Monday, April 19, 2010

A Slew of Winners!

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
#37 Drain
#44 Skullhaven
#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) 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!]



  1. I stumbled onto this site a week or so ago, and I just wanted to say THANKS to the Authoress! I've been reading the archives everyday and was itching to enter this contest, but my WIP wasn't MG or YA. This is such a great resource and I just so thrilled to have found it. Thanks for all your hard work to keep it going.

  2. Congrats to all the winners! How great that you get to pick your own prize.

    (And whoever wrote IMAGINARY HEART, you are brilliant. I would read that book in a (non-imaginary) heartbeat:) )

  3. Congrats to the winners!! (One of them is my critique partner so YAY!)

  4. Wow! I can't believe I won! This was an awesome contest, thank you so much for providing this opportunity! And thank you so much to everyone that said such amazingly nice things on my entry! (I was #6 IMAGINARY HEART)

  5. Congratulations to the winners! That's awesome there were so many. :)

  6. I'm on the Bolt Bus from NYC back to Cambridge and sort of hyperventilating that I am one of the winners. (My poor neighbor). If I'd taken Greyhound, I wouldn't have had Internet.

    I'm #46 - The Disappearances

    Congratulations to everyone else. How generous that there are so many winners.

  7. Wow, what a wonderful choice of prizes. Congrats to the winners. Best of luck.

  8. Congrats to everyone. I didn't have time to critique like normal, but . . . bravo for everyone who entered the contest!!

  9. Congrats to the winners -- and what fabulous prizes from Ms. Laughran!

  10. Squee! Congrats to the winners. You guys are so lucky to be involved this month. Jennifer recently passed on my ms; while a pass is never fun, the comments she took the time to make have been an inspiration. They were so spot on. I know my ms is 100% better now because her of thoughtful eye. I am happy dancing for you guys. This is a win/win.

  11. Those were AMAZING prizes. Good luck to all the winners. :D I didn't have a chance to read any entries, but I'm sure these ones were brilliant.

  12. Two things:

    1. I like the word "slew".
    2. Jennifer is made of awesome.

    That is all!

  13. Congratulations to all of you winners - you certainly deserved it!

    And thanks so much to Authoress and Ms. Laughran for devoting so much time and energy to this contest.

  14. Thanks so much for doing this contest! I learned a lot, both from the comments on my submission and the other entries.

  15. Jennifer, awesome prizes and great generosity. Thanks,

  16. Thank you so much, Authoress, for running this contest, and to you, Ms. Laughran, for your generous prizes! I'm humbled to be among the winners- I'm still pinching myself. I took everyone's comments to heart, and have already revised the opening of my manuscript. Thanks to everyone who critiqued it!

  17. Thanks so much for the detailed feedback you left for everyone, Ms. Laughran.

  18. So many little goodnesses have come from my being one of these winners!

    I'm Entry 37: DRAIN.

    Thanks oodles to Jennifer for the insightful comments on each entry, and to Miss Snark for hosting.

    Congrats, everyone! I especially liked Wildflower Eyes.

  19. Ms. Laughran: Thanks for taking time to review all fifty entries and for being so generous with the number of prizewinners. And those of us about to rewrite, salute you.

    Authoress: Your blog is a gem. Thank you for your time and effort.

    Winners: Congratulations to you all. Wouldn't it be great if it all started here?

    To all other MSFVers: As I said in preface to all of my comments: it takes guts putting your work out there. Keep following your writing dreams. Remember: rewriting, chocolate, and a big ole dab o' love conquer all.

    Michael (#31)

  20. Oh gosh, very exciting.

    Thank you Authoress for hosting and Jennifer for the comments. And everyone else who took the time to comment on my entry (No 15) I really appreciate it.

    Congratulations everyone.

  21. Congratulations to the winners. I have been around here for a few months, but this is the first time I have read through ALL of the Secret Agent entries. I was so excited to see some of my "favorites" win!

    To all that entered: You are brave! You should be proud!

    Thank you, Authoress and Jennifer!

  22. Thank you, Authoress, for generously running this contest and giving unknown writers the chance to put some work out there.

    My entry was literally a stab in the dark as I had to get up at 2am to push the send button, then I staggered back to bed. I wasn't awake enough to agonize over something going wrong with the system, and it didn't.

    Thank you, Secret Agent Jennifer, for reading all those subs so quickly (still had fingernails left to chew) and using the word "sophisticated" on my sub right after an "Eww" comment. Kept me giggling for ages.

    There were some divine openers in this competition so I'm glad so many made it through to a chance to sub more.

    I'm the nasty piece of work that wrote #26 Bursting the Bubble, with Beetle the budding pyromaniac. She's a good kid, really.

  23. Congrats to all the winners!
    And I want to thank all the commenters on my submission (#14). I have a love/hate relationship with beginnings, especially with the second in this series, so I printed everything off and will consider how to improve my beginning AFTER I finish this silly story and I'm ready for my second draft!

    Thanks again!