil on my query letters.

A particularly terse rejection pushed me over the edge and away from the traditional publishing route. A self addressed stamped envelope enclosed with a query letter had a rejection near the top of the letter. The literary agent used a rubber stamp and a red-ink pad to notify me of their rejection. The stamped reply was, “Not For Me.”

This callous rejection started me writing a parody of the publishing industry based on a quotation from Aesop—“A man is known by the company he keeps.” The storyline for my novel, Slush Pile Inspector, materialized based on a lifetime of adventures experienced by a hapless taxi driver forced to become a literary agent by a biker-poet who sold a collection of Open Road Hog Poems from a loose-leaf notebook.  (Many literary agents will not represent poetry.)

I reflected on my life and concluded that one’s pathway in life is often dependent on chance meetings with strangers.  I realized I lacked knowledge pertaining to the publishing industry.  I spent hours inside bookstores reading material on the do-it-yourself bookshelf to learn about the publishing industry.  I devoured books on how to write a perfect query letter using one page of paper (because agents were busy people and all of them were overloaded with mountains of work) containing contact information, how I located the agent, and a hook to snag the agent’s interest in making us both wealthy from my obvious best-seller bombshell of a manuscript. And the importance of thanking the agent for their time before the page was full with little space remaining to squeeze in, “Best Regards, Charles Frankhauser.”


Here’s a peek at Charles’s humorous novel


Buster Scooper ends his working life as a Senior Certified Slush Pile Inspector.

Slush Pile Inspectors work in a secret vocation in the basements of major publishers. Their mission is to read rejected manuscripts that are dumped down chutes into the basement by editors working upstairs.

If inspectors find a manuscript judged to have merit, they place the manuscript back on an editor’s desk during the night for the editor to read in the morning. Editors are not allowed into the basement but they do yell nasty messages down the chute at times.

Buster Scooper trains his workers how to recognize potential resubmissions in many genres. Buster reads his memoir aloud to workers. He reflects on his life back to the days when he arrived with his first wife in Savannah, Georgia, where a stray dog followed him everywhere. Buster worked in politics, robbed banks, founded a literary agency, offered advice on meeting women, and acted in a Hollywood funded movie. He had an exciting career in publishing.

Book Buy Link: Amazon

About the author

Charles Frankhauser published novels, novellas, memoirs, and a feature-length screenplay adapted from one of his novels. His goal in writing is to publish in several genres. His favorite genre is humor, followed by historical fiction.

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2 thoughts on “Sloshing through the slush pile

  1. Thanks for the Guest Post. As the author I enjoyed writing this novel, especially the humorous Prologue dealing with the origins of the publishing industry from the dawn of time. I included the Prologue because it seemed to make the work complete and it set the tone for the humor (including a running relationship in the storyline with a stray dog) appropriate to all readers. Best Regards to All, Charles Frankhauser

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