Nestpitch2015 – Agent Round Time!

snoopyeasterNestpitch2015 has been a lot of work and a lot of fun. It’s also been a wonderful opportunity to ‘meet’ a lot of talented people from across the globe.

The Teams have worked hard, both whittling down the submissions and then working with their authors.

And now is the Agent Round –WooHoo!

A special thank you to all the agents who have given or their time – without you guys there would be no #nestpitch.

Each Team has Mentored a group of talented authors for the past month or so and now it’s time to show off our simply smawesome submissions.

You’ll find each teams submissions on the links below.

Agents, let your tempting chocolate treats flow.

Authors, get ready for the best part of the Nestpitch cycle

And twitter/blog followers, feel free to show your support via facebook, twitter or leave a supportive message here for your favourite submissions.

Here we go!

#TeamPlotBunnies
#TeamEvilBunny
#TeamUnbreakable
#TeamBasketCase
#TeamEggslent
#TeamHotCrossBooks
#TeamSugarRush
#TeamOneBasket
#Team2Beat

easter-rabbit-eating-vegetables-beautiful-gif-photography-great-atmosphere-funny-pics-233-1And don’t forget to check out the Unmask the Agent comp. It starts in a few days & there’s a $20 Amazon gift voucher up for grabs!

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Writers Block – Is it even a Real thing?

defeatistHi all,

I’m going to caveat this post by saying I doubt very much that many will agree with me, at least initially. In fact, I’m expecting some of you, including my lovely writer-ly friends, to *up-in-arms* against me; because, hell, I’m just going to say it – I THINK THE ENTIRE CONCEPT OF WRITERS BLOCK IS COMPLETE AND UTTER CRAP.

There! I said it. Now, before you ’all jump straight to “comments” hear me out. Firstly, let’s set the guidelines and boundaries of what Writers Block is supposed to be. Below is a definition from Wikipeadia, the highlighted bits are my addition: 

Definition:

Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Throughout history, writer’s block has been a documented problem. Professionals who have struggled with the affliction include author F. Scott Fitzgerald and pop culture cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. 

The research concentrating on this topic abounded in the late 1970s and 1980s. During this time, researchers were influenced by the Process and Post-Process movements, and therefore focused specifically on the writer’s processes. The condition was first described in 1947 by psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler. 

So, if I have this straight, Writers Block is the inability to produce new work, with no time period limit? So… was Harper Lee suffering raj-feeling-sorry-for-myself-giffrom Writers Block after writing To Kill a Mockingbird? I mean, that was it for Harper… nothing else (that we know of) ever written and certainly nothing else published. Or did Harper Lee think, Yep… happy with that one, what’s next on my bucket list.” – ?

And here is my other issue… what constitutes NEW WORK? Is it an entirely new project, a brand new WIP, is it new scenes for a chapter or a totally new chapter from thin air, or is it new words that make a scene, chapter, manuscript sharp and quick… or is it JUST any old words slapped together to make NEW WORK?

The premise is flawed, and the description about as vague as the Gabor Sisters dates of birth (Magda, Zsa Zsa, and Eva – and no, I’m not one hundred years old, I just like 1940s, 50 & 60s movies).

Of course there are going to be days when inspiration hits you like a cannonball and other days when you really don’t want to get out of bed… it’s called REAL LIFE, but for some reason, artists, and writer’s in particular, demand of our brains to “please explain” – still not convinced? Let’s look at other professions.

tumblr_lsoptaXE3Q1r42ynoo1_400Legal:

Have you ever seen or attended a meeting or court session? I’m sure you are nodding yes. And when this has happened, if the matter was of a more serious nature, how often is there only ONE legal representative? Not very often. We accept this because “legal council prefers to consult before giving a reply” – also known as; “I’m just not with it today, what’s your take on the evidence?”

Medical:

Operating Theatre is the perfect example of how one doctor hands over to another, either because of expertise or because they just got the shakes, or they can’t get the God-Damn massive phone bill on their kids mobile off their minds… and their inability to concentrate might just kill the patient.

Sporting:

Depending on the arena and the level of professional play, there can be several coaches and assistant coaches… each and every one doing their bit to cover, ehh sorry, assist each other and the players.

