Nestpitch 2015 Teams – Simply Smawesome!

91aab551Hello all,

I guess it would be no big revelation if I said I make stuff up, given my chosen profession. The thing is I also make words up, usually by accident. That’s what happened yesterday morning. I was working on the Nestpitch Team bio’s and as I got further along, it hit me at how amazing this years Mentors & Slushies are.

I also talk to myself. Well that and the cats, which is kind of the same thing. So there I was, working on the Team bio’s talking to myself when my brain, which often works way faster than my mouth (& that’s saying something!), was thinking “these teams are Super, Magical, Awesome– and what came out of my mouth (literally) was smawesome – & that’s what these Team’s are – SMAWESOME! So I’m coining the word as my own & who knows? It might just catch on 🙂thebestdayyet

Below are the Teams and when you read them you’ll agree, they are smawesome, but before you look through the Teams, I wanted to run through the selection process. Now, don’t freak out too much as a full list of dates, rules and conditions will be posted on the 23rd / 24th of March. For now just mark March 23rd /24th and April 1st (submission date).

The submission consists of:

(i)                 35-word pitch

(ii)               Answer to this question: If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be? (no more than 15 words please)

(iii)             1st 300-words of your manuscript*

*1st 300 = if you have a prologue, then your 1st 300 starts from your prologue. If you don’t think your prologue is strong enough then perhaps you need to rethink your prologue.

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 rethink the length of your sentence(s). Broken sentences do no one favours.

This year we will not be accepting PB’s – I have something special planned for PB’s (and perhaps MG’s) for December 2015 assuming I can get all my ducks in a row 😉

defeatistTwo things to add/note:

(1)               A condition of entry is any MS #pitch submitted to previous #pitches, which resulted in being selected, in the twelve months prior to April 2015, is ineligible.   The only sub-clause to this is #PitchSlam. Please let us know if  you have the same MS in #PitchSlam & #Nestpitch, and again if you’ve been selected. I have spoken to the Host of PitchSlam & we’ve agreed to work closely on this one.

(2)               This year there will be less final selection featured pitches. (Expecting final the number to be around 40). With each Team concentrating on fewer submissions, we can be more hands-on with feedback and mentoring. By doing this, not only will the pitch + 300-words be stronger, but so will the entire MS. This year there will be rounds.

Harry potter styl image 1a.      Round #1: Last year I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt when errors were made in following guidelines. That will not be the case this year, aside from formatting issues (which happen). To get past #1 author’s must be able to follow guidelines.

b.      Round #2: This year each Team will select and 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.

March-06-2012-17-18-53-tumblrltqwvxV4261qlcw7co1500c.      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 author’s for 3 weeks, offering feedback, sharpening pitches, & suggesting improvements. After this, the author’s have a full week to re-read their MS in full & make any final changes; before the agent round.

 From 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, expect to work twice as hard as the other author’s as you’ll have less time – so be ready!

All of the above, together with dates and other conditions will be posted on March 23rd / 24th in an information post  – so keep a look out for that post.

And now, (in no particular order), bathe in the smawesmeness of our Teams! 

SCSC_Author – Mentor 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SC_Author  & blog: http://www.scwrite.blogspot.com.au/

Co-host of “Query Kombat” and “Nightmare on Query Street” and the host of “The Writer’s Tank” and “Become an Agent,” SC founded the#WriteInclusively pact in efforts to promote creative writing that has diversity as a focus. SC also wrote: “There’s a story behind my icon pic, a story that used to be funny a few years ago. I’m on the quest to find a new icon, though. Stay tuned!  Slushies: 

Laura HeffernanLaura Heffernan – Slushie – Laura is a California-born women’s fiction writer, represented by Michelle Richter at Fuse Literary.. One Saturday morning when she was four or five, Laura sat down at the family’s Commodore 64 and typed out her first short story. She’s written both fiction and non-fiction ever since.

In her spare time, Laura likes travel baking, board games, and new experiences. She lives in the northeast, freezing like the true California girl she is, with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts. Her fuzzy sock collection is becoming impressive. You’ll find Laura on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/LH_Writes 

Heather MurphyHeather Murphy Capps – Slushie – Heather is an MG/YA author of adventures and thrillers with light sci-fi, magical, or ghostly twists. When not writing, she’s wrangling her most important beta readers — her children. She also teaches and design courses (for adults) in writing and public speaking. Heather often features as a guest blogger on several popular blogs and recently wrote a guest blog on SC’s blog about her experiences as a writer & person of mixed cultural background.

