Have you been paying attention…?

samuel-l-jackson-catWell if the answer is YES, then you’ll notice we now have TEN agents from NINE different agencies taking part in #nestpitch with the lovely Erin NiumataSenior Vice President – Folio Literary Management joining us! school-pics-9-3

Now, for those playing along, you’ll know that Erin will have taken on a Bunny Mask; which one?  Some of you will know straight away, the rest… told you to follow us.

We have such a STELLAR list of agents and agencies. I would like to take a moment to personally thank every single Agent and Agency, not just those participating as Secret Bunny Agents, but those who’ll be playing along as Magic Bunyips and those who couldn’t be part of this year’s fun but wished the best for #nestpitch.  I feel honoured and a little humbled by your support – THANK YOU ALL!

I’ll also send out a wonderful THANK YOU with hugs and a kiss to my amazing team of author’s who’ll be working tirelessly to find the best pitches.  You’re all super-stars!

And before I forget, I need to send a special thank you to those who have helped over the past 6-months or so by reading the drafts of #Nestpitch, offering suggestions, tweeting about #nestpitch and/or generally being generous with their time. There are so many of you so I’ll not list you all, but love & kisses to you all.

Now, down to business. mc-wed-298

With the Submission Window now hours away, yep, that’s right… 12noon 1st April USA EST, I wanted to run through a few points.

(i)                 Please read the rules & conditions, it’s vital that you follow the rules because the last thing we want is to have an awesome pitch that has forgotten to add their genre/category (for example)

(ii)               #Nestpitch is open to everyone, world-wide.  All can enter, subject to following the rules and conditions.

(iii)             The window will be open for 24hrs, so there’s plenty of time to enter, no matter where you are in the world.

A quick heads up re: time differences (OK I might have to follow Snow White’s example to stay awake):fri-mc-6

New York USA 12 noon 1st April

London UK 4pm 1st April*

Melbourne Australia 3am 2nd April**

*UK & the rest of Europe please take into account Daylight Savings Start Dates in your countries and adjust accordingly.

** Daylight Savings will end on April 6th Melbourne timezone.

To help everyone, I’ll be opening for a quick Q&A on Twitter between 7-9am NY EST Sunday 30th March, that’ll be 10-12pm Melbourne Australia Time.  I’ve picked these times as it’s the best option for all time-zones, however, if you see me flittering about on Twitter during the day, feel free to ask any questions.

A quick reminder of the schedule:

Apr 1st -2nd        Submission windows open 1st April NOON USA EST until 11.59am 2nd April USA EST

Apr 3rd -10th     1st Round – Slush Bilbies select top 120 nests*

Apr 12th           Match Agent to Bunny Mask window open NOON USA EST until 8.00pm April 12th

 Apr 11th -15th  2nd Round – Nest Bloggers  pick their 72 nests*

Apr 16th              3rd Round – Nest Bloggers post their top choices

Apr 17th -19th   4th Round Secret Bunny Agents  stock *nests

Easter Sun.     Stocked *nests* revealed/Secret Bunny Agents identities revealed

Apr 21st           Unmask the Agent Winner Revealed

Apr 22nd          Bunyips can now offer belated presents*

Apr 23rd           All #NestPitch requests should be received by Secret Bunny Agents.

Apr 28th           All Bunyip requests should be made& sent

Apr 30th           Special additional surprise revealed!

May 1st            Update on #nestpitch Blog thanking everyone + a special <surprise>


I’d also like to take a moment to remind you of two other #pitches in April. berry-break-018

#LV14 – the submission window will open on April 4th.  This pitch is for Y & NA only. For more information go to:  http://likeavirgin.kristinaperez.com/

Also there’s #PitchSlam April 20th. http://tangynt.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/pitch-slam-battle-of-the-bands/

Both #pitch comps look like a lot of fun & I’d strongly recommend aspiring authors (with polished manuscripts) give them a go.


hello kitty cat Good luck to everyone!

35-word Pitch Clinic is now Open for Business

Hello all, 

Those of you following @nestpitch and/or this blog will know that today we’ll be posting a small selection of 35-word pitches for feedback, critique as part of our Post-It-Forward concept, to help each other perfect a winning 35-word pitch.

pop up kittens


Sadly, we ended up with not a single MG or NA pitch (MG & NA author’s where art thou?) but we have a PB (on this blog) several YA, a few Adult.  While every story is different, a winning pitch, though hard to define, is so easy to see.  There’s all those “catch-phrase-words” like voice, flow, stakes, intrigue and so on, yet try to define it – tough hey?

The idea here is not only will the pitches below and on Rhiann’s blog get direct feedback, they will offer insight into that mystical and totally subjective creature known by the common name “the prefect pitch.”

Sometimes, seeing or reading something makes magic happen for the reader also, a light-bulb or Eureka moment.  If anyone gets such a moment, please feel free to share.

Nothing is more contagious than enthusiastic joy; it’s one of the few things where, the more you spread, the more you have.

samuel-l-jackson-catSo how will it work? 

Read the pitches either here or on Rhiann’s blog:  http://rhiannwynnnoletblog.wordpress.com/

Pick one, pick all pitches, read, comment and wait for your comments to be posted.  Sorry, the comments will be monitored and approved.  We want feedback and constructive not destructive critique.  We want helpful not hurtful.