OK, perhaps it’s not QUITE the same thing, but I assure you, in every job I’ve had, there have been days when I couldn’t grasp a concept or find an answer, and have struggled to put words and ideas together, even in say an internal memo or email. Yet, it’s not called WRITERS BLOCK if you’re an accountant thinking of the best way to tell your client they have a massive tax bill… and adding… “oh and by they way, here’s my invoice,” it’s called bad news or a shitty day –

But for writers it’s WRITERS BLOCK. I truly believe the ‘title’ Writers Block was created by an unknown psychologist in order to write a paper and get a mention.

So what am I saying here?tumblr_m4fybpLKeL1qlyiz6

Yes sometimes I struggle with an idea or a scene or an answer to a weak scene, yet I consider this part of my JOB as a writer.

Sometimes I don’t write anything new for days, even months.

Sometimes I don’t paint a new painting for days, or months.

Neither of these are a BLOCK – they are a lack of inspiration; that’s IT – nothing more, it’s not a block it’s your brain telling you to “give me a break FFS, I’m just a brain not a micro-chip.”

Interestingly enough, if you Google, “ways to overcome writers block” you’ll get a plethora of sites all with pretty much the same advice… take a break from what you’re doing and do something different; in order to refresh your thoughts and inspire you. Sorry but isn’t that just fatigue mixed with a little frustration and boredom?

When I’m not inspired, I don’t sit about complaining and whining about being “blocked” I DO SOMETHING.  And guess what, I do EXACTLY what these 1001 sites suggest. It can be as simple as getting out of the house, or the city. Or it can be doing some volunteer work, or cleaning the house top-to-toe. Or it can be reading, studying other artists, making notes, doing revision, socialising IRL and on social media… it can be going for a run, joining a gym or even paying bills (seriously), anything that gets my mind off my current annoying little pest and has me thinking, doing, acting in a different way.

let-me-love-you-sheldonI’m going to take a detour to the left here and bring up the character of Shelton on The Big Bang Theory. (FYI if you don’t like this show – opps! Sorry)

There is one episode where the character of Sheldon cannot work out the answer to one of his physics theories. No matter how much he tries, the answer evades him. And, given his self-assuredness of his utter brilliance, this frustrates him no end. He decides he needs to let his MIND REST in order to progress and takes it on himself to work as a waiter/plate collector because “there is no more menial job” he can think of to allow his brain to rest and think better. And evidently it works.

Even this WAS NOT Writers or Artists or Inventors Block – it was fatigue and stress disallowing Sheldon’s brain to conceptualise an answer to his question. Resting the brain and taking on an entirely foreign task helped clear his mind and refresh his thoughts.

tumblr_n50ewgGmzh1qfdwsio1_400We all need time-out.

Parents live by “Time-Out” rules for their children and most employers encourage their employees to “take a break” even if it’s just to get a glass of water. Classes are specifically set to be under 60 minutes because the human brain requires a break after 45-50 minutes… it’s Time Out.

If we must give the “time-out” for writers a label, must it be a BLOCK? It has such negative connotations. Inspiration is fleeting as much as it is compelling and for the better part of the day, week, year; we are doing mundane *housework* such as revisions, and editing and helping others do the same. If we were studying, we’d call it “a break” if we were doing a work-out we do “warm-ups” and “cool-downs” yet when our author brain tells us it needs a rest we make it a negative thing, referring to it as a BLOCK rather than a little nana-nap that, frankly we all should indulge in occasionally.

Devil-wears-Prada-gifs-Miranda-Priestly-Emily-Blunt9_zpsb87dd4b3Writers Break sure, in fact from here on in I will be calling this period WRITERS BREAK – hands up if you’re with me? I’ll be the first to put my hand up for that one, but, in my humble opinion, there no such thing as WRITERS BLOCK, unless you really DO need an excuse for not finishing that manuscript you’ve been half-heartedly working on for the past 5-years. In which case being BLOCKED much better suits than taking a BREAK… you’ll never have to finish what you started 🙂

And before I go, I’d like to thank all of you for your support.

