Second Annual QueryFest

Date: May 18, 2022

Time: 6:30Pm-8pm

Location: Zoom

We’re delighted to announce the chapter’s second annual QueryFest! A true member perk, three leading editors and agents will be joining us to discuss the newest trends in publishing and best query practices, after which they will evaluate our members’ query letters in groups of four in private virtual rooms. These letters will be delivered in advance to give each group leader sufficient time to digest their contents and offer meaningful advice on how to improve them. You’ll also glean insight by listening to your fellow members’ queries and the advice given. It’s a great opportunity to polish up your pitch!

Thanks so much to the Query Advisors who will be leading this event:

Terri Bischoff, Senior Acquisitions Editor, Crooked Lane Books. Joining QueryFest for a second year, Terri began her life in books as a bookseller at Kramerbooks in Washington, DC. After moving home to the Midwest, she worked at a feminist bookstore before purchasing and operating Booked for Murder in Madison, WI. She spent 10 years at Midnight Ink as their acquiring editor and published 36-40 books a year. Terri has a wealth of experience and knowledge in both mysteries and in bookselling, particularly as a book buyer and reviewer. Terri’s interests lie in mainstream suspense, thrillers, quirky and humorous cozies, LGBTQIA, and diverse characters/storylines. She is also organizing Bouchercon 2022 in Minneapolis.

Michelle Richter, Senior Agent, Fuse Literary. Michelle Richter joined Fuse Literary in 2014 from St. Martin’s Press, where she worked on a variety of fiction and nonfiction including MELISSA EXPLAINS IT ALL by Melissa Joan Hart. She has a master’s degree in Publishing from Pace University. Michelle’s clients have won or been finalists for such awards as the Edgar, Mary Higgins Clark, Strand Critics, Anthony, Agatha, Lefty, ITW Thriller, Macavity, Barry, Derringer, IPPY, and International Book Award. She is a member of Sisters in Crime. Michelle is especially eager to find suspense and psychological thrillers with complex lead characters. BIPOC, LGBTQ, and disabled voices in fiction always welcome. Michelle loves unreliable narrators, stories of family secrets, friendships, and sibling relationships. Her favorite writers include Colson Whitehead, Celeste Ng, Ruth Ware, Laura Lippman, Megan Miranda, Lori Rader-Day, Jennifer Hillier, and Tana French.

Shawn Reilly Simmons is co-owner/publisher/editor at Level Best Books and serves on the Board of Malice Domestic. She is also the author of seven novels in the Red Carpet Catering mystery series. She’s also written several short stories which have been published in various anthologies, including “Burnt Orange” in Passport to Murder: the 2017 Bouchercon Anthology; “The Prodigy” in Mystery Tour, the Crime Writers’ Association Anthology; and “Now is the Hour” in Writers Crushing Covid-19. Shawn’s story “The Last Word,” appearing in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible, won the Agatha Award for Best Short Story of 2019. Shawn also won the Anthony Award as editor of the Best Anthology or Collection for the same anthology. In addition, her story “The Red Herrings at Killington Inn” received an Agatha Nomination in 2020 for Best Short Story. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers, and the Crime Writers’ Association in the UK.