Unmask The Agent Comp is Now Closed

tumblr_inline_ngvovj9JIC1qenr3hSorry! Too Late – see you next year 🙂

How do you place I hear you asking? Below is the list of agents participating in this year’s Nestpitch and next to them is a list of the Masks they will be wearing. Your job is to match the agent to the mask – that’s it!

All you need to do is go through the Agent post here: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/abracadabra-shim-shalala-sham-agent-reveal-now/ and the Bunny Mask post here:https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/agent-mask-time-would-you-like-a-20-amazon-voucher/ (it also helps if you quickly go to the agent’s bio and/or blog for more clues) and match the agent.

The first person to correctly match all twelve agents to their masks wins! That’s it! (email timeline will be used to confirm who sent the correct entry in first)

And if there are no correct winners then those participating will go into a lucky draw and a winner will be selected at random.

When:b8377__tumblr_mlgqa0BcZ51rd1qi0o1_500

The window will only be open for TWO HOURS – that’s it, so timing is everything.

The Window will open on Wednesday May 13th at 10.30pm Australian EST. That’s 7.30am New York US time and 12.30pm UK time. I chose these times to ensure everyone, no matter where you live, can play along.

You don’t need to have participated in #Nestpitch2015 or to even follow this blog, all you need to do is get to know our agents – and I have no doubt you ‘all know these agents anyway.

Please make sure you send your selection ONLY during the open window because there are no second chances, I will not be sending any ‘too soon’ or ‘too late’ emails – it’s up to you to play along during the window only.

ONE GUESS PER PERSON! (please don’t try to hedge by using more than one email address, you may get away with it but damn if you will not carry some nasty Karma with you)

getoveritHow to submit:

Send you email, with the correct subject line (see below), to nestpitch@outlook.com. Within the body of the email match all 12 agents to the masks you believe belong to them, for example:

  1. Agents Name = Mask
  2. Agents Name = Mask (and so on)

Please send your picks to nestpitch@outlook.com

In the subject line you MUST put UNMASK THE AGENT MY PICKS

If you fail to send your selection during the window or fail to put the above in the subject line, your email will be voided.

**Please note, there will be NO auto reply.

Please pass this on, re-blog if you’d like and tweet / re-tweet to pass the word along.

And now for the agents & masks (note they have all been alpha sorted & the below in no way suggests the correct match)

Camilla Wray Bend it like Beckham Bunny
Cate Hart Disco Bunny
Christa Heschke Energizer Bunny
Dawn Michelle Frederick Hippy Chic Bunny
Jessica Schmeidler Ms. Soccer Bunny
Jordy Albert Pancake Bunny
Maria Vicente Professor Bunny
Mollie Glick Rock Star Bunny
Patricia Nelson Ski Bunny
Saba Sulaiman Snow Bunny
Uwe Stender Warrior Bunny
Valerie Noble Wonder Woman Bunny

The winner will be announced on Tuesday May 19th 2015. 

tumblr_m949z4q9Ib1r1fva4And to celebrate the Nestpitch blog rolling over the 25,000 hits mark in less than 19 months I have decided to give one lucky random person who submitted to Nestpitch2015 an additional $20 Amazon Voucher – winner to be announced on May 31st 🙂

 

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#Nestpitch 2015 & St. Nicholas Day

19991Hi All!

Following on from my last post I wanted to talk a little today about the changes I’m planning for #Nestpitch 2015

The first is the Mentor/Team System.

In 2014 we had some AWESOME submissions however, and this is not the case for all submissions, there were several agents who, on requesting pages and query letters, were left a little disappointed that the quality/voice/lack of grammatical errors (etc.) did not translate beyond page one, two or three. Others failed in the query letter stage. While the pages may have been good, the query did not “grip” and QL’s are (sadly) part of the process. As I say, this was not the case for the majority of submissions, however, there were enough such comments to have me look at how I can improve on the submission process.