Below you’ll see all the pitches for this blog, listed as N-1, N-2 etc.hello kitty cat

Read the pitches, and write the comments as per examples below.  Please post a new comment for each Pitch Number, it’ll make it easier for the author to locate the feedback.  If in doubt, you’ll find my comments are below also.

N- (Number) I liked the premise but I thought…

N- (Number) it’s a great idea but can you put the MC’s name in there somewhere?

N-1 Genre: Adult Cozy mystery

Bulldog posts leaked classified files on his whistleblower blog like they’re weather reports, while Carol responds to one of those steamy emails in her inbox.  It’s all fun and games until someone gets murdered.

N-2 Genre: YA Magical Realism

To carry out her brother’s dying wish and save her own life, seventeen-year-old Mallory Post follows cryptic clues he left behind to uncover the last drop of the Fountain of Youth.

N-3 Genre: YA Fantasy

A vengeful, soul stealing sorcerer named Suvius will stop at nothing to locate his original body. But his two obstacles—Chris and Matt—could pose a serious threat to his ultimate objective.

N-4 Genre: YA Fantasy
Seventeen-year-old Alice falls off a cliff and awakens on a medieval battlefield in another world. Disguised as a man, she sets out to find home–even if it means killing people.

N-5 Picture Book 

Nobody wants to miss out on wearing Missy’s nail polish. Will Missy find out who wore her polish or will it remain a secret?

Now it’s up to you, we’ll have these posts open for comments from March 22nd March 29ththief kitty

And don’t forget #nestpitch submission window will be open 1st April and #LV14 on April 4th

Do your bit for post-it-forward and catch some of that contagious enthusiastic joy 🙂

Secret Agent Bunny Masks – Can you guess the Agent hiding behind the Mask?

Time to reveal the Bunny Masks! 

How this works:bunnyegg  present 1

Each of the agents has taken on a Secret Agent Bunny Mask and your job is to identify who is wearing which Mask. (you’ll find the Agent List here: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/agent-reveal/ )

There’s an Amazon Voucher in it for the first correct answer.  For more info, go to: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/operation-unmask-the-agent/

For those who haven’t been watching/listening carefully, this is how #nestpitch will work.  On April 1st, you will send us your pitch + 300.  Go to here: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/nestpitch-update-rules-conditions-whats-a-bilby-anyway/ for all the rules and conditions, and please follow the rules.

Then our Awesome Super-Cala-Fragile-Istic team of Slush Bilbies will pick the top 100-odd.  For more information on the Slush Bilibies, go to here: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/slush-bilbies-revealed/ bilby 4

From there our Scrum-didle-iumptious Team of Bloggers will each pick their favourite pitches to post on their blogs.  The selected pitches will be notified via email also.  For Blogger  info go here: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/nest-bloggers-revealed-oh-magic-bunyips-explained/

We will have a full line-only list of all those selected on this blog

plus a link to the Bloggers page.

Once the pitches are posted, the Secret Agent Bunnies will hop from nest to nest and leave a chocolate treat. Something like this (for example)

Golfer Bunny has left you 1 Box of Caramel Eggs – for all the *TREATS* got to here:


You’ll need to know what Easter Treat equals what request so I suggest you save a copy of the Easter Treats request items to your desktop; or better still, print a copy off.

At the end of the Easter Egg Treats day… you will be sent a second email with a list of agents who made a request.  If any agents have given specific email addresses, this will be added to your email. If not, please email to the Agency Website but remember to follow the guidelines with regard to what to write in the Subject Line.

And; while all this is happening, we will announce the winners of:

(i)                 The winner (s) of the Unmask the Agent (open to all not just those participating in #nestpitch)

(ii)               The winner (s) of the most requests

(iii)             The winner (s) of the most FULLS requested

Remember all of the above winners will receive an AMAZON Gift Card 

& not forgetting, Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and I are running a 35-word pitch clinic here starting this weekend.

Go to: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/post-it-forward/ for more details.

 Now to the Bunny Masks, and in no particular order Da-Daaaah!!!

(1) COCKTAIL BUNNYhave a drink bunny

As well as Adult fiction, this Cocktail Bunny wants YA that’s creative and fresh (open to all genres) and has strong characters that are flawed yet unique. Cocktail Bunnies like their Literary/Commercial fiction with a multi-cultural bend, and will curl up with their big curly-furred dog to read smart, intelligent Mysteries and Thrillers and historical fiction. Cocktail Bunnies have a low threshold for overdone.

(2) BOOKWORM BUNNYbookworm bunny

Bookworm Bunny is looking for Psychological Suspense with a twist (think THE OTHERS), dark, creepy, hair-raising YA & NA, clever mysteries with a keen sense of place, humorous MG series, and contemporary Romances and Women’s Fiction of all descriptions.

giant bunny


This Cocktail Bunny really likes animals, Supernatural (the TV show), and Loki from the Avengers.  Giant Bunny is extremely chatty on-line and very open about their style of agenting.  Giant Bunny also recently got a serious hair cut; that’s a big clue!  When not adopting new fury friends, Giant Bunny likes to read the gamut – Picture Books, MG, YA, Adult, Romance even PB’s for adults – hehehe

(4) LAPTOP BUNNYlaptop bunny

This Laptop Bunny wants innovative MG and YA projects with a pull towards more historical settings although a modern, emotional story would be welcome.  Also loves contemporary Romance and Women’s Fiction and anything that really manages to surprise me.

