2016 Pitch Contest Calendar

Posted: January 13, 2016 in Writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
My Annual Pitch Contest Calendar now has a permanent home!
See the menu at the top of the page.


Okay, kids – get your Twitter pitches, 35-word pitches, queries, and first 250 words shined up and ready.  Here’s a breakdown of the pitch contests coming up in 2016.

If you’re new to the concept, these are contests for authors with complete, polished manuscripts who are seeking representation by an agent and/or an editor.  These contests are fierce and popular, and the competition is strong and numerous.  But there are several advantages to entering:

1) Putting yourself out there. If you’re new to querying and not sure how to begin, or nervous about exposing your work to strangers, this is a good way to dip your toe in the raging whitewaters of the publishing world.

2) Getting feedback on your presentation.  Theses contests are all about those fiddly bits you use as bait to lure an agent or editor.  It is assumed your book is already finished, edited, beta’d, revised, and polished. You know – what you thought was the hard part. What you may not have as thoroughly vetted and sparkly are your query (including your all-important 35-word pitch) and the first 250 words (roughly the first page) of your manuscript.  These will make or break your first impression.  Even the perfect agent who was born to fall in love with your manuscript will never read it if you don’t hook her with your query and the first page of your manuscript.  Most of these contests have built-in feedback rounds or swarms of freelance editors offering free advice to contestants.

3) Networking with other writers, agents and editors in your genre.  Even if you don’t “win” (I’ve been doing this for a year, and I never have – and neither have most published authors), you will meet other contestants and judges, as well as participating editors and agents.  Most of these contests exist in the Twittersphere (or at least have a corresponding hashtag where those who have enetered can commiserate while they wait for the results).  Follow these hastags and be part of the running conversations.  You will meet other writers with books similar to yours, querying in the same genres.  You will meet agents looking for books like yours in your genre.  You will meet the judges, who are often fellow writers and past contest winners.  You are bound to make new friends and valuable contacts.

One last thing before I get to the list: In case you don’t know what a Twitter Pitch Party is, it is an event – usually lasting 12 hours – where you are invited to pitch your manuscript right on Twitter using a specific hashtag plus one for your book’s genre. Agents are well aware of these contests, and follow them eagerly. If they like a pitch they will favorite it, and that is your invitation to send them a query.  #PitMad is the most well-known and popular of these (and it happens four times a year).  So, to be clear, you must pitch your book using only a total of 140 characters INCLUDING “#PitMad” (or whatever) and one or more category/genre tags:

#PB = Picture Book

#CB = Chapter Book

#ER = Early Reader

#MG = Middle Grade

#YA = Young Adult

#NA = New Adult

#A = Adult

#SFF = Science Fiction / Fantasy

#UF = Urban Fantasy

#CF = Contemporary Fantasy

#HistFic/#HistFan = Historical Fiction / Historical Fantasy

#R = Romance

#Myst = Mystery

#WF = Women’s Fiction

#NF = Non-fiction

#Mem = Memoir

#LF = Literary Fiction

It is important that you read and follow the rules for these, and practice good contest etiquette: Usually only pitch twice per hour, never favorite another writer’s pitch (that is how agents request queries!), etc.

So, without further ado, here is the 2016 calendar of pitch contests.  Some of these have not been officially announced as of this posting, but I will update this post as more information (and more contests) are announced.  Good luck!