So this got me thinking. The basic process WILL remain the same, that is to say, the concept of Easter Nests & Secret Bunny Agents will remain, however the selection process will be MUCH TOUGHER – not because I’m cruel! but to get the very best submissions before agents.

snoopyeasterMentor Teams:

In 2015 there will be MENTOR TEAMS made up of a Team Leader (Mentor) and his/her Slush Bilbies (2-3 readers). Each Team will work separately but will also working with the other Teams, & select their top picks.

Selection Process:

The initial steps will remain. 35-word pitch & first 300 words but instead of the Mentors picking & featuring eight (8) submissions, the Mentors will pick “between 5-8” (plus two alternates) and of those, they will request both the Query Letter & either the first chapter or the first 2500-words. The query WILL NOT be featured but will form part of the Mentor Selection Process. The Teams, who will pick a name (e.g #TeamWinnerWinnerChickenDinner) and then read their picked queries, pitches & first chapter. They will have 3 weeks to read through, request more, send revised notes & request a revised version (the author has 5 days to reply) or reject completely. After 4-weeks each Team will feature their picks on their blogs.

The final number per Team is yet to be decided but will not be less than five or more than eight per Team. Every member of the Team will feature the selected submissions. For example #TeamWinnerWinnerChickenDinner will feature their author’s pitches + first 300-words on each Team Members Blog(although the Agent bidding will only happen on the Team Leaders Blog)

This way each author benefits 3 ways:

(i)                 More exposure

(ii)               Feedback which will benefit them in their pitch, the query letter & page requests.

(iii)             Enough time (after sending any revised pages back) to work through any repeating issues in their MS before agent requests come through.

tumblr_mfnljv4qMl1qiwqjeo2_400From The Slush-Pile:

Additional to the above, I will select my own “saved from the slush-pile” submissions. This could be as few as one or as many as five or six and is utterly at my own discretion. Basically, if I feel very strongly about certain submissions that were not picked by the Mentors, I will give these a second chance. The process will be the same. For example, if there are three I feel should be featured, all three will need to send their query letters & first chapter at which point I will read, revise, reject and request… and then make my selection.

Regardless of if there is one or more, these will form part of the Agent Round also. Essentially I’ll be looking for hidden gems that need a little bit more polishing.

Cuteness overloaded#PitchBootCamp:

In 2014 I ran a short bootcamp for 35-word pitches with the awesome Rhiann Wynn-Nolet. It was an opportunity to sharpen your pitches with feedback from Rhiann & myself as well as an open forum for others to comment & participate. I can tell you that many who were involved considered this an excellent way to prefect their pitches, not just for #Nestpitch but for other pitches.

Assuming Rhiann is available, I do intend to run this again; stay tuned.

Feedback:

As with #Nestpitch2014, I will be offering feedback to those who just missed out as I think it’s important for people who were “just about there” to know this. Sometimes the reasoning can be as simple as what else has been selected, or Agent Wish-Lists or Mentor preferences, other times it might be issues with grammar or a poor query letter that lets down the submission. This is what (I feel) author’s need to know.

cuddle bunnie kitten 1PictureBooks:

I adore Picture Books and that is why I featured them in #Nestpitch2014 however, sadly, although we had a lot submitted, very few were submission ready and none got requests. For this reason, I am unsure if we will be accepting PB’s for #Nestpitch 2015. My heart says yes so I’ll let you know in 2015.

However, all is not lost for PB’s.

Although I don’t have the time this year (too many things on before the end of 2014), I intend to run an online workshop December 6th 2015 for PB’s. Why this date? Simple, its St. Nicholas day & for those of you who know me, know I just LOVE LOVE LOVE traditions. (in fact it’s actually where the more modern tradition of Christmas Stocking filling comes from).1092157-Clipart-St-Nicholas-Day-Greeting-Over-A-Shoe-With-Goodies-Royalty-Free-Vector-Illustration

In the area of Croatia I come from there still remains the tradition of gifts for children on St. Nicholas day. In fact, for a very long time, right up until the 1950s or 1960s, that was the day children got presents while Christmas day was for family, feasts, religion etc.

On December 5th eve, children take their best pair of shoes and polish and polish and polish them. When the shoes are shiny clean they are left on the front porch, or covered stoop (remembering this is winter and where I come from if its not snowing in December it is surely raining!) Then St. Nicholas comes along and leaves something in each shoe depending on the quality of the polish and the behaviour of the child in the past year.

(i)                 Super good children, basically angels, get something special, chocolate

(ii)               really good children get a toy

(iii)             good children get fruit (oranges in winter were considered a treat)

(iv)             Naughty children get a lump of coal

(v)               Very naughty children get either onions or garlic shoved into their shoes. For many months after, each time they go to wear the shoes, the smell reminds them to be better next year.

2369d799254b142e6f62b73033ca79e8FYI traditionally St. Nicholas travelled with the Devil. St. Nicholas gave the gifts & the Devil left the coal & onions!

While we’ll ignore the coal and the garlic, in 2015 I’ll b running a PB workshop. Sometime in November 2015 I’ll be asking for PB submissions. Then, from December 6th to Christmas Eve, each day I feature the pitch plus first 100-words of various PB’s. Clearly I can only accept 18 submissions so it will be first come first serve I’m afraid.

From December 6th people will come along and leave a “gift” along with a short sentence as to why they chose an orange rather than chocolate. The 18 PB authors featured will be required to each leave a comment on at least 3 submissions between Dec 6th & 24th, & will also need to help “spread the word” for others to come along and “play St. Nicholas” thereby ensuring everyone gets feedback.

On Dec 25th the top 3-5 (PB’s that got the best presents) will be re-featured on the #Nestpitch blog. There is more to it, but basically that’s it. The idea is to help PB writers sharpen their own work while also getting feedback from the general public. Unlike a #pitchcomp this is not about agents asking for requests (although if an agent does contact me I promise to pass on the requests!), it’s about a forum for PB authors.

I’ve posted this early as I’d very much like feedback from you’all on the planned changes

and of course any suggestions would also be very welcome.

Drafy Nest Pich Logo last stage

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!

Stats & Trends — NestPitch 2014

tumblr_mzd9dpX6nH1shf8zxo1_500Hello All,

As we round up to the end of the month, it’s time to share some stats with you all. (everyone loves stats as much as me right?It’s OK, I’ve done all the work for you.

**Note:I will be sending out Scorecards to the 10-reserves & posting the results of those scorecards in two days. I decided to split the scorecards and stats when I realised how much space the stats would need.

So down to the Fun Facts & Figures.

We had around 220 submissions, of which almost 200 were accepted. (Several did not meet the guidelines, remember people Submission 101- follow the guidelines). The final submissions were made up of:

24 % = Picture Books / 11 % = MG  /  33% = YA  /  8 % = NA  /  24% = Adult30. Tawny-bellied hermit

Of those submitted the following % were selected by the Bloggers to feature on their blogs (as a number not a %):

PB = 4 / MG = 10 /YA = 31 / NA = 10 / Adult = 17

The first thing you might notice is that, while the % of Picture Book submissions was high, the number selected was quite low.  Without going into a great deal of detail, what I can say is we all saw so much potential in so many of the PB’s but many simply weren’t submission ready.  The other thing I find interesting is how many NA’s were selected in comparison to the number submitted.  As you can see, NA submissions made up 8% of the total but the number selected equalled that of MG.  More on NA further down – some interesting trends 🙂

Because I know everyone likes pretty pictures, here’s a chart which will better explain the above:

Agent Requests turned

The above compares the number of category manuscripts selected by the Bloggers (blue) with the number of requests from Agents (violet).  As you can clearly see, while YA was both selected and requested the most, the difference between selected and requested is smallest between the NA & Adult categories. Below we compare, submitted, selected & requested:

Chart 2 turned

As you can clearly see the pale blue, (NA= pale blue), in the first column shows it was the least submitted category, followed by MG. The third column shows the difference in the number submitted and the number selected by the bloggers.  Again, NA stands out.  While the physical number is low, the % of selected by blogger compared to submitted by pitch-ee, blows all the other’s out of the water.  Further down you may see why this is.

Now, before I go further, we have to take out the variable of solid writing.  If  the writing wasn’t solid, the pitch would not have been selected.  We must also take out the possibility of a pitch chosen based on Category alone, i.e. to make up the numbers.  When it comes to category diversity, first must always come quality of writing, followed by category diversity.  The reason I’m qualifying this is, further down as there appear to be some obvious trends that might explain the above graph.

The next graph looks at across the board category (excluding PB).  What we are looking for is, regardless of category, what are the agents genre choices.

Chart3 turnedAs you can see, the most popular choices by the agents were clearly fantasy or fantasy mix. By mix I mean, Historical-Fantasy, Fantasy-Romance, etc.  Contemporary, Romance, Adventure, Mystery/Thriller and WF also were quite popular.

However, what the above chart doesn’t take into account is the numerous requests for the same pitch.  And of course we need to keep in mind that the agents who took part in NestPitch have their own preferences, even so, with ten agents from nine agencies, the cross-section of agent WishList was well catered for.

Below I have included all 98 requests from agents, including multiple agents requesting the same pitch. As you can see, fantasy and contemporary were the most popular pitches.  And Fantasy-mix was quite healthy too as was Romance-mix.  In fact, Romance-mix was much more popular than straight Romance, this may be something to keep in mind; Romance + (something else such as say mystery or adventure) = larger interest pool.  Naturally, the below is a small selection and we can neither dismiss a genre (e.g. Romance) nor a category.  Also, NEVER write to “meet the trend” because, let’s face it, by the time you’re done fashion/taste may have changed.

Chart4 turned

Now lets look more closely at each category (excluding PB’s) and what’s trending. MG submission break down; largest portion of MG submissions were in the Fantasy genre, though contemporary was close second:

Chart6 turned

YA submission break down; largest portion of YA submissions were in the Fantasy genre, though, as with MG, contemporary was second:

Chart YA Turned

NA submission break down;  while  the largest portion of NA submissions were in the Romance/Romance-mix genre’s, I have to say, with a HUGE smile on my face, that more than ½ of the submissions were not Romance Genre based.

I say this with a smile because this goes to prove two things.  New Adult IS A CATEGORY – accept it folks! And non NA Romance novels are being written and requested by agents… and this is why I feel there was such a strong request % for NA in NestPitch – because they were not all romance.  Don’t get me wrong, romance is great, but diversity is always what we strive for 🙂

NA Chart turned

Adult submission break down; largest portion of Adult submissions were in the Fantasy genre, though barely, with Contemporary, Women’s Fiction and Fantasy-Mix all following close behind – and yes I know Fantasy-Mix is still Fantasy 🙂

Adult Chart turned

And finally, I have a breakdown of the pages requested by the agents as a table showing what was the most common request size. What I find interesting here is the peaks and dips. Most agents requested at least 25-pages + Synopsis with around the same number of requests for 50- pages as there were for 15-pages.

98 turned

I hope everyone had fun playing along with Nestpitch 2014, remember come back in a few days time to see which pitches made the reserves – and you are welcome to give feedback/leave comments.

So until then, Ciao-Ciao for now 🙂

And now, please excuse my indulgence in some shameless self-promotion:

BottyShake_randomgoodstuff The Nestpitch blog up for BEST BLOG Site 2014 (Australia) & there’s also a Peoples Choice Award.   Voting is open to everyone worldwide & is anonymousso I’ll never know if you voted or not (but if you do, thank you, I know some of you have already voted, & this is greatly appreciated).  If you can spare a  minute and would like to vote, here’s the link:

http://www.writerscentre.com.au/community/best-australian-blogs-comp/peoples-choice/