Monday, March 19, 2012

New Contest: PUBLIC SLUSHPILE

Okay, I'm on a roll here -- must be the collective effect of springtime and gelato.  At any rate, I've come up with a new idea that will hopefully lead to some more, in-depth critique here on the blog.

It's called PUBLIC SLUSHPILE!  And that's exactly what we're going to create.

Get ready to faint:  I want you to submit your QUERY LETTER.

*pauses while people faint*

But wait!  This is NOT a query critique.  You know I don't like those.  Here are all the details:

  • Submit your query letter, MINUS PERSONAL DETAILS, to the web form at MSFV.THOUGHBIN.ORG
  • All genres except erotica are invited.
  • Since this is a brand new contest type, everyone except the 5 winners from our FIRST LINE GRABBER may enter, for obvious reasons.
  • The submission window will be open from 1:00 to 9:00 pm EDT today.
  • This is a LOTTERY.  At 9:00, the Authoress Bot will choose 25 entries at random.
  • These 25 entries will be posted to the blog on Wednesday morning.  (Please note: I will delete any personal information that may have slipped through. Stick to the meat of the query!)
  • Queries will be read and evaluated by our readership according to the rules below.
  • The top 5 queries will be invited to submit their first 500 for public critique.
That's the gist of it!  If you're ready to embark upon the query path--or if you're already in the midst of all that--and you would like the opportunity to see whether your query can hook us enough to secure some critique on your first two pages, this contest is for you!

Here are the QUERY EVALUATION RULES:
  • NO CRITIQUING THE QUERIES!
  • Each comment needs to begin with YES or NO, followed by one sentence (one!) explaining why.
  • One comment per reader.
  • Comments that do not begin with YES or NO will not be included in the final tally.  (Because I value my eyeballs.  I need to be able to skim through the comment boxes and make quick counts.)
  • The 5 queries with the most YES responses will be invited to submit their first 500 words.
My hope is that the YES and NO explanations on these queries will help the authors to determine the efficacy of their queries and, if improvement is needed, to lead to effective tweaking.

Sound good?  Questions below!

41 comments:

  1. Sounds awesome! What are the rules for recent contest participants? Want us to lay off?

    Thank you!

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  2. Since this is a brand new contest, it's open to everybody EXCEPT the 5 winners of our FIRST LINE GRABBER, for obvious reasons. Guess I'd better add this to the rules -- thanks for asking!

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  3. You are on a roll!

    Great little Springy contest. :)

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  4. By "minus personal details" you mean the paragraph about our experience and its connection to the book subject? So you just want the meat of the query? (Want to make sure I get it right;)

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  5. Yeah, I actually saw this before the contest closes this time!

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  6. Yes, Kimberly, that's what I mean. We don't need that paragraph in order to evaluate the "hookiness" of your query on the blog. :)

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  7. LOL Sarah -- I listened to the complaints from last time and gave the contest a later starting time! :-)

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  8. Awesome, Authoress. This will be such a valuable insight to whether your query "works" or "not." I love it!

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  9. Darn, I wish I had a story ready for querying! I'm looking forward to seeing this though, it's always helpful to see how other people do a query letter.

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  10. Yeaayy! I love this idea. :)Queries can be so tricky. This should be a great contest!

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  11. Cool contest =)

    No need to include info like "Title" and "Genre"?

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  12. I was wondering what format our queries should be submitted in. Double spaced? Tabs or no tabs? I scanned previous entries and it looks like you prefer no tabs and spaces only between paragraphs, but I couldn't find any query contests. So I just wanted to double check.

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  13. nevermind. Sorry for my ignorance. I found the 'click here for formatting' link :)

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  14. AE Martin -- the web form has a place to fill in the title and genre.

    Ag -- I can't control what people enter, but this is really meant for people who are ready to query, because they will benefit most.

    Amber -- What "click here for formatting" link? LOL!!

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  15. So excited that I can enter this one AND I didn't miss the window. :D Thanks for hosting these!

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  16. haha, the link is on the submission page. But after I opened it I realized the link just explained how to write in italics, and not how you wanted the query staged. I went ahead and laid out my query like the first line grabbers...no tabs or double spacing, one space between paragraphs. Hope that was alright.

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  17. Yep, Amber, that's right. It's probably safe to say that that's the standard query format ANYWHERE you go!

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  18. This is so perfect, I was just about to send out a new project/new query and need this type of feedback!

    Perfect timing Authoress! :)

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  19. Scary-esciting. Sounds like a wonderful opportunity. You are wonderful for having this.

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  20. So do we need to put in all the standard stuff (dear [insert name of agent], word count, genre) in the main text window or is that just the meat.

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  21. This is great! We've been focusing on writing, but we also need help SELLING our work, and that's what a query is- a sales tool! Excellent, wonderful, terrific contest idea! I'm not submitting mine because my office is in upheaval (I'm currently writing on a partially- built but way groovy new desk) and oh yeah, I'm CHICKEN! :>

    I am very excited to read the entries. I've been putting off reworking my query, so this will get me pumped to get at it again. Okay, brave writers- let's see those queries!

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  22. What a great idea, but I'm not entering this one. I'll catch the next one; mine is not ready. ;-)

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  23. Are we restricted to one entry? Just wondering because it's a lottery and I know I've got two ready-to-query manuscripts.

    As always, great contest to help authors improve their work :)

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  24. Anon -- The dear-agent-title-genre-wordcount lead-in paragraph is fine. The "meat" is the actual 2- to 3-paragraph synop, and ANYTHING ELSE is what you don't need -- anything about your background, why you chose this particular agent, writing contests you've won, etc. Leave all that stuff out.

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  25. It's still 1 entry per person. If this is a success, though, I'll be doing it again!

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  26. Every time I think you have reached the full level of your awesomeness- you go another notch higher.

    You, kind Authoress, ROCK!

    Thank you for another great event for us :)

    Marie Andreas (sending this at work- can't sign into Google...SIGH)

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  27. Ack! I deleted the "Dear Gentle Agent" line! I agonized over how to convey the necessary facts without it, thinking jumping to the meat meant not including that lead-in line. Oh well. I'm still crossing my fingers and sending positive vibes to the bot.

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  28. Aww shoot, my copy and paste missed the "dear agent" bit. We don't need that though, right? Not for this.
    Ah well, lotteries generally aren't that kind to me anyway.

    Can't wait to see other people's queries. Can learn so much from looking at them.

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  29. No wonder you call yourself Ms. Snark's first victim. This offer reminded me of her operation, minus the snark.
    You are a (much) braver soul than I am. Have fun.

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  30. Cool, I like this twist to the typical query critique. Looking forward to more lurking! Best of luck everyone.

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  31. I love these new and random contests! Thanks for this!

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  32. Thanks, Authoress. Another opportunity for crituque. Sounds fun. Can't wait to see the entries.

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  33. Submitted just in the nick of time! This is great. I've been dying for some fresh feedback on my query.

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  34. This contest offers so much the kind of feedback I'm looking for. Kudos for the great idea.

    Yay for being home sick today which enabled me to see this at the right moment. :( turns to :)

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  35. Sounds awesome! Thanks for doing this.

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