(5) MAD SCIENTIST BUNNYmad scinetist bunny

Mad Scientist Bunnies would naturally want non-fiction, but can you believe it, this Mad Scientist is also looking for YA, MG, Adult Mysteries/Thrillers and literary fiction too – Even a Mad Scientist’s enjoy a good bit of fiction – now, can you guess who this Mad Scientist is?



(6) SHOPPER BUNNYshopper bunny

Shopper Bunny is *shopping* (sorry couldn’t help myself) for commercial women’s fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, psychological thrillers, suspense, humour. This Bunny loves sassy Southern and/or British heroines.


(7) SOCCER BUNNYsoccer bunny

Soccer Bunnies Like romance?  Who Knew? Well, this Soccer Bunny does like Romance, especially contemporary and historical (has a soft spot for Regency), YA sci-fi/fantasy, contemporary, historical–particularly partial to YA with, you guessed it, romance!

(8) JUGGLER BUNNY juggler bunny

As the name suggests, this Juggler Bunny has a lot going on, balls in the air anyone?  But they still have time for great writing and new Clients, as long as they are MG and YA; open to any genre within those age groups, but prefers speculative fiction.

No idea who Juggler Bunny is?  Here’s a clue, could you spell this Agent’s name without looking?

(9) NINJA BUNNYninja bunny

Haaa-Yah! Ninja Bunny wish list: My main big wishes are brilliant storytelling and inspiring or heart-breaking characters; I want to feel like I’m living, not reading, the story. Also anything that brings me to tears either through love, fear or sadness would be wonderful – Sounds like tis Ninja likes a good cry after beating up the bad-guys!

(10) ARTIST BUNNYartist bunny

This Artist Bunny is super hungry for MG/ YA/ Adult Romance, Fantasy and wants to curl up on the sofa with a great Mystery.  And this Agent Bunny knows the business from both sides of the process;…and that’s a big clue 🙂 

Oh, and don’t panic if you don’t see your genre or category, these are TOP agents who work for AWESOME agencies, eight agencies to be accurate, trust me, their colleges are watching, and waiting, and intending to leave treats under these Bunny Masks.


I can’t tell you who they are; but we do have 4 confirmed Magic Bunyips lurking…baby bunyip

  • Purple Bunyip
  • Yellow Bunyip
  • Green Bunyip
  • Blue Bunyip 

This means, if a Bunyip sees a *NEST* they simply MUST HAVE, they’ll whisper a special code word to me and I’ll let them leave their own unique treat.

Phew! this has been a BIG post.bunny in nest

You know what to do right?

Get your 35-word pitch sharpened by joining us at the Post-it-Forward clinic

Polish your Manuscript until it sparkles with fairy dust.

Submit on the 1st of April

& Play along with Unmasking the Agents!

Oh…and a few final thoughts,

(i) if you come across an agent or a blogger or a bilby on Twitter or wherever, thank them for being part of this.  They all give of their free time.

(ii) Play nice; art is subjective and therefore not everyone agrees all the time.  Remember that when talking to or about anyone involved.

(iii) spread the word, the more that play the bigger the fun 🙂Fluffy Tail Musk Rabbit

Last but by far least; here is a quick list of the AMAZING TEAM we have for #nestpitch 

Slush Bilbies:

Emily Mead The Loony Teen Writer,http://theloonyteenwriter.wordpress.com/  

Susan Nystoriak  http://smnystoriak.wordpress.com/ 

Cassandra Page  http://cassandrapage.com/  

Louise (Lou) Gornall  http://bookishblurb.com/blog/ 

Heather Bryant http://heathermbryant.blogspot.com.au 

Katy Upperman http://katyupperman.com/ 

Stacey Trombley  http://hopelessya.blogspot.com.au/ 

Nest Bloggers: 

Brooke Powell  www.thecakenovelist.blogspot.com 

Kimberly P. Chase  http://kimberlypchase.blogspot.com.au/ 

 Jeffe Kennedy  http://www.jeffekennedy.com/category/blog/ 

Tina Moss  http://www.tinamoss.com/  

Amanda Foody  www.amandafoody.blogspot.com 

Dannie Morin http://dcmorin.blogspot.com.au/ 

Sharon M Johnston  http://downunderwonderings.blogspot.com.au/ 

Sharon Bayliss  http://sharonbayliss.blogspot.com.au/ 

Stacey Nash  http://www.staceynash.com/

easter_bunny_clipart[1]Bye for now 🙂

Five Minutes With… Agent Cate Hart – Corvisiero Literary Agency

Here at NestPitch we will run a semi regular page called Five Minutes With…jobinterview Cat

where we will have a quick chat with Agents, Authors, Editors, Publishers… the idea is to offer insight into the agenting/publishing industry from all angles & have some fun doing it too 🙂

For our first Five Minutes With…we have the great privilege to interview Cate Hart, the newest recruit to Corvisiero Literary Agencyhttp://www.corvisieroagency.com/  Cate has recently become a Junior Agent and is now actively seeking submissions in her preferred genres An author herself, is also participating in #NestPitch, so reading the below may help you not only with submitting to her in the future, but may also assist with your #Nestpitch submission. There could even be a clue or two in the answers below as to which Bunny Mask Cate’s hiding behind!

