Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Monday, July 5, 2010

Next Up-- Query Competition!!

That's right, it's a competition for the best QUERY! To be judged by two editors at WiDo Publishing, one of whom is the SUBMISSIONS EDITOR.

But before I introduce her, let me congratulate the WINNER of last week's drawing for Like Bees to Honey by Caroline Smailes. It is JESSICA BELL of The Alliterative Allomorph, who won despite some serious odds, against contestants who had 7, even 10 points to her 2. Jessica, email me your address and I'll get it sent out to you.


 LETTUCE     READ    Congratulations to Jessica Bell for winning Like Bees to Honey.


 LETTUCE     QUERY    Because a good query is crucial to getting past the gatekeeper. (Hey, I didn't make the rules. Writing & submitting queries is part of the writer's job!)





 LETTUCE     HOLD & ENTER CONTESTS  Name the Contest Winner: A.L. Sonrichsen from The Green Bathtub

Now back to WiDo's submissions editor. Her name is Allie Maldonado, and she is a woman of few words. I should let you know what kind of a judge you'll be facing. Not to frighten anyone off, but these are the ways she often responds to queries:

No.    *refuses to read the sample chapters*   (Doesn't want to see anything more from this person about this story.)

Uh...   *changes subject to talk about her cat*   (Still a rejection. Still won't read submitted chapters.)

We'll see.   *doubtfully opens attachment to read the partial*   (May or may not finish. Pawns it off on other editors.)

It might work.   *opens partial*  (If it meets expectations, might ask for a full, after discussion with other editors.)

I WANT this!    *laughs with delight*   (Request for full quickly dispatched. Screw the other editors.)

I hope Scary Allie hasn't put any of you off from entering, because she won't be the only judge in this competition.

 Nice Karen will be the other one, for balance. Think Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. (I heart Paula.)


Are you ready to rumble?? Here's how it works. You polish your query and email it to Editors Scary Allie and Nice Karen will review each one and determine which entry is the absolute best. It'll be tough to choose the top one from all the awesome queries that I know will be pouring in, but somehow we'll figure it out and come up with a winner by NEXT WEEK.

A Few Simple Rules:

1. Only virgin queries please. None that have already won contests or won contracts or been previously critiqued by a professional.

2. Must be a follower to enter.

3. Must email entry to this address-- not to me personally.

4. Put in your subject line that it's for this contest. Otherwise you'll get a response in 4-6 weeks.

5. You have through Saturday to submit. Contest closes midnight, July 10. Winner will be announced the following week.

The prize will be a critique review of the first three chapters of your manuscript! (could be the ms you're querying but doesn't have to be)

I realize I may be pushing against the climate right now as so many bloggers are unplugging for summer. But there's got to be lots of hopeful query-writers out there still!! Help me spread the word!

Woo hoo, where are you? Come join the competition! I want to see LOTS of amazing queries!!


  1. Good Luck to all who enter! I'm not in the query stage yet so I'll pass on this one but I look forward to seeing what happens!!

    Congrats to Jess!!! She's one awesome chick!

  2. Ooh! Cool! Thanks, Karen! :o) Hey, I'd love to enter the query contest, but I really don't need a critique right now. Are Wido seeking new clients ;o)?

  3. ah, I'll submit anyway. You never know right?

  4. Jess, we are always seeking promising new writers with manuscripts to publish. Anyone who enters with an interesting query might get a request for a partial (since I'm involving the submissions editor). When she likes something, she really likes it. So there's always the chance that the query entries might lead to something more even if it's not the winner.

  5. What a fabulous competition!!! We like lovely KarenG!!! Good luck those entering. I'm very very very early in my WIP re-writes so am not ready to query as yet!

    But will be following to see the results!! Excitment all round.

    take care

  6. Great contest Karen - I RT'd it from my Marsha account on Twitter! Hope that helps spread the word.

    I'm not querying anything but wish those who are good luck!

  7. This comes at the perrrfect time. Thanks!!

  8. What a totally cool idea, karen. I'm nowhere near the querying stage yet, but it will be fun watching here to see what happens.

  9. Awesome contest! We'll link this in our blog's Friday round-up to spread the word if you don't mind!

    Good luck everyone!

  10. I'm not to that point yet with my current work, but I wish everyone else luck!

  11. Ah, you got me at a bad time, query-wise. But I'm going to put you on my sidebar for others!

  12. I just wanted to say I really, really like your blog. Keep up the excellent work!

    Common Cents

  13. I'll definitely side-bar it, too. Good luck to those who enter!

  14. I'm nearly wishing I had 3 chapters of a manuscript so I could knock together a fine query. The losers are the queasy queries, right? This sounds fun!

