Monday, September 26, 2016

Nightmare on Query Street Rules and Format for 2016

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. The story does not have to be scary. 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 six months, such as for Pitchslam and Query Kombat. 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. 

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. I entered Pitch Wars, but was not selected by any of the mentors. Am I still eligible for this contest? The comment about using bold, was not intended to mean that our ms should be bolded, right?

    1. If you weren't picked for Pitchwars then you are eligible to enter. You only bold the words Query, 1st 250, and other titles we indicated, where we used bold in the example.

    2. Thanks. I knew that they were stupid questions, but this is only the second contest for me.

  2. Hi. I've enjoyed your blog for awhile now, and just started following, per the contest rules. I also followed Mike's. But I can't find a follow button on Laura's, and I don't have a Twitter account.

    1. If you go to the blog section of Laura's website there is a box that says subscribe.

  3. Hello,
    I just want to confirm if the submission window is 4 pm EST or EDT.
    Currently there is 1-hour difference between the two.
    Thank you!

    1. We are using the time in New York and the eastern United States. I believe they are on EDT until November 6th.

  4. Hi Michelle,
    I won a contest back in June that was originally intended to have an agent round, but ended up not happening. (So winners just had excerpts of work posted on organizer's blog. I think only one post got a comment). Am I still eligible to submit to NoQS? Thanks either way :)

    1. You are eligible. The exclusion is only for contests with agent rounds with multiple agents. We even allow people to enter if they were in an agent round that only had one agent.

  5. Thank you for the work you are putting into this contest. Should we put a salutation and closing on our query? Do you want the first 250 words and the paragraph about the main character double-spaced? Finally, is it okay to use indentations in the first 250 words, or should we format it the same as the paragraph about the MC (no indents, a space btw paragraphs). Thanks!

    1. Greeting and closing are optional, you can include if you want but not necessary. Please do not double space, just put spaces between paragraphs. No indents. :-)