Slushpile Confidential: 3 Mistakes That Will Sink your Submission

Pulp Literature is opening its submissions window from November 1st to 15th. To help your story succeed, our slushpile readers are sharing a few of the things that make them swipe left on stories.  Be sure your submission avoids these pitfalls.

  1. Author didn’t follow guidelines. It’s easy to skim over this information, especially if you are submitting the story to multiple publishers, but it’s an automatic disqualifier for Pulp Literature. We get around a thousand submissions every time we open the submissions window, and we don’t have time to read stories from authors who haven’t bothered to read the submission guidelines.
  2. Too much exposition. Hate to break it to you, but exposition is boring, and short stories don’t have room to be boring. Think about working the backstory into the action of the narrative, and don’t be afraid to cut.
  3. Inappropriate subject matter. Werewolf incest child porn. It’s a real thing, and you know who you are. That’s an extreme example, but being aware of the market you are submitting to is important.  Be sure to read a few issues to know what stories will hit the mark, and which ones are off by a country mile.

Thankfully, most of the authors who submit to us don’t fall into these traps, and we truly appreciate the time and effort you put into presenting a polished and considered story.

Of course, each slush reader is going to bring personal preferences to the mix, and there are plenty of nuanced reasons even good stories are rejected. Just remember it’s nothing personal and perseverance is key!

Submissions Guidelines


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