#NestPitch2015 – is your manuscript pitch ready? Then… April 1-2-3 Go!

BunnyBlowsEggBubblesFor those who don’t know what Nestpitch is, here’s a quick run-through.

There’s a special Easter tradition throughout central and northern Croatia – making Easter Nests for the Easter Bunny.  On the afternoon or eve of Easter Saturday children go out into the garden and collect leaves, grass, twigs, flowers and then make a “nest” for the Easter Bunny – that’s where he places hisEaster-Egg-Presents. The children go to bed that eve wondering if the Easter Bunny will like or love their nest, because the best nest gets the best and biggest eggs! 

And that’s the basis of Nestpitch, but the ‘nests’ are the author’s pitches and the ‘Easter Bunnies’ are the agents

– get it? Great!

BunnyEatsCarrotHoleHow does Nestpitch work?

This year we have changed things a bit, therefore even if you participated in Nestpitch 2014 you will still need to read the below.

This year we are NOT accepting Picture Books. We are accepting MG, YA, NA and Adult FICTION ONLY. I had someone ask if we are accepting memoirs or similar- the short answer is NO. This is a FICTION ONLY pitch + 1st 300 for manuscript length fiction only. We are accepting all genres within these categories. If your novel is either Erotica or Christian, please state this. For example: Adult Romance (Erotica) or YA Historical Romance (Christian).

RabbitBrownCatchingSnowflakesWe support diversity and strongly encourage authors with GLBT, geographic, cultural and/or social diversity within their manuscripts to submit. Having said this, we DO NOT support sexual violence, violence against children, bigotry and racism, paedophilia and/or animal cruelty. While it is true that violence and cruelty features within some genres, horror for example, or racism in a historical fiction set in the time of slavery, we will not accept manuscripts that support or promote, directly or indirectly, racism, misogyny, rape, sexual, physical or emotional violence.

One submission per author only please.

Teams: This year there are nine Teams made up of one Mentor & two Slushies. The Teams are listed here:https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/nestpitch-2015-teams-simply-smawesome/

Guidelines: easter-rabbit-eating-vegetables-beautiful-gif-photography-great-atmosphere-funny-pics-233-1

The Pitch window will be open for 48 hours, thereby allowing everyone, regardless of where you live in the world, to prepare and submit a pitch.

The Pitch will be made up of three parts.

(i)                 a 35-word pitch

(ii)               answer to a question (in your main character’s voice)*

(iii)             the first 300-words of their manuscript

*QUESTION: If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be?  Keep your answer to NO MORE than 15-words.

happy easter animated gif funny Easter Bunny photo graphics Happy Easter ecards animations eaggs Easter fun hot cross bunny  animations gif e-cardsHow to submit your Pitch:

On April 1st the submission window will open. Please follow the guidelines as set out below. Last year some people put their first 300 words at the top or mixed up the order. Please do not do this. There is a reason for the order and failure to follow the below will likely mean your submission will not pass Round#1 (refer below).

Send the following in your email:

In the Subject line: Nestpitch2015 Sub and your name/author name

In the body of the email type these words: 

By submitting this pitch + first 300 words I agree to allow the Nestpitch blog and/or any other affiliated blogs to post my submission on an open forum for the purposes of critique and feedback.  I understand this can be for the life of the blog(s).

PoohBearBunnyBasketManuscript Title:

Category/ Genre:

Word Count:

35-word Pitch:

QU (in your MC’s voice), if your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be?:

*First 300-words of your MS:

*1st 300 = if your MS has a prologue, then your 1st 300 starts from your prologue. Also, finish at the end of a sentence. This is 300-word MAX, so your last word is 300-words. If your sentence finishes on 292-words, submit that. If your sentences run into 30 or more words, then you might want to rethink the length of your sentence(s). Broken sentences do no one favours.

Example of a Submission:

Subject line: Nestpitch2015 Sub – Nikola Vukoja

By submitting this pitch + first 300 words I agree to allow the Nestpitch blog and/or any other affiliated blogs to post my submission on an open forum for the purposes of critique and feedback.  I understand this can be for the life of the blog(s).

zg8w-19L-1

Manuscript Title:      Easter Bunny goes to Vegas

Category/ Genre:      MG/ Fantasy

Word Count:             26,000

35-word Pitch:        After losing all his eggs in a card game to March Hare, the Easter Bunny heads for Las Vegas where he plans to win enough money to buy back the world’s Easter Eggs. 

