Most publishing houses receive a huge number of unsolicited manuscripts every day. Collectively they are often known as the ‘slush pile’.
There are stories of manuscripts being taken from the slush pile and turned into best-sellers, but it has to be said that these are told because they are so unusual. The more you can do to help yourself get to the top of the pile, the better.
How to attract the attention of those reading the slush
Most publishing houses pay readers to go through these manuscripts and deliver a judgement on whether or not they are saleable. Thus, your manuscript may never be read by a member of staff from the house you have approached.
The judgement of the readers is not infallible (the Harry Potter series was rejected by many of them) and is also under siege because they tend to read so many bad submissions.
It follows that those authors who, as well as asking to be published, also indicate who might buy their books, are at an immediate advantage).
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