The Slush Pile

June 20, 2020

Noon - 3:00 p.m. 
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Meeting ID: 872 9078 6818
Password: slush

Welcome to “The Slush Pile!” 

The average work day in an editor's or agent's life involves tackling the submissions in her overflowing inbox. You, the writer, have the first page, first paragraph, first sentence to grab the attention of this all-important person who has the power to move your book forward into publishing.

Our Slush Pile meeting gives us a game show-style peek into the workings of an agent's/editor's mind when they read hundreds, if not thousands of manuscripts in the course of a year. You'll be able to hear an agent's thoughts on your first page--what slowed her down, what grabbed her attention. 

This is how we do the Slush Pile.
The reader reads the first anonymous submission UNTIL two members of the panel raise their hands. The agents and editors then explain why they indicated for the reader to stop.
Occasionally one or none of the panel raises a hand, so the reader completes the submission. At that point, the panel explains why they would want to read more.

The same procedure will be followed for every submission that is sent in.
Discussions amongst the panel members can get pretty lively. Last year, they had us so entertained, we just had to have them back! 

Once all submissions have been read and discussed, the host will accept questions using the chat icon at the bottom of your screen. She can relay those questions to the panel. 

To submit your first page, send it as a Word Document to by June 18.
To be able to join the meeting, make sure to RSVP. Due to the possibility of nasty "Zoombombers," we need to recognize your name from the RSVP and that you are a member of ACFW. 

While we're delighted to have the advantages of technology to get “together” this way, it will be so good to see everyone in person again someday, enjoying the atmosphere of an excellent meal and the camaraderie of writers together.

Meet Our Panel

 Alyssa Roat has worked in a wide variety of roles within the publishing industry, as an agent, editor, writer, and marketer. Along with being a literary agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite, Alyssa is the publicity manager at Mountain Brook Ink, an editor with Sherpa Editing Services, and a freelance writer with 175+ bylines. She holds a degree in Professional Writing from Taylor University. Her debut novel, Wraithwood, releases Nov. 7, 2020 from INtense Publications. She would love to connect on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @alyssawrote or on her website

Tisha Martin writes historical fiction and nonfiction but edits full-time for beginning and best-selling writers and publishing houses. Since 2017 she has worked on over 250 books. She has a bachelor’s in Professional Writing, a master’s in English Education, and an editing certificate from the PEN Institute. She enjoys speaking at writer’s conferences and supporting writers in the self-editing process. Her nonfiction essay in The Horse of My Heart: True Stories of the Horses We Love is forthcoming in September from Revell. Learn more at

J. M. Hochstetler is the daughter of Mennonite farmers and a lifelong student of history.
For many years she worked as an editor for Abingdon Press, and currently she is the publisher and editorial director for Sheaf House Books located in Elkhart, Indiana.  Her award-winning historical fiction has been endorsed by bestselling authors such as Lori Benton, Laura Frantz, Jocelyn Green, Michelle Moran, and MaryLu Tyndal.
Hochstetler is the author of the American Patriot Series, the only comprehensive historical fiction series on the American Revolution. One Holy Night, a contemporary retelling of the Christmas story, was the Christian Small Publishers 2009 Book of the Year and a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award.

Due to the possibility of Zoombombers, an RSVP is required so the host will admit you to the meeting. This meeting is for members only. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Preparing for Contests -- March 14

CANCELLED! We hope to reschedule a similar event for next year! 

                                Abbey Downey


Abbey Downey never expected her love for writing to turn into a career, but she’s thankful for the chance to write inspirational romance, with two books published under the name Mollie Campbell. A life-long Midwestern girl, Abbey lives in Central Indiana with her husband, two kids, and one rather enthusiastic beagle. Connect with Abbey at

A Year in a Writer's Life
                                    See what it's like


ACFW Indiana 2020 Calendar
All Meetings will begin at 11:30 a.m. and finish by 3:00 p.m. 

March 14
Abbey Downey
Preparing for Contests”
Sirloin Stockade
Marion, Indiana

June 20
Agent Critique Panel
“The Slush Pile Revisited”
J.M. Hochstetler, Hope Bolinger, Alyssa Roat
Golden Corral

August 22
Rachael Phillips
“Preparing for Conferences”
North Indianapolis

November 7
Jill Williamson live streamed
Avon or ? (If anyone who lives further north can host this meeting through their church, please contact Linda at:

All Meetings will begin at 11:30 a.m. and finish by 3:00 p.m.

Calendar of Events
We're excited to offer four events throughout 2019,
 most of which are in slightly different venues.

March 16
11:30 to 3:00
Plainfield, IN (southwest Indianapolis area)
Coachman Restaurant
Hallee Bridgeman

June 15
11:30 to 3:00
Kokomo, IN
Martino's Italian Villa
Agent/Editor Panel
Bring copies of your current WIP!
Details to come

August 17
11:30 to 3:00
Indianapolis (northside)
MCL Cafeteria
Author panel
"Queries and Proposals"

November 9
11:00 to ???
in various venues around the state
small groups
Have a Nanowrimo style get-together--
word wars
read and swap

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