Monday, May 5, 2014


Query Kombat is back!

Bloggers SC, Michael, and Michelle are teaming up once again to bring you the second annual Query Kombat tournament. It’s a new year, so we’re bringing in some new rules!

The Basics

Query Kombat will host 64 kombatants in a single-elimination, tournament style query-off. Entries will go head to head (one on one) with one another until only ONE entry remains. There will be a total of six rounds in Query Kombat. 64 entries in round one, 32 in round two, 16 in round three, 8 in round four, 4 in round five, and 2 in round six. 

As we said, some things have changed. We’re doing away with tournament brackets this year. Instead, Kombats will be matched up based on target audience and genre. We'll continue grouping that way until it's no longer possible.

If you secure a spot in the tournament, your query and the first 250 words of your manuscript (to the end of a complete sentence) will be pitted against another query and first 250 words. Judges will read each match-up and vote 'Victory' on the best entry. Remember, this is subjective. Considering last year, votes may come down to personal tastes.

The entry with the most ‘victories’ at the end of the round will advance to the next round until only one champion remains.

One of the biggest changes we’re implementing this year is doing away with the mentor round. Why? Because we're moving up the agent round. Yes! You read correctly. This year the agent round will be held right after the first round. That mean 32 entries will make it into the agent round. 32!.

Of course, there's a twist!

laughing animated GIF
This is what happened when we came up with this twist.

The agent round will be conducted in secret. And by secret, we mean TOP SECRET. Entrants won't know who requested what--or how much--until that entrant has been eliminated from the contest. Evil. We know. On the plus side, winners of the first round will be able to resubmit their entry prior to the agent round. So, any feedback the judges give you can be implemented before the agents see your work.

The Query Kombat tournament is open only to unagented writers seeking representation. Your manuscript must be complete, polished, and ready to submit. Submissions for MG, YA, NA, and Adult works will be accepted. No picture books or non-fiction.

The submission window will open on May 22nd at noon and close at 11:59pm on May 23rd, OR WHEN WE RECEIVE 225 ENTRIES. We will have email confirmation. If you don't receive it within an hour of submitting your entry, contact us via twitter and let us know. You may submit entries for two manuscripts (in the same email) but we will only consider the second entry on the last day of the submission window. Kontestants will be revealed on May 30th, and the tournament will kick off on June 1st.

Important: The Query Kombat team reserves the right to disqualify any entrant at any time. If an entrant is disqualified before the agent round, an alternate will take its place. If an entrant is disqualified after the agent round, the opposing entry will automatically advance to the next round.
So...none of this!

In order to enter the contest you MUST follow formatting guidelines, and submit during the contest window. All entries that follow those guidelines will be considered. In the event that we receive more than the available spots, Michelle, SC, and I will savagely attack the slush pile in attempts to build the best team. We will pick (and announce) three alternates in case a submission is disqualified.

Entries will be sent to:  QueryKombat (at) yahoo (dot) com

Formatting guidelines:

Font: Times New Roman, 12pt font, single-spaced with spaces between each paragraph.

Subject line of the Email: A short, unique nickname for your entry [colon] your genre (audience included). Do not skip this step or your entry will be deleted. (ex. Death Isn't So Bad: YA Magical Realism)

For the nickname, make it as unique as possible so that there are no duplicates. These will be the names used in the tournament (or an abbreviated version if it's too long) so keep it PG-13 and try to have it relate to your story in some way.

In the body of the email (with examples):

Name: Michael Anthony
Email address:

Entry Nickname: Death isn't so Bad

Title: My Best Friend Death
Word count: 67,000
Genre: Magical Realism


Damien Crown devotes his life to being his brother's superman. Like all heroes, he's locked in a deadly war with a formidable foehis brother's depression. Instead of perishing in a climatic battle as comics suggests, he dies at the screech of tires and the blare of a car horn. But in those last precious moments, he regrets not taking off the cape and living his own life. 

But that changes when Death becomes his life-coach. 

Given a new body and one more year to live, Damien seizes the opportunity to reinvent himself. Forbidden from making contact with his old family, he know the trek will be hard, but he's happy to have a clean slate. At least, until his brother attempts suicide. 

Knowing the only way to help his brother is by breaking Death's rules, Damien finds himself stuck between who he was, and who he wants to be. With a life any kid would kill for, he has a hard choice to makedon his cape and die for his brother, or hang it up and finally live for himself.

(Only include the meat of your query. No bio. No Dear, and no sincerely. Just the good stuff. Queries may be up to 350 words, but 250 is preferred.)

First 250 words:

First 250 words. Don't include the chapter title and please, don't stop in the middle of a sentence.

Also, no indentations. Indentations are evil. Put line spaces between paragraphs please!

All queries submitted are FINAL. We will not edit them in any way, shape, or form. Please read, reread, and rereread your submission before you hit send. You have several weeks to polish your work. Take advantage of it. Competition will be fierce.

Because the immense amount of work ahead of us, the tournament will be hosted on three separate blogs. In order to enter the contest, you MUST following all three blogs. All three blogs will host the first round and agent round. The second round will be hosted by Michael and Michelle. The third round will be hosted by SC. The fourth round will be hosted by Michael. The fifth round will be hosted by Michelle. The final round will be hosted by SC. Have no fear, each blog will have links to all rounds so you will not get lost.

Agents and judges will be revealed soon. (As of now we have 10 agents and 20 judges 15 agents and 20+ judges!)

Questions can be left in the comments and I'll answer them as quickly as possible. As always, Query Kombat announcement call for celebration.

Hit it Pok├ępeeps

Dragon Dance Revolution (DDR) by PeekingBoo

Can't wait to read your submissions. Pam van Hylckama and Christa Heschke are two of our agents.


  1. The times listed are Eastern daylight time. That's the same as New York.

  2. Google Friend Connect won't let me sign in with Twitter (the option shows up, it just doesn't work). I don't know how you intend to enforce the blog-follow requirement, but it's got me concerned. My Google account isn't what I use as an author, so my profiles don't match up.

    1. I had the same problem. Try going to and add the blogs you want to follow there. It worked for me. Good luck in the contest!

  3. Is this the submission email? QueryKombat (at) yahoo (dot) com

    1. Yes. That is it. Submission starts May 22nd at noon.

  4. Indentations in first 250 okay?

  5. No indents at all. Space between paragraphs.

  6. I have a short intro then the start of the book, you say not to put in 'Chapter' or 'Title'. What about 'Intro' & book' to differentiate between an intro and main book?

  7. We are trying to save you word count with eliminating putting Chapter 1. It's up to you what is valuable to include.