Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thoughts On Tomorrow's Contest

So this is new ground, and I thought it might be a good idea to chat a bit about what to expect once the queries and sample pages are posted tomorrow morning. To wit:

  • We will use the same feedback format as the Secret Agent contests; that is, each query will be posted separately and the comment box will be open for all blog readers.
  • The focus of this contest is DID THE QUERY HOOK YOU? That's the first question you should answer when you leave feedback. After that, explain why or why not.
  • If the query doesn't hook you, DON'T READ THE FIRST PAGE. I'm not being harsh; I'm being realistic. If you send your query to an agent and the query doesn't flip his cookie, you'd better believe that he won't put time into reading your first page or two.
  • If the query hooks you, go on to see whether the actual writing lives up to the query. Then share why it does or does not live up.
  • Remember that this is not a "full critique" contest. General comments about what does or doesn't work with the sample page, and whether or not you'd want to read more, are all that you need to share.
And because you asked:

  • If your query is included in this contest, you may not submit the first page from the same novel in next month's Secret Agent contest (this is a standard rule).
  • If you are chosen as a WINNER of this contest, you may not submit the first page from the same novel in the NEXT SIX Secret Agent contests. (A different novel is okay, though.)
Anything else? Ask away. I'll check back several times throughout the day to answer your questions.


  1. Sounds like this is going to be fun<:

    Something I was kinda wondering, and I wasn't sure if this fell under 'general comments' or 'full critique' <- Is confused. :#

    This happens over at my critting group when people post queries for crit - sometimes I'm hooked by the plot, but not really interested in reading beyond that query because of the way the query is written. Like if it is a really messy query.

    My question - if a query hooks, do we still drop imo-suggestions as to how it could be improved?

    Example - sometimes we (critting group) see queries where somebody mentions way too many characters and side plots. I might sneak in and suggest they streamline the query to the main plot/characters and KISS.

    Is that ok?

  2. Hi Megs from Meg in the heartland

    KISS uhm, in caps? Is that bookspeak or are you wishing us luck? Yeah, newbie. Thanks for clarification in advance. LOL

  3. KISS usually stands for Keep It Short and Simple.

  4. I feel like a ball of dirt. I'm traveling over the next five days and will not have reliable access to ye ol' internet during that time.

    I'll be unable to participate properly.

    Deep regrets mingled with shame.


  5. I couldn't enter this contest because I'm not quite ready.

    BUT I will be *hopefully* reading all of the entries.

    Authoress: I think this is a wonderful idea, and I hope you continue on with it! Maybe you can do alternating months.

    Ex: July = Query contest
    August = Secret Agent contest
    September= Query contest

    (You get the idea) *smiles*


  6. I feel a little stupid here, but is 'Tomorrow's Contest' yesterdays's contest which will be published tomorrow?

    Or is Jodi taking those aside, and there is another constest tomorrow?

    West Coast Confusion (and still tired from yesterday) :)

  7. LOL I should have written "this week's contest," the entries of which will be posted tomorrow.

  8. Megs...you can share whatever you'd like. It just doesn't have to have a full crit focus. If you like the query and have a "but" or 2, feel free to share them. I think the authors will appreciate any and all constructive feedback.

  9. Yes! I, for one, will love any constructive feedback.

    I think we all have the same goal: to get published. Anything that can help us get to that point is great, in my opinion.

  10. I second what the Authoress and JenniferM said. Just please don't try to alter our voices. ;-)

  11. *smiles mischievously*

    Yep, that is one of my worst habits when I crit friends. I have the itch to rewrite their work so it sounds like... er... instead of them. Very bad habit. =)

  12. Do I have to take back the excerpt I sent in for your "1000 words" crit contest since I have been selected for this one?

  13. Cat,

    Here's the procedure: Send me an email redacting your 1000 entry in the queue. Then, after this contest is over, you can re-submit it. You'll be assigned a number at the end of the queue.

  14. Well I didn't enter this one so I am good for next month, the next month, the month after that...

  15. Thanks again for this! I'm getting great feedback on my query.

    Would it be okay to post my updated query in the comments to get further critique or is that a no no? I'd be happy to reciprocate for others wanting to do so, but understand if it's too timely or not what this is about.