Not the aftermath of a snowstorm, but traditionally the pile of unsolicited manuscripts on an editor's desk. For small indie publishers like us, it means manuscripts that don't quite make the cut, yet have promise.
Sifting through the slush pile is the traditional first job given to new assistants-to-editors or publisher's readers (also called "first readers", who are often freelance editors). If there's anything good in the manuscript the assistant/reader makes suggestions to the editor. In the very-best-case/ dream on scenario the editor is lauded for their brilliance for recognizing a great new talent, because the writer's true excellence only appeared in chapter twenty-two. And with a little judicious editing... voila, a best-seller, top of the charts.
Big publishers have editor's assistants to filter the slush. There are also web sites that are part self-help for authors and part slush pile filter: HarperCollins uses authonomy. Random House, Orion Publishing Group and Bloomsbury Publishing use Youwriteon. Both are worth a look if you're a writer.
But we depend editors -- one person -- who can do substantial editing, proofread, and are willing to review the slushpile. (Sheri calls it the editor trifecta.) Any editor trifectas out there?