pinkie pie party cannon

This little blog was started by me in Jan -2014 and it’s just rolled over the 13,000 hits — not bad for 9 months! – I hope you ‘all continue to get something from my posts and as always, feel free to comment 🙂

tumblr_mf8yzcCvsM1rwiv0vo1_250

Friendly-Fire-Feedback no3. YA Contemporary – Comments Welcome

First Page Workshop – no.3Twin_Scythes___Fire_Circle_by_MattTheSamurai

Today we have the last of our three blog posts under the Friendly-fire-feedback banner. Please note, I am in Australia so we are (currently) 14-hours ahead of the USA EST, so, depending on where you’re located, you may see this on the evening before.  Below you’ll see the fist page without my notes and then with my suggestions beneath that. This way you can read the 1st page without my notes interrupting your rhythm.

And of course, comments are most welcome, in fact I insist! (lol) – please note, comments will be moderated, so play nice! 

28th July

Category/Genre:  YA Contemporarytumblr_mzsnmcm69L1sner72o3_400

Word Count: 60,000

Last night, someone accused Gabbie Vanhout of having sex with Mr. Stevenson.  It allegedly happened backstage after the drama club meeting on Thursday. It’s all over Trumbullconfessional.com.   It’s an anonymous gossip site made by a couple of seniors from back
when the Internet was still dial-up. Mostly it’s just bullshit, people looking to score drugs, find the latest party, or just spread lies.  But sometimes you hit confessional gold.  Gabbie always has hair that looks like she stuck her finger in an electrical socket before coming to first period.  She wears steel-toed combat boots, all black clothes, and barely speaks to anyone.  There are rumors she drank bleach after taking finals last year.

The gossip is intriguing is because she likes to flirt with Mr. Stevenson.  You can only catch it if you’re paying attention.  She’ll stay at his desk a little too long—sometimes she’ll drop a piece of paper, a pencil, and fumble to grab it in a short black skater dress.  Of course online, the conversation quickly veered towards the obscene, but the fact that someone else noticed what I had known for a while was interesting.

I brush foundation on my face, sweep blush over my cheeks and bronzer in the hollows of my neck and on my forehead.  Sometimes I am so pale I worry people will think I’m albino.  My vanity lights don’t help anything either.  Gold eyeshadow, black eyeliner, and black mascara make me look somewhat more presentable, and concealer covers the dark circles under my eyes.  I skip drying my hair and braid it into a fish thing I read in one of my sister Steph’s old magazines.  I shimmy into jeans, a fitted tank top, and grab a granola bar- I never really was a breakfast person. GYBeiUq

I pour myself the last bit of coffee from the pot my mom made probably two hours ago, and nuke it in the microwave.  My shiny white phone bleeps.

Anything interesting on the tangled web last night Birdie? Jack Stewart always calls me Birdie even though my real name is Melissa. He says it’s because it’s always good to have a little birdie tell you secrets.

Just Gabbie Vanhout drama I answer.  Pouring milk into my coffee I quickly scroll through morning status updates. “Ugh Halzer’s comp sci test.” is the only one I identify with.

Debrief at lunch? Jack asks and I roll my eyes.  Sometimes I think he thinks we’re like detectives or something, trying our hardest to find the juiciest school dirt.  And in a way we are.  Jack likes to be in the know on everything, even though he doesn’t run with “the core” the popular crowd’s self-imposed nickname.  Jack’s a Junior too.

I answer Jack: kk.  I swallow my last sip of coffee before I hear Delilah laying on the horn.  I grab my backpack from the front door and race down the sidewalk. She has a cute boxy Jeep to go with her small frame and big personality.

 hunger-games-katnissWith my Notes:

Last night, someone accused Gabbie Vanhout of having sex with Mr. Stevenson.  It allegedly happened backstage after the drama club meeting on Thursday. It’s all over Trumbullconfessional.com.   It’s an anonymous gossip site made by a couple of seniors from back when the Internet was still dial-up. Mostly it’s just bullshit, people looking to score drugs, find the latest party, or just spread lies.  But sometimes you hit confessional gold (love this line!).  Gabbie always has hair that looks like she stuck her finger in an electrical socket before coming to first period.  She wears steel-toed combat boots, all black clothes, and barely speaks to anyone.  There are rumors she drank bleach after taking finals last year.

