To my surprise I’ve been asked to be a 1st round judge for the GUTGAA Small Press Contest. I feel like I’ve been whisked back to high school and invited to sit at the cool kid’s table. Me, a judge!
#GUTGAA is the rage that has taken over and trended on Twitter for the last few weeks, driving writers into frenzies. Did you make it into GUTGAA being a frequently heard question.
So what is this GUTGAA you ask? It stands for Gearing Up to Get an Agent, or in this case, a small press. All the first round judges, like myself, are/will be published by an Indie publisher. Next Friday, September 28, one hundred entries will be accepted and the best will be reviewed in the second round by editors from several small presses. Each entry has two parts: a query letter and the First 150 words of the manuscript. The first round judges, under anonymous names, get the first crack at them.
And if you’re asking yourself about the value of this contest, consider this: I made it into the GUTGAA Agent Pitch Contest with my newest manuscript. My entry got close to receiving a first round vote, but didn’t make the next round. However, I took all the great suggestions and applied them to my query letter. The next day I got a partial request on that modified query. I couldn’t ask for a better result!
I want to thank Deana Barnhart for organizing this huge undertaking. I don’t know how she does it, but she deserves a reward.
So what will I be looking for in an entry? First off, I want to see a query letter that stands out as having a different concept. The query should demonstrate a bit of the main character’s personality--voice. It should be easy to follow and not include too many character names.
And in the First 150? I’ll post more thoughts about that this weekend.