3 S.R. Johannes: Mary Kole Pitch Contest Winners!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mary Kole Pitch Contest Winners!!

There were so many awesome queries it was hard for Mary Kole to narrow it down to one. WE have 2 winners and a few Honorable mentions. Mary Kole gave some feedback on each one in blue. (wasn't that sweet!)

There were many entries that went over 140 characters some even up to 200 characters!

To both winners - email me so I can put you in touch with Mary on your query critique!

If there is nugget you take away from this - whether chosen or not - it is this: I cannot stress how important it is to FOLLOW THE RULES when querying agents. Sometimes it can be the difference between a rejection or a request! They go through hundreds of queries a week and have to look for ways to say no. DON'T GIVE THEM A REASON to reject you just because you are going to fast or don't pay attention to the details/instructions!

WINNER 1: Blogger Wendy
Title: Burying Elsie
Genre: Contemporary YA
As Elsie dives into drugs, sex & even hardcore shows, goody-goody Shawna must decide if helping her BFF is worth risking all she believes.

Mary said: "I love the character conflict implied by this query and the high stakes. The title tells me that it might not work out for the best, but I’m really curious to see how the downward spiral plays out."


WINNER 2: Blogger Rachael Harrie

Title: From The Other Side

Genre: YA Paranormal

Misfit Verity is murdered by the boy she loves and awakens with strange powers, uncontrollable rages, and an unquenchable desire for revenge

Mary said: "This query kicks ass. It has punch and voice, which is really hard to do in 140 characters. This sounds like something I might really like."


Honorable Mentions!

Blogger Amanda J.

Title: The Sandman's Apprentice

Genre: MG paranormal

To save her kidnapped brother, Taryn must become the first female Sandman; venture into new realms; and, oh yea, save the world from monsters.

Mary said: "I like this pitch a lot and would probably request more. But to be fair to everyone else, this is not a winner since the character count was high."

Blogger Jess said...

Title: N/A

Genre: YA magical realism/time travel

The first time, Madelyn drowns accidentally. The second time, her twin sister Camilla lets it happen, a choice that could pull her under.

Mary said "Good concept, but unclear whose story it is. First sentence indicates Madelyn, second sentence indicates Camilla."

Blogger meradeth said...

Title: Colors Like Memories

Genre: YA UF

Julia’s secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident—sorta. Now she must save her best friend, but her ghosts won’t make it easy

Mary said: "Really like this. Could’ve made a clearer connection…is the guy she loved one of the ghosts in her way?"

Blogger Nazarea said...

Title: FireFall

Genre: YA paranormal

Falling in love isn't easy, but when 17-year-old Alianna Clayton falls for a shapeshifting phoenix, everything in her life heats up.

Mary said: "Like the wordplay here. Could do without the generic “falling in love isn’t easy” bit and give the reader more of what makes Alianna unique as a character. Don’t need her full name and ID, would rather know who she is."

Blogger Pam Harris said...

Title: WANTS

Genre: Contemporary YA

When two girls discover that their boyfriends are lovers, high school cliques are reevaluated as this “love square” begins to unravel.

Mary said: “High school cliques are reevaluated” is a bit dry, but this gives us a great situation that launches the story. My imagination is sparking."

Blogger Meredith said...

Title: Four Stones

Genre: YA historical fantasy

Four Stones = (The Highlander - swords + sparkly gems) x (one spunky heroine + one reluctant hero) ^ 700 years of English history

Mary said: "I really like the format of this query, very unique to the constraints of the character limit. You take a risk when you break it down like this but it sounds fun."

Blogger Tracey J said...

Title: Alice and Olivia

Genre: MG Contemporary

Everyone thinks Alison's gone for good but twelve-year-old Olivia knows better, Alison would never leave--they pinkie promised she wouldn't.

"I love the emotional sweetness implied by the last line and this sounds like it would really resonate with the MG audience because of the friendship hook. But when you say “gone,” do you mean “dead”? That would mean the difference between realistic and paranormal/magical realism. That’s my one quibble with the query."

Blogger Steph Sinkhorn said...

Title: The Tick-Tock Hearts

Genre: YA Steampunk/Mystery

Pitch: In Edwardian Chicago, Clara must avenge her dead father & stop a group of cyborg immortals fueled by synthetic hearts before they cage her.

Mary said: "I like the idea here but the query, and title, focus too much on the cool idea for cyborg robot hearts that you had, and we get almost nothing about who Clara is as a character. This makes me wonder what else this story has to offer beside awesome cyborgs..."

Blogger Tricia J. O'Brien said...


Genre: YA urban fantasy

A teenager learns she's half-mermaid and must accept being an inter-species freak if she's to reveal mermaids exist & what's killing them.

Mary said: "The mermaid thing has been done but the mermaid species dying out gives this idea really high stakes."

Congrads to everyone! Take a look at the schedule - there is another pitch coming soon! Get your pitches and queries ready :) have a great weekend!


Jemi Fraser said...

Congrats to the winners & the honourable mentions!

Thanks so much to Mary for the insights - awesome! :)

Unknown said...

Oh man, Twitter lied to me! LOL Oh, well.

Congrats to the winners and honorable mentions!! And a HUGE thank you to Shelli and Mary for the fantastic contest. :)

middle grade ninja said...

I didn't win!?!?! Oh, wait. I didn't enter:) I love this blog. Keep these great contests coming.

Tracey Joseph said...

This contest was so much fun, congratulations to the winners. :)

Meredith McCardle said...

Wow, thank you Mary for the feedback! And thanks again to Shelli for hosting the contest! This was fun. :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Wow, I'm thrilled to be an honorable mention and to hear I've raised some good stakes. Thank you so much, Mary, for the comment.

Melissa said...

Congrats to the winners and honorable mentions. I love the way Mary provided her thoughts on the entries, and the way they were written. :)
Great contest Shelli!

Kelly Polark said...

Congrats! I loved reading the pitches!

Sheri Dillard said...

Congratulations to the winners and honorable mentions!

And thanks Shelli and Mary for the great contest! :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I was so startled that I forgot to say congratulations to all the winners and honorable mentions and, as always, a huge thank you to Shelli for this amazing contest and so many others you host.

Julie Hedlund said...

Thanks for the great contest and valuable learning experience.

Dawn Embers said...

Congratulations to the winners and honorable mentions. Some great insights and it was interesting to read over the notes for each one.

Meradeth Houston said...

Awesome contest and I loved reading all the entries! The feedback was also really helpful :)

Thanks for doing this!

Ishta Mercurio said...

Great contest - congratulations to all the winners and honorable mentions!

Rachael Harrie said...

I'm so excited to be a winner! Thanks so much to Shelli for hosting the contest and to Mary for her fantastic feedback. And well done to Wendy and the honorable mentions!

CL said...

Congratulations to all the winners. And thanks again for hosting this fun contest, Shelli!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats. Great pitches.

Stina said...

Congrats to the winners. Sorry I missed this one. Looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for the next contest.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much to Mary for including so much commentary! Very awesome. And thanks to Shelli for hosting :)

Congrats to the winners & honorable mentions!