The gossip is intriguing is because she likes to flirt with Mr. Stevenson.  You can only catch it if you’re paying attention.  She’ll stay at his desk a little too long—sometimes she’ll drop a piece of paper, a pencil, and fumble to grab it in a short black skater dress.  Of course online, the conversation quickly veered towards the obscene, but the fact that someone else noticed what I had known for a while was interesting. (have you noticed I’m not making many comments? That’s because this is working for me. It has voice and cheekiness and it has a direction; I already trust the author)

I brush foundation on my face, sweep blush over my cheeks and bronzer in the hollows of my neck and on my forehead.  Sometimes I muttationsam so pale I worry people will think I’m albino.  My vanity lights don’t help anything either.  Gold eyeshadow, black eyeliner, and black mascara make me look somewhat more presentable, and concealer covers the dark circles under my eyes.  I skip drying my hair and braid it into a fish thing (again, this is great, I can totally imagine this – great showing!) I read in one of my sister Steph’s old magazines.  I shimmy into jeans, a fitted tank top, and grab a granola bar- I never really was a breakfast person.

I pour myself the last bit of coffee from the pot my mom made probably two hours ago, and nuke it in the microwave.  My shiny white phone bleeps.

Anything interesting on the tangled web last night Birdie? Jack Stewart always calls me Birdie even though my real name is Melissa. He says it’s because it’s always good to have a little birdie tell you secrets. (again, I’m convinced that Birdie is a great nickname, given
what I already know)

Just Gabbie Vanhout drama,” (don’t forget this is Dialogue) I answer.  Pouring milk into my coffee I quickly scroll through morning status updates. “Ugh Halzer’s comp sci test.” is the only one I identify with.tumblr_m37r81Cvbu1qbojrlo1_400b

Debrief at lunch? Jack asks and I roll my eyes.  Sometimes I think he thinks we’re like detectives or something, trying our hardest to find the juiciest school dirt.  And in a way we are (I’d remove this, it’s telling, and it’s kind of obvious & it’s not needed).  Jack likes to be in the know on everything, even though he doesn’t run with “the core” the popular crowd’s self-imposed nickname.  Jack’s a Junior too.

I answer Jack: kk.  I swallow my last sip of coffee before I hear Delilah laying on the horn.  I (comma) grab my backpack from the front door and race down the sidewalk.  (consider removing the extra “I” – you’re going to have a lot of “I’s” because of the present tense, remove wherever you can. Plus this becomes a more active image) She has a cute boxy Jeep to go with her small frame and big personality.

B0nJldxNOTES:

Well, I don’t know about others, but I’d pick this up and keep reading in a heartbeat! Yes there are changes I’d make and the author will likely do more work after feedback, but, if this turned up in #Nestpitch, I’d be voting for it!

Friendly-Fire-Feedback no2. Adult Psychological Thriller – Comments Welcome

First Page Workshop – no.2 Today we have the second of our three blog posts under the Friendly-fire-feedback banner. After this there will be one more in the 28th, another YA (contemporary). Also please note, I am in Australia so … Continue reading

#Nestpitch 2014 First Success Story

pinkie pie party cannonHello all, 

Well, I’ve been holding on to this news and been bursting at the seams to share… and at last I can; #Nestpitch 2014 First Success Story and I couldn’t be happier. So (whee I’m actually squealing here), let me introduce to you Ms. Kimberly Ito. P1020267

Kimberly was one of the pitchee’s in Dannie Morin’s Team, though her pitch had more than one or two grabby-hands from the other Mentors. Kimberly’s entry was one of the 2-3 LGBT entries we got and I have to admit, when I saw we had LGBT entries, I kept my fingers crossed that at least one would be a knock out – and it was. To refresh your memories, here is the Entry (without the first 300-words)

Title: THE STARS MAY RISE AND FALL
Genre: Adult, commercial fiction (LGBT)
Word count: 88,000
Pitch: In this LGBT retelling of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, a Japanese glam
rocker must re-examine sexuality, career, and ideas of beauty when he falls for a scarred, disabled composer with ghosts of his own.
Answer to question:
He’s a fuchsia malted milk egg: flashy outside, sweet inside, with a surprisingly strong core.

