Posts Tagged ‘#AgentMatch’

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Okay, fellow pitchers: if you’re ready to pitch your manuscript (meaning it’s beta-tested and polished, and you’ve got your query letter and synopsis ready), here is a run-down of some contests you can enter in the coming weeks. These are necessarily the best way to get your work in front of an agent (as competition is FIERCE), but many successful writers found their agent match this way. More than anything, these give you an unparalleled opportunity to see your competition, see what’s working and what isn’t, and get some valuable feedback from slush readers and editors currently in the business.

MAY:

5/22 – QueryKombat 2015
This year’s Kompetition is open to Adult, NA, YA, MG, and Picture Books. Enter your title, genre word kount, query and the first 250+ words of your manuscript. There are over 2 dozen agents participating, as well as many editors and readers. This kompetition is run like a single-elimination, tournament. Entries paired up based on target audience and genre will go head-to-head, round after round, starting with 64 and ultimately ending with just 1. But agents will see all entries after the first elimination – so 32 entries will get seen by agents, then 16 of those in the next round, etc.

5/27 – #KidPit
This is Twitter pitch event, where you pitch your children’s manuscript on Twitter (140 characters or less) using the hashtag #KidPit plus your age group (#BB (Board Book), #PB (Picture Book), #ER (Early Reader), #CB (Chapter Book), #MG (Middle Grade), or #YA (Young Adult) and genre (#SFF (Sci-fi/Fantasy), #ROM (Romance), #FTR (Fairy tale retelling), #MYS (Mystery), #TT (Time Travel) and so on). You can pitch up to 2 times per hour, between 8am and 8pm EST.

JUNE:

6/4 – #PitMad
Like #KidPit, but for all genres and categories, using the hashtag #PitMad. This one also takes place between 8am and 8pm EST, and you can pitch up to twice an hour.

6/18 – #SFFPit
A Twitter pitch event for science fiction and fantasy (including all sub-genres), for Picture Books, Middle Grade, New Adult and Young Adult. Pitch your manuscript up to 2 times per hour (exact start and end times to be announced on Dan Koboldt’s blog).

6/24 – #PBPitch
Another Twitter pitch event, this time only for picture books. Pitch manuscripts only one time before 12 pm and one time after (no time zone specified). Subgenres hashtags can be included: #F=Funny, #CD = Character Driven, #NF = Nonfiction, #C= Concept, #L= Lyrical, #I= Interactive.

JULY:

7/1 – #70Pit
Despite the name, this is actually NOT a Twitter pitch event. In fact, you do not submit either your 35-word pitch, your query or nor first 250 words. For this event, you submit the 70th page of your novel. This is based on the “Page 69 Test,” which presumes that by page 69 things should really be happening, and this is often a better snapshot of your work that the first page. Different age categories will be submitted on different days over the course of a week, so each category gets equal attention.

7/3 – Pitch to Publication
The submission window is actually June 29 – July 3. Writers choose up to five freelance editors from the 20 or so participating. Each editor will pick three entries and work closely with the writer to polish their manuscript (in various stages) to get them ready for the Agent Round at the end of September. If manuscripts are chosen by agents for representation, there is a further round in October for submissions to publishers. Full details on Samantha Fountain’s blog.

AUGUST:

8/17 – Pitch Wars
Writers send in an application (query and first chapter) to the four mentors (published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns) that best fit their work. Each participating mentor will choose one manuscript and work with the writer over the next 2 months to get them ready for the agent round, where agents will make requests from the polished entries.

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Happy Dance

Posted: March 25, 2015 in Writing
Tags: ,

Snoopy happy dance

Sometimes the hands of the Universe Clock line up.

Monday was not that day.  On Monday I received my very first rejection letter.  Er … rejection e-mail.

I had been expecting it.  I’ve sent out over a half-dozen queries — many of them blind — and some of them were getting ripe, past the six week expected reply time.  The rejection was not bad.  She said she was not connecting with the story in a way she needed to to effectively represent it, but looked forward to seeing it in print.  Which is perfectly understandable; no book is everybody’s cup of tea.  This was an agent who had requested a query during #PitMad, so the swift turn-around was nice.  And I am not the slightest bit discouraged.  I’ve now joined a new tier of writers and I feel less like a rookie.

The next day, Tuesday, was when the cosmos aligned — briefly but with an audible “Bong!” I felt all the way down to my toes.

The microwave at my office died, leaving my frozen lunch still frozen.  So I grabbed my keys and my iPhone and headed for my car to pick something up.  As I walked I glanced at my phone and saw a notification that I had won that eBay bid for the 4-season box set of Downton Abbey for $30 (those retail for $100)  I smiled, because my wife and daughter and I have decided to re-watch the entire show from episode one, one episode per Sunday, as during the season just ended.  We have a ritual, complete with honey-rich tea, served from a collectable Downton Abbey teapot in Downton Abbey mugs.  We figure if we start now we’ll be ready for season six just when it makes its way to the States.  But $100 is quite a lot of money for a TV show.  $30 is much better.

