Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Enter TKA's Book In a Nutshell Competition!

Get noticed, get feedback, get an agent.
Here’s a chance to have your project reviewed by one of the agents at The Knight Agency. Submit three compelling sentences (150 words max) about your completed, unpublished manuscript to submissions @ knightagency.net (delete spaces). Write BOOK IN A NUTSHELL in the subject line or it will not be deemed eligible. One submission per project, please. Twenty of the best submissions will be chosen and requested by various agents who will then give feedback on your work...and it may even lead to possible representation. Hurry, the deadline is April 20, 2009. Winners will be notified by May 1, 2009.
Attention Book In A Nutshell Contestants! Due to the tremendous response we've received for this contest, we decided to post rules for some of the commonly asked questions that have come up. From this point forward, if you leave a question in the comment section we will address it by updating the FAQ document each Friday until the contest is complete! Thank you for your interest!!!

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79 Comments:

Blogger The Writers Canvas said...

I just saw the blog announcement on Twitter. Thanks so much for doing this!

Everyone knows agents are super busy, but opportunities like these are ideal. Thanks in advance for your time, and I'll get cracking on those 3 sentences :)

Elaine Burroughs
www.twitter.com/writerscanvas
http://thewriterscanvas.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 4:22:00 PM EDT  
Blogger worldofhiglet said...

Not for the first time, I'm glad I subscribe to @mightymur 's Twitter. This is a great idea and I will be sending my submission today.

I hope you receive many well-written pieces and find some new talent!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 4:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger JohnO said...

Who are the "various agents"? The Knight Agency staff?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 4:26:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Monica said...

Nice to see the door opened. Now to condense a multi-book series into three sentences...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 4:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Marnie Colette said...

thanks a bunch for opportunity. Now for the best 3 sentences ever!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 4:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eva Ulian said...

This is amazing. Manna from heaven. My only chance.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 4:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Chanelley said...

Definitely one of the best submission calls I've seen yet. I'm entering right now!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 5:13:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mightymur is a peach directing us here. This sounds like a fantastic idea.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 5:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ElanaJ said...

What a great opportunity! We'll be advertising it on the QueryTracker blog this Friday. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 5:38:00 PM EDT  
OpenID annathepiper said...

Oh wow, thank you very much for giving us all a shot like this. It's very much appreciated!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 6:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Alessa Ellefson said...

I think this is a very interesting idea! One that forces the writer to really think his/her story through and be concise yet descriptive, and one that allows the agent to get a (hopefully) good sence of the writing style and story. All in three sentences :)

I do have a question though: if this proves successful, will you hold this competition regularly?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 6:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Amanda said...

Thank you for this great opportunity. It's a great idea and I will look forward to sending my submission.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 7:20:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's unclear to me whether the three sentences are supposed to be simply a mini-synopsis OR a mini-query letter complete with salutation, bio, signature, etcetera.

One's easy, the other is nigh unto impossible.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 7:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jen said...

Ooh, now to condense 93K into three sentences...fun, fun! Thanks for doing this, it's great!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 8:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Terri said...

Oy...that's a lot harder to do than you'd think!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 8:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Carol said...

Exciting opportunity! Thank you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 10:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Meg said...

Love the idea, totally entering.

This confuses me though. 150 words max? A 50 word sentence? That would be one heck of a run-on.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 12:26:00 AM EDT  
Blogger booklover said...

Can I submit despite writing novellas ?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 2:40:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful opportunity! I've just sent my 3 sentences. Thanks,
Sue Child

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 5:50:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jia Gayles said...

We are so happy to see how excited everyone is about this contest, and we can't wait to see everyone's submission. This is going to be so much fun! To answer your questions:

JohnO - All TKA agents will be participating in the judging.

ElanaJ - Thanks for spreading the word!

Alessa - Not sure, as of yet. We'll probably gauge when we'll do it again after this contest ends.

Anonymous - 150 words concerning a mini synopsis of your book only. Doesn't include salutation and such.

Meg - We'll we certainly don't want to encourage bad grammar. :)Just follow your instincts, and I am sure you'll be fine.

booklover - This call if for people who have full-length book manuscript prepared.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 8:10:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Lady Glamis said...

How fantastic! I'll be entering. Thanks for the opportunity!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 8:38:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Bill Greer said...

It's going to be a deluge.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 10:34:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous RS Garcia said...

