The Slush Pile.

18 01 2008

The time has come for Alasdair and I to roll up our sleeves and cut a swathe through the dense jungle that we like to call Hub Magazine’s slush pile. We regularly plug away at this, and just about manage to keep it at roughly the same level of complete disaster even though we regularly get through fifty or so stories whenever we get into it.

On top of this, Hub hasn’t accepted short story submissions for several months. It’s fully stocked on those, and has been for quite some time. So all that’s in the inbox is a collection of patiently-waiting Flash fiction submissions.

179 of them.

Now, even with Alisdair and I cutting that pile in half and taking half each, that’s around 90 stories to read. If, by some magic misfortune, they were all tragically awful and only took five minutes to read the first few paragraphs and come to the realisation of how apalling they were, that’s seven and a half hours of work in the reading.

We’re not that lucky though. Most stories will require reading through to the very end. Sometimes you get there and realise the twist just isn’t good enough, or that the payoff isn’t great. Sometimes you don’t get it so you read it again. So let’s average about twelve minutes to read a story, as most Flash fiction comes in at around 3-4 pages. That’s eighteen hours of work.

Then each and every email has to be replied to. I like to offer a little personalised feedback, but it’s going to have to be kept quite short. Let’s say five minutes per email.

So, clearing this slush pile is going to take twenty five and a half hours. That’s essentially a four-day week’s worth of work.

All I can say is please be patient. We’ll get there, and we’ll do it within the next few weeks. And then we’ll foolishly open ourselves up for submissions again, because we hate ourselves.

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