You’ll find Heather on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/HeatherMC66 

LouiseLouise GornallMentor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rock_andor_roll  Blog: http://bookishblurb.com

YA author of urban fantasy and horror stories, Louise like her art on the dark-side. She describes herself as “Identical twin, junk food aficionado, book bird,film nerd, Jedi” & is represented by Mandy Hubbard at D4EO. Also, she’s from the UK so you know her voice will be as hot as her photo!

Lou’s Slushies:             

Sarah CarlsonSarah Carlson – Slushie Sarah loves writing (and reading) Young Adult Contemporary fiction that touches on social issues. She recently relocated from Singapore back to Wisconsin with her husband and two dogs to return to working in schools. Sarah is represented by fabulous Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Regal Literary Management. You’ll find Sarah on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/sarahjoydrop 

Kate FosterKate Foster – Slushie -Kate is a freelance editor and proofreader, writer of middle grade fiction and reader of all things dark and disturbing. Her first novel, Winell Road, is set for release later this year with Jet Black Publishing. Originally from the UK, she now lives on the gold Coast in Australia with her husband, three sons and pet spoodle.  (we’ll claim her as an Aussie!)

You’ll find Kate on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/winellroad

Sharon Bayliss picSharon Bayliss – Mentor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharonBayliss & Blog http://www.sharonbayliss.com/

Author extraordinaire with Curiosity Quills, (yes I’m a super-fan of her December People Series), Sharon lives in Texas with her hubby & gorgeous children where, between chasing after her boys, she  tweets, writes & helps other authors too.

Sharon B’s Slushies: 

Katy Katy Upperman – Slushie Writer of YA & represented by Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency, Katy describes herself as a wife, mama,avid reader and country music fanatic who likes baking, cheap beer, long runs, Jelly Bellies, sunshine, social media, and yoga. You’ll find Katy on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/KatyUpperman 

Jessika FleckJessika Fleck – Slushie – represented by Jamie Bodnar Drowley at Inklings Literary, Jessika is a lover of art and booksbut it wasn’t until she put the two together that Jessika discovered the magic of storytelling. Jessika lives in quaint, small town Vermont with her sweet family, growing collection of vintage typewriters, and bevy of characters who often keep her up at night. You’ll find Jessika on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/jessikafleck 

Stacey Nash picStacey Nash – Mentor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/staceynash Blog: http://www.stacey-nash.com/

Author of YA & NA (HarperCollins), and fellow Aussie, Stacey is also part of the blogging team at AussieOwnedAndRead. When not writing, Tweeting or Facebook- ing, she can be found spending time with her family.

Stacey’s Slushies: 

Kathy PalmKathy Palm – Slushie – Magic-wielding, TARDIS-traveling, stay-at-home mom, and YA fantasy/horror writer Kathy recently signed with REUTS Publications, her debut DOORS to be released in winter of 2016. She loves chocolate and all the weird, creepy, and fantastical words. You’ll find Kathy on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/KathleenPalm 

LivLiv Rancourt – Slushie – Liv writes romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire…or sometimes demon. She writes funny, not angst. When not writing Liv takes care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. She describes her husband is a soul of patience and her dog as the cutest thing evah(!) You’ll find Liv on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/LivRancourt 

sharon jSharon Johnston – Mentor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/S_M_Johnston & Blog: http://downunderwonderings.blogspot.com.au/

Another fellow Aussie, and talented writer, like Stacey, Sharon is also part of the AussieOwnedAndRead blogging team. She is also involved with several other #PitchComps, hence why wenicknamed her #ThePitchWhisperer

Sharon J’s Slushies: 

E.L WickerE.L Wicker – Slushie  – E.L is, in her own words “mildly (massively) obsessed with new Adult” (another reason I like her!). If she’s not reading it, she’s writing it. Among her favourite pastimes is hunting out new books by sparkly new authors. Author of the Bearwood series and blog assistant to Sharon Johnston (& now Slushie too), Emma is a lover of the contraction, a hater of the ‘off of’ & like the rest of us, a writer doing her thing. You’ll find E.L on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/ELWicker  

JC NelsonJC Nelson – Slushie –  J.C is a born Texan living in the Pacific Northwest. Software developer by day and by night, an author and herder of Children and chickens. J.C.  writes Urban Fantasy blended with fairy tales, such as the Grimm Agency series. You can find J.C. on twitter here: https://twitter.com/AuthorJCNelson

Amanda Foody pic Amanda Foody – Mentor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmandaFoody & Blog: http://www.amandafoody.blogspot.com.au/

Repped by Molly Jaffa at Folio Literary. When not writing YA, or reading a book, you’ll likely find Amanda sprinting across her campus to another accounting class – yes there are author’s who are also accountants!