A little about CatePictureCate

Cate is all about guilty pleasures. She loves salted caramel mochas, Justin Timberlake, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, and Steampunk. As a native Nashvillian, Cate’s biggest guilty pleasure is watching Nashville.
When she’s reading, Cate looks for character-driven stories, a distinguished voice, and intriguing plots. She loves characters that surprise her, like the pirate with a heart of gold and plots that keep her guessing until the very last page.
When she’s not reading queries, Cate works with clients to build their platform, works on PR projects to help promote clients, books, and reads manuscripts with an editorial eye.

Cate seeks unique stories with well-crafted plots and unforgettable characters with a strong voice. Her favourite genre is historical, whether it’s Middle Grade or YAAdult Romance or something even spicier. The time periods she loves most are Elizabethan England, the American and French Revolutions, the Victorian Era and the Gilded Age. She loves Scottish and French History. If it’s steampunk, clockpunk, or candlepunk she wants it.

Her first love will always be YA. She will consider any genre, but is looking especially for Fantasy and Magical Realism.
For Middle Grade, she is looking for Fantasy, Adventure and Mystery with a humorous or heart-warming voice and a unique concept.
For Adult, she is only accepting Historical Romance.
Cate will also consider select LGBTQ and Erotica.
For Non-Fiction, Cate will consider select histories and biographies. She is looking for secret histories and little known facts and events. She enjoys reading about the everyday heroes of the American and French Revolutions, something more beyond the tactics of war.

To Submit:present 2
Cate prefers you attach your 1-2 page synopsis and the first five pages of your manuscript as a separate Word .doc.
Cate will respond to every query. You can check her website:http://catehart.com/ for “current through” dates as well as updated wish-lists.

Follow Cate on twitter: https://twitter.com/CateHart  and Corvisiero Literary Agency on: https://twitter.com/CorvisieroLit

And now to the Questions!fun-cat-picture-aware-you-are-a-lamp

Qu1. Cate, as an author, why did you make the leap to the other side as it were?

I am passionate about publishing, and to work completely in publishing, both writing and agenting, has been one of my long term goals. As an author, I wanted to understand more intimately the other side of publishing. Because I am an author, I realize the process it takes to create a manuscript and the steps it takes to really make your work shine.

Q2. Do you think being an author gives you a better insight into the mind-set of an aspiring author?

Oh definitely. I’ve been down the road of publishing, having an agent, being on submission, and I have many author friends who are at different stages in their publication journey. I understand the excitement, the frustrations, and the discouragements.

Qu3. I note in your submission guidelines you say you reply to every query.  Do you:funny bunny 1

(a)   read all queries or do you have someone helping you?

We do have interns that read the queries and make suggestions, but I do read every query.

(b)   read all sample pages or only if the query interests you?

I’m a reader, so I will read sample pages. If I find the writing is poor, filled with grammar errors, or even amateurish mistakes, I will stop pretty quickly.

Qu4. In a query letter do you like to see:gorilla reading

(a)   a brief bio and if so what would you expect included?

Yes, it’s good to have a brief bio. Include your publishing credentials or list writing groups and affiliations, like RWA. I don’t need to know you entire resume unless it is pertinent to your manuscript.

(b)   something personal about the author (a bit of chit-chat)?

I don’t mind one to two sentences of personalization. It is nice to have a little line or two before diving right into the query.

Qu5. I see you request both the synopsis and first five pages sent as an attachment in a query submission.  Do you prefer:

(a)   the attached pages to be single or double spaced?

Please double space. My eyes are getting old. This is why I ask for attachments, sometimes copying into an email makes the font so tiny.

(b)   If the manuscript has a prologue do you want to see the prologue within/as part of those five pages?

If the prologue is part of the first five pages, include it. My stance on prologues is an author should really consider if it is necessary. I’ve found that in most cases it’s not.

(c)    manuscript title, genre, age-group and word count at the beginning or the end of the query?

I’m not picky. If it flows better at the beginning, place that information at the beginning.

Now for some fun facts about Cate:funny-cat-picture-you-are-no-match-for-my-cuteness

Qu6.  What one thing would you tell your high-school self if you could go back in time?

What you think people think about you doesn’t really matter.

Qu7.  Which is it, vacation by the sea/ocean or in the mountains?

Both equally my favorite places. But the ocean/beach wins every time.

Qu8.  Other than your keys, wallet and mobile phone, what one thing would we always find in your hand-bag?

Tickets to the last movie I saw.

Qu9.  Are you a cat or dog person? funny-cat-picture-rules-for-the-cat

Cat person (additional from Nik, as fellow cat person I know Cate will appreciate the JEPG I added)

Qu10. Stay-at-home movie night sees you eating what favourite yummy treat? 


Thanks for joining us Cate!


Come back on March 20th for the Bunny Mask Reveal

Drafy Nest Pich Logo last stage


Hello all,

I’m very excited about today’s blog post – I get to reveal the Agents who will be participating in #nestpitch, and once you’ve read through the list, I know you’ll understand why!

…and so here they are…

Pam Van Hylckama – C0-founder /Agent – Foreword Literary Pam VDV 2

Pam started her literary career as assistant to Laurie McLean in early 2012. In January 2013, after selling 21 books in her first year, Pam was promoted to agent.  when Laurie mentioned creating Foreword, Pam jumped at the chance to follow her and created a new agency together.

website: http://forewordliterary.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BookaliciousPam

Melissa Jeglinski– Agent – The Knight Agency


Established in 1996, The Knight Agency has gained worldwide recognition for the success of our authors in the fiercely competitive publishing marketplace. Our philosophy is simple: what you give is what you get.  We are dedicated to cultivating prosperous, long-term writing careers by giving clients unparalleled service.