A moment later my phone rang and it was a call I’d been anticipating for weeks — nothing that would excite or interest you (life insurance), but the call meant that after months of forms and extensions and records retrievals and signatures and doctors visits, we were good to go.  My smile ratcheted up another notch.

Then I saw the e-mail from #WriterPitch. An agent had read my pitch and was requesting that I send her a query and chapters.  This is an agent who is actively seeking to build her clientele, and loves children’s books. The hands of the universe clock clicked into alignment.

The “Bong!” I felt down to my toes? By this time I was sitting in my car with the engine running, and I turned on my iTunes Radio.  And this song, which I had never heard before, blasted out of my speakers like a congratulations from Bumblebee (my imaginary transformer car who communicates via audio clips).

If this doesn’t make you want to dance, stop what you’re doing and call 911.  You’re pulse has stopped.

WriterPitch screen

Okay, everyone.  You can relax now.  Help has arrived in the form of WriterPitch.com.  Samantha Fountain’s vision of a platform for authors to promote their unpublished books to agents in the market has been realized.  It’s like a directory of pitches, organized and searchable by fiction/non-fiction, category (Adult, YA, MG, etc.), genre and keyword.  It has been up for about two days and already several authors have received requests from agents.

The obvious benefit to this set-up is that registered agents can window-shop the pitches, learn about the authors, sample a few of their blog posts, and if a pitch peeks their interest, they can read the first 250 words of the manuscript.  Only registered and vetted agents can see this.  So it’s secure.  And agents can tag pitches they’ve read so they don’t waste their valuable time reading them again later.

But there are a number of added benefits not immediately obvious to the casual observer.  And here is where Samantha’s genius shines. The site encourages you to tweet and post links to any author, pitch or blog post you like, so you can promote the books you’d like to see on the shelf some day.  And those pitches that get the most social media love get featured in the day’s Top Ten, along with the top writers.  Most popular agents get their own boost from sharing, too.

Don’t order yet; there’s more!  As a new author pitching his first book, I am somewhat overwhelmed by how much work needs to be done AFTER you’ve finished your book.  You have to craft a Twitter pitch and a logline and a query and a synopsis and the first 250 words and….  What WriterPitch provides is a community.  A place where writers both seasoned and raw can mingle and read one anothers’ pitches and queries.  A place where you can comment and promote those that inspire you, and receive comments from others whom you’ve inspired.  And you can see what’s out there, and what’s working, and who’s in the same place you are.

Samantha didn’t just create a space.  She created a universe.

If you’re a writer, I encourage you to create your free profile and get your pitch out there.  If you’re an agent, I invite you to go window-shopping, and bring your wish list. And if you’re anybody at all, I hope you will take a peak at my pitch and tell me what you think.

Better yet, tell the world what you think. This is going to change everything.

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I haven’t really posted much about actual writing lately because I have spent the last month or so in query hell, and the last two weeks in the twitterverse. And I THINK it is going to have been uber-productive for me. I wrote a couple of blog posts* about it, but there’s a new thing I wanted to share with my brother and sister writers. This is HUGE.

Fellow writer Samantha Fountain started #AgentMatch, which is a twitter contest (like many others) where writers with complete manuscripts can submit a pitch and the top 50 orso are selected by a team of editors and writers and posted online by genre or category, and agents can then look at these vetted pitches and request partials or full manuscripts from the authors. Many writers have gotten representation this way.

When I started looking into the writer/query community on Twitter, I had missed this by like two days.

But Samantha was just getting started. Her latest project (which officially launches on March 2) is called WriterPitch.com, and it is essentially a website directory of writers and their pitches (for completed manuscripts), where agents can shop for manuscripts that match their needs/likes/wants/wishes. You’ve seen Writer’s Market and the Guide to Literary Agents; imagine a directory of writers with manuscripts seeking representation – a directory for agents to find writers. The last two weeks has been a series of daily contests on Twitter to get into the launch of this site on March 2. After the launch authors can join at any time, but I got caught up in the excitement and managed, against long odds, to get into the select group of authors to be included in the launch. I’m very excited about this.

Now, you should have no illusions — these various agent/writer “dating services” don’t make it more likely for a book that’s not ready or a bad pitch to be accepted by an agent. What it does do it speed up the process and get your book in front of more eager agents sooner. The normal process is to send out your query to an agent unsolicited, hopefully including some tidbit from your research that suggests your book is what they have been looking for, and then you wait until your submissions crawls its way to the top of the slush pile and hope this happens on a good day. And you do this over and over again. Potentially lots of hit-or-miss. But with these contests, the agents are actively seeking the books. And when you get a nibble, you can then send your full query to these agents AS A RESPONSE TO A DIRECT INVITATION. This puts you on the top of the pile on day one.

