Saturday, May 30, 2015

Team #Writerbees for Query Kombat 2015!

The time is finally here! Time to release the Kombatants onto the unsuspecting public!

I know you're going to skip this and scroll down to see if you made it in.

So go do it - but pretty please, come back here and read this! Promise? Regardless if you make it on my team or not, please return to read this.

The choice was hard. Of course it was, if you followed us on #QKSlush you know how agonizing it was to decide. And when I said that I for sure passed over entries I would love to read/request/thought-were-amazing, I meant it.

You see, it might never make sense or settle with you until you come on our side of the screen. I submitted to contests. I did the same thing you did - and I got rejected every time. All the things the hosts said ("It was such a hard decision! You'll still succeed! Yay!") didn't register with me. Something was wrong with my query/250, etc. And yes, something was wrong with my submission. It sucked. But the hosts' rejection of me was not personal. It wasn't a critique of me as a writer. And I understand it even more now that I'm doing the hosting - I pass over bad entries, but I also pass over amazing entries because we only have room for a certain amount. 

That's why I'm trying to reconfigure how we think of online blog writing contests. It's just like querying. If you get a query rejection, it hurts less than getting a contest rejection - but why? It's the same thing. The true worth of a contest comes from the online community that builds up around it, from the hashtags (#QueryKombat and #QKSlush), and the friends we all make. It's something remarkable and life-changing. Contests are fun! Winning is fun, getting requests is fun. But there's so much more to it. 

I follow what Michelle says in her announcement post: if you're feeling down, tweet me. There's an army of writers waiting to catch you as you fall. Thank you so much for submitting! CONTESTS ARE SO FUN! (I was rejected from every one (except the randomized ones) so I don't know why I loved them so much, but I do!)

To those who made it--CONGRATULATIONS! Out of 245 entries, you made it into the top 64. You bit, you clawed, you bled, and you MADE IT! AND WE LOVE YOU. Celebrate, celebrate! Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, anything :D Scream and shout. We writers love to celebrate other's victories and also wallow with other's pains. (Who said writers were sane?) #QueryKombat on Twitter is going to be great around this time, so throw out a Tweet and dive in.

Tweet your sagest query advice, or that quote that kept you going when you were down and out, or your grandmother's secret tapioca pudding recipe ('cause everyone love tapioca!). We're more than a community; we're a family. So spread the love.

We don't have any fancy brackets to showcase the match-ups. In fact, the match-ups for Sunday aren't really finished yet. Kombatants must wait for Sunday to find out who they will face.

Now for my picks for the contest. To see Mike's and Michelle's picks, check out their blogs. Kombatants don't miss the rules on judging and commenting included at the bottom of this post.

This is team #Writerbees. (We have alumni! They'll say hi on Twitter :D)


The Pied Piper
Baby Blues Ruse

Young Adult:

Princess Charming and the Beast
My Name is Poison on Your Lips
The One About Temples, Tyrants, and Twins
The Quest for Crumbs
Fun Friday My Ass
Texting Buddies at 8%
Over a Beryl
Dolyn Pierce's Headphones
Fighting the South
Queen of Drones vs Bunker Babe 
A Pirate's Life for Me
Learning to Love Tofu
Death By Dozier

Middle Grade:

Grandma Guardians
A Spoonful of Testosterone
Who Will Be Winter?


Sand Dollar
The Impressionistic Cow
Eavesdropping Monkey

Welcome to the #Writerbees!!!! I love all of you. THIS IS OUR YEAR. Tweet me on Twitter so I can follow you!!! I'm so so so excited :D


(one more)


Now some details and info and not-as-fun but still important stuff :(

Important Information for Kombatants:

The first round will start on Monday, June 1st on all three blogs. We will try to post all the match-ups by 8:00 am EST, but please don’t rush to comment for reasons we will spell out under the judging section.

There will be 64 Kombatants and these will be paired into 32 posts for the first round. Yes, we will try to match age categories and genres together. This will totally depend on numbers. As you can imagine, we received a much lesser number of NA entries and a much greater number of YA entries. We’ll do the best we can to make the match-ups fair, but we are not limiting our Kombatant picks by requiring so many numbers of each age group. We are picking what we think are the best entries. 

