Apr 29, 2016

Judges of Query Kombat

Time for our AMAZING lineup of judges for this year's Query Kombat tournament. Many of them were contestants in prior contests. We've worked hard to find authors that form a diverse group of opinions, talents, and specialties from all categories and genres.

Query Kombat would not be possible without the wonderful people who donate their time to help. For this month-long contest, we've recruited thirty-six industry professionals to critique entries and vote for a winner of each matchup. Each and every one of these judges is participating out of the kindness of their heart, so please join the QK Crew in thanking them for volunteering.


Remember that the best way to thank judges for their time is to buy their books. Michelle has compiled a Goodreads list to make finding the judges' books easier, and they’ve written some great stuff. Also be sure to follow the judges on Twitter. On May 11, we'll be hosting a Twitter party where writers can reach out to the judges and ask questions about their entries, writing, querying, etc. Join us at 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST

There are so many judges this year, we're breaking the bios down across all three host blogs. Go here to see them all: Mike, Laura, and Michelle. For a rule refresher, click here. To donate, click here.

Now, without further ado, I'd like to introduce one set of judges for Query Kombat 2016.

Cale Dietrich is a YA devotee, lifelong gamer and tragic pop punk enthusiast. Love Interest, which releases in Spring 2017 from Feiwel & Friends, is his first novel. He was born in Perth, grew up on the Gold Coast, and now lives in Brisbane, Australia.


Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter. Her debut novel, IT STARTED WITH GOOD-BYE, will be published by Blink/HarperCollins in 2017.


C.M. McCoy (Colleen) is an Irish dancer and former Air Force officer living in the Great White North. Though B.S.'d in Chemical Engineering and German, she’s far happier writing stories involving Alaska and a body bag (with an awkward kiss in the mix.) While working emergency dispatch for Alaska State Troopers, she learned to speak in 10-codes, which she still does...but only to annoy her family. Colleen is the PR Manager at Inklings Literary agency. Her fiction is represented by Michelle Johnson and her nonfiction by Sharlene Martin. Her debut novel, EERIE, a YA Paranormal was featured in the 4 April 2016 issue of PEOPLE magazine.


J.C. Lane is the author of TAG, YOU'RE DEAD, a thriller coming out in July, which was the All-around runner-up and YA Champion of the 2014 Query Kombat. She is represented by Uwe Stender of TriadaUS Literary Agency. J.C. also writes mysteries as Judy Clemens, including the Anthony and Agatha-nominated Stella Crown mysteries, the Grim Reaper series, and the stand-alone LOST SONS. She is a past-president of Sisters in Crime, and lives in Ohio, where she shuttles her kids to events, bakes as much as she can, and is training for a half-marathon.


Kellye Garrett spent 8 years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the CBS drama "Cold Case." People were always surprised to learn what she did for a living—probably because she seemed way too happy to be brainstorming ways to murder people. A former magazine editor, Kellye holds a B.S. in magazine writing from Florida A&M University and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. Having moved back to her native New Jersey, she spends her mornings commuting to Manhattan for her job at a leading media company—while still happily brainstorming ways to commit murder. 


Kendra Young lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her family and is lovingly owned by a bossy Australian Shepherd and a five pound calico cat. When she’s not writing quirky middle grade and young adult fiction, Kendra teaches 8th grade in an urban middle school where she shares her love of writing and “dreaming big dreams” with her students, who are almost all at least a foot taller than she is. She’s currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing from Lindenwood University and is a member of SCBWI. Kendra’s writing is represented by Taylor Haggerty of the Waxman Leavell Literary Agency.


Kim Long is an attorney in the Chicagoland area, where she spends her days expressing her clients’ (always true) stories to judges and juries. She writes MG and YA contemporary fantasy that contain a sprinkle of science. When not managing her fantasy baseball and football teams, she can be found biking along the numerous trails in Illinois, watching Star Wars for the zillionth time, or teaching her nieces about the importance of choosing the correct racer (Toad) and vehicle (magicruiser) in Mario Kart. She is represented by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger.


