Your comments on how to do this were very helpful and it also gave me something to think about when people asked REALLY stupid questions at the book signing I attended tonight.
It struck me that it might be useful to see BOTH cover/query letters AND first pages together. I'm firmly convinced you have either a good query letter or a good first page but never both. Let's see if that holds up.
I can't critique all gazillion entries. The last writing contest almost killed me and KY was left to answer the phone for two days while I recuperated in a sensory deprivation tank in an undisclosed location.
It may be illuminating to see how the actual slush pile works.
Entries are to be a cover letter and first page. It should be from a work of fiction or memoir. Non fiction is acquired differently, so this crapometer will not be helpful for you. It will also not be helpful if you write children's picture books, or early reader books. It WILL be helpful if you write middle grade, or YA books.
Entries are a maximum of 750 words. You can divide it any way you choose, but if your query letter is too brief, there's a chance I won't even read your pages. The word count will be observed carefully but not cruelly. If you clock in at 751 I won't disqualify you; 800 however, yes. YOU are responsible for your word count. I use MS Word to count.
Entries must be sent in the body of the email. No attachments. Subject line: 3rd Irregular Crapometer Entry (or something similar enough that I know how to classify it)
Entries will be acknowledged and given a number in a return email. Hang on to that number, it's how you will be selected and posted on the blog.
I will do 100 entries. By "do" I mean I will read 100 entries in the same way I read my slush pile. I will post the entry and my comments. Several entries will be chosen for "partials" which in this case will mean a further 750 words or so. ONLY those selected will get more than the "slush pile review".
I fully expect we'll get more than 100 entries. To accommodate time zones, we will limit it to a 12 hour open period. I will give you advance notice. It will be at the end of August. Early and late entries are disqualified.
We will choose 100 from the incoming pile by some random number generator method, the details of which are in the hands of Card Shark Snarque and his devoted poodle Hope Springs.
His decision is not up for review or second guessing.
I STRONGLY urge you to take out all the italic and bold you use. I beg you to take out all the auto formatting you use. Fixing those just ate up time.
Cover letters must include "Dear Miss Snark" and some sort of closing: "love and kisses", "cheers", "you stink" something. You don't have to sign your name.
Your first page should be the first page you send with your query. If you haven't learned how much I hate prologues and epigraphs before this, well, you will now.
For the sake of the exercise, I will NOT auto strike any entries for "I don't take stuff in this genre". However, just a reminder: I'm clue free about SFF and most of romance.