Amanda’s Slushies: 

photoNiki Cluff – Slushie – Niki was one of our success stories from last year and has joined us this year as one of Amanda’s Slushies. Niki is represented by Cate Hart at Corvisiero Literary Agency.

You’ll find Niki on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/nikimcluff

JenaJena DuBois – Slushie – Jena is a English Major (in other words, grammar, syntax and spell WILL COUNT) as well as an aspiring author. As a BETA to her fabulous Mentor for the past two years, Jena knows how to edit and how to spot those plot holes 😉 You’ll find Jena here: https://twitter.com/SlushieJena  

brooke PBrooke PowellMentor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCakeNovelist Blog: http://www.thecakenovelist.blogspot.com.au/

Also signed with Folio Literary, Brooke like her subjects and her characters to stretch the readers perception of normal, she calls it “contemporary fiction that tends to twist and turn toward the more taboo side of things” When not writing, editing or social media-ing, Brooke can be found making cakes looks like works of art.

Brooke’s Slushies:

Heather BHeather Bryant – Slushie – Another Aussie, Heather lives in a little city in Australia with far too many voices in her head. When not reading, writing or sharing tweets online, Heather is another contributor on the AussieOwnedAndRead blog. If you have a purple unicorn, let Heather know! You’ll find Heather on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/heather_b88  

Kristy Shen PicKristy Shen – Slushie – Computer Engineer by day and one half of a writing duo by night. In her spare time, she likes traveling to exotic places, eating strange foods, and scaring the locals with her unintelligible hyper-babble and insane ramblings. Her debut MG novel LITTLE MISS EVIL has just been released through Spencer Hill Press. Kristy is represented by Jamie Bodnar Drowley at Inklings Literary. You’ll find Kristy on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/KristyShen

LaurenLauren McKellar – Mentor 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurenKMcKellar & Blog: http://laurenkmckellar.com/

uthor, editor, AussieOwnedAndRead blog contributor and yes, another Aussie, Lauren’s debut novel, Finding Home, was released through Escape Publishing Harlequin Australia, on October 1, 2013. You can find out more about her Contemporary Crazy in Love series via her blog.

Lauren’s Slushies: 

Tracy JoyceTracy Joyce – Slushie – Tracy is an Australian Author of speculative fiction  who grew up in rural Victoria.  Her debut novel, Altaica: Book I in The Chronicles of Altaica, has been published by Odyssey Books. Tracy has long been a fan of the Fantasy genre, but particularly likes novels that deal with deep characterisations and that don’t flinch from the gritty realities of life. You’ll find Tracy on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/TracyMJoyce

Karen McCoyKaren McCoy – Slushie –   As a writer who also works as a librarian; Karen must have the second most wanted profession for writers, the first being one-after-the-other best sellers! Author if MG & YA, Karen also an MFA student. When not reading, or writing or studying, you’ll likely find Karen on her blog or blogging on the Operation Awesome blog. You’ll find Karen on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/WriterLibrarian

DSC_0005

Nikola Vukoja – Mentor Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nik_Vukoja Blog: http://nikvukoja.wordpress.com/

Host & creator of #Nestpitch & co-host of Post-it-Forward, Nik’s tastes tend toward NA & Adult in both reading and writing, Nik likes her stuff to either be on the dark side or historical or have a social message, ideally all three! When not writing, you’ll find Nik working on her visual art, cooking, gardening & following orders from her Feline Overlords.

Nikola’s Slushie: 

JadahJadah McCoy – Slushie – Jadah lives in Nashville, TN and works as a legal coordinator. When not babysitting attorneys she can be found desperately juicing her brain for creative ideas or fantasizing about her next trip out of the country (or about Tom Hiddleston as Loki – it’s always a toss up when she’s fantasizing). Her debut NA sci-fi is forthcoming from Curiosity Quills Press. You’ll find Jadah on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/theQueryFaerie  

boopyeaster

And now – let the Easter Festivities begin! 

