Monday, September 26, 2016

Nightmare on Query Street is Back!!

We're back with 25 agents and even more mentors!

It's Nightmare Time!

Don’t have a scary manuscript, DON'T WORRY. Just read on.

A brand new year, a brand new evil.

This contest, as it runs in the Halloween time, is all about FEAR.

The Details:

The submission window opens at 4:00 pm (EST) on October 14th. Don't send too soon or your entry will be deleted. There will be email confirmation. Please don't resend an entry unless you check with us. Sometimes the confirmation process gets overwhelmed. The window will close when we receive 250 entries or in two hours, whichever is first.

Michelle and Mike and Laura will make thirteen picks each, and those picks will go up on our blogs from October 29th through the 30th. Before this, there will be a mentor round to whip that entry into shape. We've already got amazing mentors lined up, so know that your entries will be polished for the agents.

We are accepting all age categories and genres, excluding picture books and erotica. But be sure to check our list of agents when it goes live to see if they represent your book's genre.

If you plan on participating in the contest, you have to be following all our blogs (MichelleMike, Laura). If you can't get the blog follow to work, just follow on Twitter. You'll want to be on Twitter for the party, anyway.


You are not eligible if you've been in an agent round in the last three months, such as for Pitchslam. This doesn't not include twitter only events like PitchMad. You may enter if you have a different manuscript to send.

It's pretty simple, actually.

But there's a catch.

Along with your query and 250, you must write a SHORT paragraph (no more than 100 words) about your main character. This is the question you must answer:

What is your main character's most stressful relationship? Who really makes them sweat?

The Format:

Send all your submission to nightmareonquerystreet (at) yahoo (dot) com. Only one submission per email address AND person is allowed.

Here's how it should be formatted (yes, include the bolded and everything!). Please use Times New Roman (or equivalent), 12 pt font, and put spaces between paragraphs. No indents or tabs are needed. 

Subject Line: NoQS: TITLE, Age Category + Genre
(example: NoQS: GRUDGING, Adult Epic Fantasy)


Name: Michelle Hauck
Twitter Handle: @Michelle4Laughs (optional)
Title: GRUDGING (yes, caps!)
Genre: Adult Epic Fantasy (Age category and genre. YA/MG is not a genre.)
Word Count: XX,XXX

My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:

My MC's most stressful relationship is with the potato supplier. With prices skyrocketing, the mc can't stop eating those suckers--fried, mashed, frenched--gotta have them. But everyone is trying to undercut our mc's purchase potential. (Please, spend some time on this! We will be looking at this to make up for gaps in the query and 250. It gives us a chance to know your characters better. It doesn't have to be horror-scary. It can be more subtle. Remember 100 words or less.)


Here is my fantastic query! DO NOT INCLUDE BIO OR COMPS PARAGRAPH. Try to stay in the 250-300 word range. Please put spaces between paragraphs and don't indent.

First 250 words:

Here are the first 250 words of my manuscript, and I will not end in the middle of a sentence, even if I hit 255 words. Do not abuse and send 256. Keep it fair for all. Use Open Office/Word to determine your official word count. Google docs may return an incorrect number.

Entries will be disqualified at our discretion for rule violation.

And that's it! Send in that email during the submission window and you're ready to go. There will be a confirmation email.

We're Tweeting under the hashtag #NoQS. As before, we'll have a Twitter party once submission starts. Mentor and agent posts will follow before October 14th.

We also want to mention that Jason Huebinger is having a twitter pitch event called #PitDark on October 20th. That is something you might want to investigate. 

Good luck! And sweet nightmares!


  1. To clarify on the 250 word count, are we supposed to stop by the 250th word, or should the last sentence be the one that contains the 250th word? For example if word #250 in my ms is the first word in a sentence, should I include that sentence or should I stop at 249?

    1. Do not pass 255 words for any reason. If that means you're ending in the middle of a sentence, either delete words earlier or end at the sentence before the one that contains the 250th word.

      Do not start a new sentence after word 250, even a one-word sentence.

  2. How much leeway is there on the word count for the query? I'm hovering around the 400 mark and wondering if I need to ruthlessly prune it down more.

    1. We don't put a hard limit on query length, but if the synopsis portion is 400 words, it's a good idea to try to swap with someone to see if they can suggest ways to shorten/streamline it. 250-300 really is ideal. But we also understand sometimes you need to go closer to 350, especially for something like epic fantasy.

  3. Does the manuscript need to be complete?

    1. Yes, it does. Finished, polished, and agent-ready.