February 1: Sun vs. Snow
Character question + query + first 250 words of your manuscript. Open to the first 200 entries received. 15 entries chosen for each team (Sun and Snow). Teams work with authors to polish their entries before posting for the Agent Round.
Details: https://chasingthecrazies.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/2016-sun-vs-snow-details

February 3: #Pit2Pub
Twitter Pitch Party
Details: www.kristinvanrisseghem.com/pit2pub/pit2pub-twitter-pitch-party

February 11: #PitMatch
Twitter Pitch Party WITH A TWIST!  #PitMad + #MSWL = #PitMatch.  Between 1pm and 4pm EST, three teams will scour the #MSWL (Manuscript Wishlist) feed and the #PitMatch twitter pitch party, and make matches between what agents want and what writers pitch.  The teams compete for points to see which team gets the most agent requests. Only ONE pitch per manuscript.
Details: http://www.brenda-drake.com/2016/01/surprise-were-throwing-a-new-and-exciting-twitter-contest-as-a-valentine-gift-to-you/

February 11: #PBPitch
Twitter Pitch Party – Picture Books only
Details: www.pbpitch.com

February 15 – March 7: #SonofAPitch
Query + first 250 words of your manuscript. Three rounds of comments, ending with 50 being chosen for the Agent/Editor/Publisher round the week of February 29.
Details: http://kjhstories.blogspot.com/2016/01/son-of-pitch-entry-information.html

February 26 – March 11: Pitch Madness
35-word pitch + first 250 words of your manuscript. Team chooses 60 to move on to the Agent Round, March 9-11.
Details: www.brenda-drake.com/pitch-madness

Early March (TBD): Post-it-Forward
35-word pitch workshop
Details: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com

March 5 – April 22: #P2P16 (Pitch to Publication)
Multiple rounds, beginning with authors sending query + first 5 pages to 4 editors (out of 15 participating). Editors will each pick one author to work with on a full manuscript edit, to get their query and ms ready for the agent round, on April 18.
Details: http://pitch2pub.com

March 7: #SonofAPitch
Twitter Pitch Party
Details: http://kjhstories.blogspot.com/2016/01/son-of-pitch-entry-information.html

March 17: #PitMad
Twitter Pitch Party
Details: www.brenda-drake.com/pitch-madness

April 1: #AdPit
Twitter Pitch Party – Adult books only
Details: http://heidinorrod.webs.com

April 1: #KidPit
Twitter Pitch Party – Children’s books only (Picture Books, Early Readers, Chapter Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult)
Details: https://heidinorrod.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/introducing-kidpit

April 1: #NestPitch Not this year; returning in 2017
35-word pitch + Easter character question + first 300 words of your manuscript. Winners posted for agent review.
Details: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com

April 19: #DVpit
Twitter Pitch Party – created to showcase pitches about and especially by marginalized voices. This includes (but is not limited to): people of color; people living and/or born/raised in underrepresented cultures and countries; disabled persons; people with illness; people on marginalized ends of the socioeconomic, cultural and/or religious spectrum; people identifying as LGBTQIA+; and more.

April 24: #FicFest (Check for details starting March 20)
FicFest is open to all finished manuscripts and all genres for Children’s Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult. In this contest, each category will have three teams. Teams will be made up of a Team Lead and two team members, who will pick three finalists and one alternate per team. This ensures that forty-five manuscripts will move on to the agent round, with fifteen manuscripts being held as alternates in case one of the finalists drops out of the contest. Once the finalists are chosen, they will work with their teams on revisions for 8 weeks before the agent round. During the agent round, participating agents will be able to request partial/fulls from the manuscripts they want to see. There is no bidding, and no competition for agents. They can request whatever intrigues them, giving everyone a huge opportunity to get requests and hopefully an agent for their manuscript. More rules, regulations, and details will be posted via the host and team lead blogs as the contest begins!
Details: http://tiffanyhofmannauthor.weebly.com/ficfest-writing-contest.html

Mid-May (TBD): QueryKombat
64 kombatants in a single-elimination tournament style query-off. Entries will go head-to-head in six rounds until only one entry remains. Agents look at winners of each elimination.
Details: http://scwrite.blogspot.com/2015/04/announcing-query-kombat-2015.html

June 9: #PitMad
Twitter Pitch Party
Details: www.brenda-drake.com/pitch-madness

June 16: #PBPitch
Twitter Pitch Party for Picture Books ONLY.
Details: http://www.pbpitch.com/