In the event a Kombatant has to drop out of Query Kombat there will be two possibilities. If they drop out before the first round begins, they will be replaced with an alternate Kombatant contestant. (Alternate Kombatants will not be announced beforehand. We don’t want people hoping someone drops out. We may announce them after the contest ends.) If a Kombatant drops out after the contest has started, their opponent automatically advances to the next round. Any Kombatant that receives an offer of representation will please notify us so we may withdraw them. Receiving a full request or partial is not grounds for withdrawal.


Our fantastic judges will give their votes under their assumed nicknames in order to be able to vote honestly and freely. Go here to see the nicknames they have chosen. The voting for the first round will take place from June 1st until June 4rd at 8:00 pm EST. (For more information on the dates of the other rounds go here.) The winners of the first round will be announced on June 4th.

Judges will vote as follows: VICTORY to Kombatant nickname Then they may give more information as to why they voted that way. How much feedback they give is completely up to that judge. There are a lot of entries to read and a lot of rounds to go through. This is a long contest. But we’re sure the judges will do a fantastic job of sharing their thoughts.

To prevent favoritism, the judges have agreed not to vote on match-ups where they are close friends to a Kombatant or where they have beta read or critique partnered. Due to the length of this contest, judges have been assigned to rounds and may decide not to vote in all the rounds.

In the event of a matchup vote tie, we'll call for more judges, then the round host will cast the tie-breaker vote if necessary.

Now here comes the unique and important part! We would like the judges’ votes to be easily located. Therefore, we are asking the judges to place their votes as a reply to the first comment in each match-up post. As soon as all the match-up posts are live, the round host will go through and made a first comment. Something like: This comment is reserved for judges’ votes. Please do not reply to this comment unless you are a judge. Then the judges can do their thing and leave their votes as replies to that comment.

BUT in order for this to work, people cannot rush to comment. The hosts have to have time to get the first comment up on all 10 or 11 posts of the first round and subsequent rounds. No matter how excited you are to share your feedback, please give the host time to get the first comment done before you comment. Any other first comments but the hosts’ will be deleted.

We understand that everyone is human and votes may not end up in the proper spot. All judges’ votes will count no matter where they end up.


Due to the nature of the head-to-head competition, commenting is a delicate subject. We don’t want feelings hurt. We don’t want people to go away angry. 32 people will be knocked out in the first round. That is brutal. And like any contest of this nature, the results will be subjective. Wonderful entries will be eliminated. Because not everyone will be seen by an agent, we do want to allow commenting as that may be the only feedback a query and first 250 entry will get.

Therefore, especially in the first round, we want a ton of comments. And we want those comments to be super constructive and helpful. In other words, be specific. Don’t just rave about a Kombatant’s entry like a fangirl/guy. Tell us why you liked it. Mention things like the query set out the mc’s motivation and stakes clearly, the query had a super voice, the query was confusing because…, the pages really showed the mc’s personality because…, the page felt flat because…, the concept was unique because…

Please no cheerleading comments in the first round or second round. (Friendly cheerleading will be allowed in the final rounds.) In the early rounds, if you want to cheer on your friends and CPs, do it on twitter. Try and give equal time to both Kombatants in a match-up. Don’t let someone be left out. If you see a match-up that isn’t getting many comments, we ask that you jump in and do your stuff.

We don’t want this contest to only be about fun and agents. We want all the entries to get helpful advice to make their queries and page stronger. Please remember this and be kind and thoughtful. Writers are amazing people. They go out of their way to help. We are sure we can count on you.

Enough preaching. Here are some more commenting rules:

We would like each Kombatant to give feedback on at least 6 match-ups.
You’re on your honor system here, we won’t be monitoring this. We’ve got enough to do. (lol!) We’d also like each person who entered Query Kombat to leave at least one comment on a match-up, but feel free to do many more! And please we ask that Kombatants who are eliminated, come back and leave comments on the next round. We still want to hear what you think. We need you to make this contest a success!

Kombatants, please don’t comment on your own entry, whether that is to thank people or to explain/rationalize your entry. There will be so many comments that we ask you to wait until the last day of voting to offer thanks or congratulate someone, or leave any other type of comment on your own entry. If you want to thank people before the last day of voting, twitter is the place.

We are counting on there being no hard feeling comments. If there are, they will be deleted. We warned you’ll need a thick skin and it’s true. But we believe this can be done in a friendly manner.

Getting knocked out of the contest or not getting picked is no indication of a story’s quality. After all, we only have snapshots to go upon. All the hosts are very excited for Query Kombat to start, and we hope you are too. Feel free to leave us questions in the comments or just shout out your excitement. Follow us on twitter for more updates.

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