‘Slush Fatigue’: Laura Miller Envisions Horrible Future

One of the apparent glories of ebooks is the democratization of publishing: if you’ve got a book, you can cheaply self-publish. But wait! What will happen when there are no editorial gatekeepers to protect readers from sub-Stephenie-Meyer prose?

At Salon, Laura Miller paints this picture of the ebook future:

It seriously messes with your head to read slush. Being bombarded with inept prose, shoddy ideas, incoherent grammar, boring plots and insubstantial characters — not to mention ton after metric ton of clichés — for hours on end induces a state of existential despair that’s almost impossible to communicate to anyone who hasn’t been there themselves: Call it slush fatigue….

In other words, it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it, and if the prophecies of a post-publishing world come true, it looks, gentle readers, as if that dirty job will soon be yours. Also, no one will pay you for it. Granted, the entry-level editors who used to do this job in old-school publishing didn’t get paid very much, but it was better than nothing, and there was always the chance that a career could be made by plucking a hit from the slush pile (as happened with Judith Guest’s “Ordinary People” in 1975). You, on the other hand, will be offered no such incentives.

Reading the things nobody else wants to, with no hope of career advancement? Essentially, we will all be interns.

‘Slush Fatigue’: Laura Miller Envisions Horrible Future