If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be?  I’d be every flavour, colour, shape and size imaginable; I’m the Easter Bunny… geez!

First 300-words of your MS:

Easer Bunny Blah Blah…

Send your submission to: Nestpitch@outlook.com (please note the submission window below, submissions sent prior or post those times/dates will not be accepted)

funny-animal-gifs-just-some-bunniesFormatting: Either Times Roman or Arial (we are aware that there may be issues with some email account regarding font, please do your best to use either Times Roman or Arial, or something as close as possible to these two)

No indentions. Single spacing. One space between each Paragraph.

Prologues: Your prologue is where your first 300 words begin.

Word Count: Rounded to nearest 1000. For example, 86,000 not 85,798

BunnyPaintsEggsTreeSelection Process: Last year we contacted all submissions that had made a mistake or left something out (listing only category or genre for example). This year we will not be so lenient. Aside from formatting issues, authors will be expected to follow the above. All submissions will be read by me (Nikola) first to ensure each submission has followed the above rules/guidelines.

There will be three rounds before final selection.

a.       Round #1: To get past #1 the authors must be able to follow guidelines.

b.      Round #2: This year each Team will select an initial 5-8 submissions and then request more pages/material. Based on the additional pages/material, each Team will drill their selection down to between 4-5 to go to the next round. Note: authors may receive more than one request from more than one Team.

c.       Round #3: On having picked their final 4-5, each Team will then critique the first 2,500-words and ‘get to know’ the author(s). This is a 3-fold process. Being selected does not necessarily mean being featured. Teams will want to know the author(s) are willing to accept feedback etc.  The Teams will work with their authors for 3 weeks, offering feedback, sharpening pitches, & suggesting improvements. After this, the authors have a full week to re-read their MS in full & make any final changes; before the agent round.

snoopyeasterFrom the Slush-pile Picks. My Team #Team2Beat, will be hunting through the slush-pile and the reserves, looking for gems that have been missed. We will have the option of selecting between 1-5 pitches (at our discretion) to feature. This is basically a bonus-pick so, you may just get an email after the date, but if you do, you’ll be expected to work twice as hard as the other author’s as you’ll have less time – so be ready!

Additional Rules: 

a.       Only manuscripts which HAVE NOT been featured in another online competition are eligible to enter. This DOES NOT include workshops, critique groups or similar. It also DOES NOT include twitter or any other tag-line style pitches either. Please feel free to ask if you’re in any doubt.

                                                              (i)      If you have submitted the same manuscript to #Pitchslam, due to the time-line cross-over, we are accepting these submissions. However, if your submission goes to the final stage of either or both competitions, please advice us and the host of #Pitchslam.

b.      Submissions MUST follow the submission format. We accept that sometimes emails de-format fonts and tabs, what we don’t want is people forgetting to put CATEGORY & GENRE (for example) or not answering the question; that sort of thing.

All pitches that have followed the rules (round#1) will then be forwarded to each Team. After the internal cat-fight, erh discussions will take place and each Team will select their top 4-5 author submissions (round#3). Expect to also see teasers and cryptic clues via Twitter & Facebook (*don’t forget to follow the Mentors and Slushies, lots of fun to be had!)

My Team #Team2Beat will be the Bandit Team. I bet all of you have a brother or sister who always stole your favourite Easter Eggs – well that’s what we’ll be doing – sort of. We will be looking for hidden or missed gems. They could be from the slush-pile or from #round2 & we’ll feature them. #Team2Beatmay have as few as one submission featured or as many as five – it all depends on how many diamonds in the rough we believe have been missed.

This year there will again be an Amazon Gift voucher Prize for the submission with the highest number of requests and another for matching the Agents with their Masks (more on that at agent reveal).

15Dates:

Agent Reveal: 27th March

Submission Window Opens April Fools Day (Wednesday 1st April 2015)

10pm Aust. Eastern Standard Time

7am USA New York Time

12 noon London UK Time

Submission Window Closes Good Friday (Friday 3rd April 2015)

10pm Aust. Eastern Standard Time

7am USA New York Time

12 noon London UK Time

Secret Agent Bunny Mask Reveal: April 9th

Teams send out requests for 1st 2,500 words Sunday 12th April

Authors reply by Tuesday 14th April

Final Selection Sunday 10th May (Mother’s Day)

Agent Request open Monday 11th May to Tuesday 12th May 2015

Unmask the Agent: Wednesday 13th May 2015 (Amazon Voucher)

Agent Request(s) sent out to authors Wednesday 13th May 2015

Authors to send requested pages to Agents by Friday 15th May 2015

Winner of Most Requests: 20th or 21st May

Stats: 28th or 29st May

Nestpitch2015 Close: 31st May (follow up blog with success stories as they come)

One last thing. Please remember to be respectful and considerate when communicating with out Mentors, Slushies and Agents. Rude, vulgar or insulting comments, tweets or emails will not be tolerated, in other words, please nice folks!

