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 […]

Behind the Veil: A Peek into Submission, Part 1

Submission is cloaked in secrecy. For those of you who don’t know, this is when agents send your book to editors to try to get a publication contract. It’s kind of like querying – but also very much not. Writers don’t talk about it much, because we’re not supposed to air every good and bad […]

Just Say No to Exclusives

Let’s talk about exclusives. For a person who wants to find an agent, sell a book, have a career, etc. exclusives are BAD. I’m not talking about when an agent says, “Is anyone else reading this?” That’s fairly common and usually fine. But when an agent says, “Send this to me and me alone,” ask […]

This Book’s My Pitch: SIDEKICK

As you may be aware, I help host the PitchSlam contest run twice per year. Writers submit a 35 word pitch for feedback, then their first page for feedback, then both together for consideration for the agent round. The hosts, with a slew of talented readers, work to pick the most polished entries for the […]

My Goals for 2016

I can’t quite believe another 365 days has slipped past me, but no matter how many times I double-check, my calendar still says it’s 2016. I can’t believe it. Shouldn’t I have a flying car by now? Well, flying cars and hover boards may still be a distant dream (those modified Segways don’t count), but […]

You Won’t Believe These Amazing Things I Did in 2015!!

Well, it’s that time again. Another year has flown by, and the end of 2015 is upon us. So, let’s take a look at all the fantastic things I accomplished over the past 365 years. Created my first (and last) clickbait headline (see above). Successfully consumed at least 550 liters of pure oxygen. Passed my […]