Friday, March 13, 2015

'Become an Agent' Querypalooza/Contest!!


Query Kombat is coming up soon, but NEST PITCH IS COMING UP EVEN FASTER. If you don't know what it is, FIND OUT. Submissions are on April 1st for Nest Pitch. It's a truly amazing and unique contest (we potentially see your first 10 pages instead of only 250!).

So this Querypalooza (because I don't want you to think of it as a contest) will help you get your submissions in shape!  

What is this?

This is a 'contest' all about queries. Will your query garner requests? Will you stand out amongst the plethora of queries in the agent's inbox?

When I was querying (and even now), I always wanted to know, "Will my query work?" "What if was the agent and I had to request pages?"

So, from there came the contest. This is a critique session BUT WITH A TWIST. Read on below to find out what the awesome twist is.

I got the idea for this contest from the Authoress's Public Slushpile Contest (she has AMAZING contests almost every month. So go and check her blog out :D).

This is NOT a contest that involves agents, editors, or publishers. I actually hope they don't look over the entries because this contest is a place for writers to test out queries and see if they work. I want this to be a safe place for you to submit a query you're unsure about or experimenting around with. That's hard to do if there is the possibility of an agent seeing your work. So be free and FEEL free!

The Details

  • This Thursday the 19th, I will open up a window for submissions. It'll start at 1 p.m. EST and will end when I get 20 submissions.
If the submission window's time frame is not good for you, go to to schedule the email to be sent!
  • The first 20 entries in the submission window will make it into the contest.
  • Submit the meat of your query and the first 250 words to SC_Author (at) yahoo (dot) com. More details about submission format below.
  • I will be sending confirmation emails so you know I got your email, and I will later send confirmation emails to the people that made it into the contest.
  • The 20 queries I receive will go up on this blog on Sunday at 8 pm. That's when the contest will start!! The contest ends on Saturday the 28th.

Here is the fun part. The BEST PART. READ THIS PART!

  • Each entrant will get a Post Number for his/her query.
  • The basis of the contest is this: Each entrant is required to vote YES or NO (as to, "Would you request pages?") on the seven queries above their post number, and give an explanation as to why (can be as short or long, as generic or specific, as you want). So if you are #6, you'll critique Numbers 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. But, say, if you are number 3, you will critique numbers 2, 1, (then start from the end) 20, 19, and 18. All the posts will be numbered.
  • BUT...... THERE IS:


  • Out of the seven queries you vote on, you can only vote YES on TWO!

Yes! We are going to make this as agent-like as possible.

You have to pick the best two queries out of the seven you are assigned. If you are extra-awesome and want to critique more than seven, then you get one more "Yes" for every four you critique. If, for some reason, you only critique one more, that one CAN be a "Yes." But if you critique more after that, you must give out 3 "No's" before you can give out a "Yes." Ask questions in the comments below for the nitpicks: it does get confusing, but it makes sense in my head! You MUST critique the seven posts above yours before going on to more! 

For the Onlookers and Observers
  • The onlookers and observers can only vote YES on one out of the ten entries (because they aren't required to do the time-consuming chore of explaining their NO's like the contestants are). So yes, non-contestants can also participate!!!! But they cannot simply give 'Yes's' to their friends; that's cheating. Don't do that, please. PLEASE.
  • If the non-contestants are so awesome as to actually explain their No's and Yes's, their voting guidelines will be the same as the contestant's :) 
  • Non-contestants are awesome. We've always had a good number devote so much time to this, and it's been amazing.

The winner of the contest will be the ones with the most 'Yes's'! I'll set up an interview with them, like I did for Sherry EllisTiffanie Lynn, and Nikki Roberti! I will be checking to make sure that the winner voted on the seven above their post's number. That is key; I want to spread out votes as equally as possible so that one person doesn't get 5 Yes's out of 5 votes and another person gets 6 Yes's out of 10 votes. Because, technically, the second person wins in that scenario.

  • Follow this blog (and my Twitter if you wish :D)
  • Write your query under 400 words - and that's a lot. Ideally, it will be under 300 words (I'm talking only about the meat here - no personalization and no bio unless the bio is CRUCIAL to the story).
  • Thank the Authoress for allowing me to make another version of her amazing contest!