Advertisements

#Nestpitch 2014 – Success Story No.2

thebestdayyetHello all,

Well, as most of you know, we’ve already announced one #nestpitch success story. And I’m sure many of you have seen the tweets about the second one also.  And if you missed it, let me introduce you to Niki Cluffphoto

Niki entered Nestpitch 2014 with her YA Magical Realism pitch… and we all loved it. In fact, Niki was one of very few who used the 2 pitches entry rule; and we loved both pitches! This told us a lot. After some tossing and grabby-hands, the wonderful Amanda Foody got to be Niki’s Mentor and from that, Niki got three agents requesting pages.

To refresh your memories, here is the Entry (without the first 300-words)

Title: SUMMONER BATTLES

Genre: YA Magical Realism

Word Count: 60,000

 Pitch: In a weaponless world, avatars are used for battle. 16 y/o Evie can’t wait for her avatar, but when it’s a human instead of a beast, she’ll discover the peaceful government has a secret.

Answer to qu:  My main character would be a jelly bean, you don’t know what flavor you’ll get.

Is that not a great pitch? It’s got voice and imagery and what’s at stake and what makes it unique… all in 35-words. That folks; is how you do it. And then, the answer to the question, “you don’t know what flavor you’ll get” – the mind boggles, and if you’re like me and don’t like liquorice, let’s hope it’s not the black one.

Without giving too much away, as Niki will fill us in below, the wonderful Cart Hart of Corvisiero Literary Agency found a match in Niki… and thankfully Niki agreed. To learn more about Cate Hart, here’s a link to her interview:  https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/five-minutes-with-agent-cate-hart-corvisiero-literary-agency/ 🙂

10325186_10154221580605473_5660252313511728943_n

Getting to know Niki Cluff

Niki, aside from being an author, tell us a little about yourself, where you grew up, what you do that pays the bills, when and where you write, anything at all you’d care to share.

I grew up in Prescott, Arizona moving to Chino Valley, AZ before my freshman year of high school. Now I live in a mere 30 minutes away from both Prescott and Chino.I’m a stay at home mom of 3 kids (four if you count the Husband) and a dane mastiff. When I’m not being a mom I deliver news papers on an early morning route and I also intern for Margaret Bail reading through her slush pile. I write whenever I have the chance, whether it be in the afternoon while the kids are swimming in the pool, or late at night after the kids and Husband are asleep. I’m the queen of copy-cat recipes, my hair is rarely the same color (currently black with blonde beneath) and I love makeup and figuring out looks from movies and TV. (Note from Nik: that’s Niki’s dog, together with her daughter… I don’t know which one is cuter!)

 Qu1. Nik: As I said above, your pitch and first page instantly stood out, where did the idea come from?

Niki: Most of my ideas come while I’m on my paper route. I have about two hours of quiet where I can just think, something that doesn’t happen often during the day. I’m a video game addict and I love Japanese Anime. I wanted to write something that incorporated those loves. The idea of battling in a video game with holographic styled creatures really appealed to me and I wondered what a competition with these holographic creatures would be like. I’ve also wondered what the world would be like if there were no weapons. This was my solution for peaceful battles. I wanted to write something for the video gamers, like me, out there.

Qu2. Nik: Was this the first time you’d entered this manuscript into a pitch competition?

Niki: A year or so ago I stumbled across Twitter pitch parties and entered it a few times there, but this was the first time I’ve entered this manuscript in a contest.

 Qu3. Nik: Tell us about your experience with #Nestpitch and with Amanda, you’re Mentor.tumblr_m37r81Cvbu1qbojrlo1_400b

Niki: I actually came across #Nestpitch by accident. A woman I follow on twitter retweeted the competition and I had just failed making it into another earlier one. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try, so I entered two manuscripts (better odds). I’d just come home from my paper route when I checked the blog to see who the mentors picked. I assumed I didn’t make it. There was a somewhat negative tweet from one of the mentors about an entry that I was sure was mine. When I saw my name and pitch I nearly died. I quickly emailed the CP who helped my hone my pitch. Someone believed in my ms as much as I did. Amanda was amazing and extremely supportive. I can’t express enough gratitude for #Nestpitch and everyone involved.

 Qu4. Nik: You entered two manuscripts, how did you come to have two ready for pitching?

Niki: I started writing in 6th grade. My best friend and I wrote fan fictions to each other instead of taking notes in class, gradually moving to my own creations. Writing is something I always enjoyed doing, but I feared rejection. The last few years I got really serious about it. I wrote my first ms and queried it, learning the process, gathering CP’s and progressing. While I was querying agents and entering contests, I worked on something new. It gave me a chance to step back. I found myself fretting over every rejection and wondering what I was doing wrong. I needed a break. Writing something new gave me fresh eyes when I came back to the first and vice-versa. Through that process I was able to write two ms and edit them. Great CP’s helped me strengthen my pitches. It helps to have supportive people around.

