QueryFest FAQ

Q: How do I know whether I should attend PitchFest or QueryFest?

A: If you have a completed, polished novel that you’re trying to sell, PitchFest may be right for you. If you’re a newer writer who may not be quite ready to pitch, or an experienced writer who might need advice on your career path, QueryFest may be right for you.

QueryFest’s 15-minute sessions can also help better prepare you for PitchFest, increasing your chances of making a good first impression on that agent or editor you’ve been eager to meet. This may also be a great opportunity to express how your work has improved since the last time you met with that agent or editor and seek further advice on the next steps.

Please, no pitching during QueryFest.

For questions from writers about QueryFest, Director K.L. Romo can be reached at klromowriter@gmail.com.

For questions from writers about PitchFest Director Susan Lee can be contacted at susan@thrillerwriters.org.

See below for more information.

If You Are A:Then You Should Attend:
Writer with Completed Polished Manuscript to SellX
Writer Not Yet Ready to Sell a MS and want AdviceX
Writer Wondering if the MS is Ready to PitchX
Writer Seeking Help on Query LetterXX
Writer Wanting to Check Out the Process Before Pitching Next YearXX
Self-Published Author Seeking Traditional PublisherXX
Self-Published Author Seeking Advice on What to Do with Self-Published WorkXX
Self-Published Author Seeking A Sale of Movie Rights (Producers don’t always attend PF. Check website for confirmations)X
Self-Published Author Seeking Career AdviceX
Published Author Looking for A New Agent or EditorXX
Published Author Seeking Advice on a New ManuscriptX
Published Author Seeking A Sale of Movie Rights (Producers don’t always attend PF. Check website for confirmations)X
Published Author Seeking Career AdviceX



  1. Q. What exactly is QueryFest and when is it?

    QueryFest allows new writers and emerging novelists to receive insightful advice on their first two pages, their query letter, and/or their synopsis from experts in the publishing industry. This event was created with a different focus than PitchFest, to be more educational in nature. Writers can sign up for a maximum of five fifteen-minute appointments from Wednesday, June 18th thru Friday, June 20th.

  2. Q. Should I attend QueryFest or PitchFest or both?

    If you can do both, it’s highly recommended. PitchFest helps you network with the industry’s top-selling agents and editors in very short bursts, hopefully making that special connection that will lead to a sale of your work. QueryFest offers an opportunity to consult with experts to perfect your manuscript or query letter, improve the marketability of your writing, and field career path questions.

    Please see the table above PitchFest/QueryFest table for more specific guidance.

  3. Q. Will the same industry experts at QueryFest be attending PitchFest?

    Because the two venues are so different, some experts will participate in both opportunities, although the majority choose one or the other. The editors and agents who want to meet authors with completed and polished manuscripts attend PitchFest. If they like your pitch, they will request a partial or full manuscript to review your writing and determine if they can take your novel to market.

    At QueryFest, a writer commits NOT to pitch to the editors and agents. Instead, attendees are there to ask for advice. It’s not that these agents and editors aren’t looking for talent, they just don’t want to hear a pitch. Instead, they prefer to review your query and/or manuscript pages and advise you on your work. QueryFest offers an opportunity for the agent or editor to meet authors and review writing samples in advance. This allows many industry experts who prefer not to “hear pitches” to offer valuable advice to inexperienced writers and to others who are looking to move their writing in a new direction. But magic has been known to happen via QueryFest with connections between writers and experts blossoming.

  4. Q. What do I have to submit to attend QueryFest?

    To be eligible for a consultation, writers must submit the following by no later than May 1 to assure experts have the necessary time to review.

    Eight pages maximum in a Word Document (to make it easier for experts to make notations) or PDF format (if Word is not available), titled with writer’s name (ie: “Jane Smith”) to include:

      • One page with a brief statement about the specific aspects of your query package you’d most like feedback on.
      • A one-page query letter addressed to “Dear Agent/Editor:” single spaced, letter format, 12-point font, 1” margins.
      • The first five-pages of a manuscript (NOTE: only two-page critique guaranteed), double-spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins, noting writer’s name at top and working book title.
      • A one-page synopsis of novel or non-fiction work, double spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins.

    Only one eight-page submission is required for any number of consultations you choose to purchase, or you may submit a different package for each expert you’re scheduled with.

  5. Q. Can I ask the expert to focus on the query instead of the manuscript or on the manuscript instead of the query?

    When you sign up for a consultation, we will ask you to decide whether you would like the experts to review your query letter or the first two pages of your manuscript. If you sign up for more than one consultation, you may choose how many agents/editors will review the letter or the manuscript pages. We will let your advisors know. Under no circumstance will we choose for you. If you do not decide in a timely manner, your agent or editor may not receive your submission for review in advance of your consultation.

  6. Q. Where can I find information on creating query letters and synopses along with more guidance on writing?

    Following are links to some wonderful advice from experts on…

  7. Q. Can I choose who I want to see during QueryFest?

    Yes, you will be able to schedule your own appointments with experts through Sign-Up Genius (or a similar scheduling program). More information will be available as QueryFest draws nearer.

  8. Q. Can I request back-to-back consultations with the same industry expert?

    No, this option will not be available in 2024 to allow more writers to schedule time with experts.