BunnyChocolateTailHelpful Guides: Novel Word Count:

Although we are not going to eliminate anyone who does not match the below, we recommend you try to follow as closely as possible the suggested word-count.  The to – from word-count is a guide only and takes into consideration genre variations (for example fantasy genre novels tend to be on the longer side)

ADULT:                     70,000 – 115,000

NEW ADULT :          60, 000 – 90,000

YOUNG ADULT:       50,000 – 80,000

MIDDLE GRADE:     25,000 – 45,000

Useful Tools/ Things to Avoid:BunnyThumperLooks

Common Punctuation Errors: (selected examples taken from Maeve Maddox’s post, March 20, 2015)

Incorrect: To become fluent readers students must read outside school hours.
Correct: To become fluent readers, students must read outside school hours.

“To become fluent readers” is an introductory infinitive phrase and should be followed by a comma.

Incorrect: If you want to write well you must be prepared to practice the craft.
Correct: If you want to write well, you must be prepared to practice the craft.

“If you want to write well” is an introductory clause and should be followed by a comma.

Incorrect: The boys, who vandalized the public gardens, are in police custody.
Correct: The boys who vandalized the public gardens are in police custody.

“Who vandalized the public gardens” is essential information because it identifies which boys are meant. It should not be set off by commas.

Incorrect: Circumstances required the children to live in a homeless shelter, nevertheless they kept up with their studies.
Correct: Circumstances required the children to live in a homeless shelter; nevertheless, they kept up with their studies.

Also correct: Circumstances required the children to live in a homeless shelter. Nevertheless, they kept up with their studies.

A comma splice results when two independent clauses are joined by a comma. The main clauses here are “Circumstances required the children to live in a homeless shelter” and “nevertheless, they kept up with their studies.”

The word nevertheless is a conjunctive adverb. Its function is to provide a transition between two thoughts, but it is not a joining word like and or but. A comma splice can be avoided by placing a semicolon after the first clause or by ending the first clause with a period or other end stop and starting a new sentence with a capital letter.

Incorrect: The spelunkers found, that the caves were closed to protect the bats.
Correct: The spelunkers found that the caves were closed to protect the bats.

The noun clause is “the caves were closed to protect the bats.” The clause functions as the direct object of the verb in the main clause, found.

thHoppingBunnyClauses: Main clauses that are not part of a compound or complex sentence require an end stop. When a period or other end stop is omitted, the result is a “run-on sentence.”

Incorrect: The rushing waves capsized the boat indifferent gulls wheeled overhead.

Correct: The rushing waves capsized the boat. Indifferent gulls wheeled overhead.

The simplest way to correct a run-on sentence is to put a period at the end of the first clause and capitalize the first word of the next one.

Multiple Exclamation Points!!!56

Incorrect: Before my astonished eyes, the house sank into the tarn!!!!
Correct: Before my astonished eyes, the house sank into the tarn!

On the rare occasions that an exclamation mark is needed, one is sufficient. Remember this rule, more than one Kitten… always. More than one exclamation mark… never.

Quotation Marks.

Incorrect: Our staff is required to take three “safety” courses every year.
Correct: Our staff is required to take three safety courses every year.

In most contexts, placing quotation marks around a word suggests that the word is being used with a meaning other than the obvious one. Writers who enclose words in quotation marks merely for emphasis risk annoying their readers. No one likes to waste time trying to discern a hidden meaning where there is none.

There are more examples on Maeve Maddox’s post found here: http://www.prdaily.eu/PRDailyEU/Articles/10_punctuation_essentials_for_every_writer_18319.aspx

Below is a list of words I have selected which are often incorrectly used:

1303815445_bunny-noseAffect vs. effect

Affect is usually a verb, and effect is usually a noun. When you affect something, it produces and effect. To affect something is to change or influence it. An effect is something that happens due to cause.

