So word is out, and it’s been officially announced that I’m one of the mentors for Nightmare on Query Street. It’s a strange feeling, being a mentor for one of these contests, having recently just finished being a contestant. This is not my beautiful house, as David Byrne put it.
Other mentors have taken the time to write up thoughtful and amusing advice for entering the contest itself. (Point in case: the witty Wade Albert White, the fabulous Laura Heffernan [whose entire blog is chock full of useful advice] and the brilliant Betsy Aldridge.)
My advice? Forget about winning. Don’t even worry– immediately– about getting an agent. If you’re patient, and you keep learning from feedback this will happen for you, anyway. For realz.
The prize here are the other writers. If you don’t have CPs already, here is a treasure trove of them. Even if you do have CPs, you should be adding some of these folks to your list. Here’s an entire group of people who are close to breaking through, just like you are. Befriend them. When you do have that agent call, and you appropriately freak out, you will be glad to have them. If you’re not on twitter, get on it now. Follow everyone! Tweet at them. Find out what they’re writing. These are your peeps.
I’ve made some great on-line friends, gotten fantastic feedback on my query, read kick-ass books (that are now on submission), received fantastic career advice from a gal who knows, and even kicked the proverbial tires of the agents that made offers to me. All from friends I made through a single contest.
So don’t blow this. There were folks in Query Kombat who never tweeted, never followed anyone, didn’t participate in the social aspect of it at all. They missed out.
If you get an agent this time through, awesome! But if I can impart any advice: don’t lose sight of the writing relationships you can develop along the way. These are not just parting gifts– the #NoQS writers and mentors are awesome, crucial funny people who will challenge you, improve your writing, laugh at your jokes, retweet you, and help you get where you want to go. Agent or not.