Friday, July 22, 2011

"An Agent's Inbox" Contest Alert


For those of you who missed last month’s contest, here’s a brief introduction: "An Agent's Inbox" is exactly what it sounds like--next week, I'm turning the blog into an agent's inbox, a public one. We'll get to see 20 queries along with their first pages, and we'll get to hear what a bona fide agent thinks of each one.

The queries and first pages will be yours, of course. I'll accept your entries this Monday, July 25, and then I'll post them next Wednesday, July 27. The entrants and anyone else who wishes to review them may comment on them until the following Tuesday, August 2, when I'll announce the winners. Those winners will be chosen by The Agent, who will remain nameless for now, and he or she will offer whatever prizes he or she wishes.

The Rules

1. To enter, your manuscript must meet two conditions: First, it must be COMPLETE, POLISHED, AND READY TO QUERY, and second, it must be in one of the genres The Agent represents (which are listed at the bottom of this post).

2. IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN LAST MONTH’S “AN AGENT’S INBOX” CONTEST, please DO NOT participate in this one. I have a pretty good memory, and I will disqualify previous entries. If the entry slots don’t fill up by Tuesday, July 26, I may allow last month’s participants to enter, but I’m not going to make that decision right now.

3. All entries must include A QUERY and THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript. You must paste these items IN THE BODY OF YOUR E-MAIL; otherwise, I'll disqualify it.

4. THE ENTRY WINDOW OPENS AT 10:00 A.M. EDT (OR 7:00 A.M. PDT). (Note that this is significantly earlier than last month.) Once the entry window opens, I'll accept the first 20 entries. I won't accept any entries sent before the entry window opens or after the first 20 slots fill up.

5. If your entry makes it in, I'll send you a confirmation e-mail with a post number. If your entry doesn't make it in, I'll still send you an e-mail, but it won't have a post number.

6. If your entry makes it in, YOU MUST COMMENT ON AT LEAST 3 OTHER ENTRIES.

The Prizes The Agent will select both the winners and the prizes. The Agent might pick 20 winners, or he or she might only pick one. The Agent might offer full requests, or he or she might only ask to see another page. It all depends on how good the entries are.

Please keep in mind that THIS CONTEST ISN'T FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. I've encouraged The Agent to treat the entries exactly as he or she would a normal batch of queries. Essentially, The Agent will be answering the question, "How much of the entry did you read, and if you didn't read it all, why did you stop?" I think this process will be instructive for all of us, but if you enter, you need to be prepared to hear exactly what The Agent thinks of your query and first page.

So get those queries and first pages polished up, then meet us back here on Monday, July 25, at 10:00 a.m. EDT! At that time, you may send your entries to kvandolzer(at)gmail(dot)com. Looking forward to it!

The Genres

YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction
YA Science Fiction
YA Light Fantasy
YA Mystery
YA Horror
Adult Literary Fiction
Adult Magical Realism
Adult Horror
Adult Dark Mystery

(If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below...)


Ben Spendlove said...

So close to some of those genres, solidly in none. Hmm.

Kelley said...

Hi there!

Just found your blog thanks to Jess at Falling Leaflets.

So excited for this. Thanks for doing it!

Krista V. said...

Ben, I, of course, know who the agent is, and if you're thinking of entering IN MEMORY (DRIVERS isn't ready yet, right?), I say go for it! IN MEMORY definitely qualifies as YA light fantasy, in my opinion.

Kelley, welcome! You picked a good time to drop in:)

Janet Johnson said...

Wow, what a great idea! I'm the wrong genre, but I look forward to hearing the agents thoughts.

Thanks for doing this!

erica and christy said...

That's a nice mix of genres - good luck everyone. A friend of mine struggles with labelling the genre of her first ms and I really like the label of "light fantasy".

Amy said...

YA Science Fiction and YA Light Fantasy.. do those cover most YA paranormals or are they more specific? Curious.

Krista V. said...

Amy, since I'm pretty familiar with this month's agent's tastes, I'm going to say that YA science fiction and YA light fantasy DO NOT include YA paranormal, or at least not Stephenie-Meyer-esque paranormal. If you've got a manuscript with vampires or werewolves - or angels - it'd better be pretty original. (Other paranormal creatures might still work, though, if you think the manuscript as a whole would fit under the YA light fantasy umbrella.)

Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

What say you to "foul" language in the query or first 250. Is it frowned upon???

Melanie Stanford said...

What exactly is light fantasy? Would time-travel be considered that or is that completely out?

Melanie Stanford said...

And, if I can submit YA time-travel, you never posted the email address. Or did I miss it somewhere?

Laura C. said...

Hi Krista! have a Dark Fantasy/Mystery YA. Should I give it a shot or does the 'dark' rule me out?

Krista V. said...

Anon, ultimately, you're the only person who can decide what type of language to use in your query and first page. I won't disqualify entries with profanity, but I will censor the language in the post itself with asterisks. (In fact, I'm planning to ask everyone to do that themselves before they submit their entries, just for your information.)

Melanie, thank you for reminding me to post the e-mail address. I always forget to include that in these announcement posts.

As for your question, I think light fantasy is the opposite of epic fantasy, at least for this particular agent. So if your YA fantasy takes place on some unpronounceable continent that doesn't exist on Earth, this agent probably isn't for you. (I, for one, wouldn't necessarily put time travel in that category, though.)

Laura, I don't think the dark in your dark fantasy rules you out at all. As I mentioned above, I believe the agent is looking for light as opposed to epic fantasy (kind of like light versus hard sci-fi). Notice that the agent's looking for dark mysteries on the adult side.

These are all good questions, though, and just to be sure, I'll check with the agent.

Alex said...

This contest is so helpful whether you're in it or not, thanks for thinking of it!

Question how strict is the first 250 word count rule? Can it bend a little?

Amy said...

Thanks for the feedback. I actually don't have any paranormal creatures. My MS is about reincarnation, and I'd definitely all it "light". Any idea if that might fall under "light YA fantasy"?


Krista V. said...

Alex, I'm not going to count the words in the excerpt - unless it looks so long I know it can't be 250. As long as people don't abuse that, I'll stick with that policy.

Amy, I think reincarnation could fall under the YA light fantasy category, but only you can make that call for sure.

MarcyKate said...

This is kind of an odd question, but if we have a few manuscripts out with agents, should we include a note to you in our submission so you know who they are? I'd hate to get a spot and find out it's someone who's already considering it, thereby taking the chance away from someone else!

Leslie Rose said...

Popped over from Jess' blog. Terrific contest!

Leigh Ann said...

Thanks so much for the opportunity! Just clicked "send" at 10:00 AM sharp. :) Can't wait to see the lineup.

Laura said...

I would have clicked send if I could have found the email. Better luck next time. :)

Krista V. said...

Laura, the e-mail address is kvandolzer(at)gmail(dot)com, and there are still slots open! Hopefully, you see this note!