  15. Excellent! That looks like a fabulous contest and I've been polishing my query letter so I'm ready to rumble!

  16. Sounds like a great contest. Don't know that I have anything for it but I'll see.


  17. Good luck to everyone - you've put together a great contest! I'm going to have to see if I have time to polish up that query by Saturday...we'll see ....


  18. What a great contest Karen. I wish I was at this stage, but alas, I dither! Congrats to Jessica of AA for her win. Have a great week.

  19. Oh man, this scares me. I mean, of course I'm going to enter, but I know my query isn't very good. Still, I can't resist trying for that prize. I guess I'll go work on it!! Thanks for the motivation, Karen! :)


  20. But we're not actually querying WiDo, are we? It's just a contest?

  21. Myrna, I am laughing here. Does it make you scared to think you're querying a publisher? Yes, it's just a contest but yes, if you have something of interest it may lead to a request for a partial or a full.

  22. Melinda GardinerJuly 6, 2010 at 10:52 PM

    Good thing I got back from vacation when I did or I would have missed this! I have two questions for you. Can we submit more than one query? Second, what if you've already seen one of the queries? Could I enter it anyway? I SERIOUSLY want that chapter critique.

  23. I have two questions:

    1: could you specify what exact key words we need to include in the subject line? Should we say 'the lettuce contest' or 'the query contest on karen jones blog' or what?

    2: will the two editors be giving feedback on the queries submitted? Or will only the winner gain anything from submitting?

    No offense, but if it's only the winner, then it's the same thing as if we just submitted to them through the normal route. We don't get to learn anything if we're doing something wrong. Thanks.

  24. Fun contests! I have a surprise for you Under the Tiki Hut :)

  25. Hi Everyone and thanks for your interest and questions!

    Anon, you can include any of those words in the subject line. They would all set your query apart from someone submitting for straight publication. Simply writing "contest" would set it apart.

    To answer your 2nd question, this is a contest for the BEST query, not to give feedback on each query submitted. The best query, the winner, will be spotlighted & highlighted for review, so that everyone can learn what made it the winner.

    Malinda, Yes, more than one entry is fine. If it's a query you previously sent to WiDo, it's ok as long as you didn't get feedback or review on the query itself either from WiDo or another source.

    Myrna, to clarify further about the question--are you actually querying Wido? No you aren't, it's just a contest and the submissions editor won't be responding to the queries/entries as she would if they were submitted for publication purposes. However, she's only human (sort of), and if she sees something she wants in her rabid way, it's not likely I can hold her back.

  26. Following and entered! Thanks, KarenG!

  27. I heart Allie! She's awesome! Such a great person to work with!

    Karen, you won a book on my blog! Email me your address and I'll get it out to you!

  28. Wow, this is a great contest. And what wonderful ladies to do this during the hectic summer.

  29. What an awesome contest. If my query hadn't already won a few contests, I would definitely enter. I'd enter the query to my WIP, but that's probably against the rules, lol.

    Good luck to everyone who's participating! :)

  30. Great contest. Karen as you know I live on the other side of the pond so does that bar me from having a go?

  31. Writers from any country are welcome to enter!

  32. Okay, I'm entering two queries for my two polished, most recent manuscripts. This is a great contest!

  33. Karen, great contest. I'm too sleepy to enter right now, but I'll save this up for tomorrow. Thanks!

  34. Great contest, Karen! Can picture books queries be entered?

  35. Well, I've been a long time Lurker though not recently, I'm sorry to say. Guess this is as good a reason as any to follow. Truthfully, Ihave to remember to click that button on any blog I consistently view.

    Oh dear, I'm so sorry to see you're retiring Xena. I thought that was an excellent moniker.



  36. What a fab contest. Too bad I'm stuck away from home for another 6 weeks, and I forgot to forward my query to this ancient laptop :(

  37. Maybe next time Tara!

    Donna, Welcome! Yes, I miss Zena too. You'll note she's on the sidebar, not to far away.

    Sharon, I checked with Allie who said picture books would be ok as a query entry, but the prize would be difficult if you won, unless you had a fiction ms/novel you wanted reviewed.

  38. Thanks, Karen! I entered the query for my hf pb, but explained in the opening paragraph that should my query be selected I would submit the first three chapters of the mg hf I am working on. It is based on the same characters in the pb. Thanks for asking for me. :)

  39. Karen, thanks for answering my question! I'm still revising, and I don't want to query until I get it right. This is a great contest though. Thanks for offering it.