You do NOT need a finished manuscript to enter, as I know some people write their queries before they start their manuscripts. This is just to see if your query and 250 will work for agents.

I hope that this will be tons of fun, but even more so, I hope this will be helpful. Even without an agent, you will see whether your query is working or not and why it is or isn't. We can become agents for a little while :D And, hopefully, this will help to everyone in query frustration land.

Formatting instructions are here: 

Again, send it to SC_Author(at)yahoo(dot)com as:

In the subject line put "Become an Agent : [Title of Your Manuscript]". That's all I need :D

In the actual body, put it like how I have below (so I can easily copy-and-paste from email to Blogger)

Bolded where bolded, with all the words included (so keep in 'Title', 'Genre', 'Word Count', etc. but, of course, put in your own personal details.)

Title: My Awesome Title!
Genre: My Awesome Genre!
Word Count: My not-so-awesome word count that I'd rather not tell anyone!

Then just slap in the meat of your query under the title, genre, and word count. Throw in your bio (if you want) too, because agents DO look at that when they receive queries and it DOES make an impact, I want this contest to be as realistic to what agents see as possible. But ONLY INCLUDE YOUR BIO IF IT'S CRUCIAL TO THE STORY!! See the comments below for more info.

First 250: Throw in your 250 here, NO tabs; line breaks instead of tabs, like they are on this blog post right now. And you have a cushion of 10 words; so if your sentence ends on word number 257 or 242, keep it there. You don't need to edit to perfectly hit 250 words.

I will delete any names or stuff. This way, if you have some friend-bloggers who get in the contest as well, hopefully, they won't be influenced as much. And all critiques will not be personal in any way.

I'm counting on you guys not to tell people which is your entry :) Doing so will only harm you, and I have faith in all of you that you want this contest to be constructive. But feel free to spread the word about this contest!

Some brief clearer-upper points of conduct:
  1. HAVE FUN! PLEASE PLEASE HAVE FUN! Oh. And hope this helps you, too :D
One more thing:

This contest is brutal. You might not think so right now but it is BRUTAL. You'll absolutely hate what some people have to say, you'll want to trash their critiques. Don't shrug it off. I'm telling you it will happen. Too bad. I'm warning you right now. I always have writers that are almost in tears because of this contest. It's really a helpful, good contest; SO many writers have told me how helpful it was. But it's also a hard one. And honestly, would you rather have this or rejections from agents?

AND PLEASE, tell me if I'm missing anything. Ask questions below.

We'll be Tweeting under the Twitter hashtag #BecomeAnAgent! Twitter really is amazing for authors to connect and celebrate together :D It'll be fun. I'm SC_Author on Twitter.

I'll post more guidelines about ethically voting and voting fairly when all the posts go up :) The critiques and the explanations for the votes are really the biggest part of this contest, so I'll need another post to discuss them in detail.

Does anything need clarification? I truly hope you guys enjoy this! Are you excited?


  1. This sounds so cool! Do you have to be in Query Kombat to enter in this one?

    1. Nope! You can submit even if you're not planning to be in any contest.

  2. One spot says submit on April 1 the other says today the 19th. I'm somewhat confused on submit day. Sorry

    1. Argh, that is my fault. I copied and pasted last time's announcement post and I thought I replaced all the dates. The submission window is today! Send one in if you haven't - there are a couples spots left. So sorry for the confusion!

    2. Hey! Actually, I just went back to edit and saw that the April 1st submission date was for Nest Pitch (a separate contest coming up soon). I clarified that, thank you for pointing that out!

  3. I was confused about this:

    "Throw in your bio (if you want) too, because agents DO look at that when they receive queries and it DOES make an impact, I want this contest to be as realistic to what agents see as possible. But ONLY INCLUDE YOUR BIO IF IT'S CRUCIAL TO THE STORY!!"

    I thought maybe you meant throw in the comps paragraph but not the bio? If not, feel free to toss my comps paragraph.


    1. Both would be welcome - basically, whatever you'd send an agent!