Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Query Kombat 2017 Announcement

Bloggers Laura, Michael, and Michelle are back again to bring you the fifth annual Query Kombat tournament.

Contest Mission: To showcase the work of diverse and talented novelists, while providing a learning environment that unites the writing community through knowledge, kindness, and a little friendly kompetition.

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.

Unlike traditional tournaments, we won't be using tournament brackets. Entries 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.

The agent round will be held after the first round. That mean the top 32 entries will make it to the agent round.

Of course, there's a 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.

On the plus side, winners of the first round will be able to submit and updated entry prior to the agent round. So, any feedback the judges give can be implemented before the agents see your work.

Who’s Invited to Submit:

The Query Kombat tournament is open only to unagented writers seeking representation. Your manuscript must be complete, polished, and ready to submit.

If your manuscript has been in the agent round of another contest within the last six months, you are not eligible to participate in Query Kombat. Please don’t try to sneak in. The QK team includes about fifty people and a few hundreds of spectators. Someone will notice and inform us.

Submissions for MG, YA, NA, and Adult works will be accepted (Sorry we aren't accepting Picture books or Chapter Books this year.). Only one entry per person. Do not attempt to submit more than one entry by using different email accounts. Again, the QK family is huge. Someone will notice.


The submission window will open on May 17th at 9:00 AM Eastern time and close on May 19th at Noon.

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. Kontestants will be revealed on May 26th, and the tournament will kick off on June 2nd.

IMPORTANT: The Query Kombat team reserves the right to disqualify any entrant, at any time, for any reason. If an entrant is disqualified/drops out before the agent round, an alternate from the same host will take its place. If an entrant is disqualified/drops out
after the agent round, the opposing entry will automatically advance to the next round. If an entrant is disqualified/drops out after the agent round but before new match-ups are assigned, match-ups will be assigned by random number generator with one random entry moving forward without a match.

The only time we will ever disqualify an applicant is if you say or do something to blemish the spirit of query contests. Query Kombat is supposed to be fun…

So no fighting!

In order to enter the contest you MUST follow formatting guidelines, and submit during the contest window. All entries that follow said guidelines will be considered.

In the event that we receive more than the available 64 spots (this is highly expected), Michelle, Laura, 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 should be sent to: QueryKombat (at) gmail (dot) com.

Formatting Guidelines:

Font: Times New Roman (or an equivalent), 12pt font, single-spaced with spaces between each paragraph. No (I repeat: NO!) indentations.

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. I Fell in Love with a Ken Doll: Adult Erotica)

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: myboyfriendwasbittenbyashark (at) gmail (dot)

Twitter Handle: @BarbforSenate36

Title: Eunuchs and Politics
Entry Nickname: I Fell in Love with a Ken Doll
Word count: 72K
Genre: Adult Erotica (If Ownvoices please list here)


Barbara B. Doll seemed like a woman who had it all, from the perfect body to her own dream house, McDonald's and a variety of vehicles. She even managed to become a U.S. Senator and go to the moon! However, something seemed missing. She didn't have any idea what it was until she met Ken.

Ken Dahl is funny, good-looking, and may have ties to the Illuminati. Barbara is immediately drawn to his shiny, perfect hair and teeth. When he offers to teach her surfing, they hit it off instantly. Everything seems to be going perfectly until Barbara discovers Ken has no
genitalia. She must search within herself to determine whether love can
overcome plastic, non-removable underwear.

Eunuchs and Politics is adult romance, complete at 72,000 words.

***THIS is NOT a PITCH but your FULL query. You may include greeting and closing. Do not include a bio or comp title.

First 250:

Words, words, and more words. Don't indent. Do put spaces between paragraphs.

Don't include the chapter title and please if the 250th word puts you in the middle of a sentence, you may go up to 258 to finish the sentence. Do not start a new sentence after the 250th word. Please use Microsoft Word to count. Both Pages and Google Docs will return incorrect word counts if you have hyphens, em-dashes, and ellipses. 

Please use this site to give you an accurate word count if you are concerned about your standard word counter: https://wordcounter.net/If you must, count by hand.  A properly hyphenated word is one word. Words separated by an em-dash or ellipse are two words.

All queries submitted are FINALWe 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 polishyour work. Take advantage of it. Competition will be fierce.