I just saw the post Jia made. Will I be penalized if I outlined my novel instead of putting up a synopsis? I tried to give a sense of what it's about, rather than tell the story. Is that wrong?

*Worried she just blew her chance*

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 11:33:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Margaret said...

Hi Jia, I saw this on Twitter and asked the question of Deidre Knight there, but she hasn't responded, and another person has asked me now, so...

Are manuscripts that have already been queried to The Knight Agency excluded? I'm talking about submissions that failed on the query letter level, not ones that went on to partial, etc.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 12:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger bitsy said...

Neat contest! Do you accept graphic novel manuscripts?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 2:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Isis McGowan said...

I'm submitting some of my best work available--but I'm not too worried about winning or losing.

I've entered a myriad of contests before--in my life--and gotten nowhere fast. So it doesn't bother me as much as it does some people these days. (lol)

I just enter and go on with whatever it is that I'm doing.

Usually that's writing. (I play video games and read when I can.)

If I win, I *win*, but if not--? It's nothing to beat myself up over with. :0)

Still, it's good to see one agency reaching out to many of the unsubs out there.

Sky

http://starchilduniverse.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/skywriter35

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 3:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jia Gayles said...

RS Garcia -- The most important thing to do is present your work in a way that really "sells" your book to the agents in a compelling way. Makes them feel as if they got a general idea of what the book is about by reading the 3-sentance pitch, and based on that they want more. If you feel you did that, then you are totally fine.

Margaret -- If you queried us before and were told that we were not able to represent your submission, then it still holds true.

bitsy - We do not usually represent graphic novels.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 3:09:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous RS Garcia said...

Thanks so much, Jia! I really appreciate the prompt answer :-) As that's exactly what I was trying to do, all that's left now is to see if it's what you're looking for.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 3:25:00 PM EDT  
OpenID writermomof5 said...

Sounds fun! Do you want three sentences and contact info, book name and word count or just three sentences?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 3:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Marybeth said...

Backwards question to Margret's, What if you don't win the contest...are you still able to query for the same manuscript at a later time?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 3:38:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Margaret said...

Thanks, Jia, I'll pass the word.

I don't have a manuscript free to query at the moment, but maybe I'll have something together before you close submissions.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 6:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Kat Sheridan said...

A friend just sent me this direction. Oddly enough, I was just about to send in a standard query. This sounds lots more fun and challenging (and who doesn't love a writing challenge?!) Thank you for a great opportunity to get a foot in the door and have fun at the same time!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 6:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Kat Sheridan said...

And I can do 150 words easy (I pitched it to an editor in 50 words and got a request for a full!), but not in just three sentences! Wow! This is going to be tough!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 7:06:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Belinda said...

What a great contest! My question: What is the minimum word count for the completed manuscript?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 7:53:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dee Dawning said...

Hi, Are the sentences supposed to be consecutive from the book, any sentences from the book or made up sentences about the book?

Dee

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 9:39:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jia Gayles said...

writermomof5 - The title of your book as well as contact info would be helpful, and they will not be included in the word count restriction for the pitch. Honestly, though, it doesn't matter what additional info you enter or not...as long the agents have your email -- you are good. If they are interested, they'll contact you accordingly to ask questions about any additional information.

Marybeth - Yes, you can requery if your 3-sentance pitch is not chosen.

However, this is not to be confused with having sent in a FULL manuscript that was rejected by us before. In that case, you cannot be eligible for this contest unless you are submitting new material.

Belinda - There is no max on the final manuscript's word count.

Dee Dawning - You can present your pitch however you like. But I do suggest that what you use encapsulates your entire book. If you feel excerpted parts of the book will do the trick -- go for it. Or you might try just writing something entirely new that fully conveys your concept. Just be sure that the judges can fully understand your concept from the pitch.

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 10:05:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great and challening opportunity. Good luck to everyone.

FYI in the contest posting..."elligible" is a typo. Should be "eligible."

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 10:52:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous LJK said...

This is an exceptional idea, akin to the open call that new actors pray for -- or the American Idol auditions! I hope you find lots of good writers and this contest becomes a regular event.

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 11:10:00 AM EDT  
OpenID jimnduncan said...

Lol, April 20th! You guys are going to get sooo buried. Still, always great to see agents doing this kind of thing.

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 11:17:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Margaret said...