Website: http://knightagency.net/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MJeglinski

Pooja Menon– Agent – Kimberley Cameron & Associates 


Pooja joined Kimberley Cameron & Associates as an intern in the fall of 2011, with the aim of immersing herself in the elusive world of books and publishing. She soon realized that being an agent was what she was most drawn to.

Website: http://www.kimberleycameron.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/friscodreamer 

Gina Panettieri  – President – Talcott Notch Literary 


Founded in 2003, Talcott Notch Literary is a rapidly-growing boutique agency representing the freshest new voices in both fiction and non-fiction. With more than twenty years in the publishing industry, President and Executive Editor, Gina has expertise in every aspect of writing and publishing and has helped thousands of writers achieve their goals.

Website: http://www.talcottnotch.net/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ginapanettieri

Jordy Albert – Co-founder & Senior Agent – The Booker Albert Literary Agency 


Founded by Jordy Albert and Brittany Booker Carter, former agents of the Corvisiero Literary Agency. We are a hands-on agency that strongly believes in taking on clients for their whole career.

Website: http://www.thebookeralbertagency.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bluedragonfly81

Camilla Wray –  Agent – Darley Anderson Literary (UK) 


The Darley Anderson Literary, TV and Film Agency handles a broad range of best-selling commercial fiction including thrillers, mysteries, crime, horror, fantasy, women’s, chick-lit, accessible literary, comedy and a growing list of children’s fiction.   The Agency was founded by Darley Anderson in 1988 and is based in London with a regional office in the book town of Hay-on-Wye.

Website: http://www.darleyanderson.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CamillaWray

Sarah Negovetich – Junior Agent/PR Team Leader – Corvisiero Literary Agency  

Sarah Negovetich

Corvisiero Literary Agency is a boutique literary agency founded by Marisa A Corvisiero, Esq. a former agent with the L. Perkins Agency.  This agency is a place where authors can find professional and experienced representation.

Website: http://www.corvisieroagency.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahNego 

Cate Hart – Junior Agent – Corvisiero Literary Agency 


Corvisiero Literary Agency offers  international agenting services to fiction and non-fiction authors in a wide spectrum of genres. Please see our agents’ profiles to determine which agent is the best fit for you, and be sure to read our Submission Guidelines before submitting your work.

Cate has kindly agreed to do a Five Minutes With… interview her on NestPitch (watch out for it) where you’ll get to learn more about her and perhaps get an insight into her Bunny Mask.

Website: http://www.corvisieroagency.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CateHart


Dr. Uwe Stender – President  – TriadaUS Literary Agency



Founder, Dr. Uwe Stender, is a Full Member of the AAR (Association of Authors’ Representatives), and has been a guest speaker at several major conferences including the SCWC in San Diego, the Crimebake (Mystery Writers of America New England Chapter), CAPA-U in Hartford, Connecticut, the Writers’ League of Texas in Austin, Penn Writers, and he spoke on a panel at the Book Expo America in New York City.


TriadaUS Literary Agency is always open to any strong fiction and all non-fiction projects.

Website: http://www.TriadaUS.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UweStender


Erin NiumataSenior Vice President –  Folio Literary Management 


Folio Literary Management places both fiction and non-fiction with major publishers throughout the U.S. and around the world. We represent many first-time authors, some of whom have gone on to become bestsellers and major award-winners.

Erin has been in publishing for over twenty-three years. She started as an editorial assistant at Simon and Schuster in the Touchstone/Fireside division for several years; then moved over to Harper Collins as an editor, and then she went to Avalon Books as the Editorial Director, working on Romance, Mysteries and Westerns. Erin has edited a very impressive list of authors.  Let’s sum it up with she’s worked on 28 NY Times Bestsellers.

Although Erin is currently closed for submissions, she’ll be joining us on #nestpitch which means ladies & gents, here’s your opportunity to submit to an agent currently not taking submissions!

Website: http://www.foliolit.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ecniumata

That’s eight nine ten AWESOME agents from seven different agencies folks!

Also, while no one knows who they are, we currently have four MAGIC BUNYIP Agents ready and willing to lurk around the pitches.

baby bunyipThese agents, just like their name-sake, will be in the shadows, watching…ready to pounce on the perfect pitch.

And who knows, we may even get the odd extra agent putting their hand up before the Bunny Mask reveal.

Non-participating #Agents, if you’re reading this and want to play, please contact me on nestpitch @ outlook . com (no spaces) by midnight 19th March. thCA69BZA6

Now, you may have noticed there is no mention of agent preferences, which was deliberate.  For those following this blog and/or @nestpitch, you’ll know that there will be a Bunny Mask reveal on March 20th.  Alongside each Bunny Mask will be hints and an insight into each agent.  Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to match the agent with the mask.

