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Friday, August 24, 2012

Get Those Queries Ready

It's almost here...

Finals Week!

I hope you've had enough help this week that you feel good about your query. We've had a lot of fun playing the part of teacher's assistants. Before I go into the submission guidelines, I wanted to say one more thing about dealing with critique.

You guys were amazing! No dirty emails berating us for being unkind. We really tried to be kind and helpful. If you cried any tears, you did it at home and then got to work. Good for you!

But here's the thing.

You have to remember that although we've had some experience, our comments are still just our opinions. We haven't read your novel. We don't know what THE most important thing is about it. YOU do.

I spent a year trying to make my query and my book fit into what everyone else said it should be. After about 20 crit partners--yes, I am a glutton for punishment--there was nothing left of ME in my story. Why? Because I tried to change everything that someone said I should change.

Guess what? That doesn't work. You will never be able to make everyone "get" your novel or your query. When it comes down to it, follow your heart. Polish and perfect, but do it in your style. Your voice. It is after all your story.

To tweak Peeta's words: If you're gonna get published, you wanna still be you.

Wow, that didn't sound as cool as I thought it would. See, it doesn't pay to try to be someone else.

Now, on to how and when to submit your queries for Final's Week (of what we are thinking of dubbing QueryCon), and grading by our fabulous judges.

Rules and Submission Guidelines :

1. Must be a follower of UB
2. Manuscript  must be complete and polished
3. Manuscript must fall into the genres our judges are looking for (see below)
4. Please do not comment on the posted queries--this week is for the judges only
5. Put Finals Week--(Name of Novel) in the subject line of the email.
6. Start with:
Name: (name will be posted unless you tell me not to)
Then paste the query in the body of the email--no attachments.
7. We will accept the first 20 queries sent to unicornbellsubmissions@gmail.com after 1:30 PM US Central time On SUNDAY, Aug 26th. Each person is responsible for figuring out their time difference as I will go by the time stamp in my email.
8. I will send an email confirming receipt of the query and your number for "Finals Week"
9. Queries will go up by 6am Monday morning and stay up all week.

Reminder of what our judges are looking for: 

Krystal Wade from Curiosity Quills
Andrew Buckley from Curiosity Quills
Nancy Bell from MuseItUp Publishing
Amy Lichtenhan from SapphireStar Publishing
Donna O'Brien from Crescent Moon Press

Krystal--I love older mc's (18+)! I'd like to see some good dystopian, more male mc's too, and then of course anything scifi/fantasy/paranormal with something new and unusual.

Andrew--I’m looking for adult fiction be it paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy and/or anything quirky or humorous. No YA or NA please. I like strong protagonists with a unique voice and wonderfully evil antagonists. Please, please, please, no in-your-face sword and sorcery type pieces. They’ve been known to cause sharp pains in my posterior. I’m also looking for cookies. Oatmeal raisin are my favorite.

Nancy--MuseItUp is looking for more dark fiction, horror, as we are light in that department. However, romance, historical romance, YA/MG from a male POV that will entice that sector. Of course, we are open to anything that is well written and crafted. We don't publish literary fiction or poetry.

Amy--We're especially interested in contemporary romance and paranormal romance at this time, although we are accepting submissions in all fiction categories.

Donna--Currently, we are looking for voice rather than specific genre requirements, though we are primarily a boutique publisher of high quality fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal fiction. We are interested in urban fantasy, dystopian, futuristic science fiction, steampunk, mind-bending time travel, space operas, mythological as well as historical retellings with a twist, epic high fantasy, and the paranormal. We are also interested in paranormal categories of suspense, thrillers, gothica, and mystery. CMP also accepting submissions in the YA and New Adult categories of the above mentioned genres.


mshatch said...

so glad you reminded everyone we're not the query godesses, just old hands :)

Ink in the Book said...

I APPRECIATE every comment and suggestion made about my query. and I mean it:)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Good luck to all those writers doing their queries. I'm happily signed on already with Crescent Moon or I'd be up all night polishing.

Morgan said...

What a fun thing you're doing here! Such a great thing for this fabulous community! ;)

Carrie-Anne said...

Is it 1:30 or 2:00 Central Time? The time in the sidebar is different from the time given in the rules above. And going by the sidebar, we submit on Sunday, not Saturday, correct?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Thank you so much to all of you that helped me with my query! I would have been totally lost without this workshop. :) And I am eagerly awaiting a reply to Carrie-Anne's question. I don't want to think we're still submitting Sunday when really it's Saturday now!

Francene Stanley said...

You're doing writers a great service with this enterprise. Kudos to you.

Charity Bradford said...

ACK! Sorry for the typos! I knew I'd mess something up. It is Sunday, not today, and it's 1:30PM EST like the sidebar says.

Thank you for your comments and catching my inconsistencies. I actually tried to go to a Sat. meeting last night, but remembered at the last minute is was only Friday.

sorry for the confusion!

Aldrea Alien said...

Who do we need to address it to? My query looks a little odd without the "Dear".

Charity Bradford said...

How about, Dear Guest Judges?

Aldrea Alien said...

That's what I thought. Just wanted to check. ^_^ Thank you.

Jambo said...

Thank you for you advice about being true to your book . I have had some wonderful feedback over the past few months but I had to realize it is my book, my query and my decision as to what I want to put across. Thank you for this opportunity. Best of luck.

abuckley23 said...

This is a wonderful process to go through and I apologize for not getting to critiquing as many queries as I would have liked.

Charity gives good advice here. Truly, be yourself. Compromise only as far as you want to. Critiques should always be taken with a grain of salt (preferably on potato chips). Take what you believe is useful, leave the rest. A literary agent gave me some wonderful advice in a rejection (of which I've had many) while I was shopping around my first novel which is entirely satirical: "The literary world is unforgivingly subjective. (in reference to humor) One man's giggle is another man's groan. Don't get discouraged."

I look forward to reading the polished queries soon :)