Laura Brown lives in Massachusetts with her quirky abnormal family. Her husband’s put up with her since high school, her young son keeps her on her toes, and her three cats think they deserve more scratches. Hearing loss is a big part of who she is, from her own Hard of Hearing ears, to the characters she creates. She’s represented by Rachel Brooks of L. Perkins Agency. Her upcoming NA, SIGNS OF ATTRACTION, will be released by Avon Impulse on June 14, 2016.


Leslie Miller is a professional ghost, editor, and YA author living in Charlotte, NC. Her first novel, The Girl With the Half and Half Face is available on Amazon. Leslie is the 2015 Query Kombat YA winner and is now represented by Whitley Abell of Inklings Literary.


Richard Taylor Pearson is a triple threat: author, actor, and attorney. His debut novel "The Role" is being published by Lethe Press on May 4th, 2016. Richard grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he appeared in many plays and musicals. After graduating from Rhodes College, Richard went on to obtain a law degree from Rutgers School of Law. While he works as an attorney by day, his nights and weekends are spent writing novels and performing in theatrical events all over New York City.


T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. She lives in North Carolina, where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.


Peggy Rothschild grew up in Los Angeles. Always a mystery-lover, she embraced the tales of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys before graduating to the adult section of the library. An English major in high school, she switched to art – her other passion – in college. At present, Peggy lives in the beach community of Ventura with her husband and their cats. In her spare time she focuses on transforming their yard into a drought-tolerant paradise. Peggy has authored two adult mysteries, CLEMENTINE’S SHADOW and ERASING RAMONA. PUNISHMENT SUMMER is her first young adult novel.

Apr 15, 2016

Query Kombat 2016: What You Need to Know

Bloggers Laura, Michael, and Michelle are back again to bring you the fourth annual Query Kombat tournament.

The Basics

Query Kombat will host 64 kombatants in a single-elimination, tournament style query-off. Entries will go head to head (one on one) with one another until only ONE entry remains. There will be a total of six rounds in Query Kombat. 64 entries in round one, 32 in round two, 16 in round three, 8 in round four, 4 in round five, and 2 in round six.

Unlike traditional tournaments, we won't be using tournament brackets. Entries will be matched up based on target audience and genre. We'll continue grouping that way until it's no longer possible.

If you secure a spot in the tournament, your query and the first 250 words of your manuscript (to the end of a complete sentence) will be pitted against another query and first 250 words. Judges will read each match-up and vote 'Victory' on the best entry. Remember, this is subjective. Considering last year, votes may come down to personal tastes.

The entry with the most ‘victories’ at the end of the round will advance to the next round until only one champion remains. 

The agent round will be held after the first round. That mean the top 32 entries will make it to the agent round.

Of course, there's a twist!

The agent round will be conducted in secret. And by secret, we mean TOP SECRET. Entrants won't know who requested what—or how much—until that entrant has been eliminated from the contest.
On the plus side, winners of the first round will be able to submit and updated entry prior to the agent round. So, any feedback the judges give can be implemented before the agents see your work.

Who’s Invited to Submit:

The Query Kombat tournament is open only to unagented writers seeking representation. Your manuscript must be complete, polished, and ready to submit. If your manuscript has been in the agent round of another contest within the last six months, you are not eligible to participate in Query Kombat. Please don’t try to sneak in. The QK team includes about fifty people and a few hundreds of spectators. Someone will notice and inform us. Submissions for MG, YA, NA, and Adult works will be accepted (Sorry we aren't accepting Picture books or Chapter Books this year.). Only one entry per person. Do not attempt to submit more than one entry by using different email accounts. Again, the QK family is huge. Someone will notice.


The submission window will open on May 16th at 9:00 AM Eastern time and close on May 20nd at Noon.

We will have email confirmation. If you don't receive it within an hour of submitting your entry, contact us via twitter and let us know. Kontestants will be revealed on May 27th, and the tournament will kick off on June 1st.

IMPORTANT: The Query Kombat team reserves the right to disqualify any entrant at any time for any reason. If an entrant is disqualified before the agent round, an alternate will take its place. If an entrant is disqualified after the agent round, the opposing entry will automatically advance to the next round. The only time we will ever disqualify an applicant is if you say or do something to blemish the spirit of query contests. Query Kombat is supposed to be fun… 

So none of this!

