Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Barbara Scott, Agent, Word Serve Literary, Welcome to Seekerville!

Impromptu Seekerville Contest Alert!

Yes, we've done it again! Barbara Scott has graciously offered to  look at your queries via a Seekerville contest! We'll choose the top five queries to go on to Barbara marked
"Special Attention!"
Barbara is avidly looking for completed manuscripts only, please and thank you!
Send your contest entries as two attachments to:


Please take note:
Send us your query letter as an attachment to an e-mail.
Send us the last page of your completed manuscript the same way, please and thank you!
You must be polite and stop by and leave a comment in today's comments section. That's the sociable thing to do, right?
Un-agented (unrepresented) authors only eligible.

How easy is that?
Barb's guidelines are printed at the bottom of her post and bio.
Contest is open as of midnight tonight, 1/31/2012.
Entries must be received as of midnight February 4th, 2012...
Please note posted rules for further instructions.

Winners will be announced by March 3rd, 2012 and announced in the Weekend Edition.
Possibly earlier. You just never know.  ;)

The winning entries will be sent to Barb who will then decide if she wants to see more.

Feel free to read about Ruthy's prize-winning query letter HERE
And if you scroll down past Ruthy's post, you'll find Tina's double post from 2008 on writing a great query.

And just so you know, your success is the best payback we can possibly have here at Seekerville. 
Working with the lot o' youse?
Makes our day!

When Ruthy asked me to write a blog about “firsts,” I was stumped. I’ve been involved in every area of publishing from newspapers to magazines to books, having logged in almost forty years as a journalist, writer, author, and editor. My firsts, I thought, had come and gone long ago.

Actually, now that I think of it, I wrote my first obituary for The Joplin Globe as a college intern in 1968 on a Remington manual typewriter in a noise- and smoke-filled newsroom. Computers had not yet been invented. Cell phones? Non-existent. Reporters called in their stories to me on pay telephones. Hot-lead linotype machines were used to make up each newspaper line on the page. As an editor I learned to read type upside down and backward when I had to cut a story. I must admit that I’ve seen my share of firsts in this lifetime.

However, as I wait patiently to see what waits for me in the New Year, I realize my life will always be filled with firsts. This year I retired as a fiction acquisitions editor at the top of my game, successfully launching the first fiction line published by Abingdon Press. I experienced retirement for the first time. I also experienced the angst of re-entering the work force as a literary agent: another first.

When I agreed to join Greg Johnson at WordServe Literary Group in mid-September, I wondered if there were any authors left without an agent. 

Would I have a first client? Oh, yes. In the first two weeks after the announcement went out, I had more than five hundred queries pour into my in-box, and they haven’t stopped, although they have slowed down to at least fifty or so a week. Yes, I receive that many queries.

How will you ever stand out in that crowd? Write a publishable manuscript first. I will not consider a fiction query without a full manuscript to back it up. Nonfiction is different. Write a proposal with a chapter-by-chapter synopsis and two cogent, interesting chapters.

Then do your homework about what types of projects each agent is looking for. Check out www.wordserveliterary.com for a list of what I will consider.

Now that you have a list of possible agents, write your query letter. Revise it, then revise it, and then revise it again. Are you unsure about how a word is spelled? Look it up and spell it correctly. If you can’t write a grammatically correct sentence in a query, I suspect your manuscript will be just as bad.

Dazzle me with a clean query letter that piques my interest in the first sentence and keeps me reading until the end of the letter. How do you do that? Read the back cover copy on a number of books in your genre. Then write a couple of paragraphs that are just as compelling in your query letter. Include a short bio paragraph, but you don’t need to let me know you’ve been writing since the age of nine. What have you written lately? Have you published on blogs, in magazines, or even a book? Are you active on social media?

Don’t forget the most important ingredient of a terrific query letter: prayer. I pray for my current clients daily, but I also pray that I will notice the authors that I should sign on. God has been faithful in answering my prayers. He will do the same for you.

I told Ruthy I doubted that I would have my first sale to report in this blog post, but I was wrong. I am not only negotiating my first nonfiction contract, but I just received my first offer for a three-book fiction series. God is a God of firsts. If you follow God’s will and work on your craft, your first sale is just around the corner.

Barbara J. Scott is an agent with WordServe Literary Group. She has been a book editor for more than thirteen years and has more than thirty years of experience in publishing: newspaper, magazine, and book. She is the best-selling coauthor of Sedona Storm, which sold more than 30,000 units in its first year of release, and the sequel Secrets of the Gathering Darkness, both published by Thomas Nelson.

She kicked off and acquired bestselling authors such as Brandilyn Collins and Melody Carlson for the Y.A. fiction line at Zondervan, and many authors in her fiction launch at Abingdon Press received rave reviews in Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal. Two of her most recent authors at Abingdon Press, Cynthia Ruchti and Richard Mabry, have both been nominated for Carol Awards by ACFW in 2011. The launch at Abingdon Press exceeded all sales expectations. One of her authors at Zonderkidz/Zondervan, Nancy Rue, has sold more than one million copies of her various children’s and YA series there.

