Friday, July 19, 2013

"An Agent's Inbox" Contest Alert


It’s been a while since we did one of these, so here’s a quick refresher. “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 30 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 22, and then I'll post them next Wednesday, July 24. The entrants and anyone else who wishes to review them may comment until the following Monday or Tuesday, July 29 or 30, when I'll announce the winners.

Those winners will be chosen by The Agent, and this month, The Agent is Bridget Smithof Dunham Literary, Inc!

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 APRIL'S ROUND OF “AN AGENT’S INBOX,” please DO NOT participate in this one UNLESS YOUR HAVE A NEW MANUSCRIPT that meets the criteria listed above. I have a pretty good memory, and I will disqualify previous entries. If the entry slots don’t fill up by Tuesday, July 23, I may allow previous participants to enter, but honestly, I don’t expect them to last that long.

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 1:00 P.M. EDT (OR 10:00 A.M. PDT). Once the entry window opens, I'll accept the first 20 30 entries. I won't accept any entries sent before the entry window opens or after the first 20 30 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 30 winners, or she might only pick one. The Agent might offer full requests, 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 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 22, at 1:00 p.m. EDT! At that time, you may send your entries to kvandolzer(at)gmail(dot)com. Looking forward to it!

The Genres

MG Fantasy
MG Science Fiction
MG Historical
MG Romance
MG Contemporary
YA Fantasy
YA Science Fiction
YA Historical
YA Romance
YA Contemporary
Adult Fantasy
Adult Science Fiction
Adult Historical
Literary Women's Fiction

For more information on the sorts of projects Ms. Smith is looking for, check out her agent bio on Dunham Literary's website.

And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

*I know this probably goes without saying, but if you’re thinking about entering, you should probably treat this round a little differently than you would if you didn’t already know The Agent’s identity. Feel free to do a little research and include personalization in your queries. Also, if Ms. Smith has already rejected your query, YOU PROBABLY DON’T WANT TO ENTER UNLESS YOU’VE MADE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO YOUR QUERY AND/OR MANUSCRIPT. I’m not going to say you can’t enter (mostly because I have no way to police it), but you--and she--are going to get a lot more out of this contest if you enter something The Agent hasn’t seen before.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds awesome. I'm not entering but I'll spread the word. And I'll keep Bridget in mind when I do get ready to query.

Theresa Milstein said...

Sounds like a great opportunity for 20 brave souls.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thanks for helping me get the word out, Natalie!

Will you be one of those twenty brave souls, Theresa? :) (Also, I love your head shot! Maybe you changed it ages ago, but this is the first time I've noticed, and I think it's gorgeous!)

Pk Hrezo said...

Nice! I'll be sure to let peeps know! :)

Niki Moss said...

What a great opportunity! I've never done anything like this before, and I'd love to participate, but I have a question. Are entries STRICTLY limited to exactly 250 words?

For my current WIP, which I'd like to enter, that would cut right through the middle of a paragraph. If I had until the end of the paragraph it would be a very nice stopping point, however, as it is, it would come to an awkward halt mid-thought.

I'm assuming of course that the word count is strict, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask. Might make a difference in whether or not I should try to enter. Thanks!

Ben Spendlove said...

Oh, hey. I could maybe enter this one, depending on the definition of complete, polished, and ready to query. (I still have reader suggestions I intend to take.)

Susan Oloier said...

What a great opportunity. I'll do a little background research on Ms. Smith before making a decision about entering or not.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Much obliged, Pk!

Good question, Niki! You're more than welcome to give it a five- to ten-word cushion should you need it, but I wouldn't go much more than that. (The truth is, I only check the word count if the first page looks unusually long.) Hope this helps!

Ben! So great to hear from you! I assume Ann Marie's had the baby? How's everyone doing? (And yes, you could enter this one. I'll let you decide whether or not THE FREEZER's complete, polished, and ready to query:) )

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Great idea, Susan.

Niki Moss said...

Thanks, Krista!

Ambiguous_A said...

I think my MS falls under the category of YA speculative fiction, but I never see that included in agent contests. Do you think it'd be okay to submit something like that in this contest? Ms. Smith seems open to a lot of things.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Ambiguous_A, I think of speculative fiction as a branch of science fiction, so I think you'd be more than welcome to enter!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the time and opportunity. What e-mail address will we be sending to.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

No problem, billypayne! The e-mail address is kvandolzer(at)gmail(dot)com. (Of course, when you actually send the e-mail, you should replace "(at)" with an @ symbol and "(dot)" with a period.)

Anonymous said...

Krista thank you. I know Bridget is also interested in MG Magical Realism. Since it's not on the list should I write MG Magical Realism/Fantasy or is just MG Magical Realism okay?

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Billypayne, I pulled Ms. Smith's interests off of Dunham's website, and it said she was interested in a lot of genres, including but not limited to the ones specifically mentioned, so I'm going to be a little more lax with the categories/genres I let through this time. Long answer short: I think calling it MG magical realism will be fine.

Niki Moss said...

Hi, Krista. Is there anything in particular we need to put in the subject line of the email? I have "Agent's In-box Entry" for mine, but didn't know if that was sufficient. Do we need to include our name, ms title, genre, or anything else?

And looking back at past entries, it seems everyone simply signs their query with their initials. Is this correct? And are there any other rules and/or entry etiquette I should be aware of?

Thanks! Crossing my fingers I get in. Would love to have Ms. Smith's feedback!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Nope, Niki, I'm not looking for a specific subject line; you can use whatever you want. I try to keep the instructions simple so they're easier to follow.

Similarly, it doesn't really matter how you sign your query; I'm the one who changes all the signatures to initials, just for anonymity's sake. If you want to make my life a little easier, you can just use your initials from the get-go, but it's not like I'm going to bar you from the contest--or even be upset--if you don't:)

Niki Moss said...

Thanks, Krista! Feeling a little nervous but excited. :)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

I know the feeling:)

cindie said...

I wish there was a spot for non-fiction.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

What kind of nonfiction do you write, cindie?