In order to enter the contest you MUST follow formatting guidelines, and submit during the contest window. All entries that follow said guidelines will be considered. 

In the event that we receive more than the available 64 spots (this is highly expected), Michelle, Laura, and I will savagely attack the slush pile in attempts to build the best team. We will pick (and announce) three alternates in case a submission is disqualified.

Entries should be sent to:  QueryKombat (at) gmail (dot) com.

Formatting Guidelines:

Font: Times New Roman (or an equivalent), 12pt font, single-spaced with spaces between each paragraph. No (I repeat: NO!) indentations.
Subject line of the Email: A short, unique nickname for your entry [colon] your genre (audience included). Do not skip this step or your entry will be deleted. (ex. I Fell in Love with a Ken Doll: Adult Erotica)

For the nickname, make it as unique as possible so that there are no duplicates. These will be the names used in the tournament (or an abbreviated version if it's too long) so keep it PG-13 and try to have it relate to your story in some way.

In the body of the email (with examples):

Name: Michael Anthony
Email address: myboyfriendwasbittenbyashark (at) gmail (dot) com.
Twitter Handle: @BarbforSenate36

Title: Eunuchs and Politics
Entry Nickname: I Fell in Love with a Ken Doll
Word count: 72K
Genre: Adult Erotica


I FELL IN LOVE WITH A KEN DOLL tells the harrowing story of Barbra B. Doll, a US senator who goes against country, family, and the Illumaniti to be with an amateur surfer with no genitalia. 

First 250:

Words, words, and more words.

Don't include the chapter title and please, don't stop in the middle of a. Do not include a bio or comp title.

All queries submitted are FINAL. We will not edit them in any way, shape, or form. Please read, reread, and rereread your submission before you hit send. You have several weeks to polish your work. Take advantage of it. Competition will be fierce.

Host Blogs

Because the immense amount of work ahead of us, the tournament will be hosted on three separate blogs. In order to enter the contest, you MUST follow Michael, Michelle, and Laura's blogs (Twitter is cool too). All three blogs will host the first round and agent round. The second round will be hosted by Michelle and Laura. The third round will be hosted by Michael. The fourth round will be hosted by Laura. The fifth round will be hosted by Michelle. The final round will be hosted by Michael. Have no fear, each blog will have links to all rounds so you will not get lost.

Agents and judges will be revealed soon. (As of now we have 22 agents and 34 judges!)
Questions can be left in the comments and I'll answer them as quickly as possible.

One last thing: 

Contests are very time-consuming, and in order to continue hosting each year, we’re asking contestants to give a $5-$10 donation when making their entries. Asking for donations is one way to ensure we’re able to give you the time needed to carefully consider every entry. Chosen Kontestants receive feedback from up to 30 agented/published writers on their query and first page, plus the ability to query agents they otherwise may not have connected with. Some agents even read requested contest entries before the rest of the slush pile! All Kontestants, chosen are not, receive free slush tips from the hosts and the camaraderie that develops from entering contests together. Many writers find lifelong critique partners and good friends from these contests (I did).

Donating this year is strictly voluntary. Giving a donation
does not increase your chances of being picked. Giving less than $5 or more than $10 will also have no impact on your chances. Donating will not affect how many rounds a person makes it through if chosen. People who are not able to donate will not be disqualified. 

10% of all funds raised will go to FlintKids.org. Our friends in Flint still need our help. It's an uphill battle that the QK Crew is committed to help fight, and we hope you'll stand behind us.

Thanks for your understanding and your donations!

Best of luck in the tournament!

Apr 1, 2016

Query Wombat 2016!!!

Submission: Saturday, May 21 - Sunday, May 22
Round 1: 64 entries/32 matchups split over 3 blogs, June 1st- 4th
Agent round: June 8-11(Wednesday-Saturday). 32 entries. All three blogs.
Round 2: 32 entries/16 matchups over 2 blogs, June 15-17
Round 3: 16 entries/8 matchups over 1 blog, June 21-23
Round 4:8 entries/4 matchups over 1 blog, June 25-26
Round 5: 4 entries/2 matchups over 1 blog, June 28-29
Round 6: 2 entries/1 matchup over 1 blog, July 1-2