Barbara’s educational background include a M.A. in English from National University, a B.A. in English from Missouri Southern State College, a Certificate in Film from the Mass Media Institute at Stanford University, a graduate-level course in child development from Calvin College, training in screen development with the Robert McKee Story Seminar in L.A., and numerous sales, management, customer service training courses.


Sedona Storm                                                                               Thomas Nelson, 1994
Secrets of the Gathering Darkness                                             Thomas Nelson, 1996
Is There a Man in the House (ghostwritten)                                 Higher Dimensions, 1997

A Good Sense Guide to Happiness in Your Business & Personal Life  Honor Books, 1998

God’s Little Book of Proverbs                                                      Honor Books, 1999
God’s Little Book of Blessings for Graduates                              Honor Books, 2002
God’s Daily Answers for Teachers                                              Elm Hill Press, 2003
Promises for You Today                                                               Elm Hill Press, 2004
Mothers of Influence                                                                     Honor Books, 2005

Contributor to Daily Grace for Teachers (2005) and Through the Night with God, In the Kitchen with God, and the Godspeaks Devotional, (1999-2000) all published by Honor Books.

What Barbara is Looking for:

Adult Fiction:
Full-length fiction, 65,000 to 100,000 words. General market or Christian market.

Genres: Women's, Romance, Suspense/Thriller, Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Historical, Family Saga, Amish, Political Thrillers, Mainstream, Supernatural/Speculative, including End Times.

Short contemporary and historical fiction, 40,000 to 65,000 words. Christian market.

Genres: Romance, Historical, Romantic Suspense. Will accept queries for Barbour, Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Summerside Love Finds You, and Avon Inspire.

Middle grade and YA books

Non Fiction:
Both Christian market and general market projects. Current Affairs, Political, Management, Sales, Money, Home Life, Marriage, Family, Parenting, Health & Diet, How-to, Popular Culture, Psychology, Science, Self-Help, Women's Issues, Devotionals. Author should have established social media, consulting, or speaking platforms.

Christian theology, apologetics, pastoral, spiritual growth:
I will only take on this type of project if the author has well-known credentials and/or a large established platform.

What am I NOT looking for?
• Gift books
• Poetry
• Short stories
• Screenplays
• Graphic novels
• Children's picture books

So guys, there you have it! In a nutshell, Barbara is telling you what she does and doesn't want and how to approach her! Fresh coffee and a la carte breakfast being served on the sun porch... Let's give her a great big Seekerville welcome and polish those entries!


  1. Since there's already coffee, I'm bringing hot chocolate and orange juice.

    What a publishing career! I'm in awe.

    Thanks for the visit.


  2. Welcome, Barbara! What an exciting contest - I know what I'll be working on tomorrow morning!

    Did I read this right? You've retired, re-entered the work force, AND you're working on both fiction and non-fiction books?

    I want to be you when I grow up.

    I've brought brownies to go with Helen and Ruthy's beverages. Ghiradelli triple-chocolate, fresh from the oven.

    They have zero calories after midnight, right?

  3. What fun! I was planning to query Barbara anyway, so this is perfect. Thanks for all of the insight. It's so helpful.

  4. Hey Barb! I'm so jazzed about your new career path... your clients are lucky to be represented by you! I will always think of you as the woman who launched my Christian fiction career by taking a chance with me at Abingdon. And as a dear friend. Many blessings in EVERYTHING you do!

  5. Thanks for the orange juice, Helen. That's my favourite morning eye-opener. I'm just taking fresh cinnamon rolls out of the oven ... will have a plateful to pass around just as soon as they cool a bit.

    It's lovely to find Barbara here and learn more about her. And how wonderful to be offered this contest opportunity! I'm off to shake a few wrinkles out of my manuscript.

  6. Barbara, you are amazing!!!

    And welcome back to Seekerville.

    Any far reaching back burner goals percolating? Climbing Mount Everest?

    Seriously. You are an inspiration.

    And who wouldn't want an inspiration on their team as their agent!!

  7. LOVE Seekerville!!! What an amazing opportunity!

    Where else can we get an in like this, with this kind of agent? Where, I ask you??

    Seekerville! I would spell it out, but I was never a cheerleader.

  8. P.S. 500 queries? Wow.... that's an awful lot!

  9. How awesome that you came to visit, Barbara. You have a lot going on. I have to agree, you are an inspiration. I may have to dust off a story and query. Thank you for the opportunity.

    And Miss Radcliffe I was hoping you would take pity on me and polish up my query as I fought with a drill and it won.


    No seriously, the bit had bite... but I suppose I still have my typing fingers and brain. I can figure something out if I get serious


    Tina Pinson

  10. Good morning Seekerville and welcome to contest central!

    Barb, I'm so happy to have you here, sweet thing!!! And huge hugs and thanks to you for letting us do this contest.

    As many of you know, Contests Rock around Seekerville. That's how we all met... Contest Divas.... and as long as no one messes with Tina's tiara, it's all good!


    Tina Pinson, ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Hugs to you, honey!

