Live Query-A-Thon with Literary Agents Kate McKean & Jim McCarthy: March 13 Webinar (w/ Query Critique)

In this live webinar, literary agents Kate McKean and Jim McCarthy invite you to peek behind the curtain and watch exactly what happens when an agent considers your query. Working from the submissions they receive (all queries will be made anonymous), participants will have the chance to read along with them as they decide whether to stop reading or carry on. You’ll see the exact moment in query letters that each perks up or passes. Think of it like American Idol: Query Edition. Along the way, you’ll garner helpful tips on what to avoid as you write your own query, how to stand out from the pack (in a good way), and what goes on in an agent’s mind as they consider your material.

It’s called “What an Agent Really Thinks While Reading Queries: A Live Query-A-Thon,” and it happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, March 13, 2014. All attendees get their query critiqued by the agent instructors. The webinar lasts 90 minutes. At least four agents have signed writers after critiquing their work as part of a WD webinar.


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All registrants are invited to submit their query letter and the first 500 words of their novel. All submissions are guaranteed a written critique by either literary agent Kate McKean or Jim McCarthy. Sign up for the webinar here.


All registrants are invited to submit their work to be discussed during the webinar. If you would like to be included, please send your critique materials according to the critique submission instructions below to both and BY WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 2014. Jim and Kate will remove your name and contact information, but your work will be visible to all webinar participants. The agents promise to be nice, so don’t be nervous! Share! Those who are chosen to be critiqued during the webinar will still receive written critique.


  • What exactly goes through an agent’s mind as they read your query
  • How to avoid common pitfalls in query writing
  • Clichés and phrases to avoid when writing about your work
  • The exact point at which agents stop reading queries, and why
  • How to win an agent over as simply and cleanly as possible. Sign up for the webinar here.


Kate McKean is a literary agent at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency in Brooklyn, NY, where she has worked for over seven years. She earned her Master’s in Fiction Writing at the University of Southern Mississippi, and enjoys both the creative and business aspects of her job. Her clients include Madeleine Roux’s New York Times bestselling YA novel ASYLUM, and New York Times bestselling humor book I Can Has Cheezburger. She is most interested in contemporary women’s fiction, middle grade and young adult fiction.

Jim McCarthy is Vice President and literary agent at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management in New York, NY. He has been with the agency for 14 years, initially starting as an intern way back in the ‘90s. He represents a wide range of fiction, adult and young adult, commercial and literary. He is also seeking narrative nonfiction, particularly memoir, history, and pop culture. His clients include New York Times bestsellers Richelle Mead, Victoria Laurie, Alyssa Day, and Morgan Rhodes.


  1. Anyone interested in how the query process works
  2. Writers currently composing a novel who want to make sure their work gets read
  3. Writers who have been rejected by agents and editors, and want to evaluate why their query didn’t make the cut
  4. Writers who want a professional critique by a literary agent
  5. Anyone intimidated by writing queries or by literary agents


 Sign up for the webinar here.

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