Note: The FAQ uses ‘queer’ as a shorthand for LGBTQIA+.
Do I have to be queer to participate in QF?
We ask that writers either identify as queer or at least are submitting a queer manuscript. You do not have to provide proof and we don’t require that you out yourself; not everyone has that luxury.
Will authors be required to self-identify as queer to participate?
We will not ask authors for any personal information. We hope that people will understand this is a program designed to reach underserved authors and will honor this spirit. However, we also believe that fiction is a safe space for people to explore the contours of their identity and strive to be as open and inclusive as possible.
Am I queer enough? What if I’m bi but in a heterosexual relationship? What if I’m…
We aren’t arbiters of queerness and we will not tell you if you’re queer or not. If you identify as queer, whether or not you’re out or how you present online or offline, you are welcome to submit. None of us is going to grill you about your queer credentials.
What do you mean by a queer manuscript?
A manuscript where the main character (or one of the main characters) identifies as queer, AND/OR where queer issues are the primary plot focus. We understand a lot of this is subjective (e.g. what counts as a main character?) so applicants and mentors will use their own judgement.
Are all the Queery Fest mentors queer?
We do not require either mentors or mentees to be publicly out or to provide evidence of their identification. Mentors are vetted to ensure they are staunch allies of the full LGBTQAI+ spectrum.
What does a mentorship involve?
The mentor’s aim is to get the mentee and their manuscript ready for querying literary agents. What that involves depends on the individual manuscript and author, and will look different for each team. At a minimum the mentor will provide an edit letter with suggestions for making the manuscript stronger; help shaping an effective query letter and synopsis; and advice on querying etiquette and industry standards. Depending on the manuscript there may be multiple rounds of edits.
Will there be an agent showcase, or agent round?
In a word: no.
This is our first year and we expect Queery Fest to grow and change, but for now, the focus for QF is on development–of the writer and their manuscript. Our mentors’ aim is to get their mentee and their mentee’s manuscript ready for traditional ‘cold’ querying.
What are the benefits of being a Queery Fest mentee?
Mentorship from an experienced author or industry professional, who knows how the industry works and can give you solid advice and guidance. We cannot guarantee you agent representation or publication, but we’ll do our best to get you there.
Is it free?
Yes. You will never be asked to pay anything for Queery Fest.
So what do the mentors get out of it?
Mentors are doing this purely for the love of writers and books, and their passion for helping get more queer fiction on the shelves. Mentors work for free. We provide buy links for mentors’ books, but nobody submitting to Queery Fest is obliged to buy them.
Who runs Queery Fest?
You can find more about us here.
Will my manuscript be safe when I’ve submitted it?
As safe as it is when you send it to a reputable agent or publisher. Your manuscript will not be shared with anybody outside of Queery Fest and will only be seen by the QF team and mentors. These are all published authors with their own WIPs (works in progress) and future ideas, and their own writing styles. Stealing your work would provide no benefit to anybody but would carry a significant risk.
Do I need to copyright my work before submission?
No. The copyright is yours the moment you produce the work, whether or not you register that copyright with the appropriate body in your country. Queery Fest will not own any part of your copyright.
What are the dates for this program?
The calendar can be found here. Mentors will have one month to request more information and make selections.
How do I submit?
Submission guidelines can be found here.
Can I submit if I have other self-published works or if I was previously agented?
Yes. We are aware that sometimes we need a second chance. As long as you don’t currently have an agent and the manuscript your submitting hasn’t been published, then you’re good, even if you’ve already queried it extensively.
How many MS can I submit?
Only one MS. If you have multiple MS to choose from, pick the one you feel is the strongest.
How long will the mentorship run?
There will not be an agent round for this program. As such, our goal is for mentees to have a polished manuscript and querying package ready to go by September.
I’d like to volunteer to work behind the scenes, how do I get involved?
Check this link: http://queeryfest.com/how-to-get-involved/