And now, our winners--in Ms. Laughran's own words:
I'd love to say first of all congratulations to everyone who participated. It really does take nerve to put yourselves out there in public like that, and I know that critique like this can sting.
I hope that everyone realizes that if I said something mean, or something you disagree with, this was my hastily formed opinion after a 20-second read, knowing virtually nothing about the story, your work, and with no context whatsoever. This is absolutely not a value judgment about you as a writer or the merit of your story.
In fact, I think that this crop of first pages in particular was of exceedingly high quality overall... MUCH better than the average query that hits my in-box. So bravissimo to all of you and to Authoress for attracting such talented minions!
I absolutely could not decide on one "winner." I have TEN that I want to read more of. And I am going to let you choose your own prize between one of these three:
1) Fast-tracked query - I will read your query & first 10 pages as soon as I get it & give you either a request for full or a decline WITH details, rather than the customary 6-8 week waiting period for a form letter. Please do NOT pick this if you are already under consideration by someone at my agency.
2) Query critique - If you don't want me to consider this for representation but you just want advice on how to make your query letter stronger.
3) A book! - If you don't want me to consider this for representation AND you don't want advice on how to make your query letter stronger, I will send you one of my clients awesome books! :-)
So without further ado, here are the Superior Hookers:
#4 Saving Danger
#6 Imaginary Heart
#12 Squeaky Clean
#15 Emma Undone
#26 Bursting the Bubble
#35 Watch Your Step
#46 The Disappearances
#47 Wildflower Eyes
Email me with "Authoress Contest Winner" in the subject line and let me know which prize you desire.
To the winners: If you do not know the agency email address for Andrea Brown, please email me at facelesswords(at)gmail.com and I will send it. (I don't like posting agent emails on the blog.)
And PLEASE REMEMBER to put AUTHORESS CONTEST WINNER in the subject line, or your email will drown among the slush.
[On a side note: I once received a query critique from Ms. Laughran and it was EXCELLENT. Very helpful (and brutally honest, the way you'd want it to be). So if you're already under consideration by another agent at Andrea Brown, don't hesitate to choose the query critique as your prize!]