June 23: #SFFPit
Twitter Pitch Party for Si-Fi and Fantasy books ONLY, for all age groups.
Details: http://dankoboldt.com/sffpit/

July 1-3: #70Pit16
Submit the 70th (or 69th) page of your manuscript ONLY.
Details: https://writelarawrite.wordpress.com/70pit

August 1: #AdPit
Twitter Pitch Party – Adult books only
Details: http://heidinorrod.webs.com

August 3: Pitch Wars
Published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions to shine it up for agents over a 2-month period.
Details: www.brenda-drake.com/pitch-wars

September 7: #PitchSlam
Round One – Entrants submit their 35 word pitch to receive feedback.
Round Two – Entrants submit their first pages (first 250 words) to receive feedback.
Round Three – Entrants submit both their pitches and first pages together. These entries provide the pool for team selections.
Round Four – The selected entries are posted for agents to request materials.
Details: http://pitchslamcontest.com/

September 8: #PitMad
Twitter Pitch Party
Details: www.brenda-drake.com/pitch-madness

October 22: #P2P16 (Pitch to Publication)
Multiple rounds, beginning with authors sending query + first 5 pages to 4 editors (out of 15-20 participating). Editors will each pick one author to work with on a full manuscript edit, to get their query and ms ready for the agent round.
Details: http://pitch2pub.com/node/6

December 1: #PitMad
Twitter Pitch Party
Details: www.brenda-drake.com/pitch-madness

Early December (TBD): St. Nicholas Day 1st 150 Workshop
Open to Picture Books and Middle Grade
Details: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com

December (TBD): #PitchMAS
Pitch workshop and Twitter Pitch Party
Details: http://pitchmas.blogspot.com

Check out the 2017 Pitch Contest Calendar, now live (this is a link).

  1. Tarina says:

    Reblogged this on Only One More Page and commented:
    Authors, aspiring or otherwise, here is list of pitch contests for 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tarina says:

    Reblogged on Only One More Page

    Liked by 1 person

  3. stormowl7 says:

    Reblogged this on My Dark Writing Corner.


  4. Reblogged this on A.E. Browne and commented:
    If you’ve got a manuscript ready to go but you’re not sure how to start querying, give these pitch contests a go. 🙂


  5. […] Not only can you get agent requests during contests like #Pitmad and #SFFPIT but you can also make friends by seeing who is participating and adding them to a writing friends list on Twitter. For contests like Pitch Wars, you can get feedback from fellow authors and the camaraderie is fantastic. I found a buttload of friends + my CP through Pitch Wars last year and because of them my book is seven trillion times better than before I entered. These contests are also a lot of fun. Here is a list of the upcoming 2016 pitch events. […]


  6. Amira says:

    There’s also “Pass or Pages”
    It’s over, but I’d keep an eye on their blog for the next round.


  7. Amira says:

    That was the wrong link, sorry! Here is a better link, which says the next round will be in March:


  8. […] to the masters and writing gurus to guide me. A great way to to do this, seems to be entering pitch contests that also offer feedback. From my own experience and from the word of many who have come before me, […]

    Liked by 1 person

  9. lydialukidis says:

    Thanks so much for this list!!


  10. […] 2016 Pitch Contest Calender […]


  11. […] on a total spur-of-the-moment whim. In fact I had not even heard of this one, so it is not on my 2016 Pitch Contest Calendar.  I was scrolling through my Twitter feed during my lunch break, and saw a tweet saying that the […]


  12. […] a couple of glorious people out there who have already compiled a list for this year. Here’s one site; here’s the other. I, for one, will be participating in #pitmad again on September 8th. Join […]


  13. Jennifer Novotney says:

    I am presenting this Friday to writers who are looking to get published. You’ve created an awesome Twitter contest list! Can I please distribute copies of this? I will be sure to attribute the list to you and your site! Thank you.


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