And there’s more than one reason to do this.  The obvious, you’ll know which agents are looking for what genre/category.  But wait, there’s more!  There’s also another game we’ll be playing, Match the Agent with the Mask – and there’s an ACTUAL prize – a $25 (AUD) Amazon gift voucher to be won!  Refer to Unmask the Agent post for more details (it mentions 15 agents but we are happy to play with the eight we have), but in short, you get to match the agent to the mask and the first correct answer, gets the voucher.  As I say, you need to refer to the post for details; however, I’ve also posted a timeline below for everyone’s FYI.

Now, some of the bio’s beside the Masks will be very direct, such as “Looking for MG/YA” other’s will be more cryptic, referring to an agents interests outside of agenting and other’s will be a mix of the two.  In other words… you’ll have to do your homework.  You’ll need to follow these agents, keep up with their twitter feeds, read their agent bio’s on their websites and read/follow their blogs and interviews.

Here’s the thing, you SHOULD be doing this already, so for many of you, the connections will be as clear as day.  If they’re as clear as mud, you have some work ahead of you, but the reward is there.  Aside from a chance to win the voucher, you’ll also get to KNOW the agents which will help for your nestpitch submission and/or in any future submissions.

This side competition is open to everyone (not running or affiliated with #nestpitch) regardless if your pitch is selected or not, even regardless  if you submit, it’s a bit of fun for everyone.  Learning with benefits!

Oh, and to help everyone with their 35-word pitch, we will be holding a workshop, together with Rhiann Wynn-Nolet the co-founder of and #LV14 & CritTiki Lounge, on the 21st of March for 1 week, refer to the previous post, Post-It-Forward for details.  Rhiann and Kristina Perez will also be hosting LV14 on April 4th

There’s a lot happening here in #nestpitch, if you’re not following us, why not?Fluffy Tail Musk Rabbit

Updated Timetable:

March 15th           Introduce the Agents

March 18th           Five Minutes With… interview with Agent Cate Hart

Mar 20th               Update the Bunny Masks

Mar 21st                Wind opens for Post-It-Forward – please send in your 35-word pitches

Mar 22nd              Comments accepted for Post-It-Forward

Mar 29th               Comments closed for Post-It-Forward

March 3oth        Twitter Q&A window will open for 2 hours – time to be advised

Apr 1st -2nd               Submission windows open 1st April NOON USA EST until 11.59am 2nd April USA EST (equiv. times in UK, Australia posted)

Apr 3rd -10th        1st Round – Slush Bilbies select top 120 nests*

Apr 12th                Match Agent to Bunny Mask window open NOON USA EST for 8 hours, until 8.00pm April 12th USA E ST – Emails must be received during this time to be eligible.

Apr 11th -15th       2nd Round – Nest Bloggers  pick their 72 nests*

Apr 16th                     3rd Round – Nest Bloggers post their top choices

Apr 17th -19th       4th Round Secret Bunny Agents  stock *nests

Easter Sun.        Stocked *nests* revealed/Secret Bunny Agents identities revealed

Apr 21st                Unmask the Agent Winner Revealed

Apr 22nd              Bunyips can now offer belated presents*

Apr 23rd               All #NestPitch requests should be received by Secret Bunny Agents.

Apr 28th               All Bunyip requests should be made& sent

Apr 30th               Special additional surprise revealed!

May 1st                  Update on #nestpitch Blog thanking everyone + a special <surprise>unnamed[1]

Please read the RULES & CONDITIONS before entering your pitch on April 1st.  I don’t want to become some sort of tyrant but they are there for a reason.  People who don’t adhere to them WILL have their submission deleted. (Note: while I understand every effort will be made to format correctly, if after emailing, your submission de-formats, this will not negate your submission, as long as you have followed all the other rules)

And remember if your MANUSCRIPT has been featured in another PITCH CONTEST (featured= posted for agent review/bidding) in the past TWELVE months, the period between 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2014, it is not eligible. Any questions, leave me a comment here or ask during Twitter Q&A.

Also, don’t forget to check out our AWESOME TEAM of bloggers & slush readers!

Drafy Nest Pich Logo last stage


Hi everyone,

In the spirit of pay-it-forward, the lovely Rhiann Wynn-Nolet has offered to help me run a pre-pitch-post.  That’s why we are calling this blog update Post-It-Forward.

Rhiann the co-founder, along with Kristina Perez, (http://www.kristinaperez.com/), of #LV14 Contest; http://likeavirgin.kristinaperez.com/ and & #CriTiki Lounge, is an active member of the writing world.  Rhiann photo

It would be well worth it to follow Rhiann and Kristina, and #LV14 is also running a #pitch competition in April (April 4th for YA & NA COMPLETED & POLISHED novels). 

Rhiann is represented by Stefanie Lieberman of Janklow & Nesbit.

You can find Rhiann’s blog here:


Rhiann on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RhiannWynnNolet

And a great interview she did with Michelle4laughs blog back in Feb 2013 on her journey to getting an agent here:


So now that you’re stalking, following Rhiann, Kristina, Michelle and Stefanie, (wait what? You’re not. OK, go and do it now, I’ll wait… Done? Great),

here’s how Pre-Pitch-Post will work:

Between 12.00noon and 11.59 midnight March 21st (USA New York Time) (note: that’s 3am – 2.59pm March 22nd Melbourne Australia time), anyone can send their 35-word pitch to the email:  nestpitch@outlook.com

In the subject line please put: Pre-Pitch-Post – please make sure you put those words to ensure your email doesn’t go to SPAM.