March-06-2012-17-18-53-tumblrltqwvxV4261qlcw7co1500Seriously, what’s NOT to like here? Not only did Kimberly follow all the guidelines (and people that’s a biggy) but she did exactly what a pitch should do. She told us enough to entice and created interest by showing what was unique. I mean come on, a re-tell of Phantom of the Opera, but with a Japanese Rocker and its LGBT, how could we not read on?

And we did, and so did a few of our Secret Bunny Agents. One of them, GinaPanettieri, President of Talcott Notch Literary Services, literary-agent-jessica-negronhttp://www.talcottnotch.net/ wasted no time in upgrading the partial to a full. She also passed on Kimberly’s full and profile to Jessica Negrón. When Kimberly emailed Dannie and me about the upgrade and Jessica, I remember nodding. Jessica is also Emmie Mears’ agent and I could see how Jessica’s taste and Kimberly’s style would work brilliantly together. It seems so could Jessica!

As it’s been just over two months since the requests went out, I expect to hear many more success stories after the (northern) summer, but for now, let’s woo-hoo Kimberly and Jessica and while we are at it, let’s get to know Kimberly better. (spoiler alert- some of you have surely seen the tweets about another success story – well it’s true! & we’ll have all the details in another Q&A soon)

Getting to know Kimberly Ito

Kimberly, 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 the US, but I’ve lived in the Tokyo area for the past 12 or 13 years.  I’m primarily a stay-at-home mom, but I do some freelance work: teaching English (as a foreign language), editing, proofreading, and translating Japanese to English. I usually write at home, after my kids are asleep.  I P1020227don’t have a lot of time for hobbies, but I love cooking, butchering 8-minute-long power ballads at karaoke, and playing with my dog and kids. NOTE FROM NIK: take a look at how cute Kimberly’s dog – Holly – is!

Qu1. Nik: As I said above, your pitch and first page instantly stood out because it was so unique and yet also so universal, where did the idea come from?

Kimberly: Well, I’ve always been interested in PHANTOM – the book, the musical, quite a few of the movies – and Phantom retellings. Brian de Palma’s 1974 film, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, has always been a favorite, and I just really enjoy seeing those themes explored in different eras and locations. As far as the setting, well, I live in Japan and actually met my husband in this particular subculture, so you might say it was a matter of “write what you know.”

NOTE FROM NIK: That last bit “write what you know” it may seem like a cliche but there was never been more truer advice, to make your scenes and character’s authentic you need to understand who and what you are writing about.

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

Kimberly: I had done a few Twitter pitch competitions, but this was the first and only time I did anything beyond 140 characters!

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

Kimberly: I almost didn’t enter! My decision was really last-minute, and it all seemed to happen so fast.  I did have a lot of fun watching the slush pile readers and then bloggers give vague hints about what they were choosing, and even more fun reading the other selected pitches.  After a lot of querying and waiting, it was nice to feel like I was being active and DOING something to get my work out there.  Dannie was great.  She helped me fine-tune my pitch before it went live and was very encouraging and supportive throughout the contest, and beyond.

Qu4. Nik: I remember getting that first update when Gina requested the 25-page partial to a full and how happy I was for you. Tell us how it felt and (aside from doing a little happy dance) did you do anything before sending, like re-reading the manuscript?ImageProxy

Kimberly: Well, it was actually Jessica who requested the full, and I was thrilled and a little shocked (see answer #5), because she was someone I’d wanted to work with for awhile. As far as special preparation, I don’t think so.  I’d been kind of fine-tuning for a couple of months, so I was pretty confident that it was ready to go.  I emailed my CP to give her the good news, and then I attached the file and hit send!

NOTE FROM NIK: Again wonderful advice here folks. Don’t rush it, *if in doubt, leave it out* that goes for scenes and entering/submitting work.

Qu5. Nik: With regard to Jessica Negron, what was it like sending that first email to Jessica? Did you do any research beforehand or did you already know of her?

