Introducing the 2016 Query Kombat Judges!

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 […]

Query Kombat 2016 Meet My Slush Reader and Enter to Win a Free Pass!

Query Kombat is back!  First things first: You are all so very talented, you make picking extremely difficult for me. And since there’s no cap on entries this year, I decided to enlist the help of a very talented writer (and excellent critique partner) to sift through everything for me. Meet Kara! Kara Reynolds is […]

Query Kombat 2016: Fight for Your Dreams

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 […]

Common R&R Mistakes

Today, I want to talk about the “revise and resubmit,” which for those who don’t know, is basically what it sounds like: When an agent declines to represent a manuscript, but gives some feedback and agrees to read if the author makes the changes and sends it back. This is NOT a guarantee of representation […]

What I Learned Reading for a Literary Agent

For several months in 2015-2016, I read for a literary agent. I loved getting to read a wide variety of manuscripts, but I also gained valuable insight not only into what agents do, but into my own writing. Interning teaches you a lot about your own tastes. For example, I learned that I’m really not a fan […]

Query Kombat 2016 is Coming!

IT’S COMING! FIGHT FOR YOUR DREAMS BATTLE TO THE DEATH BE THE SOLE SURVIVOR! ***UPDATED*** Submission: Monday, May 16 – Friday, May 20 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 […]

NoQS SUCCESS: Karen McManus: How I Got My Agent

As a long-time contest junkie, one of my favorite parts is hearing the success stories (after all, contests are fun, but at the end of the day, that’s why we do this). I’m thrilled to be able to share with you this success story from last year’s Nightmare on Query Street contest. Karen McManus: How […]

What Not to Say to a Writer on Sub

Submission is brutal. Having a support group is crucial, whether it’s just a couple of close friends or a group. The process differs for everyone, but it’s nearly always emotional. It can last a very long time. In a group of writers polled about submission, common themes for getting through it included “drink more” and […]

Query Kombat Critique Winners!

I am ecstatic to announce that I’ve been asked to join Michael Anthony and Michelle Hauck as the third host of Query Kombat this year! (They didn’t even make me change my name to Mlaura.)  Query Kombat holds a special place in my heart not only because it’s the first contest where I got agent […]


The peculiar tale of an enchanted baker who creates fairy tales’ darkest and most magical confections. Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of […]

Word Count Woes (Yes, I have them, too)

Oh, word count. I can’t even begin to guess how many times you’ve heard me say those words. When we’re overwhelmed with awesome contest entries, or when there are so many we’re overwhelmed before even seeing how awesome many of them are, one of the easiest ways for me to thin the herd is to […]

Behind the Veil: A Peek Into Submission, Part 2

Last week, I posted the results of a survey I did, asking agented and formerly agented writers to anonymously share their submission experiences.  This week, I’m going to share some of the advice respondents gave for people going on submission for the first time.  Overall, the advice tended to follow a few major themes: Write […]