Nightmare in October – Come to Query Street… if you dare!

Did you know that October is the biggest submission month of the year? From now until the end of the year agents and editors are stocking up on submissions. So it’s a great time of year to find an agent, if you are going traditional and don’t have one.

There are so many query contests and pitch parties happening now. I’m involved with Nightmare on Query Street. On Twitter the hashtags are: #NoQS and #NightmareSlush. I’ve never been involved with this contest before. So far, I’m loving it! (2)


When I do one of these contests where the madness fun spills over onto Twitter I am always amazed by the writing community. The comradery, support and interaction between contestants is incredible. No bad-mouthing. No rude comments. The writing community rocks! You’d think I’d be used to it by now, since I’ve been involved with many of these contests. And yet, it still blows me away. Writers are a rare and wonderful breed. I am so proud to be a part of this community. *wipes a lone tear away*

Anyway, Nightmare on Query Street is a cool contest. I was so lucky to get my submission in. Technically, the submission window was closed. Since there was a difference of opinion on the hosting blogs I asked one of them on Twitter and he told me a writer had submitted three times, automatically disqualifying him/her, so there was one spot open. He posted his answer publicly so I had to move very quickly. I wrote mine in about two minutes and sent it in. And my submission made it in! Now is when the real nail-biting and pulling out your hair fun begins.

Here’s how it works:

You write your genre, title and word count, then you write a paragraph about your protagonist’s most fearsome obstacle. That wasn’t easy I’ll tell yeah, especially with such a short amount of time. The others in the contest had a month to prepare! But since I had only just found out about the contest on the last day I was under the gun (pardon the cliché). After your “fear” paragraph (100 words), you add the mini-synopsis (no comps or bio) from your query letter (250-300 words) and then paste the first 250 words of your manuscript below. And that’s it. You email it to the team, three published authors running the show.

Each day there are fun questions to answer on Twitter under the hashtag #NoQS. These are the questions with my answers so far:

10.15.2014 Title of your book and the time you emailed it:  TIMBER POINT, Emailed 10/16/14 @ 11:06AM

10.16.2014: If I knocked on your MC’s front door on Halloween, would I get a trick or a treat?  Since Shawny is anti-social the lights would go out. No one’s home! If you were a cat or dog you’d get a cookie and a kiss.

10.17.2014: What is your MC going to be for Halloween?  Shawny would dress up like Cat Woman. She is a cat burglar after all. Besides, she’d love the ears and tail!

10.18.2014: Your MC goes on a haunted hayride. What would make him/her scream the loudest? I’ve got to give this one some thought before I post.

10.19.2014: If your MC could pull one prank on Halloween and not get caught, what would it be?

10.20.2014: What would your antagonist do for Halloween?

10.21.2014: What scary setting would we find your MC in on Halloween? Would they be hiding under the couch or prancing in a graveyard?

What’s your MC’s favorite scary movie? Or do they watch scary movies?

While we all wait to see if our pitch makes it into the finals we stalk the Twitter feed at #NightmareSlush. The slush readers post little hints– hints that could apply to any of us just for added torture– about which pitches are going in the yes pile and which ones are a no.

Basically while I obsessive over watch the feed I feel like this…


This was posted by one of my writer peeps in the contest. It was too good not to share with you.

This torture continues until the 21st, when the winners are revealed on the hosts’ blogs. If you’re lucky enough to make it into the finals you get a mentor. You find out who your mentor is between the 22nd-25th. Mentors make sure your submission is in tip-top shape for the agent round that runs from 28th-30th. The agents fight over pitches, how I’m not sure yet. All I know is on Halloween they post the requests.

The odds of making it into the finals are slim. Out of 255 entries only 36 get chosen. Still, my hopes are high. You have to stay positive, right?

That’s not to say it isn’t maddening… (1)


So now you know what’s been keeping me busy and off the blog. Even if you aren’t participating #NoQS and #NightmareSlush are fun to follow. In between torturing us the authors post query and submission tips. Tips you can’t find anywhere else. If you stop by, say hello. I’d love to hear from you!

Have any of you ever been involved with Nightmare on Query Street? Are you participating now? Leave me a comment and tell me how you’re dealing with the stress.


5 thoughts on “Nightmare in October – Come to Query Street… if you dare!

  1. Pingback: NIGHTMARE ON QUERY STREET – QUERY TIPS | Crime Fiction Writer Sue Coletta

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