Jia,

Now I'm getting confused and worried I passed on the wrong answer. You said to Marybeth:

:quote:
However, this is not to be confused with having sent in a FULL manuscript that was rejected by us before. In that case, you cannot be eligible for this contest unless you are submitting new material. :endquote:

But you said to me (unless you didn't understand my question ;)) that if even only a query letter had been passed on before, the manuscript wasn't eligible for the contest.

So is the contest limited to things that have never been queried at any level but contest entries can be requeried? Since most query letters have only 2-5 sentences about the book, that seems odd, which is why I'm checking again.

Thanks,
Margaret

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 1:29:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Tricia said...

Unsure if you really mean just three sentences. Three small paragraphs with punctuation, or three sentences only??? If so, are commas and semicolons okay?
I think 150 words is doable, but three sentences is quite challenging.

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 2:08:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lisa Kessler said...

Thanks for the tricky exercise in making every word count! :)

I just sent mine in...

*crossing fingers and toes*

Lisa :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 3:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Fantastic idea and opportunity. Thanks!

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 3:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jia Gayles said...

Anon 10:52 - Thanks for letting me know. All fixed :)

jimduncan - Yes, the floodgates have now been opened!

Margaret - I am so sorry if I confused you. Maybe this will help clarify:

1. I think I confused you by saying full manuscripts. What I meant is if you've queried your manuscript at all to submissions@knightagency.net and we've passed -- then we will not look at it again for this contest. Simply because we've processed your full query before and found the project does not meet with our needs.

2. We don't want to prohibit you from re-querying us in the future with the same project if you do not win this contest. We realize that 3 sentences to represent your work can be a tall order. So that's why after this contest is over, if you are not chosen -- you can email a regular query to submissions@knightagency.net. But isn't it more fun this way!?! We're not trying to make it hard on you guys! Just thought this would be fun for everyone. We want to hear from you more, that's why we are rallying submissions!

Tricia - Yes, it is just 3 sentences, only. Please include proper punctuation, unless you are taking artistic license ;). Only words count. Just do a word count in Microsoft Word and it will do the job for you :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 3:44:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Belinda McBride said...

Hi Jia, just clarifying my question on manuscript word count. I have a completed manuscript that is about 46K. Is that too short?

What about novellas?

Thanks!

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 4:54:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cher'ley said...

I'm posting a comment because you said you wanted to hear from us more.

This is so great. It really takes the pressure off the extra things you put in a query.

It is fun and maybe it will be the "American Idol" of writing. If so, I'm glad I'm in on the first batch. LOL.

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 5:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

I'm going to hop in here on the world count question. Belinda, 46K is short for most novels, unless you're writing for the young adult markets. Novels for adults tend to range from around 70k to 110k depending on the genre, sometimes a tad longer or a tad shorter.

As for novellas, while we do represent them for our existing clients, we are looking for submissions of novel-length manuscripts. That is always true, not just for the purpose of this contest.

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 11:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Evangeline said...

I'm not entering since I won't have a completed manuscript by the deadline, but I'm taking this 150 word, three sentence challenge and applying it to my WIPs. It's proving more fruitful than I'd thought!

Friday, March 27, 2009 at 4:58:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I accidentally sent my pitch without including my contact information. Can I re-send the pitch with this information? Also, can we include title, word count and genre or does this count as part of the 150 words?

Friday, March 27, 2009 at 8:48:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Belinda McBride said...

Thank you Nephele! I thought it would be a bit short, but was hoping...

Friday, March 27, 2009 at 12:00:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Alicia Muhlestein said...

Okay, you're going to hate me because I've got a question that hasn't been asked yet; I've read the entire thread to make sure. You're probably thinking, "How complicated is this, people?"

What if someone has queried one of your awesome agents recently and hasn't got a response yet? Can that someone send in their super spectacular three sentences still?

Friday, March 27, 2009 at 3:06:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you submit a pitch on a ms that was turned down from the partial but has since been extensively re-written?

Friday, March 27, 2009 at 3:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jason Branch said...

Were we supposed to include a word count? I understood that you would be going purely off our 3 sentence summary and judging the entries completely on that. I only submitted 3 sentences, with nothing by way of introduction that could be construed as trying to work around the rules. For example, I did not include the book's title or word count. Now I'm worried that I should have.

Friday, March 27, 2009 at 5:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dawn said...

If nothing else comes of this, the contest has helped me with my query struggles.
Thanks.

Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 3:55:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Pete said...