Kimberly: I had actually queried Jessica before!  It was a rejection, but she gave me some great feedback which I used to completely overhaul my book, deleting large chunks and rewriting others.  I remember feeling extremely disappointed at the time, because I really wanted an editorial agent, and felt like we would have clicked!  Fortunately, she remembered me and saw that I had taken her advice, and it ended up being a match after all!

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

Kimberly: Well, I did keep querying other agents, and I also started a second book, which is nowhere near complete enough to talk about… but I kept querying, and I kept writing, and stuck to my writer friends for support!

NOTE FROM NIK: And here is another example of Kimberly being proactive. Even though she had requests from Nestpitch, she understood a request is not an offer, as I’ve said several times “It’s a long way from bended knee to altar.” Do not do yourself a disservice and put all your hopes in one basket, if an offer does come through, you can (and always should) approach the agents with partials or fulls at that point. 

ImageProxyABCQu7. Nik: OK, the one we have all been DYING to ask, tell us about THAT CALL, the one from Jessica, and please don’t leave anything out.

Kimberly: I think it was pretty typical, even if typical meant “terrifying” for me! Most of my writing friends I met online, so it had probably been a couple of years since I had actually talked about my writing, or even spoken my characters’ names aloud! But Jessica is SO nice, and that definitely calmed my nerves a little bit. The first thing I did was to give her a slightly more detailed version of the “how I came up with the idea” answer above. Then she told me what she liked about my novel, we discussed revisions, and then I had a chance to ask her some questions. I had a couple of days between when we scheduled the call and when it actually happened, so I had done my research, figured out what questions I needed to ask about her agenting style, and which questions could be answered just by reading her profile or existing interviews.  I was getting a little bit teary eyed at one point, when she said she loved one of my characters particularly (and we were on Skype, doing a video chat, so I was really fighting not to let it show!).  But other than that… Google “What to do when you get the call,” and that was pretty much what happened!

Qu8.  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?Selena_gomez_falling_confetti

Kimberly: I would, if they feel comfortable with it. One of the main reasons I almost *didn’t* do NestPitch was because I’m just usually very private with my writing. It definitely made me feel exposed to have even a small excerpt out there!  So I do understand why some people don’t want to.  However, it’s also a really great way to meet other writers, to get your pitch in front of a variety of agents in one shot, and to get some helpful feedback from mentors.  The best advice I can think of (besides polishing your pitch to perfection, anyway) is to choose your pitch contests carefully.  I entered NestPitch because the majority of the agents involved hadn’t seen my query yet, and because a few of them seemed like they were interested in similar projects.  Don’t enter every contest you see, even if they’re legit!  Be sure that at least a handful of participating agents rep your genre and
category, and haven’t already seen your query.

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

Kimberly: Wow, are there still people who dismiss the slush pile?  I’d say that every agented writer I personally know connected with their agent one of three ways: the slush pile, a pitch contest, or a conference.  I know that some writers get their foot in the door by knowing someone who knows samuel-l-jackson-catsomeone… but I think that’s actually a pretty small percentage.  Especially if you’re not able to make it to conferences because of location, like me, or for any reason, pitching and querying are the best ways to make it happen!

Qu10. 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?

Kimberly: Well, edits, first! Jessica has some great ideas to strengthen my novel and I’m going work through those first… and then maybe again, and again, until we’re both completely happy with it. And then I suppose I get to go back to book #2 while she works her submission magic? Signing with an agent is definitely a big milestone, and it feels a little like reaching a goal… but our work definitely isn’t over!

Thank you so much for taking part in this Q&A Kimberly, 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) 😉96781-Anna-excited-gif-Imgur-Frozen-j9Hv

If you want to follow Kimberly’s progress, you’ll find her on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/KimberlyIto and her blog. Kimberly actually wrote a great blog post on April 17th just before she submitted to #Nestpitch as to why she entered with us. The blog post is called: In which I enter #Nestpitch – and its a really interesting read. Some of her answers above are covered in this post, but if you’re an aspiring writer, reading this from her prospective prior to getting an offer is extremely interesting; especially her point about judging if the agents represented are ideal for your manuscript. Kimberly looked at it from the “have I submitted to most of these agents before” prospective – a very important point. Other factors should be “are there agents in this competition that cater to my category & genre” and (also mentioned by Kimberly) “is my manuscript truly ready” – perhaps the most important point.

