Monday, June 18, 2012

Critique Donation AND Super Intern Contest Winners!

Before announcing the Super Intern Contest winners, I'd like to let you know that I'll be donating a critique for the Be Here Now Critique Auction!

If you want to learn more about the auction, click here.
If you want to bid for a first chapter + query critique from yours truly, click here.  And hurry, because the auction closes tomorrow

Now about the Super Intern Contest!

The magnificent Super Intern, Erica M. Chapman, who's an agent intern for Louise Fury with L. Perkins Agency, went beyond what we expected from her. We asked that she tell thirty lucky writers when she had stopped reading their pitches or which ones she would snatch out of the slush pile. Instead, she critiqued each query letter and first page of the participants. Her comments are beyond awesome, so go check them out. 

Also, if you aren't following Erica on her blog (link above) and on twitter (@ericamchapman) you totally should. She tweets as she reads Louise Fury's slush pile sometimes and is a wonderful friend to follow.

Erica thoughts...

This was such a tough decision, there were many great premises. I wished I could have picked you all, but I could only pick three. The queries that didn't pull me in tended to be too clunky. Queries should be concise and enticing to grab an agent's attention. Your only job is to make the agents read more. Don't throw everything in the kitchen sink into your queries. Focus on the plot. If you have an over-saturated genre, make sure you highlight what's unique about your story.

I enjoyed reading each of the thirty entries. Thank you for putting yourselves out there and letting me read your work. I know how scary it can be and applaud each one of you for taking the risk.

Erica picked her top three entries to receive critiques from Shelley Watters, Monica B.W. and Brenda Drake. Each critique is for the first ten pages of the winners' manuscript. She also has a few entries she wants to run by Louise Fury and will announce those soon.

So I guess you want to know the winners, right? Well, here they are...


Brenda's critique: RACE TO BUTCH CASSIDY'S GOLD, MG Mystery
Monica's critique: DEAD SISTER DAYS, Contemporary YA
Shelley's critique: UNDER THE TREES, YA Historical Fantasy Romance
Winners, please send the first 10 pages of your manuscript attached as a Word .doc to

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Super Intern Contest...Entry Winners

We have winners into the Super Intern Contest with the awesome agent intern, Erica M. Chapman, for Louise Fury with L. Perkins Agency. If your name is below, please send your query letter and the 1st 250 words of manuscript to now and not later than Tuesday, June 12 at 10 PM EDT. Remember Erica's going to tell us where she stopped reading each pitch or if it would make it out of the slush pile. This is not for the faint of heart, so let us know if you can't handle the honesty and we'll select another winner.

And the winners are...

results powered by

Entry #58 El
Entry #298 Ashley Maker
Entry #419 Lisa Roseman
Entry #676 Emily Cushing
Entry #127 Talynn
Entry #140 Amanda Burckhard
Entry #72 Nicole Zoltack
Entry #502 Brighton Luke
Entry #585 Anna U. Mormack
Entry #594 Cate Peace
Entry #20 Kassel Fotinos-Hoyer
Entry #322 Brittany Pate
Entry #524 Meradeth Houston Snow
Entry #427 Hope Roberson
Entry #666 Jessica Negron
Entry #41 Eric Steinberg
Entry #458 Kelly (ohthatmomagain)
Entry #619 Nikki (nmrunyan)
Entry #330 Janice Sperry
Entry #102 Ashley Turcotte
Entry #262 Lisa Basso
Entry #573 Jessica Bailess
Entry #391 SC Author
Entry #129 Jordan McCollum
Entry #196 Summer L. Heacock
Entry #364 Kathi Morrison-Taylor
Entry #643 Amanda Hartley
Entry #85 Lucas Croft
Entry #562 Laurie Litwin
Entry #516 Tina Hatch

Here's how to format your entry ...

Name: Your name (will not be posted)
Genre: (i.e. YA Fantasy)
Word count: (i.e. 85,000)

Query letter

1st 250 words

And here are the prizes we're giving out ...

Shelley Watters and Monica B.W. and I are giving away 1st 10 pages of your manuscript critiques as prizes. Plus you never know, if Erica likes any of the entries enough, she just might recommend them to Louise Fury.