So I’m stoked.

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The website will work like this: For writers, you will have your own author page which you can customize with contact/social info, a blog, your bio, and as many pitches as you have manuscripts. The sit will periodically provide questions you can answer (or not) to help fill out your profile. Agents will be able to locate you (your manuscripts) by category and genre, and with a single click can read the first 250 words of your book (only registered agents can do this). With another click they can request a partial or full of your manuscript with a personalized e-mail. You can likewise search through the registered agents, get their contact/social info, and see their wish list (called Agent Cravings). Agent pages will be similar to writer pages in that they are customizable and offer useful information to querying writers.

The site’s homepage will feature the authors/pitches that have been shared the most by agents via social media, as well as the agents who’s profiles have been shared by writers the most via social media, both updated daily.

If you are ready and interested, here are the details from Samantha Fountain’s blog. Also, here are the Twitter and Facebook pages for WriterPitch.

I hope to see lots of writers on there! And I hope this inspires even more of you to finish and polish your book.

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*Successful Writers Have a Special Kind of Madness — It’s Called Pitch Madness, and It’s a Thing
and
The Madness Continues — More Writerly Twitter Things

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Last week I talked about Pitch Madness, and the Twitter version, #PitMad – two “contests” where writers can submit pitches of their finished manuscripts to groups of agents on the lookout. Turns out Twitter is a lot like an iceberg; once you start digging you find out there’s quite a lot gong on. It’s those hashtags again.

The genius of Twitter is that entire universes exist inside the cloud of tweets flitting through the ether. You just need to know the secret password to enter each of them. Last week I mentioned a few of those passwords: #QueryTips and #MSWL. If you spend any time in either of those universes, you can pick up the passwords to other related universes. There are a ton of writer-specific hashtags.

#WIP
#AmWriting
#AmEditing
#AmRevising
#AmQuerying
#Publishing
#AskAgent

Plus you can find conversations about just your genre:

#Horror
#HistFic
#DarkFantasy
#UrbanFantasy
#SciFiChat
#Dystopian
#Steampunk
#Mystery
#KidLit
#MG
#YA

And because these opportunities are going on all the time, you can find plenty of people who offer advice and actual critiques on your pitches. I responded to two different offers and got prompt and helpful advice in both cases, and neither one cost me anything other than to agree to follow them on Twitter. Oh, yeah, besides these hashtag universes, you can also follow individuals on Twitter. For example, you could follow me at @John_Berkowitz.

The universe I have been spending the most time in lately is a very special place called #AgentMatch. Like Pitch Madness, Agent Match is a specific “contest” or opportunity for writers with ready-to-go manuscripts to hook up with agents looking for new clients. I just missed Agent Match by a few days when I discovered this hashtag. People who had submitted and had been vetted by the team had their pitches posted by category (picture books, middle grade, young adult, new adult, adult and memoirs). There the huge stable of participating agents could see them and request partials or full manuscripts from those they liked. But even though that event is over, the #AgentMatch universe is still very lively, because the creator and organizer of this even has something big up her sleeve, which will be revealed in the coming weeks. In her own words:

The overwhelmingly positive responses from Agent Match spawned a love child 🙂

As I developed Agent Match I started to realize how equally important it is to agents and writers alike to find their right match.

I’m beyond excited to announce AWESOMENESS in the making that will connect agents and writers in a fashion like never before. The big launch is roughly 2-4 weeks out. Right now under the hashtag #AgentMatch I’m running contests for writers to get their manuscript pitches into the launch. I’m taking six profile and pitch entries a day and they will be plugged into the LAUNCH for the day we go live. After that writers are free to sign up and create their own profiles for agents to search and be able to search for agents.

This is going on NOW. Get details here and watch #AgentMatch on Twitter for your chance to get in on the ground floor. And even if your don’t get in now you can get in later, and the experience of being tuned in to the #AgentMatch universe will likely unlock new passwords to other universes that will interest you in your quest for publication.

For example, I learned there is another Twitter context very much like #PitMad going on this Friday, hosted by Jolly Fish Press, called #JFPitch. Same idea as #PitMad – 140 character pitch (including #JFPitch and your genre), up to twice per hour between 9am and 6pm Mountain Standard Time on February 20th. Get the details here.

There is another one, #PitchSlam, coming in April. Details here.

Monitoring and managing all of these opportunities takes a lot of time and dedication, and you still have to have your pitch and query and synopsis (not to mention manuscript) polished and ready-to-go. But it seems to me these are a much better way to get your work in front of an eager agent (or publisher) than leaping onto the slush pile.

I guess I’ll find out.

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