agents,  blogging,  publishing,  writing

Literary Matchmaking

A lot of writers have compared the process of finding a literary agent to online dating. Sending out a query letter about your novel is like creating that perfect online profile–with just enough information to pique people’s interest and leave them wanting to find out more, but not so much information that you come across as desperate, egotistical, or just plain crazy. All the while, you’re waiting for someone to fall in love… with your writing.

One blog, Cupid’s Literary Connection, takes the dating/querying analogy literally. Cupid, the mythical creature behind the blog, is an anonymous, agented author who has dedicated her entire web space to contests, agent and publisher Q&A sessions, and writing tips— all geared toward the ultimate goal of helping writers find their perfect literary match. The best part of all of this? The contests are all free or charge a small fee that goes entirely to charity.

For the next couple of weeks, Cupid is hosting an epic contest called “Come and Get It” (#CAGI).   If you are a writer with a completed, polished manuscript in the genres of middle grade, young adult, new adult, women’s fiction, romance, historical fiction, thriller, commercial fiction, literary fiction, or memoir (whew!) … you should consider entering! And here’s why:

First of all, I am judging.  Heh, heh. Seriously, though. I am one of ten judges, all agented and/or published authors, who will be critiquing and selecting entries that will move on to the agent round.  And I am hungry to read material that knocks my socks off. (If I know you, though, and have already read your work, I will of course have to recuse myself from judging your entry).  Second, it’s only $4 to enter, and the proceeds will go entirely to book donations for a hospital unit for children.  Third, and most of all, the contest is a great opportunity to get your work in front of not one but FIVE literary agents who will be perusing entries, making requests for material, and picking winners. There will also be an awesome auction component after the initial round of judging.

Back before I signed with my agent, I entered a contest on Cupid’s blog, and I really think it helped get my query letter in better shape. I also had a ton of fun meeting new writers to celebrate and commiserate with on the road to publication. A contest win on a similar blog this past spring led to my first offer of representation from an agent, which led to more offers from agents who were considering my work, including one from my now-agent, the awesome Christina Hogrebe at Jane Rotrosen Agency.

So there you go. Get over to Cupid’s blog, read the details on how to enter, and DO IT. 50 entries have already  been posted, but there will be another window for an additional 50 people to enter this Friday, Sept. 7, at 8PM EST. Good luck, and go and get it!


  • Ann

    While I didn’t get any requests, the process significantly improved my query.

    As a result of the improved query, I’ve had two new requests.

    I’m positive I wouldn’t have taken the query up those notches w/o Cupid.

    Thanks again for the tip, Susan!

  • Julie Sondra Decker

    Wow, you ended up with your agent because of a contest? That’s slick. I actually participated in a collective contest once too–The Writer’s Voice–but it didn’t end up leading to anything for me. (I ended up succeeding through good old-fashioned querying, but still, I had a blast in the contest so I’m glad I did it.)

    I had fun judging and I’d do it again. If you feel the same, maybe I’ll see you next time. 🙂