    SARA!!!! Go for it! So much nicer to land square on the desk than to be buried among the 500, right????

  11. Hi Barbara,
    Sounds like you've had an awesome career. I could really visualize the smoke filled office and all the sights and smells that go along with it. Congratulations on your retirement & becoming an agent. I know some folks that were sad to see you leave your position as editor, but I know God knows what he is doing. Good luck with Word Serve!

    Thanks for the opportunity Barbara and Seekerville!!!

  12. My goodness, you have a fascinating background! I love that you retired, then re-entered the work force as an agent...all the while writing on the side. Impressive!

    I love the idea of firsts, because I think it makes for an exciting life journey. Ever changing, ever neW...EXCITING!

    Thanks for the generous opportunity here today!

  13. Good morning Barbara and welcome to Seekerville. Thank you for taking the time to join us. And best wishes on your new career. You will continue to be a blessing to the industry.

    What an impressive resume and I love the start. Its difficult to imagine the days before computers and cell phones but I remember them well.

    Your advice will be so helpful, especially the part about starting with prayer. Thanks again for your generous offer to look at some Seekerville winners. From what I've seen in the past, you should get some great entries.

  14. Oh, the opportunity. : ) Well, my story isn't completed yet. Hopefully when it is, another of these opportunities will blow in. : )

    Good luck to all who enter, and thank you for your consideration and sharing your story with us today, Barbara. : )



  15. okay. dumb question. last page- double spaced?

  16. Welcome, Barbara! What an amazing CV! And thank you SO MUCH for the query opportunity for our many Friends of Seekerville!

  17. Thank you Barbara and seekers for the opportunity.

    Quick question before I send in my query. WordServe’s guidelines require the first 5 pages to be included with the query.

    Do you want this as well as the last page?

    BTW: You guys rock!

  18. Welcome to Seekerville, Barbara! OMG, what an impressive career. I cringe at your description of life before computers. Cut and paste are my best friends, LOL!

    Thank you so much for opening up the query contest to our Seekerville friends! What a terrific opportunity.

    Praying you have a wonderful day with us!

  19. Barbara,
    Thanks for this great post.
    And.... I'm so happy you mentioned Middle Readers. There such a need out there for well-written, thoughtful middle-reader books. I'm constantly in search of them for my kids.

    and THANK YOU, THANK YOU for adding prayer to the list of musts anytime a query or ms is sent. I think I'm so nervous when I send my work out that I can't do it without a good dose of prayer :-)


  20. Oh btw, the Memorial PCA is me: Pepper - I was working on a website for my church and forgot to log out.

    It's early.

  21. Pep, I'm kind of loving the Memorial PCA!

    Bridget, great question! For this we just want a query letter and the last page. Like Barb mentioned in her post, writing a great query that pulls the agent or editor in and then holds them captive (great imagery, right???) is essential. I've heard many agents and editors say they don't even read the opening paragraphs if they don't get caught by the letter.

    But thank you for clearing that up for us!

  22. Queries are terrifying things, consolidating the entire novel into something so compelling it just has to be read! Yet, if you can start and new career after retiring, I can certainly clash swords with a few paragraphs.

    Thanks for the opportunity,


    And SUPER CONGRATS on the move to Word Serve -- you are going to be a FABULOUS agent from everything I've seen AND heard about you!!

    Thanks for offering this wonderful opportunity to our readers -- you are a TOTAL blessing!

    God bless you in your new career.


  24. Wow, what a wonderful opportunity! Thank you Barbara and Seekerville! Excuse me while I go work on a query...

  25. Barbara, I so enjoyed reading about your surprising firsts.:) As a fairly new writer, I also appreciated the tips you offer for "dazzling you" with query letters. I'm not at the stage where I'm ready to query yet, but I'll be referring back to this post. The way you described it made sense. Thanks!

    Hoping to stop back here later today--Tuesdays are my busy days, so I don't have time to read now. :)

  26. Hi, Barbara! Oh my! I was supposed to send you a query this month and the month is already gone. My family's been ill one after another... going on 7 weeks now. Whew! So glad I saw this post today. Off to work I go on this. :D

  27. What fun to see Barbara here. And with an exciting contest too! Yay!

    Ah, Ruthy, breakfast on the sunporch. Perfect for this stuffy-head-winter-blues-no-energy-can't-think-straight day.

    Helen, I think I need your OJ this morning to knock out the sniffles.

  28. Is anyone else having trouble with the "Please note posted rules for further instructions" link?

    And did I hear someone mention cinnamon rolls?

  29. Jan, I'm sure Ruthy made cinnamon rolls. They are yummy.

    I brought a platter of fresh fruit to go with.

    And chocolate velvet coffee.

  30. Barbara, can't wait to meet up with you again in a few weeks at the Christian Writers Guild's Writing for the Soul conference. You always inspire.

    Ruthie, I think I'm entering the Genesis contest again. Sticking my toe back in. Why haven't I received a query from you for the Journal? Don't make me come down there!

  31. Hi Barbara,

    Thank you for offering this great opportunity!

    What an amazing career you've had. You've been on both sides of the 'book creating' process which gives you a unique perspective.