  9. Q. Can I get the expert’s contact information to communicate with him or her after QueryFest?

    Sometimes the agent or editor shares their contact information and sometimes they don’t. At ITW, we are protective of the experts who volunteer their time to help you, so we do not give out any contact information unless they give us permission to do so. And we ask that if you need to contact the expert for ANY reason, please go through the QueryFest director (and do not contact the experts directly). Thank you for understanding.

  1. Q. How long is my time with an industry expert, and what does it cost?

    Writers pay $78 for 15 minutes of consultation time at QueryFest with the best editors and agents in the industry offering feedback on ONE of the following:

    • Advice on a one-page query letter where the topic of the discussion focuses on tips to improve the writer’s approach to an agent or acquiring editor.
    • Advice on the first two pages of the writer’s manuscript to help the writer improve his or her craft before approaching an agent or acquiring editor.
  2. Q. What do I get out of a consultation?

    We can promise you will get as much out of the consultation as you put into it. We’ve designed this event for you to get advice on ONE of the following:

    1) how to improve your pitching skills so you can entice an agent or editor through a query letter.

    2) how to improve your chances of selling your manuscript via a critique of your first two pages.

    3) steps you can take to better guide your career path. We suggest you prepare questions to ask the experts in advance.

    Writers who attend QueryFest are amazed at how much help they receive in a short time. The agents and editors can also offer suggestions on common submission requirements, in case they decide to read more about you and your work. Although it’s not required for them to read anything more than the query letter or first two pages of your manuscript, many of our experts do read more (which is great news for you!). We require that you submit eight pages in total—a statement specifying what you’d like feedback on, a query letter, the first five pages of your manuscript, and the synopsis—as described below.

  3. Q. Can I pitch my work to the agent or editor at QueryFest?

    We ask that you DO NOT pitch your work at QueryFest. Most of the experts who volunteer their time for this event would prefer not to hear pitches and expect you to honor that preference. However, if they ASK you to pitch them, please feel free, but only if they specifically ask.

  4. Q. Can I ask the expert to give me feedback on both the query and the manuscript?

    Each 15-minute consultation is designed around either the query letter or the first two pages of the manuscript, but not both (although experts will frequently give advice on both). We suggest you also provide a statement with your submission indicating the specific aspect of your query package you’d like feedback on.

  5. Q. Why do I have to submit a synopsis, a query, and manuscript pages if I only want advice on something specific?

    The agents and editors from the inaugural year of QueryFest asked if they could receive more pages representing your work (although they are only required to read the first two pages). Some experts will read everything you submit just to give you advice on a single page, and others will focus only on your specific questions and won’t read anything other than that work.

    Even if the agent/editor doesn’t review all eight pages, it is in your best interest to submit enough of your work for the experts to read. If an expert is interested in your writing, submitting all three documents—query, manuscript, and synopsis—will provide more of your writing to evaluate.

  6. Q. With QueryFest, there may be some things you are—or are not—expecting.

    QueryFest is designed to provide expert advice on your work. That’s it. Everything else is gravy.

    If you’re ready to hear honest, direct feedback from agents or editors, this is the event for you. If not, you will probably walk away disappointed. Even if your writing is stellar, you can always learn something new.

    Whether or not you agree with the advice you receive, please don’t argue with the experts about their opinions. It’s fine to clarify your intent or offer more information if it helps the expert understand your work in more detail, but arguing with them about their advice will just frustrate both writers and experts. Invest your time wisely and redirect the conversation with a pre-planned list of questions.

    Remember, a writing journey is all about differing opinions on the same body of work.

  7. Q. How do I sign up for QueryFest?

    When you register for Master Class, CraftFest or ThrillerFest, you will be eligible to sign up for up to five QF consultations (no double sessions available this year to allow more writers to participate). If you have already registered, simply email the registrar at registrar@thrillerwriters.org. If you sign up for more sessions than agents or editors left with openings, we will contact you and provide a refund.

  8. Q. Should I bring anything with me to the consultation to give to the industry expert I’m assigned?

    We recommend bringing a business card with your contact information. This saves time taken by the agent or editor to write it down and eliminates transcription errors. (We’d hate to have you miss an email from an agent or editor because of a misprinted email address.)

    We also strongly advise that you bring copies of your 8-page submission, in case the expert is unable to refer to your submission due to last-minute IT or printing glitches.

  9. Q. If I’ve already registered for ThrillerFest events, how can I sign up for QueryFest or PitchFest or both?

    If you have already registered, simply email the registrar at registrar@thrillerwriters.org. Sign up for up to five consultations (no double sessions available this year to allow more writers to participate). You’ll then be able to choose your experts as long as they have appointments available. Note: This year we will close both registration and consultation scheduling on May 1, the firm deadline for submitting material to the experts. See you in 2024!

  10. Q. Has anyone ever received representation from an agent or a book publishing deal by attending QueryFest?

    Absolutely! A side benefit to connecting writers with agents and editors at QueryFest is that sometimes the expert finds a writer particularly interesting. Connections certainly do happen, and the agents and editors are just as excited as you are when they do. Their job is to find you, that special talent, so be the best version of yourself at QueryFest.

And one last note:

We love coordinating these events for our attendees, but please be patient with us—we’re all volunteers.

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