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Monday, March 7, 2011

Query Clinic

Some of you know I belong to a private crit circle. We started this group several years ago when I realized a need to critique entire novels instead of chapters. But this group was unique in another way. I invited very special people, writers who not only demonstrated considerable writing talent, but who were exceptional at disseminating and articulating the body of work in front of them. This is not an exaggeration. My CPs are brilliant.

Because we read and critique entire manuscripts, our group remains small. It takes a great deal of work to analyze whole novels. And it’s a responsibility each of us takes seriously.

Recently, after I hosted a Follow contest, someone asked if I would critique queries as well as manuscripts. I liked the idea. But there was one minor drawback. I’m not a big fan of critiquing work in public. So I think I’ve come up with an alternative as a gift for followers of this blog. I decided to create a group similar to my existing crit group.

If you would like to have your query reviewed in a confidential environment, I have set up a group that will review queries only. Email me (or leave a comment with your email addy) and I will send you an invitation to join.

This is an invitation-only group. And I will only accept members for a limited time.

There are only a few things I ask in return.

• Please be a follower of this blog.
• If you are critted, you must return the favor.
• This is a private group, which means anything posted there is confidential.
• Please use your real name (or pseudonym). This way, everyone knows who they’re dealing with.
• Queries MUST be carefully proofread. Submit the way you would to a real agent or publisher.

I do encourage you to forge relationships with other people in the group while you're there. Who knows? You could find a future crit partner for your novels after you’ve read each other’s query.

I should add that I have no personal agenda. Queries come very easily to me, and while I usually vet them through my CPs, I generally trust my gut and that’s worked out well.

If this query workshop is successful, we’ll do it again. If I’m not too busy, we might even open it to synopses later in the year. We’ll see how this one fares and go from there.

So is anyone interested? You can either email me or leave your email in the comments and I will send you an invitation. Please be sure you’re already a follower of this blog because Query Clinic is a private group and a gift to those who follow this blog.

Greg and I worked our tails off over the weekend dividing pens and finishing up a second chicken enclosure. We're getting ready for the great chicken relocation. With all the sawing and hammering, the chickens were watching the commotion nervously. I don't want to excite them too much because they're laying like crazy. The sooner we move them, the better. I'll try to get some pictures posted on Wednesday.

What did you guys do this weekend?


J.K. Coi said...

What a great idea, Maria!

Madeleine said...

What a lovely idea. I'm still in the throes of writing my MS at the moment.

Thanks, I had a lovely weekend with Hubby who is off for a week's holiday without me this week! :O) !

Darke Conteur said...

I spent the weekend looking up stuff, putting together blog posts for this week, and knitting! ONe and a half balls gone. Should have the scarf done within the next two weeks!

I never thought chickens would be skidish.

Ellie said...

What a great idea! I'm not at the querying stage, but I'll remember this for the future.

Dru said...

why are you relocating the chickens?

I spent the weekend reading and quilting.

Maria Zannini said...

JK, Madeleine: We'll see if it grabs any interest. What I hope will happen is that people get to know each other better.

Darke Conteur: Ref: Chickens
Oh, everything startles them. LOL.
PS Tried to email you on the addy you use on FB. I don't know if it worked.

Ellie: It's never too early to write a query, even if you're not ready yet. It's excellent for disseminating the novel to its base components.

Dru: We've reached the stage where we have to separate by breed so we can sell pure breed chicks.

Angela Felsted said...

Maria, you are very generous. I wish I were in a place where I felt comfortable participating, but I fear my query critiquing skills have never been wonderful.

Liz Fichera said...

Paying it forward. I like the idea of this!

Joanne said...

It's always nice to have another pair of eyes look over our work, queries included. I'm sure many great queries will come out of this, and hopefully agent requests for manuscripts, too!

Angelina Rain said...

Maria, I would love to join your query group. My email is . Also, I would love to find a critique partner as I don’t have one yet. The synopsis group idea sounds great too. I would love to be a part of that.

I’m glad to hear you’ll be posting pictures this week. I love seeing pictures of all your animals. Sounds like you had a good weekend. I hung out with my in-laws on Saturday and my own family on Sunday so it was fun.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I'm interested. My e-mail address is

Lydia K said...

This is an excellent idea! Right my my WIP is killing me softly, so I'll have to pass, but I hope you get a stellar crit group from this!

Michelle H. said...

