What is Slush Filter?

Slush Filter is a software service that uses computer algorithms to read manuscripts, providing agents and editors with objective data about a book's content, in seconds. Reports include a readability assessment, comp titles, topics, extracted locations and character names, and more.

Who should use Slush Filter?

Any publisher or agent who evaluates manuscripts for acquisition or representation.  

Typical scenarios are to:

  • Provide an additional data point on a manuscript before championing it further.
  • Pass all unsolicited manuscripts into Slush Filter to arrive at a short list for further review.
  • Organize unsolicited manuscripts into genres/categories and automatically deliver to the approach agent/editor.

Why should I use Slush Filter?

To save time on processing manuscripts in the slush pile. Unsolicited manuscripts are often unread or given a cursory review. By using Slush Filter, an unbiased report is generated in seconds, providing a snapshot of information to help make a quick informed decision.

How does Slush Filter work?

Slush Filter uses natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to read manuscripts, derive metadata, and identify signals and patterns that indicate above average commercial potential. Millions of datapoints have been evaluated to build models that provide different perspectives of a manuscript for comparison and evaluation. See the technology section for more in-depth information

Can Slush Filter pick the next bestseller?

Despite what some may claim, it’s not possible to pick a bestseller from the text of a manuscript alone. Successful books are a product of the content itself, the editorial process, timing, marketing and publicity effort, and a host of other variables. Unless each of the material variables effecting a book’s success are quantified, no algorithm will be able to pick a book’s success with high accuracy over a large dataset. It is possible, however, to provide a reasonable filter to nominate books with a strong base content than others.

How can I start testing Slush Filter in my organization?

Slush Filter is typically introduced in an organization by processing all the unsolicited manuscripts that would normally not receive significant attention (due to time and resource constraints), to derive a short list of manuscripts for further review, or as a second pass on manuscripts that were initially rejected.

How can Slush Filter be integrated into my manuscript pipeline, or help to de-risk manuscript acquisition?

The service is designed to filter inbound manuscripts, highlighting submissions with above average commercial potential, and deriving other standard metadata for review, to help derisk manuscript acquisition. Here are six integration scenarios:

Submissions Email Integration

Literary Agency X, a medium sized agency, accepts unsolicited manuscripts via email, wants to review each one. The agency has integrated Slush Filter into it’s email service. Each time an author sends a submission to the agency’s address: [email protected], Slush Filter reads the manuscript, then delivers it, along with an evaluation report with metadata, to the appropriate agent. Agents use the Slush Filter report get a feel for the book and where to prioritize it within their own queue.

Web Site Submissions Upload

Publisher New York City Books accepts manuscript submissions through it’s web portal. Aspiring authors upload their manuscripts at newyorkcitybooks.com, where Slush Filter processes and evaluates it, then routes it to the best imprint to deal with the book.

Selective Manuscript Evaluation

Acquisition Editor Joe receives too many manuscripts to review, many from agents she’s unfamiliar with. She emails five manuscripts to the Slush Filter service, and receives reports back in seconds. Based on this initial pass, she decides to review two of them in more detail.

Submissions Email Integration with Automated Pass/Response

Literary Agency Z has been in business for thirty years, is well known in the industry, has a fairly full client list, and acquires new clients predominantly via recommendations from trusted connections. Due to the agency’s reputation, they receive hundreds of unsolicited submissions daily, far more than it’s staff is able to read. The agency uses Slush Filter to process all emailed submissions, generating a delayed thank you email for submissions that don’t score above a threshold. The score threshold is defined based on the volume of manuscripts received, the number of hours per week the agency wants allocated to new manuscript review, and the average review time an agent spends per manuscript.

Risk Evaluation

An editor is backing a novel from an exciting new author, and knows he has to sell the book to his colleagues. He submits the manuscript to Slush Filter, where it scores highly, as do two of the closest comp titles in the Slush Filter report. He uses the report to provide additional support during discussions.

The Editor In Chief  at a well known publishing house has to decide between the acquisition of two promising novels. Both are well written and are in the same high grossing genre. The EIC turns to data to provide more insight, and uses Slush Filter to derive additional data points about the two books, checking their overall score and the sales of the generated comps contained in the report.

What genres does Slush Filter support?

Slush Filter currently supports fiction manuscripts in Romance, Mystery, Thriller, SciFi and Fantasy.

What happens to manuscripts submitted to Slush Filter?

All manuscripts are used solely for the purpose of generating a report to the requester. Manuscripts are never shared, or stored for any other purpose.

How much does Slush Filter cost?

Pricing will be subscription-based, depending on volume, but is currently free for beta testing, in return for feedback as the product matures. Contact [email protected] to request access.