Affluent vs. effluent

Affluent describes something or someone has having a lot of money. It can also mean something is fluid or flowing in a large quantity, either literally or figuratively. A person who is wealthy is an affluentEffluent is the liquid sewage that is released as waste.

Farther vs. further

Father and Further both mean at a greater distance, and they are used interchangeably in this sense. In the US farther is more often used to refer to physical distances, and further more often refers to figurative and non-physical distances.

Imply vs. infer 

To imply is to express something indirectly. For example, you might imply that it’s time for a guest to leave by saying that you are getting tired. To infer is to surmise or deduce. For example, if you were to tell a guest that you’re getting tired, the guest might infer that it’s time to leave. More broadly, infer means to deduce. For example, when the sky grows dark in the middle of the day, you might infer that it’s probably going to storm. Infer has been used in place of imply so often and for so long that some dictionaries now list it as a synonym of imply in a secondary sense. In edited writing, however, the traditional distinction is usually kept intact.

easter-bunny-cute-gifLightening vs. lightning

Lightening (from the verb – lighten), where to lighten is to make light or lighter. Lightning is the flash of light associated with thunder.

Literally vs. figuratively

Literally means exactly, in a strict sense, or to the letter. For example, “I am literally foaming at the mouth,” this literally means real foam is coming out of his or her mouth. 

Figuratively means in a metaphorical sense—so when someone says, “I am figuratively foaming at the mouth,” we can infer that he or she is using the idiom foaming at the mouth, which means very angry, and that no mouth foam is actually present.

Misinformed vs. uninformed

Something that is misinformed is based on bad information. Something that is uninformed is based on no information or inadequate information.

Oppress, repress, suppress

To oppress is to keep someone down by unjust force or authority. To repress is (1) to hold back, or (2) to put down by force. Suppress, means (1) to put an end to, (2) to inhibit, and (3) to keep from being revealed, such as suppressing evidence.

BunnyBrownBasketSparklePeek, peak & pique

A peek is a glance or a quick look. It can also mean to glance or to peer at. Peak is a topmost point, such as a mountain peak. Finally, pique is to upset or excite someone, such as, to pique interest, you are exciting their interest not taking a quick look at it.

Re-create vs. recreate

Recreate means to amuse oneself with an activity, and is a word in its own right. The verb re-create, meaning to create again, benefits from the hyphen. But because recreate is an exceedingly rare verb, there’s actually little chance of the two being confused, so many publications omit the hyphen and use recreate to mean to create again.

Whiny, whiney, whinny

Whiny is an adjective meaning habitually complaining or like a whine.

Whiney is the same as whiny.

Whinny is the sound horses make & is synonymous with neigh.

Wreath vs. wreathe

The difference between wreath and wreathe is similar to that between breath and breathe. Wreath is a noun and wreathe is its corresponding verb.

MyButtHurts1Variations in British English and US English

As a general rule, the use of the letter ‘u’ in certain words differentiates the two types of English, for example Favorite / Favourite. The first being US English. Another example would be Color / Colour. Also the replacement of the letter ‘S’ with the letter ‘Z’ is a common difference between the two versions. For example Realize / Realise, with the first being US English.

Then there are words where US English has only one ‘L’ when – ed is added, for example Traveled is US English and Travelled is British English.

I found a good source of reference here: http://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/words/british_american_english.htm

This site also highlights changes in ‘re’ and ‘er’ for example Centre/Center and other variations.

Sometimes words have a very different spelling as is the case with Jewelry  / Jewellery. The first being US English.

I hope some of these will help you with your grammar and word selection  and of course, if you have any questions about #Nestpitch please feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter using either @nestpitch or @Nik_Vukoja

Come back in a few days to see our truly smawesome list of Agents!

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19 thoughts on “#NestPitch2015 – is your manuscript pitch ready? Then… April 1-2-3 Go!

  1. The guideline about prologues poses a problem for me. My prologue is a lean 178 words. It is necessary. It adds something to the MS. I will be submitting it to agents.

    But for contests I usually leave it out. Not because it isn’t self contained and necessary (it is) but because including it would mean I can only post 122 words of Chapter 1, which really isn’t much to work with. In fact, more like 119 if I use the labels “Prologue” and “Chapter One”.

    Just wanted to mention a perspective you might not have considered.