I would love to be a part of the critiquing process, query or crit. I have 2 ms ready but no fresh eyes to take a gander. My email is:

Misha said...

Great idea! I would jump for the chance if I was busy with writing a query. All the best to you and those that you select.


Linda Leszczuk said...

Got a couple questions on the query crit group so I'll e-mail you on that.

Saturday was nice and warm - two basketball games (grandkids, indoors) and saw a good movie, Adjustment Bureau. Sunday, I froze my buns off (oops, guess not, they're still there). Spent the morning helping bail ice cold water out of my younger son's flooding basement and the afternoon sitting on a metal bleacher watchig my grandson (older son's son) lacrosse game. Brrrr. Still quite cold here in Ohio.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: That's what the query clinic is all about. If you're having trouble writing the query, here is where several people will give you suggestions.

Liz: Karma is a good thing.

Joanne: Writing is such a solitary business. It's good to get a little feedback now and again.

Angelina: Got you down. Give me until tonight to send out invitations. I'm away from my home computer right now.

Sandra: Got you down.

Lydia: Join up if you'd like to get some feedback anyway.

Michelle: Got you down.

Misha: With any luck will do it again later.

Linda: Ask away. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Everyone: I'm away from my desk right now. But I'll send out invitations this afternoon.

Don't be shy. If your query isn't perfect, then getting some feedback might be what you need.

Just leave a comment or send me an email if you want to join.

Jennifer Shirk said...

That's good! A private group is a nicer idea. :)

I cooked, I cleaned, and I read this weekend. Boring.

Kaye Manro said...

Wonderful idea, Maria! I hope this helps many aspiring authors!

On another subject(sorry) but I'd love it if you'd stop by my blog and join in the discussion with Heather Massey and friends from The Galaxy Express. We are talking about erotic sci-fi romance. Would love to have your input on this! Thanks.

jackie b central texas said...

Yay on the new group, congrats on the new chicken enclosure and hope the program with selectively breeding purebred chicks to sell pans out... We need more little chickies for people besides what agriculture centers (AKA Feed Stores) carry...

We went and took my sweeties new IPad back to Best Buy, he is going to get the new one ordered on the 11th when the 2nd generation IPad comes out and since will get it from Apple Store have his name engraved on it this time...
We also got my brand new Kindle DX and also a little 7" Pandigital multi media tablet that has all kinds of Internet capabilities as well as allows me to download my PDFS, EPUBS and Barnes and Noble nook books to it's ereader... The 7" tablet will go in my purse when we travel and the Kindle DX will probably stay home to read all my digital review books and my freebies from Amazon that have been on my computer since early 2010..

Also went to see "Unknown" with Liam Neeson yesterday and enjoyed a sunny but chilly weekend!

Theresa Milstein said...

That is a great idea. I don't have anything ready to submit right now.

This weekend was about being sick. Ugh! Almost made it through the winter unscathed.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: Boring is very appealing to me about now. :)

Kaye: It's still on my reader. I am way behind on my blog hopping. I should get there late tonight or tomorrow.

Jackie: I can't wait to hear about the iPad2. I am so unsophisticated next to you. LOL.

Theresa: Oh, hon. I'm sorry you've been sick. Stay under the covers and get well soon. And if you'd like to try your hand at query writing anyway, drop me a line.

Shelley Munro said...

That's a great idea, Maria. Queries are difficult to write and extra sets of eyes critiquing are always helpful.

I look forward to the photos of the great chicken relocation. The hens will probably settle down well once they realize they have an upgrade.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I've got a writing group, so I'll stick with them and let someone else take a shot if you accept them. Lookin' forward to seeing those chickens! They fascinate me.

Heather B. Moore said...

What a great offer, Maria. I have a crit group as well, otherwise I'd be interested :)

Charlie said...

You are so generous. And so right about the wonders of crit groups. They can be such a blessing!

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: The chickens always give me the evil eye for a few days as if they're saying: What are you up to now?

Barbara: Good critters are true gifts.

Heather: You?! You work always comes out great!

Charlie: Aw, thanks. I just wanted to give back in some way.

Victoria Dixon said...

Wow, sorry I didn't see this earlier. I love this notion. And I have to admit, I have a dreadful need for a new Beta reader, though more for my book than for queries. Either way, I'd love to be considered if the option's still open.

Maria Zannini said...

Victoria: Just send me your email address and I'll send you an invitation.