    After work today, I know what I'll be doing! Fixing that query letter!


    P.S. JAN D., read your story in Woman's World and really enjoyed it! So cute!

  32. Welcome to Seekerville, Barbara! It's amazing how much you've done in your career. Was/it as exciting as it looks? Or just hard work???

    The food looks great and I'm so ready for a mid-morning snack. Something sweet and a glass of Helen's orange juice.

  33. Barbara you have done EVERYTHING! Wow, good for you, girl.
    Thank you for the very clear list of what you're looking for in a great query letter.

  34. What an amazing opportunity Barbara has offered. I can't wait to read "The Call" stor(ies) that come out of Seekerville!

    Sherri Shackelford

  35. Barbara: WOW.

    Don’t forget the most important ingredient of a terrific query letter: prayer. I pray for my current clients daily, but I also pray that I will notice the authors that I should sign on. God has been faithful in answering my prayers. He will do the same for you.

    That is PAWMAZING (and oh so true). Thank you for being in Seekerville today. It's a wonderful spot!

  36. Welcome Barbara. Your list of accomplishments is quite impressive. Thanks for stopping by and offering this contest. How exciting.


  37. Wow. I'm tuckered out just from reading your bio.

    Thanks to you and Seekerville for this wonderful opportunity.


  38. Seekers you have done it again and thanks to you and Barbara for this opportunity! And a special thanks to Barbara for accepting YA and middle grade. Getting my polish out, going to make it sparkle.

  39. Good morning, Seekerville! I've had a cup of caffeine, although I'm not supposed to according to the doc, so I'm ready to answer any questions you have today. I'll pop on and off as time permits.

    Since I've lost 9 pounds since January 1, Ruthy, could I please just have a small bowl of fruit and some oatmeal? I know it's not as yummy as hot chocolate or cinnamon rolls, but I'm determined to take off the weight I gained after moving to Nashville.

    I'm astonished what a great crowd we have this morning! The early bird catches the worm as my mother used to cliche. My husband joined me for prayer time this morning, and it was glorious, so I'm late getting started.

    As for a glamorous career, I learned a lot, worked like a dog, and had fun, laughter, tears, and angst along the way. But that's life.

    Yes, I retired to regain the health that years of stress had stolen, but I feel younger and more excited these days than I have for years. I thought this would be a part-time job. Ha! I should have known it's in my DNA to jump off a cliff and trust the parachute will open.

    Some of you are published (Hi Jen!!)and some aren't, but always remember that publishing is a marathon not a sprint and you can't take back the bad writing you publish at the beginning of your career. Make sure that what you send is your best. If you've rewritten it once, that's not enough. I receive so many queries, proposals, and full manuscripts that are little more than first drafts. Writing is rewriting...and as Hemingway once said, "Good writing is true writing..."

    I wish you all the best!! When I was an editor at Abingdon Press, I picked up a lot of great fiction authors from Seekerville.But now I handle nonfiction as well. So dust off those computers and get to work, but do stop back in for Ruthy's afternoon snacks. I'd heard they're to die for.


  40. Barbara, it is SO GOOD to see you here in Seekerville today, and congratulations on your new venture as an agent with WordServe--AND those "first" contracts you're negotiating!

    It's incredibly generous of you to open your doors for Seekerville's query contest--but honestly, that's the Barbara Scott I know and love. I will never, ever forget my introduction to you through Brandilyn Collins's blog, back when you first took the helm as Abingdon's fiction editor. Your openness to new authors was my ticket off Seekerville's Unpubbed Island, and I'll be forever grateful!

  41. What a great post! I've enjoyed following Barbara on Facebook, and this was just a little more get-to-know you. :) Thanks for a great opportunity to query!

  42. Fixed the link, Jan. But it's the same as the usual.

    First born child.

    No drive bys.

    Contest Rules Here

  43. I know this isn't the first thing most people will take from this but...


    That's just right up the road from me ;). Always wonderful to meet someone in the industry from nearby :).

    I, too, am worn out just reading all the stuff you've done! And jumping back in with both feet?! Kudos to you!

    And what a great opportunity! I'll be working on my query tomorrow.

    Tonight, I party.

    Not really. But I do have plans with my BFF since she had to cancel on me last weekend.

    Pepper, dear - I thought that was you having a case of split personality ;).

  44. Tina Pinson. Step away from the drill. Get thee to a keyboard.

    Opportunity only knocks once. Well more than that here but you NEVER KNOW when she is coming around again.

  45. Couple questions, Teeeeeena.

    1. TNR 14pt? Just verifying b/c I've read 12 for most stuff elsewhere :).

    2. No biography paragraph in the query letter? Or just no name?

    3. Where do I send the first born? And will you take a different child instead?


  46. Myra, I remember my first visit to Seekerville and finding so many good authors on Unpubbed Island. I'm so pleased I was able to pull up in a boat and rescue so many of you.

    Do you remember the joke about the man praying for God's help after he got stuck in a tree when the flood came? Someone threw him a life preserver, but he refused to take it because God would save him. He continued to pray. A boat came by, and he refused to get in because God would save him. He continued to pray. Then a helicopter dropped a basket down for him to climb into, but he refused the lift because God would save him.