Host Blogs

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 follow Michael, Michelle, and Laura's blogs (Twitter is cool too). 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 Laura. The fourth round will be hosted by Michael. The fifth round will be hosted by Michelle. The final round will be hosted by Laura. 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 30 agents and 27 judges!)
Questions can be left in the comments and I'll answer them as quickly as possible.

One last thing:

Contests are very time-consuming, and in order to continue hosting each year, we’re asking contestants to give a $5-$10 donation when making their entries. Asking for donations is one way to ensure we’re able to give you the time needed to carefully consider every entry. Chosen Kontestants receive feedback from up to 27 agented/published writers on their query and first page, plus the ability to query agents they otherwise may not have connected with. Some agents even read requested contest entries before the rest of the slush pile! All Kontestants, chosen are not, receive free slush tips from the hosts and the camaraderie that develops from entering contests together. Many writers find lifelong critique partners and good friends from these contests (I did).

Donating this year is strictly voluntary. Giving a donation
does not increase your chances of being picked. Giving less than $5 or more than $10 will also have no impact on your chances. Donating will not affect how many rounds a person makes it through if chosen. People who are not able to donate will not be disqualified.

Thanks for your understanding and your donations!

Best of luck in the tournament!


  1. Replies
    1. The sub window is May 17th-19th. Happy to read your entry then.

  2. Like a dorkus, I submitted early. I swear I just meant to type out the e-mail and save it as a draft (That's my story and I'm sticking with it.) Can we resubmit or I'm a disqualified for being a dorkus?

  3. Formatting question: If the writing sample has a few lines of dialogue in a row, do you want a space between each of them, thus treating each line of dialogue as a new paragraph? Just want to make sure--thanks!

    "Hey," Lee furiously texted.


    "You were supposed to bring the pizza."


    1. Short answer is yes. Only answer is yes. If the speaker changes with each line than put a space between so they have their own paragraphs.

  4. Would being in Operation Awesome's pass or pages contest disqualify me from entering Query Kombat? It doesn't have an agent round per say, but it does have an agent panel who say if they'd like to read more or not. Thank you!

    1. I'm going to say that's okay. It's only a few agents. As long as it's not one of the big agent contests.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. What is a "comp title," which is not supposed to be included?

    1. A comp title is a comparison book. Already published books that are similar in some way to your manuscript.

  7. Hi, thanks so much for organizing this. Is this contest open to all writers or just diverse/ownvoices? Thank you!

    1. The contest is open to all writers. However, Laura's free pass is specifically for ownvoices.

  8. Thanks for putting this together! I want to enter, but I can't get your blog to add my email - I've tried gmail and hotmail. Any tips?

  9. Sorry, stupid question....How do I follow your blogs? Do I subscribe to the newsletter?

    1. The Followers box in my right sidebar has a "follow" button. Or you can subscribe to the newsletter or follow me on twitter. Sometimes the follow on my blog doesn't work.

  10. What if I've already started querying, does this disqualify me?

    1. No, it doesn't. Just please let us know if you get an offer after the submission window opens.

  11. No indentations. What about italics, is that also a no-no. If so, how do you indicate thoughts, with *thought*?

  12. My story is essentially modern day supernatural with bits of magic. No one seems to know which genre this would be anymore. Can I say Modern day supernatural, or is this closer to a more recognized genre?

    1. sounds like magical realism or urban/contemporary fantasy. If in doubt just use speculative fiction.

    2. It could be paranormal or you could use fantasy to describe it. I would share more detail on the #QueryKombat hashtag and see if you can get help there.

  13. Any kind of English is fine. I read both. :-)

  14. Replies
    1. It's up at the top of this post in the right sidebar. It's our logo picture. You might not see it in mobile. Thanks.

  15. Can someone send me which twitter handles to follow?

  16. Each chapter of my manuscript starts with 2-4 lines of poetry. Do I include that in the word count of 250? or directly start with the text?

    1. I do that with one of my manuscripts too. It's up to you. Whichever one you prefer or think will entice more.

  17. Are you accepting Adult commercial fiction (Protagonist's age ranges from 17 years old to late 30s in the manuscript, over the span of two decades)

  18. Hi Michelle! I submitted my entry yesterday, and I still haven't gotten a confirmation email... Is there anything I can do? Thanks!!