May 19, 2013



We’re taking a break from our behind the scenes madness to bring you a few rules about how the actual Query Kombat tournament will work. 

But first, some dates: The post to announce the Kombatants will go live on Friday, May 24 unless we have it ready sooner. (It’s looking likely so I won’t bother mentioning a time. We are narrowing down the spots quickly so watch twitter for updates.) Nicknames will be used instead of names or book titles so I hope everyone remembers theirs. If you don’t, we’ll laugh at you. 

No names will be used in the matchup rounds either, only nicknames.

Regardless of how soon we announce the Kombatants, the first round will start on Tuesday, May 28, right after Memorial Day. Michelle4Laughs will try to post all the match ups by 8:00 am EDT, but please don’t rush to comment for reasons spelled out in the judging section of this post.

64 Kombatants (this includes the Free Pass winners) will be paired into 32 posts for the first round. Yes, we will try to match age categories together, though not genres. (A YA Contemporary may be pitted against a YA Fantasy.) This will totally depend on numbers. As you can imagine, we received fewer NA entries and more YA entries. We’ll do the best we can to make the matchups as fair as possible, but we are not limiting our picks by requiring a certain amount for each age group. 

We are picking what we think are the best entries. Remember we are victims of subjective tastes as much as the next person. Great entries will be left out. Unfortunately, it’s the nature of the game. 

The matchups (except for age category) will be chosen randomly. We will set the matchups entirely by who the Kombatants are next to in the winning picks file. This means it will probably sort out by the date and time you entered. 

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 QK contestant chosen by Mike. (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.

After the first round, entry matchups will be determined by the brackets. Kombatants will be randomly assigned to a bracket based on their age category. Again it will come down to your order in our winning picks file.


Our fantastic judges will cast their votes under aliases in order to vote honestly and freely. (Go here to see the nicknames they have chosen.) Voting for the first round will take place from 8am Tuesday, May 28th to 8pm Monday, June 3rd  EDT.  (For more information on the dates of other rounds, go here.) The winners of the first round will be announced on June 4th.

Judges will vote as follows: VICTORY: Kombatant’s nickname. They may or may not leave a detail reason regarding their choice. However 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 matchups containing a friend, CP, or Beta. Due to the length of this contest, certain judges may sit out a round as needed due to Kombat fatigue.

In the event of a matchup vote tie, the round host will cast the tie-breaker vote. In the first round that will be Michelle4Laughs and so on.

Now here comes the unique and important part!  We would like the judges’ votes to be easily located. Therefore, we are asking them to place their votes as a reply to the first comment in each matchup post. As soon as all the matchup posts are live, one of the hosts will go through and make 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.

In order for this to work, people cannot rush to comment. The round host has to have time to get the first comment up on all 32 posts of the first 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 comments posted before the judges’ section will be deleted. 

We understand 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 head-to-head competitions, commenting is a delicate subject. We don’t want feelings hurt and we don’t want people leaving 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. Since we want every entry to get as much feedback as possible, we will allow open commenting.

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, tell them 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 pages felt flat because…, the concept is unique because…

Please, no ‘cheerleading’ comments in the first or second round. (Friendly cheerleading will be allowed in the final rounds.) In the early rounds, if you want to cheer on your friends or CPs, do it on twitter. Try and give equal time to both Kombatants in a matchup. Don’t let someone remain left out. If you see a matchup 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 having fun or winning. We want all the entries to receive helpful advice to make their query and page stronger. Please remember this and be kind and thoughtful. Writers are amazing people; they go out of their way to help. We’re 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 matchups. 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 matchup, 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’re sure there will be ‘no hard feelings’ comments. If there are, they will be deleted. We warned you you’d need thick skin for the tournament. We don’t want a trend of people apologizing before they give feedback. That just takes up more time and space. Give constructive (not destructive) feedback and apologies are unnecessary.

Getting knocked out of the tournament or not getting picked to be in the tournament is no indication of a story’s quality. We received roughly 215 entries to fill 61 spots. ONE missing comma could have taken you out of the running. To those in the tournament, the decisions we have to make are going to be unimaginably difficult. But remember, of 215 entries, YOU were chosen to be in the tournament. Whether you’re out in the first round or the fifth, that means something.

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. 

Now back to making picks.   


  1. Thanks for all the hard work you guys have put into this tournament. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all pans out! :o)

  2. First off thanks for all the hard work you three have put into this contest. I'm excited to see who makes it's through and ready to cheer on the Kontestants.

    I have a couple of questions. It sounds like the number of judges could change per round, but at the start of each round with the number of judges per bracket be announced or will that be kept a surprise until the final reveal of who won the round?

    I know agents wont enter until later into the competition but will they be invited to look at all 62 entries that made it in or just the ones that make it to that qualifying round?

    Thanks again for all that you are doing. Sounds like there will be some rough battles out there!

    1. You're welcome. We're excited to see how the tournament unfolds as well. It going to be exciting.

      The number of judges can change per round. We will try to let you know if any judges won't be participating in a particular round.

      Agents have been invited to follow the tournament. If they see an entry that gets knocked out, they can request it immediately. Otherwise, they must wait until the end of the tournament. We will only direct them to the top 16 entries once the tournament is over. If agents want to look at more, they'd have to visit previous rounds on their own.

  3. Replies
    1. Lol. Imagine how I felt. I had to read it 100 times to make sure I got everything. I have a rule not to make post this long, but this one was kind of necessary.

      I'll grab you some coffee to wake you up.