April "fool proof" query contest
(open April 7 through April 30)
If query terror stalks your sleep or drives you to chocolate or the adult beverage of your choice, give it up already!
The query letter is not your enemy.
Time for a major mind shift.
Think of the query letter as an ally who can open doors for you.
These opened doors lead to agents, editors at publishing houses, and/or directly to publishers.
You can enjoy walking through the doors opened by your ally, the query letter. Or, you can wallow around in fear/discomfort/reluctance about actually learning how to write one. Your choice.
Even if you don’t have a finished manuscript, it’s never too early to practice writing a query letter that, eventually, will open doors of opportunity for you.
About this fool proof contest~
This contest is simple and totally fun. It will make you wonder why you were so concerned about learning how to write a query letter in the first place.
OK, here’s the gist.
First of all, the contest only applies to the first three sentences, the opening paragraph of your ally, the query letter. Like, how simple is that?
BEST OF ALL, the contest does not require you to have a work in progress or a completed manuscript. Instead, you’ll write the query first paragraph for a story you already know, one that’s already been published, and was written by somebody else. Whew! That relieves a lot of pressure now doesn’t it?
Like I said, this contest is eazie-peazie, April fool proof!!
Here are a couple of examples of query letter first paragraphs for fairy tale stories.:
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK:
To save mom from starving, 12-year-old Jack trades Bossy for magic seeds that produce a giant bean stalk leading into a dimension ruled by a carnivorous giant. He sneaks inside a castle to grab items he can sell or swap for food. Better at stealing than hiding, Jack’s discovered by the giant who pursues him with murder (and lunch) in mind.
THE WIZARD OF OZ:
Determined to save her dog’s life, Dorothy flies to a foreign country where she crash lands and accidentally squashes a dictator whose green-faced sister vows revenge. Enlisting the aid of a rag-tag gang of misfits, she reaches sanctuary and is suckered (with the promise of a ticket home) into stealing the secret weapon of the vengeful sister. Dorothy and her gang embark on a suicide mission that takes them on a surprising detour into uncharted territory.
A youngster is unable to escape ridicule about his enormous ears and clumsiness. When his mother is railroaded into prison, he’s left alone except for an unusual protector. Everyone thinks he’s a clown until he unleashes superpowers that might help spring mom from jail.
Now it's your turn to write your query letter first paragraph about one of these stories. (No substitutions please.)
Keep the basic structure in mind~
First sentence introduces your protagonist and their GOAL.
Second sentence presents the OBSTACLE (S) standing in their way to prevent goal achievement.
Third sentence hints at the story RESOLUTION: how might the obstacles be overcome, or, if not, what is the terrible “or else?”
What’s in it for you?
Besides the fun of writing a no-pressure query letter first paragraph, you might win first place and a free one-hour (60 minute) consultation with me on your honest-to-goodness query letter. However, you may opt for assistance on your synopsis, first page, and/or evaluation of your manuscript first five pages. Or, maybe you want an in-depth discussion regarding the pros and pitfalls of self-publishing. Whatever your need. If you win this contest, you pick the marketing area that is most challenging to you.
BONUS, BONUS, BONUS!
I'll send you a few comments (in May) about your "fairy tale" query paragraph. These will help you strengthen and/or revise the opening of your really truly query letter for your own work.
So, get your act in gear, select your story, and write your three-sentence-query opening paragraph.
I look forward to reading your submission.
GOOD LUCK! Have fun!
Cut and paste your entry into this form
Click here to read
wining query letters from prior contests.
Click here to read manuscript first page winning entries from prior contests.
FREE Query letter "Sales Pitch" eWorkbook~
The information and writing exercises in my eworkbook will help you learn to write a sizzling query "Sales Pitch" first paragraph--often the only portion of a query the agent ever reads.
You'll learn how to reveal the "guts" of your story (otherwise known as the plot) by introducing goal-obstacle-resolution in a dynamic manner in your very first paragraph.
This is what agents want to know. Who is the story about? What do they want? What stands in their way? What is the terrible "if" your main character doesn't get what they want?
When an agent reads a query that clearly and quickly reveals the story plot, they'll jump up and down with excitement and order pizza. Nothing makes an agent's day more joyous than the discovery of a talented writer who has professionally presented themselves and a unique story with "best seller" written all over it!