A Special NoQS Shout-out!

The NoQS entries went up early! Go take a sneak peek! Before the agent round starts, take a minute to check out my amazing mentees’ awesome entries: http://michelle4laughs.blogspot.com/2014/10/noqs-minion-4-wired-for-wall-street.html http://writersoutworld.blogspot.com/2014/10/noqs-agent-round-grandma-has-murder-on.html  And then stop and check out Team #SCSpooks, which I helped create. (It’s OK to check out the other entries on the first two blogs. They’re […]

From the Contest Slush – Query Dos and Don’ts

I spent most of last week reading through slush for Nightmare on Query Street, and I’m also acting as a mentor. While reading about 200 queries, I noticed a few common issues. So, I’ve compiled some query DOs and DON’Ts. DO write your query in the third person, present tense. It doesn’t matter if the […]


 We are excited that today we get to share with you the beautiful cover from Colette Ballard’s upcoming release, “Temporary High”.     TEMPORARY HIGH by Colette Ballard Release Date: May 2015 Publisher: Tulip Romance Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Suspense Temporary High on GOODREADS   The side of his mouth quirked up as he studied me. “I think […]

PitchSlam Wrap-Up

Now that PitchSlam is over, I have some overall observations on contests. If an agent doesn’t request to see more, that is not a rejection. Many agents will say that it’s OK to query them after a contest. For one thing, the submission guidelines may be different. If the agent read a pitch, and you have […]

Conflicting Feedback

Last week, I talked about responding to negative feedback, but now I want to talk about when you get conflicting feedback. My first 250 words and query were posted on a few different websites for critique and feedback. Let me stress: I appreciate every comment, and all of it helped me. I am very grateful for the […]

Responding to Feedback

Every writer is going to get negative feedback. It’s inevitable. Not everyone can love your work. I didn’t finish The Fault in Our Stars (please don’t stop reading). I have a friend who won’t even read The Hunger Games because she finds the subject matter so appalling. The Ender’s Game series has gotten criticism for […]

First 250 Insights

Now that the feedback for the second round of PitchSlam entries has gone out, I thought I’d share some feedback about things that worked and didn’t work for me.* Common Issues I Spotted: Starting in the Wrong Place: There are many ways that this pops up. I truly think that finding the right place to start […]

Pitch Insights

With the first round of PitchSlam behind us, I thought I’d share some things I noticed going through the pitches. Hopefully, some of the contestants can use this information when revising their pitches before the next round. A Round of Applause for the Entrants. You should be proud of yourselves. Some amazing pitches were submitted. A […]

Creating an Elevator Pitch

Every writer has probably heard of the elevator pitch, but basically: if you find yourself in an elevator with your dream agent or editor, how would you explain your story in a couple of sentences? As I mentioned earlier, PitchSlam starts soon (tomorrow, actually!) PitchSlam is a query contest that lets writers receive feedback along […]

Staying Positive

Writers are no strangers to rejection. It’s part of the game. Every contest, only a small percentage of the entries can be chosen. Agents reject something like 99% of queries they receive. Then they reject something like 99% of partial and full manuscripts they receive.* Even after finding an agent, it has to find the […]

The day I understood subjectivity

With a few awesome contests coming up soon,* I want to take a minute to talk about subjectivity. It took me a while to really get it. Everyone says that querying is subjective. That publishing itself is subjective, and that a rejection of the work is not a comment on the writer’s ability, the plot, […]

Killing Time in the Trenches

I’ve got many friends still in the query trenches, experiencing the roller coaster. There are a lot of ups and downs. There’s also a TON of waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. When he started querying, he still had hair. So now, I offer a list of ways to keep from going crazy while waiting for news. […]