Three sentences, 150 words.

Calls for deft employment of the most misunderstood of punctuation marks: the semi-colon.

Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 12:14:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Melissa Jeglinski said...

Hey everyone. I'm going to be posting a list of FAQ's soon.

But in the meantime, a lot of the three sentence pitches I have been seeing have had an extra short paragraph stating the title, genre and total word length of the work submitted. That's just fine and does not count as the final word count. If you HAVEN'T put that in your submission, do not worry. The goal of the contest is to just be intrigued enough by the pitch to want to see more.

For those worried about not having put in contact information, we will have your email address to get in contact with you, so there is no need to requery.

Also, if you have queried us and have not heard back from us yet, it's still considered a previously queried work and it's best you don't send that pitch in.

Also, several submissions have not had BOOK IN A NUTSHELL in the subject line. That needs to be stated in for the submission to be considered.

Monday, March 30, 2009 at 9:45:00 AM EDT  
OpenID elfmama said...

Just wanted to say thanks for doing something different-this has exercised my brain and sharpened my pitch. Thanks again!

Monday, March 30, 2009 at 10:03:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Belinda Frisch said...

In reviewing TKA's website, I find that there is not a lot of middle-grade represented (or I failed to see it). What are the genres you're hoping to see in the Book In a Nutshell Competition? Does middle-grade even have a chance?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 2:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jia Gayles said...

Hello Everyone!

The entire TKA team is thrilled by all of the great feedback we've received for this contest! Since a numnber of questions have come up regarding the rules, we have developed a FAQ document that can be accessed by clicking on the link contained at the bottom of this post. If you question has not been answered in the FAQ document, you are welcome to leave a comment and the document will be updated every Friday until the contest is complete.

Best,

Jia

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 3:22:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see from your website that you do represent category romance authors. Does this include short category? ie 50 - 55k novels?

Many thanks

Jackie

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 2:08:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jackie,
category, for publishers like Harlequin are usually between 50k and 60k anyway. Only superromance and Mira take more for a word count.
I think Blaze is the longest at 55k to 60k...

Hope that helps.

Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 12:46:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that. It certainly does help. I guess I asked because I was wondering if you accept pitches for this competition that target category romance, for example Harlequin Presents. These aren't as long as 70k but they are full manuscripts.

Many thanks for your time.

Jackie

Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 4:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Christina Farley said...

Saw this on the Blueboards! Thanks for such a fun contest.

Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 1:52:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Jillian said...

I've read your FAQ, but have a question that wasn't quite addressed:

What if one has queried in recent weeks, but has not received a response yet? May we enter the contest anyway?

Thanks!

Monday, April 6, 2009 at 4:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger S. Stockman said...

My manuscript is on at least draft two, but not finished as I can still pick it for months to come. The story itself is complete, however. Would this stage of readiness disqualify my manuscript?

Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 9:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Lea Schizas - Author/Editor said...

Argh! Why couldn't this contest come a bit later? I'm three quarters finished my novel, write tight, but still want to go over it.

Um...if you really, really like the pitch and the first few fully edited chapters, any possibility of turning a blind eye to a manuscript in the process of edits?

I know, I know...whop over the head, but a girl has to try.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 7:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Rachel Udin said...

I can summarize my book in 20 words and 1 sentence (because Anne McCaffrey said one should be able to otherwise they don't understand their book). 150 is too much... Must it be 3 sentences exactly or can it be 1 or 2 sentences (If you push me I can do 150 characters in a complete sentence too.)

Also what about simultaneous submission and multiple submission? The FAQ doesn't cover these basics.

Friday, April 17, 2009 at 9:17:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Leslie said...

Thank you for the opportunity! I pitched all three of my manuscripts and hope they will appeal to your agents!

Leslie Duvall

Sunday, April 19, 2009 at 11:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger worldofhiglet said...

It's now May 2nd and I know that people are wondering if the lucky winners have been notified. I certainly am, so please can you confirm this?

Will you be posting about the number of entries, diversity of books, ways people approached the '3 sentence' limit etc soon? Judging by the 68 comments here there was massive interest and it would be very illuminating to hear about how you went about sorting through the entries.

A very interesting exercise and I wish you and the winners all the best.

Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 4:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Amy Sue Nathan said...

I agree! I'd love to know about the winners even though I wasn't one!

Monday, May 4, 2009 at 10:04:00 AM EDT  
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