Qu5. Nik: With regard to Cate Hart, how did the request go from partial to full? Did you do any research beforehand or did you already know of her?

Niki: I didn’t know who Cate was until I read the Five Minutes With interview on the #Nestpitch blog. I researched every agent participating in the contest. There were a few I already knew about since I was querying outside of contests, but Cate was new. Luckily she has a wonderful blog with great insight. As for the request, I received an offer from another agent. Out of courtesy I notified Cate. She replied asking for the full and a week. I willingly obliged. After reading her blog, I knew she was someone I wanted to work with. I secretly hoped that she would offer me representation, my fingers crossed the entire time.

 Qu6. Nik: Now I know that while you were waiting to hear back from Cate, you also had interest from other agents. What was ImageProxy.gif 20junthe waiting like? What did you do while you waited?

Niki: The waiting was excruciating! At first I wasn’t sure what to do. I’d gone from constant rejections to a couple of offers in a matter of hours. I actually had to research proper etiquette in notifying agents with partials and fulls, what sort of questions to ask, all the important things I hadn’t considered. Once I knew what to do, I emailed Cate to let her know. Like I said before she emailed back requesting the full and a week. I would like to say that I patiently waited that week, but I didn’t. I checked my email every few minutes. I talked my husband to death with possible scenarios and squealed with giddy delight at the thought that I may actually get the agent I wanted to work with, Cate. Of course, my husband brought me back down to earth and I managed to refocus my energy on helping my CP’s, working on some new ideas and continuing to email other agents, just in case. Five days later she emailed me back wanting to set up a time to call. It was another email I received at 6 AM after doing my paper route. I actually jumped and did a fist pump in the air, carefully landing so I wouldn’t wake the rest of my family up. I won’t deny it.

ScaredQu7. Nik: OK, the one we have all been DYING to ask, tell us about THAT CALL, the one from Cate, and please don’t leave anything out.

Niki: Honestly, I couldn’t sit still once we set up a time. I went to my dad’s birthday party the day before and I squirmed in my chair the whole time. From the email to the day she called I had a couple days to sort through all the questions running through my mind and research anything and everything I would need to ask an offering agent. I wrote them down, knowing I was capable of forgetting everything once excitement got the better of me. I’m pretty awkward on the phone. When the call came I ran into my bedroom and locked the door so the kids wouldn’t interrupt. Cate was wonderful. She was kind as she introduced herself and informed me that she wanted to offer representation. I struggled to keep from giddily laughing (which probably would have come out more like the bray of a donkey in my excitement) and thanked her for the interest. We talked about the story, how unique it was and the way she wanted to present it. I asked her about edits and she gave me a good idea of things to work on and how to improve and let me know that she would send a more detailed email about the edits later. I asked her my questions, such as: was she more into traditional publishing, or digital and indie, if she was a hands on agent or not, was she Selena_gomez_falling_confettiinterested in representing me for my career or just the book, etc., things I couldn’t learn from her profile on Corvisiero’s website or through her blog. She patiently answered each and every one of my many questions without complaint. She walked me through the contract, explaining each and every section so I knew exactly what I was signing. I wanted to immediately say yes, but I also wanted to make sure there wasn’t anything else I needed answered, so I asked her for a couple days to consider and sort through any more questions I may possibly have. Cate was gracious enough to give me the time, not that it mattered. My gut told me Cate was the right agent, but it was really nice to make sure I knew everything I wanted to know before I signed.

NOTE FROM NIK: It’s so clear that Niki and Cate were looking to create the start of a long-term relationship. Look at the topics covered… and then take note for when your turn comes!

 hello kitty catQu8.  Nik: After having gone through the query process and the #pitching competition process would you recommend your aspiring author friends do pitch competitions? And what advice would you give them?

Niki: I would definitely recommend them, but not just for finding an agent. They’re a great place to learn. Each competition I’ve entered had mentors who gave their time freely to posting trends, statistics and other things they noticed while reading through the mountains of entries. They offer such great and valuable advice that you really can’t get elsewhere. Agents don’t always have the time to give that sort of insight. It’s also where I met my CP’s. They were in the trenches just like me. They understood what I was going through. It was nice to have someone waiting on the sidelines with me, but competitions aren’t for everyone. They do require some research before hand. I always read everything the host posts about the competition and research the agents involved. There is no point in entering a competition if every agent has already rejected you, or if there isn’t an agent representing what you write. Sometimes it’s hard to put your work out there, even behind a computer. That’s totally cool. For me, they were a great opportunity to grow and connect. Not to mention I got seen by multiple agents who actually liked my writing.