    Finally, God was exasperated and said, "I sent you a life preserver, a boat, and a helicopter. What more do you want?"

    Learn to recognize those God opportunities in your writing life. Sometimes all we need is a life preserver--perhaps a word that encourages us. Sometimes we need a boat--a contest we can enter. And sometimes we need God to send us a helicopter--an agent. So take that first opportunity you see and don't worry about whether you'll make any money. Allow God to rescue you.

    Don't know who that was for, but I hope it helps someone!


  47. Ruth is in charge of questions.

    The 14 TNR was utilized for first pages contests because that silly 12 TNR is too darn small.


  48. It's a virtual query letter so really no worries. You don't have to try to get it all on one page so just do the 14 TNR and save some eyeballs.

  49. Barbara, maybe your words were for me. I was thinking along the same lines last night...

    Tina, thank you for fixing the link!

    And Sue - I'm so glad you liked my story in Woman's World. It was fun to write :)

  50. Barbara, that story is a longtime favorite of mine. What a great reminder that answers to prayer may come in many forms...and not always the way we're expecting!

  51. *snicker*
    Carol, you are hilarious!

  52. Carol,
    Don't let the MPC fool you.
    I still do.

  53. Well, Ruthy dear, I guess my questions are directed at you.

    Where exactly in NY do you want those kiddos sent? ;)

    And - understand Tina :). Definitely don't want eyestrain for y'all. Too many books to write so we can read them. Then you do book signings in our area and we come see you. If you can't see we'd all get lost and that would be bad.

  54. Deb, sorry, missed this earlier! Just spaced like you would on a manuscript. Not for reading, just for showing the book is complete.

    But yeah, double spacing is normal so, sure.

    And chocolate, Deb. Chocolate is always good. ;)

  55. MIKEY!!!!!

    Can I send a query????

    To do fun journal stuff? Because I'm all over that. I have to put my article hat on. ;)

    But I love workin' with MIKEY!!!!


    I'm so proud of you!

  56. Thanks for this great opportunity!

    Barbara, congrats on your first sale and first fiction offer. Exciting times when we're following God through all the "firsts" he has planned for us!

  57. Carol, here's a trick/tip.... Don't bother with return addresses, business style mode, etc.

    This is a contest letter, so don't waste any space on anything but selling your first-born child to Barbara.


    And if that one's being GOOD today, sell the second-born kid.

    In other words, sell the brat.

    So jump right in with:

    Dear Ms. Scott, agent extraordinaire, possible new bff,

    xxxxxxxxxxx and on and on until you get to the end.


    Hope that cleared things up. Some.

    Remember, feel free to go back to my post and see the letter that finaled in Peninsula Pitch in '07 and got me into several editor's hands. I like my letters to reflect my warmth and humor (hey... do not say it! Don't you dare say it!!!)


    But I like them to also reflect the tone of the book. Smart and sassy and fun wouldn't work for some of my more serious stuff, but works perfectly for the humorous side.

    Trust yourself. Unless (like me) you're constantly getting yourself into trouble!

  58. Dawn, I'm with you. I love good, strong YA books.

    Go for it, chickie!

  59. Tina, thank you!!!!


    Gotta love that girl.

  60. I want the hook in that first line of the query. Have any of you ever studied screenwriting? Film types write a "logline" (pitch) of about 25 words to tell the story. That's how they pitch in Hollywood. Pitch me the same way. Google the phrase "script logline samples," and it will bring up numerous sites.

    Can't wait to read the winning entries!


  61. This is the first time I've stopped by Seekerville, but I'm so glad I did. It sounds like this is a great place to visit.
    Thank you Barbara for giving authors this opportunity.

  62. Hi Barbara! I'd love to participate, but my Christian Historical Romance is in rough draft form. I have a ready manuscript that would fall under the speculative/fantasy genre for time travel romance, but I noticed on your site that you don't accept queries for this genre. Thanks for the opportunity anyway, and God bless you!

  63. You know how there are moments in life where everything clicks like tumblers in a safe? All our experiences--good and bad--seem to now have a reason and place.

    Click, Barb. Click and open.

  64. Gwendolyn, I'm the only WordServe agent who will look at fantasy/speculative, but it's a hard sale. It takes time. :)

    Terri, I clicked and opened your manuscript last night and I'm several chapters in. LOL

  65. I just found this blog post on log lines: www(dot)thescreenplaywriters(dot)com/screenwriting-tips

  66. CAROL, I know! I freaked when I saw "Joplin Globe," too! :D

  67. Welcome, Emily. Look around, stop by Seekerville The Town

    The February 1 calendar goes up tonight.

    BIAM starts March 1.

    Have a snack....

    Then go get your query letter ready, for Barbara.

  68. Well, this was a nice surprise for the day and I hope hope hopity hope Barbara finds a gem or five in the Seekerville submissions. What a party that will be. I will be happy to go on ahead to Unpubbed Island, and sweep out the tents.