In the body of the email please complete the following:

TYPE THESE WORDS: By submitting this pitch I agree to allow the Nestpitch blog and/or any other affiliated blogs to post my pitch on an open forum for the purposes of critique and feedback.  I understand this can be for the life of the blog.  I also agree to comment on at least two other pitches if my pitch is selected to be featured.


Genre (eg. YA Romance)easter_bunny_clipart[1]

35-word Pitch:

Rhiann and I will each pick up to 10 pitches at random, to feature on her blog and this one.  The pitches will be distinguished by number only Pitch No.1 and so on.  We will look to select a cross-section of genres and ages and will neither be looking for the best or the worst, simply a solid mix.

Everyone will be able to comment, including the hosts, however comments will be monitored. Please play nice people, constructive is good, nasty is destructive.

Commenting will look like this:

Pitch No. 7 – I like the premise but I got confused if John Smith was the father or the brother of Jane Smith. – get it?

The idea behind this is to allow not only those pitches selected, feedback, but everyone participating or considering participating in a pitch competition, the chance to see what works and what does not, and use that information in tightening their own 35-word pitch. The selected pitches will go up on March 22nd so be sure to follow Rhiann’s blog and this one for updates.

To make this work, we need as many people commenting as possible, that is why we are asking all author’s who’s pitches are selected to commit to commenting on at least two other pitches.

We hope people not selected, or people who haven’t submitted will also want to comment and contribute, its part of the post-it-foreword philosophy.

Remember, #nestpitch submission window opens April -1st  & #LV14 submission window opens April -4th    

Easter sign

And come back April 15th for our AMAZING Agent reveal.

First Lines in your MS – this might help

With #Pitchmadness submission date being a little over a week away (if you don’t know what #pitchmadness is, refer to Brenda Drake’s Blog), and #nestpitch less than a month away, I thought I’d talk about first lines. waking cat

Yes the 35-word pitch is important, vital even, because it demonstrates to an agent how clearly you can summarize your manuscript.  If the first line of your manuscript is strong but your pitch weak, this may cost you your spot on a blogger’s post.  However, not matter how great (and seriously make it great) your 35-word pitch is, if that first line, that first paragraph and those first 250-300 words fail to impress, you’ll not get the attention of an agent.

There is a lot of talk about what makes a first line good, great or indifferent.  Much of it revolves around two perceived ideas. (1) start your first line/paragraph with activity. (2) never start your first line/paragraph with a dream sequence, a weather scene, looking in the mirror etc.  And I’m here to say, if you can follow the above, do so, however if you cannot, for instance, your story starts in the middle of a tornado therefore weather is pretty important, then make the above work for you, break the rules if you know how to break them well, make up new rules, change the rules; but make it good, great, extraordinary!

What all author’s, published or not, must acknowledge is the need for three things in their work. gorilla reading

a)      a unique concept; even if the story-line has been done before, and lets face it, they all have, an extraordinary author will find a unique twist/take on a story that makes the old look fresh.  This is why agents say NO to weather/shower/mirror/dreaming scenes.  Not because they cannot work but because most are already done to death.  If it’s not unique, it’s a fail.

b)      a voice that sounds credible & authentic; voice is so hard to define because it is something innate in the writing, an intangible entity that allows the reader to suspend disbelief and to trust the author and the characters the author has created will take them on a journey they long to travel.

c)      fluid flow; this is as vital as the previous two.  If a novel does not flow, either through poor grammar, poor word selection, too much or not enough exposition, unfathomable world-building, less than credible/likable/connectable characters, etc. the reader simply stops.

There are of course many other things good fiction writing requires, however, if an author can get the three above right, they are already on a winner. agent cat rejection

Today I’m going to talk about one part of each three points above.

(i)                 when agents say YES to done to death scenes

(ii)               characters a reader trusts instantly

(iii)             breaking grammar rules & making it work for you.

You see, an agent doesn’t care if your novel starts with your main character having fallen asleep in the shower and is in the middle of a dream that’s taking place while there’s a fierce storm outside.  What they want you to do is SHOW them why/how the main character got in this position and why they should care. And they want this pretty much in the first line, or first paragraph.

Now, I’m sure there are some people reading this saying, “Hang on! That’s a bit much to ask!” – actually, it’s not.  Agents are not mean nasty evil pixies who take pleasure in tormenting aspiring writers. Nor is it a matter of time, not really.  Yes, agents are busy and time-poor, but the truth is, they need to sell your novel to a publisher and that publisher needs to sell it to the general public.  And the general public, myself included, expect everything now, instantly, give-it-to-me-I-can’t-wait now.

Be honest, how many times have you picked up a novel in a store, or opened the first page on-line, and if that novel’s first paragraph doesn’t capture you, that’s it – over – c’est fini.  I know I give a potential novel one page. That’s somewhere between 200-300 words. If page one looks interesting, I’ll flip over and read page two.  If I’m still reading, I buy it, if not, I keep browsing.  And this is why the first line and the first paragraph are vital.  If the first line catches the reader and then there are some 200-words of exposition, the reader WILL allow the author that time, because the author has already proven able to excite the reader.

To help me illustrate, I have taken first lines from successful novels throughout the ages.  Note, I have specifically missed some of the more popular novels in modern times, not because I’m not a fan of Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, but rather to illustrate that writers have been breaking rules and making their own rules for centuries in some cases.

