I'm paddling around in the sea of incoming queries today and I've noticed many of you have been busy entering contests.
That is a good thing.
Don't tell me about it.
Particularly don't tell me about it if you not only didn't win, you didn't make the finals or the short list. Same for prizes at your school.
It doesn't help you to tell me that 25 people finished ahead of you.
Writing contests don't mean much anyway, from my standpoint, but mentioning them without the qualifier "I won" means I know you didn't. You're essentially saying "I entered and lost." You can see how that doesn't entice me to read it, right?
Just leave it out of your query. Put it on your website or your blog. Mention it in your Christmas card dispatches. Twitter it to your friends and family. Not your query.