    Thanks Seekers and Barbara!

    May God bless the writers and submissions, and most importantly Barbara as she daily reads queries, looking for just the right story.

  69. What a great idea to do a query contest!
    Thanks for the opportunity!

  70. Barbara, thanks for your encouraging response! I realize that Christian speculative/fantasy is a hard sale, but since you're willing to take a look, I'll send my query :-) Thanks!

  71. Barbara, thanks so much for being with us today! Congrats on your first agenting sales!! Very exciting! :)

    We're so pleased you offered to do the query contest and hope you find some excellent stories!

  72. Emily, welcome to Seekerville! Honey, grab some coffee or a southern coke (which I've been assured just means any ol' soda) and set a spell!

    (I'm pretending I'm Missy Tippens. Or some other Southern cutie!)

    Gwen, there's your green light, honey! Go for the gold, sistah!

    Terri, that's hysterical. I love talking in code. ;)

    Everytime I tell Tina to "click this!" she thinks I'm being mean.

    Silly Tina.

    Deb, that means you're sending an entry, right???? Honey, I'm not sayin' we're getting old but come on... I'm referring you back to the TWO BOATS AND A HELICOPTER STORY. ;)

    Kimberly Rae... Honey, that's us. Loaded with great ideas, great coffee and a never-ending supply of chocolate! ;) You're talkin' to a group of gals that instead of competing against each other, we agreed to pray each other into publication... Now we've moved on to helping others.


    Good to have you here!

  73. What an opportunity! Thanks so much!

    What an impressive background, Barbara!

    And Seekers, thanks for being you. :)

  74. Opportunity, come right in! Sit right down, and make yourself at home. Hope you don't mind if I type while we visit. There's a query letter just begging to be written and a deadline fast approaching.

    We'll have a cup of tea, later.

    Thank you so much for being here!


  75. Whew! I'm going cross-eyed from all the polishing on my query! We're supposed to use Pledge, right? Or should I be using Turtle Wax?

    Maybe I'll just take a lunch break and enjoy a huge bowl of Ruthy's broccoli-cabbage salad. I like mine with sunflower seeds and raspberry vinaigrette dressing... Mmmm... And only 2 Weight Watcher's points - what can be better?

    Oh, of course! Chocolate for dessert!

  76. Great info for Seekerville, Barbara. Thank you!

    Loved reading your bio and your list of writing credits. You are one talented lady!!!

    Loved, also, reading about how God is directing your steps. He blesses His people abundantly, and He has blessed us today with your words of wisdom.

    Wishing you continued success!

  77. Hello Barbara, and thank you for this opportunity! I hope you find some fabulous writers among us Seeker friends!

    And thank you, Seekers, for hosting this contest!

  78. Good luck to everyone who enters!

    Barbara, thanks for the insight into your world!

  79. Whew! God's used you to accomplish a lot. What a testimony!
    Thanks for this opportunity.
    BTW, the rules say no published authors. Do I still qualify if I've been contracted for a novella but have no agent?

  80. I love spending some time on a lovely afternoon in Seekerville. Oh and i have my new Seekerville pen! Thanks!! I will use it a lot and hope someone asks me about it. And Jan, Turtle Wax definitely. The Turtle won the race right?

    I don't have anything ready to send but just got a new batch of motivation today!

  81. Wow! Lots of great comments here today. :) Barbara, I appreciate what you've shared here in the comments too. :) I wish the best to those of you querying Barbara! What an opportunity. Maybe I'll join in the fray in a few months, when I'm more prepared. :) Happy writing!

  82. With over 500 queries in your in box, Barbara you must have some story lines that are overdone.

    Care to share?

  83. Great post, and wonderful opportunity! I guess the polish is coming out for the rest of the week for my writing. :) Thanks so much for this chance! Whether I can manage to make the deadline or not. :) I just love that Seekerville helps out new writers like this. <3

  84. Jeanne, keep writing! I promise you will need to be prepared again in the coming months.

    Big smile.

    And I won't say more than that.

    Paula... sorry, I missed the published author rule because that was for our Love Inspired contest and that was unpubbed only. For this one, you must be unrepresented. So if you're contracted or published but do not have an agent, then yes, enter. Please enter. :)

    Mary Cline, always a pleasure, my dear and the pink pen becomes you!

  85. I had to actually work this afternoon. My helper buddy is home with sick kids so I'm darting in between babies and pick-ups.

    Stephanie, you're most welcome! I love working with Ms.Scott! ;)

    Jan, that salad has kept me out of a whole lot of trouble. And right now I'm hungry as a bear but work to do.... Send me food, okay? ;)

  86. Melissa, back at ya'!

    Caroline, I'll have my tea with lemon and sugar. Thank you.

  87. This contest is open to UNAGENTED WRITERS 18 years of age and older.

    Updated per the Ruthmeister.

  88. Wow! I can't believe how many comments have been made. I wish I could answer every one. Just know that I wish all of you the best in the contest!

    Now for that question about overdone storylines. If I see another paranormal YA with vampires and werewolves, I may join a zombie cult. Really?