When agents say YES to done to death scenes author frustration 1

Here are a few examples where weather references works.

  1. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
  2. It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York. —Sylvia Plath,The Bell Jar (1963)

In the two examples above weather/season is part of the first line, yet no one cares. Why? Because it’s not about weather or a season it’s all about world-building, atmosphere and creating a desire to know more.

How does a clock strike thirteen?  That’s what catches the imagination on George Orwell’s 1984.

Who are THEY and why were the Rosenburg’s electrocuted and does it matter it was summer and what does NEW YORK have to do with it?  These are the questions put to the reader of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.  And these are the reasons the reader will continue to read.

These work not in spite of the reference to the weather but as part of it. The reader knows the time, the place, and, within a few words, knows there is danger coming.

Characters a reader trusts instantlyfrustrated reader 1

Here are some examples of first lines that make the reader instantly trust the author and the main character.

  1. Every summer Lin Kong returned to GooseVillage to divorce his wife, Shuyu. —Ha Jin, Waiting (1999)
  2. They shoot the white girl first. —Toni Morrison, Paradise (1998)

These are very short sentences yet they tell the reader the author knows what they are doing.  Create tension and have the reader’s imagination flutter with possibilities.

How does Lin Kong divorce his wife every year? What white girl? And why is she shot? Who could resist reading the next paragraph, page or chapter to know what is going on?

Breaking grammar rules & making it work for you funny bunny 2

Having correct grammar and appropriate word selection is vital.  Keeping sentences short and crisp is the rule, sentences able to be read without gasping for air is what a author should be aiming at.  Yet, for those with exceptional talent, breaking those rules the right way makes their writing outstanding.

  1. He—for there could be no doubt of his sex, though the fashion of the time did something to disguise it—was in the act of slicing at the head of a Moor which swung from the rafters. —Virginia WoolfOrlando (1928)
  2. I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974. —Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex(2002)
  3. “I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as “Claudius the Idiot,” or “That Claudius,” or “Claudius the Stammerer,” or “Clau-Clau-Claudius” or at best as “Poor Uncle Claudius,” am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach  the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the “golden predicament” from which I have never since become disentangled.” – Robert Graves, I, Claudius (1934)

Sentences one and two are just short of forty words and yet they work. They are also full of semi colons, commas and whatnot, and yet they still work.  They work because they are stronger by breaking the rules.  And sentence three is almost one hundred and twenty words.

And if you don’t believe me that long sentences work, THE LONGEST SENTENCE from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is 823 WORDS — three PAGES.  I’m not going to paste a copy of the sentence but I think it’s reasonable to assume Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables was a success. And you know what? That doesn’t even hold the world record. happy cat 1

The point of this post is to demonstrate that first sentences/paragraphs are vital.  They have always been vital, yet now, in our fast paced want-it-now society, this is even more so the case.  I have added several more examples of first sentences below from novels across the board.

If you feel your novel’s first chapter is the weakest and your opening sentence is not really all that strong, do something about it.  Do not say to yourself, “Wait for it” because the agent, the editor, the end purchaser simply WILL NOT.  Don’t convince yourself that an agent will read all of chapter one and then fall in love with your main character, your world or whatever in chapter’s two and three, because, frankly, assuming they even bother to go that far, they are already subconsciously saying no.

If your manuscript is bright and shiny and crystal clear pretty, but for the first page – do the damn first page again!  tackle picDon’t just kill your darlings, slaughter them and dump them in a deep pit where no one will ever find them and from their ashes resurrect a killer first line/paragraph.  That’s how the truly great have always done it.

Note; I have not mentioned first line/paragraph FLASHBACKS because, frankly, I loathe them.  If someone can find me a first evil catsentence/paragraph flashback I will enjoy and that will change my mind, please feel free to post the name of the novel and the author.  I also have a fond distaste for prologues and to this day have only ever read prologues under one page.

And with that, I will leave you with a few more examples of successful and extraordinary first lines; and don’t forget to return soon, we have more reveals coming up for #NESTPITCH any day now!

bathing cats

  • Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)
  • Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested. —Franz Kafka, The Trial (1925; trans. Breon Mitchell)
  • The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett,Murphy (1938)
  • This is the saddest story I have ever heard. —Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (1915)
  • It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. —Paul Auster, City of Glass (1985)
  • 124 was spiteful. —Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)
  • Mother died today. —Albert Camus, The Stranger (1942; trans. Stuart Gilbert)
  • The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. —William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
  • —Money . . . in a voice that rustled. —William Gaddis, J R (1975)
  • For a long time, I went to bed early. —Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way (1913; trans. LydiaDavis)
  • Dr. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature. —Anita Brookner, The Debut (1981)
  • There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
  • It was the day my grandmother exploded. —Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road(1992)
  • It was a pleasure to burn. —Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
  • In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street. —David Markson,Wittgenstein’s Mistress (1988)
  • “To be born again,” sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, “first you have to die.” —Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses (1988)
  • The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.  —L. P. Hartley,The Go-Between (1953)
  • Vaughan died yesterday in his last car-crash. —J. G. Ballard, Crash (1973)
  • When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.  —James Crumley, The Last Good Kiss (1978)
  • All children, except one, grow up – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan (1902)
  • It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful – Roald Dahl, Matilda (1988).
  •  “The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation Donna Tartt, The Secret History (1992)resting cat