    Like

    • Hi June,
      I have considered this prospective and, if you think about it, that’s why the prologue needs to be included. As you said yourself, you send the prologue to agents with queries, therefore our participating agents (if you were sending them a query) would see your prologue as part of your attached pages. And this is why it is important to add your prologue, so that participating agents DO get to see the first 300-words of your manuscript.
      I understand your train of thought. “…but agents usually ask for the first five pages not the first 300-words…” however, if your prologue and the remaining words do their job, they’ll do it with (at least) one of our Teams. And while I do not disagree that most competitions would not request the prologue, I do, for the simple reason that it IS part of your first 300-words and is part of your word-count.
      I hope I’ve explained my reasoning well enough.

      Like

  2. Hi Nikola, my work does not in any way promote or endorse violence – in fact, given my professional affiliations, the intention is quite the opposite, the over-riding theme being of eventual self-empowerment of victims. However, it does graphically depict mental and physical violence. As I am keen to play by the rules, I’d like to confirm with you that this will be okay to submit. Happy to email synopsis if you are uncertain.
    Regards
    Lee

    Like

    • Hi Lee,
      Thanks for contacting me & from what you’ve said, your MS does fit the rules. Should your MS be selected for round#2, just make a note in your email, like you did above, to your Mentor and the Mentoring Team can then take a look at either specific pages or the synopsis, I don’t need to see it now – good luck!

      Like

  3. Pingback: Abracadabra, Shim-Shalala-Sham: Agent Reveal – Now! | nestpitch

  4. Hi, had a question about whether I’m eligible to enter or not. My submission would be the same book I entered last year in NestPitch, but since that time I did an R&R for an agent so the MS (including the opening) has changed significantly. I made it past the initial round last year, but not sure if that counts as being previously “featured.”

    Like

    • Yes you’re MS is eligible. This is a perfect example of why I have the 12-month rule. In a 12 month cycle an author will revise, and have new feedback (CPs/BETAs) and change scenes, beginnings etc. It may be the same manuscript in theme etc, but the work/revisions mean it feels/reads like a new or at least improved work. I would be happy to have you submit it again.

      Like

  5. Hey NestPitch! Thanks so much for the great contest. I’m hoping to determine if my MS is eligible. I entered it in the Operation Awesome March Mystery Agent giveaway. Those awesome folks do a monthly giveaway where you can win an agent request. I was one of the winners but as the winners are chosen by Rafflecopter (to me more like a giveaway as I don’t think they judge the entries) I feel like I’m okay as per the rules above but I thought I would double check. Thanks 🙂

    Like

  6. This sound wonderful! As you have mentioned, if the ms’s been in a workshop online (just coming out of First Five Pages), that’s okay? Even if you had to be selected for it? Also, will the mentors be commenting/reading the entire ms, or just the first 2.5k? Thank you very much.
    -Lyuda

    Like

    • yes, all workshops are OK. As for what the Mentor’s will or will not read in addition to the 2,500-words, it will be an individual call. All will read the first 2,500, some may ask for more, some may ask for a synopsis and/or your query letter. A lot has to do with time also. As you can imagine, if each Team has 5 authors and each author has an MS of say, 75,000-words, and the Teams have just over 3 weeks… that’s a big ask. Also, it will depend on how quickly an author replies with material. Clearly if an author is slow in getting material to the Team, then there is less time to work with that author. So short answer, min. 2,500, the rest is up to each Team.

      Like

  7. Hi there, I’ve also got a contest eligibility question. The beginning of my MS placed third in a RWA (US) comp last year and a short scene won a a RWA (Aus) ‘first kiss’ comp, also last year. Does that mean it’s out for NestPitch?

    Like

        • In that case, if your MS made it to round #2 then that MS is not eligible. In other weds if agents saw it in a comp, then it’s an agent comp, If it got feedback & wasn’t offered to agents, then ‘workshop’ rule applies. The only clause to this is if it was something like Operation Awesome where one agent was involved & s/he was there for feedback rather than request pages. Did your MS get to the final round?

          Like

  8. My MS made the final round in both cases so that would make it ineligible for NestPitch 😦
    No matter, I’ll try next year with my current WIP. Thanks for providing such a great opportunity for unpublished writers 🙂

    Like

    • Sorry Kat 😦 but I think you understand why I’ve done it this way. We want agents to keep finding the time to participate and I believe sometimes a manuscript can get over exposure before it’s ready. & please do join us next year with your new WIP or your current MS (12 months will have passed) assuming you haven’t found an agent by then of course. & don’t forget, regardless of if you submit to Nestpitch or not, you can still join in the fun with Unmask the Agent – there’s an Amazon Voucher up for grabs!

      Like

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