WriteOnOnline’s FREE query letter contest



In our continuing effort to help writers jump-start their careers, we are pleased to launch the 2nd Annual Write On! Query Contest. The winner in each category—Fiction and Non-Fiction—will have their query letter read by Los Angeles-based literary agent Betsy Amster. They will also receive a gift certificate from iScript.

Authors Amy Friedman (Syndicated Columnist, “Tell Me A Story”) and Dennis Danziger (A Short History of a Tall Jew) will select the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners from the finalists!

A query is the letter sent to a literary agent, editor, or publisher, used to promote the project, as well as the writer. For tips on writing a good query, read the Write On! Online Author Q&A with The Query Queen Wendy Burt-Thomas. Non-Fiction writers, also read author Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s “Seven Rules for Writing Your Book Proposal.”

Screenwriters, your turn is coming. The Write On! Online – June Challenge will beQuery Contest: “Screenplays.”


First Prize
– Betsy Amster, president of Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises, will read the 1st place fiction and non-fiction queries. Before opening her agency, Betsy spent ten years as an editor at Pantheon and Vintage and two years as editorial director of the Globe Pequot Press. She has run publishing workshops at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and UCLA Extension and has been profiled in Poets and Writers, the Los Angeles Times, and the ASJA newsletter.
– The 1st place queries will also win a $200 iScript gift certificate (an iScript is a digital recording of a manuscript, read by an actor)

Second Prize
– Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents 2010, courtesy of The Writers Store
– Autographed copy of Child of Fire from author Harry Connolly (Harry’s novel was published because of a query letter)

Third Prize, eBooks, courtesy of VBT: Writers on the Move
– Fiction: Miami Snow by Mystery/Suspense Author Darcía Helle (QuietFury Books) and the Celebration Poetry Series—Cherished Pulse: Unconventional Love Poetry,She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future—by Magdalena BallCarolyn Howard-Johnson.
– Non-Fiction: Writing, Publishing, and Marketing – You Can Do It! by Karen Cioffi and The Frugal Editor by Carolyn Howard-Johnson (author of the acclaimedHowToDoItFrugally series).

Submission Guidelines:
– There is no fee to enter this contest
– Email your query to Debra@WriteOnOnline.com by Monday, May 31
– Queries should be 1 page
– No attachments; paste text in the body of the email
– Include name, email address, address, phone number, and category at the top of your submission
– By submitting, you are agreeing to join the Write On! email list

Winners will be announced on Monday, June 7, on Write On! Online, and in theJune Write On! Newsletter.

Submit your query today!

To your success!

One response »

  1. What a relevant concept. This is an important post. Reminds me of a workshop I attended. The last part of the day all who attended had an opportunity to quickly stand up and pitch their title and subtitle, if any. The editor, Sol Stein, who has worked with everyone Updike to Vidal and so many of their progeny, then affirmed or helped writers massage their pitches, with an eye towards their market and broader markets. It was quite an important day for me. And this contest will likely have the same significance to your readers. Thank you for posting it.

    Peace and all good things for you in work and in life.


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