NOTE FROM NIK: Niki makes some excellent points here. #Pitch comps are about connecting as much as they are about *winning* – also, doing your homework and researching the agents, what genres they represent, etc. is crucial, as is being aware of who you have already submitted to. There is no value in entering a competition if all the agents have seen that MS; enter another comp or submit another MS.

Qu9. Nik: What do you say to people who dismiss the Slush Pile and/or #pitching competitions in general?agent cat rejection

Niki: I read slush. That’s what I do for Margaret Bail when I have time. I can honestly say that the slush pile does work. It takes time. There are thousands of people out there who want the same thing, who have a story of their own to share. It may take a while for an agent to find yours out of the many that don’t follow the guidelines or the mss that aren’t right for them, but they get there. Sometimes its about the right story with the right agent at the right time in the market and that can take a while to figure out. It’s easy to get impatient. #Pitching competitions are the same way. It’s all a matter of preference, as much as I hate to be cliché. So many people say that, but it’s true. Agents are readers just like us, it’s how they get into the business in the first place. They have genres they like and ones they don’t. Not every story that comes across their desk is going to be one they love. We don’t love everything we read either. These competitions are a great way to get your name out there, to have multiple agents see your pitch or first page. It’s exposure you can’t get otherwise. People get signed one of three ways: they meet an agent at a conference, they query or they pitch and everyone already signed worked hard to get where they are. Sometimes pitching is the only way to get your name, and writing, out. I didn’t have the opportunity to go to conferences since I do a paper route 7 days a week and people don’t like to sub routes. I also live in a slightly rural area and don’t have access to many conferences. #Pitch competitions gave me the chance I needed. I couldn’t be more grateful to the people who take the time to put the competitions together and volunteer to mentor. They really do make all the difference.

NOTE FROM NIK: As someone who lives in Australia,I can certainly understand not being able to attend conferences. Our other success story (thus far) lives in Japan… the beauty of online and email pitch comps it you can be anywhere in the world and still be a part of them.

 ImageProxyQu10. Nik: So what’s next, I mean after you’ve got over the giddiness and the copious congrats and thank-you’s, what happens now?

Niki: Editing. I get to go into my writing cave (which may or may not look like the Batcave) with all of Cate’s wonderful and insightful suggestions and edit my work as many times as it takes until it shines and we are both happy with the results. She gave me so many ideas that will strengthen my writing and the overall story. Then I’ll let her do her thing, from what I understand, and I’ll work on cleaning up another ms of mine and a new idea I got while traipsing around the French Quarter in New Orleans on vacation. I’ve hit the halfway mark. Getting an agent is definitely half the battle, but there is still a ways to go before I hit the finish line!

 Thank you so much for taking part in this Q&A Niki, I know the entire #Nestpitch Team are so very happy for you, and promise, when you have your first book deal, you’ll come back and visit (and share the cover too) 🙂

If you want to follow Niki’s progress, you’ll find her on blog here: nikicluff.blogspot.com & you’ll find her on Twitter here: @nikimcluff And don’t forget to congratulate Niki’s awesome agent Cate on her great taste and foresight! Cate can be found on Twitter here: @CateHart and on her blog here: catehart.com

Final thoughts: Pitch competitions DO WORK – period. No, they are not for everyone and no, not every pitch that is selected to be featured will result in an offer from an agent. Not even every pitch that has a request by an agent will end in an offer of representation, but as Niki pointed out, pitching competitions offer so much to all those who enter.  You *meet other authors, people with whom you can form relationships, some of whom will become friends/BETA readers/CP partners. You extend your contact list to include successful authors and not just successful but successful generous authors who give freely of their time, people who are there for you well beyond the pitch-faze. You increase your presence on social media. You develop confidence.

These are all intangible but invaluable benefits to entering pitching competitions. Oh yes, and you might get yourself an agent too! So, as you look at upcoming events (and there are several excellent ones in the next 6-months which I will be posting updates on), and as you scroll through the Mentors and the Agents, don’t dismiss the opportunity and positive effect of #Pitch Competitions.