And don’t forget to congratulate Kimberly’s awesome agent Jessica on her great taste and foresight – you’ll find Jessica on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/JesNx and Jessica also has a great section on her blog on how to submit to her called “How to Submit to me” that you’ll find here: http://www.jessicanegron.com/2013/07/how-to-query-me.html

berry-break-018Final 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 Kimberly 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.

 

 

Upcoming Competitions & Events …

Hello all,CatComputer2

In Australia, it’s officially the first day of winter today…

And judging by the constant rain, old-man-winter has finally settled here in Melbourne while spring/summer is at last thawing out my northern hemisphere friends. Nevertheless, our writing dreams and aspirations continue. Today’s post is to let people know of upcoming competitions and opportunities in June.

First off we have #Pitcharama, run by my good friends over at AussieOwnedandRead: http://aussieownedandread.com/

Pitcharama is now into its second year, matching authors in the YA & NA categories with a select group of publishers. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be from Australia to participate… it’s international!

General Info:

PITCHARAMA; matching Young and New Adult writers with some amazing boutique publishers.

1. You must have a completed, pitch-ready manuscript.

2. You must sign up to our list (coming soon).

3. You must post your 250 word pitch on your blog on June 16, 2014.ImageProxy

From there, the Aussie Owned and Read Team Members will each pick three of their favourite pitches to highlight on the blog and put in front of our team of Independent publishing partners who then may request to see more of your manuscript on June 27.

We will also have the Pitch Your Mate Bonus round, where a friend can promote your manuscript on their blog (details coming soon) for another chance to be selected.

So, what are you waiting for? Start sharpening those 250 word pitches, and make sure you keep your eyes on our blog for more details as they occur, including some of the success stories from 2013′s competition. Don’t forget to hashtag #Pitcharama on twitter so we can join in your conversations.

For more info go to the blog of The Aussie Owned and Read team and also follow the hosts…aside from being the hosts of Pitcharama, they are awesome authors and people too. http://aussieownedandread.com/2014/05/22/pitcharama-competition-announcement/

dancingSuper naturalNext we have the amazing Brenda Drake. *Brenda the Magnificent* has gone to a lot of trouble (and planning) & created an entire 12-month schedule. You’d be mad not to make not of the dates & upcoming events.

To view her calendar go to: http://www.brenda-drake.com/2014/05/contest-schedule-yep-im-getting-organized/ & if you’re not following Brenda’s blog or her on Twitter, seriously?

Together with US literary agents, Brenda will be taking a summer-break from competitions, with the first one in August/September 2014. Please note, Brenda will NOT be having a #Pitchmadness comp in September, instead changing the schedule, with #Pitch Wars now happening in the northern hemisphere autumn and the southern hemisphere spring.

I also strongly recommend keeping active on Twitter as there are more things coming up, including Twitter Pitch Parties etc.

Peace, Love and Rainy Sundays…out!

Full Manuscript Evaluation by Erin Niumata, Folio Literary Management (+ 1-Hour Phone Consult!)

Aside from the annual #pitch comp I run here, this blog serves as a sounding board and as an avenue for information and opportunity to improve and discover more.

erin-240x300To that end, I am super pleased to let everyone know about a wonderful offer Erin Niumata from Folio Literary Management is offering: Full Manuscript Evaluation (+ 1-Hour Phone Consult!) with Erin. This is such an amazing opportunity for feedback from an agent who is a leader in her field and who also happens to be a lovely person.

To find out more go to: http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/Bidding.taf?_function=detail&Auction_uid1=3276005

for details and full guidelines – oh and two things, there’s only four (4) days left to take advantage of this offer and I checked with Erin, if you’re not in the US and your’s is the manuscript that wins, she’ll still arrange the phone consultation – so that’s a massive WooHoo!

So go on over, take a look at the guidelines and conditions and take advantage of this rare opportunity.

You can find Erin on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/ecniumata

And you can find out more about Erin and Folio Literary Management here: http://www.foliolit.com/