    Remember, story is queen (who says it has to be king?) so message-driven books are a no-no. If I see one more query for a pregnant girl, a suicidal protagonist, a suicidal spouse, an "affair" to remember, or a literary novel that has no plot at all, I may go postal.

    Here's the deal. Do YOU want to read a book that ends on a sour, down note? Where's the inspiration folks? We need original conflict.

    Life is hard. We get it. These days, women want to escape into a world that's different than their own. That's why historicals and Amish are so popular now. So are light-hearted comedic contemporary romances. People will respond to your books when you inspire them and make them forget their own troubles for awhile.

    Americans need happy endings. Our faith makes us believe that all will turn out fine. All's well that ends well, and on that note, I'm ending this comment. :)

  89. Barbara,
    romantic comedies with vampires is probably out, right? ;-)
    Just kidding.

    But a romance with flesh-eating zombies? come on...doesn't that sound very Jane Austen-ish? :-)

  90. So a flesh eating vampire walks into a health food bar...

  91. Flesh-eating viral Amish romance with no insurance and trust that God will heal...

    Wildly contagious. And the research facility is responsible for the release of the mutated virus because they tried it on an unsuspecting Amish child...

    Now that's a Michael Crichton book!

  92. A quick Ruthy story before I head out to Sams to buy ink because Amazon wanted to charge me shipping...

    Whenever our cat has kittens, we quite often have several look-alikes. Last time it was 4 black and whites and one orange.

    Guess which kitten sold first?

    The point is the kittens were all beautiful and healthy, but one looked different. Don't be afraid to make yourself stand out either with warmth, grace, humor or a little snark to jazz up that query letter.

    I try to make mine sound like ME...

    only better. ;)

  93. LOL - Ruthy & Tina

    If a vegetarian vampire gets all sparkly and angelic, what does a vegetarian zombie do?

    Get a brain?

  94. Oooh, did I hear YA? Please, please someone write a great YA series and sent it to Barbara to send out!

    Those of us stuck with trying to find good YA for our kids will chip in and send you to Hawaii!

  95. It's fun to see how much you've written, Barbara, and to follow your career journey. Thanks for visiting, and especially for giving us a clear picture of what you're seeking.

    Ruthy, thanks for your great hostessing job, too!

    Gail Kittleson

  96. Ruthy, you sell your KITTENS? Who sells kittens?

    Cats are...cats. People put out signs that say "Free kittens" and my heart can hardly resist taking them all home. But yours are worth paying money for...

    Wow. Who woulda thunk it?

  97. Two boats and a helicopter? No, I don't remember that story ...at my age... Ruthy. Really.

    But I am really looking forward to any kind of party excuse we can come up with. Now that the Seekers have all had their FIRST SALE parties, I'm missing the place.

  98. What a motivational site. Thanks for this great opportunity. Love hanging out with like-minded people -- coffee, chocolate -- doesn't get any better than that. I will definitely be submitting my query letter for your contest.
    Blessings to all.

  99. Lois, welcome to Seekervillage! :)

    And I'm delighted to see how many folks are trimming, tweaking and fussing over those queries!

    Pam, there aren't all that many breeding cats here anymore. Out here on the farms, a mother cat is way better at doing her vermin and mousing job than a spayed female. But if people go to the animal shelter, it's over $100 for an adoption fee. That's a lot of money for a kitten, right? And then deposits for spaying and neutering.

    And honey, you know I'd sell a small child for monetary gain... :)

    Why not a kitten? (and my cat has gorgeous babies. I'm just sayin'!)

  100. Forgive me if someone has already mentioned this, but I just read the submission instructions and this doesn't sound like we are to submit a typical query letter.

  101. This is a wonderful opportunity! Ms. Scott is on my query list, so to have a chance to submit to her is very welcome :)

  102. Even holed up in my editing cave I take time to swing by Seekerville (and not just for the snacks, though those rock too). Ladies, I have learned so much here and wow - now a contest too. What a world, what a world, what a wonderful world *rubbing hands* Sweet Pete I have work to do!

  103. Hello Barbara!

    Thanks for partnering with Seekerville to offer this amazing opportunity!


  104. Barbara, thank you for sharing your firsts as an agent.

  105. I'm so glad I didn't miss this post today. Thanks for all the great information and for sharing it with us!

  106. Thank you for the contest! Just curious...why the LAST page?

  107. Linnette, let me help you with that!

    I don't think there is a typical query letter. Nor should there be. Your query should shine as if you were standing in front of Barb, selling her on your story, but with the grace of time and being able to pick your words!

    Generally in query letters, "atypical" is what stands out. You can use any format you like, and certainly it's a business letter, but your job is to make it grab the editor or agent by the throat and not let go.

    Figuratively, of course! I hope that helps.

  108. Christina, did you bring chocolate? And tissues? I would like both please.

  109. Jackie, I'm glad you didn't miss it either! ;)

    Sharon, great question! That's just to show us that the book is complete. Barb only wants to consider full manuscripts so we have to make sure the book is finished...

    Or we're suckers for that last, sweet kiss!

