Thank you SO much to everyone who entered Christmas in July, co-hosted by the ever-lovely Ruth Lauren Steven. It was a smashing success! There were 351 entries total, which was about 350 more entries than I anticipated. So YAY! But not only were there tons of entries, there were tons of GREAT, HIGH-QUALITY entries. So much so that it was tremendously difficult to pick just 30 winners between Ruth and I. But we did.
And here they are (my half of the winners, anyway), along with a little bit about why the work was chosen:
Melanie Stanford, DAZE AND KNIGHTS (YA romance)-Uh, why isn’t this book published yet? Seriously, WHY? Reading this hilarious/intriguing/exciting entry made me wish so badly I was a literary agent so I could snap up this author and
make me some money help an artist realize her dream.
Philip Siegel, THE BREAK-UP ARTIST (YA contemporary) –Unique and quirky concept, fantastic writing, spot-on teen voice, and hilarious query letter and sample pages—this was everything I could have asked for in an entry. An easy YES!
Jenna Lehne, WASHED UP (YA contemporary)- One of my early favorites, this entry featured both hilarious-yet-subtle humor and a fun-yet-layered plot. It’s great news when I feel compelled to call my sister and read her the sample because I can’t wait to share it with the world. (Even greater news when she loves it too!)
Kathryn Sheridan Kupanoff, BLACK LACE AND THE CLOCK TOWER (YA Camelot-steampunk)-I might have actually screamed out YES! when I read this entry. I just love books that transport me to fantastical worlds, and I love them even more when they’re superbly written!
Anita Exley, NEFRITITI’S HEART (Steampunk thriller)-First line of the sample: ‘There was something cathartic about wielding a crowbar.’ Um, you have my heart, Anita Exley. YES! To anything! Just…YES!
Delia Moran, ONE HUNDRED KNOWN WORLDS (YA contemporary fantasy) –When your writing is so good it invokes some major writer-envy and your two-page sample already has me drooling over your main character, that would call for an EFF YES!
Franziska Green, BOUNCE! (MG tall-tale adventure)- This is a book I would have loved to have read as a child and would be thrilled to have the kids in my life read. Quirky, funny, and fresh! YES!
Ashley Girard, THE CHEERLEADER’S GUIDE TO ANARCHY (YA contemporary)- The main character in this entry had such an amazingly engaging voice. Add to that stellar writing and a unique, high-concept plot, and it’s another easy YES!
Mara Rutherford, FOREVER FRIDAY (YA urban fantasy)- Fresh humor, great writing, and a voicey main character! This is a book I’d happily spend a Friday night snuggled up with (Soon? Please?)
RuthAnne Frost, HERE TODAY (Commercial women’s fiction) –Combine a hilarious and inventive concept with a hilarious query and even more hilarious pages, and we have a YES!!
Laura Frazier, SEMITONE (YA Romance with sci-fi elements) -Anna and the French Kiss meets The Time Traveller’s Wife? YES! It's a good sign when I get to the stakes in the query and utter a ‘Wow’. Even better when I finish reading the sample pages and am upset I didn’t make the contest for 85,000 words instead of 500.
Britt Mitchell, SPAGHETTI AND THE MEATBALLS (MG)-Who doesn’t love an adventure involving spaghetti? A perfect middle-grade voice combined with amazing writing and a fun, unique concept! Can I get an EFF YES?
Kajsa Paulson, BREAKING POINTE (YA contemporary)-Edgy and compelling subject matter + engaging voice + superbly written query and pages=YES!!
T.L. Bodine, TAGESTRAUM (Adult fantasy) –You had me at flesh-eating unicorns. YES!!
Jennie Bailey, SILO (YA speculative fiction)- Modern day Noah’s arc but with teens? Uh, EFF YES! I might have overlooked sub-stellar writing for a concept this fantastic (except not really). Good thing I didn’t have to, though, because the writing was just as fantastic as the fantastic concept (FANTASTIC!)
Sorry guys. Got a little carried away there. Winner's, expect your critiqued samples in your inbox by tomorrow.
Now that that’s been taken care of, let me address the elephant in the room: You’ll have noticed there are many more teen/children entries than adult ones. There’s a reason for that, and it’s not that I have a boner for YA (which I do) or that I have a hate-on for adult books (which I don’t). It’s that out of 351 entries, 255 of them comprised of YA/MG/Picture Books (201 strictly YA, for those who are interested!). That’s 73% teen/children. With numbers like that there’s a high likelihood that there’s going to be more teen/children winners.
Now for those of you who didn’t make the cut, please do not despair. It was simply a matter of needing to pick 30 great entries and there being 351 of them.
Also of note, not getting chosen for a contest doesn’t in any way mean your work isn’t worthy of publication. Take me, for example. I entered last year’s Baker’s Dozen Auction over at Miss Snark’s First Victim. I didn’t get in. I now have a book deal with Random House.
What I’m driving at here is that this business is totally subjective (I know—barf, gag, puke—but it’s true!). Keep querying. Keep writing. You can do it. You’re awesome.
The following entries were so wicked awesome, in fact, that if could have chosen 29 entries for myself and not 15, they would have definitely made the cut. For that, they landed themselves an Honorable Mention:
-Shawn Keenan, THE INTERN’S TALE
-Amber Mauldin: PERFECTLY BROKEN
-Artemis Grey, GONE MISSING GIRL
-Sarah L. Blair, THE SHIFTING DARKNESS
-Kate Abbott, THE DISNEYLANDERS
-Karla Gomez, DIVIDED
-PK Hrezo, THE DESIREE
-April Wall, THE FAMILY VYGIL
-Rachel Simon, VIOLENT DELIGHTS
-Cortney Pearson, PHOBIC
-Veronica Bartles, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROGS
-Ari Susu-Mago, UNFAMILIAR SPELLINGS
-Sadie Ryan, THE BEND
-Carin Moonin, DIAL 9 TO GET OUT
Anyone not selected for this contest is still welcome to query the participating agents (that they haven't already queried, of course!). But not before hopping on over to Ruth's blog to see her list of 15 winners!
Winning entries will be posted on the blog Wednesday July 18th for agent perusal.
Congrats to all, and GOOD LUCK!