Come back Wednesday to see the entries on Brenda's blog, and Erica will be commenting on them during the rest of the week, so check back to see what she says. 

Until then... 


Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I’m am THRILLED to announce that #TeamMonicaFTW has had two success stories now!! One indirect success story, and the FIRST OFFICIAL SUCCESS STORY from The Writer’s Voice contest!!

Valerie Cole has signed with my awesome agent, Lauren MacLeod, and now we’re agency sisters!! How AMAZING is that? You can read the entry that grabbed Lauren’s attention here.

In Valerie’s own words:

First, I have to thank the coaches—Mónica, Krista, Brenda, and Cupid. The Writers Voice was a BIG event. I cannot even imagine how much work this must have been for them, and if it weren’t for their dedication to us, the writers, I wouldn’t be writing this post.

When The Writers Voice was first announced, I thought I would sign up, submit my work, meet some other writers, and get a little feedback. I never in a million years thought I would tweet chicken pictures, find a new friend in my coach, Mónica, or end up signing with an agent!

The week that the judges picked their teams, I joked with Brenda Drake on TheWritersVoice hashtag that I needed to do something to grab Mónica’s attention. Since Mónica owns 11 hens, Brenda advised me to find a picture of a chicken with a bow around its neck, and send it to her. I rummaged through Google Images, found one, and tweeted it to Mónica. Shortly after, she picked me for her team—although she swears that the chicken picture did not influence her decision at all. 

Coaching week flew by, Mónica and I went through two rounds of revisions. On Monday morning of the big reveal, I anxiously waited to see if I would get a vote (or request) from one of the eight participating agents. At 9AM, Marcy Kate tweeted, “Hear that silence? It's the sound of 44 writers holding their breath”—and that’s exactly what it felt like! A few minutes later, Lauren MacLeod from The Strothman Agency voted for me, and I couldn’t breathe or focus all day. Seriously, I’m pretty sure my boss wanted to strangle me!

I couldn’t wait to send my manuscript, and I was ready to settle in for a long wait, but then Wednesday, Lauren emailed, “THUMP made my heart skip a beat! I've finished it and I thought it was fantastic and I'd love to speak with you about it.”I went into total shock, and had to try to keep it together at work, but I was bouncing off the walls all day.

When we talked the next day, I was really nervous, but Lauren was so nice! We talked about my project, books, and about how an agent/client relationship works. She made excellent editorial suggestions, and I couldn’t wait to work with her.

Thank you so much, Mónica. You are an amazing coach and writer—I cannot believe this happened and now we share an agent! I owe you a million more chicken pictures!
And I am thrilled to have you as my sister, Valerie! Thanks so much for participating in our contest!!


Okay, now about the other contest.
We had many participants of The Writer's Voice ask what was wrong with their pitch and why it didn't make it into the contest. There are so many reasons why an entry might not have been chosen. Tastes are subjective. There were 200 entries and we each could only pick ten. There were many I wanted, but had to pass on—maybe the writing was awesome, but the premise was too quiet, or maybe the premise was great but the writing not so much, OR maybe the premise AND the writing were great but I thought I wasn’t the right coach for that entry. So for us, it came down to knowing if we could make a difference. 

Anyway, the awesome Brenda Drake came up with an idea to have her CP and one of her besties, Erica M. Chapman, who's an agent intern for Louise Fury with L. Perkins Agency tell thirty lucky writers when she stopped reading their pitches or which ones would make it out of the slush pile. 

Not enough? Her besties, Shelley Watters and Monica B.W. (YEAH!! That’s ME!! =D) and Brenda are giving away critiques as prizes. Plus you never know, if Erica likes any of the entries enough, she just might recommend them to Louise Fury.

How it's going down ... 

Enter in the Rafflecopter below. You can earn many entries. On June 9th will select 30 lucky winners to participate in the Super Intern Contest. This is not for the faint of heart, so don't sign up unless you can handle the honesty. We will post the 30 winners along with instructions on June 10th, so check back then to see if you won. You must be ready to email Brenda your pitches immediately. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway