Monday, September 4, 2017

Call For Submissions: QUERY QUAGMIRE

You asked for it -- you're getting it!

Over the years, I've stayed away from query critiques, for the reasons stated in this post from 2009, with the notable exception of the 2009 Query Contest with Jodi Meadows.  (If you'll click on that link and look at the list of winners from that contest, you'll notice one of them is #15, A LONG WAY HOME.  That is none other than an early, pre-published, pre-agented version of Beth Revis's ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.  True story!  But I digress.)

I've had numerous requests, though, so I've finally decided to go with it, mostly because I have a WONDERFUL AGENT WHO IS WILLING AND EAGER TO TAKE PART.

Here's how it works:

1.  On Thursday, September 7, at noon EDT, submissions will open for your ONE-PAGE QUERY LETTER (single-spaced) plus the first 250 words of your manuscript (double-spaced).  THE FOLLOWING GENRES WILL BE ACCEPTED:

  • YA -- all genres
  • MG -- all genres
  • Women's Fiction
  • Mystery

2. The submission window will remain open for 24 hours.  I WILL ACCEPT ALL SUBMISSIONS THAT COME IN DURING THIS TIME.  THERE WILL BE NO LOTTERY.

3.  From these submissions, I will choose FIVE queries that I think will capture my agent's interest.

4.  I will post the 5 winning queries on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19.  At this time, the entries will be open to public critique, and my lovely agent will be reading and critiquing each one, to let the author know why she would or would not want to read more.  

5.  Note:  YOUR MANUSCRIPT MUST BE COMPLETE AND QUERY-READY.  No incomplete manuscripts.  No first drafts.

6.  This contest is open to non-agented writers only.

This is an excellent learning opportunity for all aspiring authors, even if you don't have an entry in the contest!  It's always a blessing to get a peek inside an agent's head during the querying process.  I'm hoping that, by vetting the entries ahead of time, I will come up with 5 plausible query-reading scenarios, so that the agent feedback received isn't "I don't represent this genre", but will actually be more specific and helpful.

All-righty, then!  Polish your queries and proofread your first pages.   And if you have any questions, leave them in the comment box below, or accost me on Twitter!

29 comments:

  1. Can the non-winning entries also be put up for public critique at some point? I know that even if I don't make the cut for the agent, I would still get a lot of value in having the fresh and impartial eyes of my peers taking a look at my query.

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  2. Let me give that some thought, Amy. I have no idea how many entries to expect, and I'm not sure I can think of a fair way to choose which ones to post, should the number be too high.

    If this is successful, we will do it again, though!

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  3. I notice your submission window date is the same as the PitMad contest. Do you have any rules about not entering two contests at once, or can we submit to both?

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  4. Sally, I don't have a rule about that -- feel free to submit to both. :)

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  5. Great contest, and just at the perfect time for my manuscript. Thank you so much for the opportunity! For the sample page: Are we going by "first double-spaced page" or 250 words exactly. And, if words: 250 words hits right in the middle of a sentence for me. Should I cut just before that sentence or is there a little wiggle room allowed to complete the sentence? Sorry to be nitpicky. Thanks!

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  6. Hi, Kelsey! There is wiggle room. Always complete sentences. :)

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  7. Thanks! I'm looking forward to it!

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  8. Thank you so much for doing giving in to the requests, this is an amazing opportunity! I know that many agents will not open attachments in emails and request that you have the query written in the body of the email. I was wondering if this would hold for you as well if email is how you're going to have people submit? Thank you!

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  9. This is an awesome opportunity! Thanks so much!

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  10. Desiree -- The submission form is online (the link is in the body of this post). So no worries about attachments!

    Brian -- My pleasure!

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  11. This is exciting, thank you! Question: Does mystery include suspense or only traditional?

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  12. I'm not able to get the 250 first words into a double space format. Is there a trick to it that I'm missing?

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    1. I am having that same issue. I'm opting to submit as-is, with apologies, as I'm on a time constraint today.

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  13. Sorry for the confusion about spacing -- that doesn't matter on your actual submission. I was only pointing out that your first page should be 250 words double-spaced, which equals 1 printed page. Please don't worry about the spacing in your submission.

    When I pick my 5 winners, I will fix all spacing and make everything look pretty. :)

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  14. I've tried to verify my email numerous times, but the verification never shows up in my inbox or spam?

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  15. Hmm. We haven't had that problem in quite a while. Have you tried opening it in a different browser?

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  16. Should have thought of that. Didn't work in Chrome, but works in Explorer. Thanks!

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  17. Hi, can we use a screen name for the query letter? Similarly are we to send a query letter tailored for Ms. Danielle Burby or a more general one? Thanks.

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    1. Hey, Thomas -- Yes, use a screen name. I never post people's real names on the blog at any rate, so please don't worry -- your anonymity is secure. :)

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  18. I notice the entry form has a limit of 200. Does that mean if there are 200 entries before noon tomorrow that no new entries will be accepted? (I know it's not even halfway full yet, but this is where my brain goes.)

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    1. Hey, Katrina --

      I don't expect it to go beyond 200, but if it's filling up, I intend to open it up to more entries. I understand your brain, so no worries. :)

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  20. Have the same Q as Vanessa. Does mystery include suspense?

    Thanks. And regardless, this is very nice of you.

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    1. I would say go ahead and submit. Suspense is a subgenre of mystery at any rate.

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