    S-M-A-C-K! :)

  110. Kimberly!!!! EXCELLENT! I love that you have a query list (good girl, doing your homework!) AND... that Barb is on it. She is amazing to work with. A true blessing.

  111. Marian, hey! Hugs to you! I'm glad you got a chance to swing by!

    Stephanie, glad to see you popped up out of the cave, sweet thing! :)

    And let me add again that I suspect there will be further opportunities heading into spring...

    The key is to write, write, write... finish the book. Most of the agents and editors we work with want a finished book before they'll consider a new author, so that's clutch.

    Go, girls!

  112. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity, Seekerville, and Barbara. The hot chocolate was great on this chilly morning.

  113. Barbara,
    It is encouraging to see the main advice you give for aspiring writers is prayer and the revealing truth through your resume that it will sustain them and grow their faith because God will take them where he wants them to be because of those prayers.

    Word Serve is blessed to have you and so are we subscribers to Seekerville.

  114. Shari,

    Just don't write this query letter is from Shari Green.

    No worries. We like to say that what we strive to do around here is give folks a helping hand. We are not looking to nit pick you.

    If there is a problem we'll tell you or remove it.

    Concern yourself with hooking Barbara Scott in.

  115. The most important -okay not MOST important-but an important part of the query contest consists of making sure to post a comment in Seekerville. No lurkers. You have to be brave.

  116. what an excellent idea! thank you for conducting this contest.

  117. My dad would never let me say good-bye. He always said, "See you later." I get it now. This has been a terrific experience for me, and I hope I've met a lot of new friends.

    Invite me back, Ruthy. I'm a sucker for your virtual chocolate turtle cheesecake. No calories, right?

    If you're new to Seekerville, you're in for a treat. You never know who will stop by for dessert. :D

  118. I'm a day late, but I wanted to say what a tremendous and generous offer. Enjoyed learning about you, Barbara.

  119. Barbara,

    I feel like this contest may be the "life boat" I needed. Maybe this will be the contest where the love I have for my story will shine through and touch another soul. Thank you for your time.

    Scott Yingling

  120. You guys are a hoot! I love seeing new faces. Seriously, if you love writing, no matter what level you're at, we've got something going on for you.

    Yes, for the contest, comment.

    It's one of our things because it's nice, polite and it gives you a 'voice' over and above your entry. If I tell you that editors and agents lurk here often, will it make you nervous?

    It shouldn't. And it's true. I don't know an editor or agent that doesn't want our writing to continue to improve... Not a bad goal, right?

    So, yes, leave a comment and then follow the rules which are as basic as we can get them.

    And chocolate for the sharing table is always welcome!

    BARB!!!! We loved having you! Always a pleasure and yes, we'll have you back later in the year. See how things are going and see if we can't find folks to fill any still-vacant spots.

    I learned all about cooperation on Sesame Street. ;)

  121. Since I'm a tea gal and don't have time to read ALL these comments, I'll just bring my own (and some to share). I'll be the good girl and bring some celery, and carrots, but save me some chocolate. :)


  122. Just found this blog! What an awesome opportunity! Thank you!

  123. Ginger!!! I'm all over that salad stuff honey! :)

    Thanks for the donation to the table... I'll munch and crunch while I work tonight.

    Kelley, welcome aboard!


    We have fun here and we're tickled pink you found us! Hey, Ginger brought food. Do you think Ginger might be related to Pepper????

    On another note, on Blue's Clues Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper had Paprika and Cinnamon.

    How do you suppose that happened???

  124. Thanks for the opportunity!
    Debbie Herbert

  125. I am new to this blog and I'll definitely submit an entry. I love the idea of sending the last page!

    I enjoyed reading that Barbara seeks God's wisdom when searching for clients.

  126. Barbara, thanks for coming to Seekerville and telling us about your career. What a career! Thanks for doing the contest--what an opportunity you're offering.

  127. Wow! Miss a day on the blog-o-sphere and you miss a lot! I'm coming out of lurker status, being brave and posting here:) Thanks for this opportunity, Barb. Your career amazes me, but what stood out to me the most was how you pray over who God wants you to take. Love your heart.

  128. Welcome, Barbara! Sounds like you've started off your lit agent career with a bang! This is so exciting! :D

  129. This sounds fantastic! Thanks for the opportunity!

  130. I hate that time constraints keep me at lurker mode most of the time, but I've really appreciated Seekerville over the years, especially the upbeat tone!
    Thanks for this contest, Seekers & Barbara!

  131. It looks like I started following Seekerville at the right time! Thanks for this really great opportunity.

  132. This is the first I have seen this blog. It definitely looks worth coming back to. I'm sure the agent's like having you screen submissions and it is a great opportunity for us. Thanks!

  133. So excited about Barbara Scott! I met her at an ACFW conference and loved listening to her. Wonderful way to connect with her again on Seekerville!

  134. This contest is going to be exciting! Love your blog and all the heads up on other writing fun!

  135. I missed the deadline, but the contest has me wondering about my "last page." Meanwhile, Barbara, thanks for the publishing/writing tips.