Guys, I love Pass Or Pages. I learn so much every time, both from the behind-the-scenes stuff I do and what you guys see on the blog. The agents that participate in Pass Or Pages aren't compensated in any way except the satisfaction of helping people write better queries, and the possibility of finding a gem in our entries. Agents aren't the bad guy gatekeepers. They love authors, and books, and want to help those books find homes. I love working with them to bring this contest to you. I also love all those that entered. You are brave, and I admire you.
Here's what I learned this time around:
- At least three entrants misspelled the title of their book when filling out our form. Guys, precision is key when entering a contest: It's like practicing querying for real. So I guess what I learned is that while typos may not be the end-all-be-all, they do create a first impression. Spoiler alert: It is not a good one.
- At least one person who I critiqued through Tuesday Museday entered, and I could see how much their query improved from the first time I saw it. I'm not saying it was my feedback; I am saying that in general, feedback works and you CAN improve. How great is that!?
- Every time we do this, I relearn the lesson that taste is subjective. What one person thinks is boring or overdone, another person will think is clever and fun. You MUST query widely to improve your odds of finding the right person to champion your work.
- There are clear differences between MG and YA, and trying to blend the two doesn't seem to work. Know the differences between the categories, and use them as you write to help define your work.
- Similarly, don't make an agent have to work to figure out what genre your work is in. If it's contemporary, fantasy, mystery, whatever--make it clear.