Tag Archives: pitches

Pitch Contest Approaching!

It’s been a while. And though I have been busy that’s not really my excuse for neglecting my little blog here. I swore I wouldn’t ditch this thing a few months after I started it, that I’d keep it going no matter what even if I didn’t feel like it, that I would blog daily and like it! Well guess what happened?

Yeah.

I am sorry.

But I’m back because I want people to know about the upcoming pitch contest on Twitter. It’s slated for March 25th so that’s ten days to write and polish your 140 character pitches.

I’ve talked about these before. I think they are really great. Basically you tweet out your pitches for your completed manuscript and agents or editors who are watching the feed on that day will favorite your pitch tweet if they want to see more of your manuscript. A favorite is a request.

You should still query and not rely solely on contests, but this thing is great for taking chances, getting pitch practice, meeting other writers, and becoming familiar with matters and people in the same boat as you.

I’ve done it and received a handful of  ‘favorites’ each time. One even led to a full request after the initial partial request. So don’t let this opportunity slip by. There are success stories out there. (Scroll down and click to read the pitch wars success stories) You might just find your agent.

Mind the rules. You must condense your pitch for Twitter’s character limit while also including the hashtag and your manuscript’s genre. DO NOT favorite other writer’s pitches. That’s for agents/editors only. DO retweet other pitches to show your support for them. DON’T overload the feed. Only post twice per hour. When I did it, I pitched two novels. So I tweeted a pitch for each every hour. No more.

Click here for the guidelines.

If you want to practice your pitches, post them below and we can work on them. Here are examples of some of the ones I used previously:

Cameron shows up next door w/ more bruises than suitcases. As she learns more, Maddie is forced 2 confront her own insecurities YA Contemp #Pitmad

Kidnapped for ransom alongside 4 classmates, 17yo Ezra Winchester will either fight for their freedom or die a hostage YA Thriller #Pitmad

*Notice how I had to abbreviate to make use of the limited space?

You want your pitch to convey the stakes and the obstacles in your MC’s path. When _______ happens, Main Character must _______ in order to ________. What drives the story? How does it affect your MC? What must they do? What are they trying to overcome?

Alright. There it is. Good luck with your pitches. I hope to see you on the Twitter feed on March 25th.

And expect some new posts soon. I’ll catch you up on what I’ve been up to these past couple of months and what I’m working on now.

Keep writing!

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Should These Pitches be Ditched? Part 3

This is my third installment of this, and I’ve only just realized I obviously missed the mark the first two times around. If you remember I originally did these as part of a school assignment where we were creating pitches for our work. The class never really explained what pitches were or how to go about doing them. We were just instructed to pitch our books in 3-4 sentences. Well, I ended up focusing on the 3-4 sentences part and trying to squeeze as much a possible into that. The end result was that my pitches sounded more like jacket summaries and were much too long.

Then a contest via Twitter came to my attention. It was called #pitchmas and the idea was to do the same thing: pitch your novel. Only this time I had much less room to work with because of the character limit and the requirement of adding the genre and hashtag into the pitch as well. It forced me to really cut, tighten, and perfect my pitches so that they were clear, concise, and hooking. Finally, I understood pitches.

The reward for the contest was that agents/editors/publishes watched the feed and would favorite the pitches they liked. This equaled a request for more material. At the end of the day-long contest I received three favorites aka three requests to see my work. I was shocked. Coming from someone who didn’t understand pitches and who had really just begun writing them, I was surprised mine got any interest. Now there were other writers who got many more. I heard of 14 from one and 20 from another. It was a great opportunity to not only write pitches but read other writers’ pitches as well. And I always learn from reading and seeing other examples. I also retweeted a lot of pitches I would actually really love to read the corresponding full books on. I hope they get published one day as well.

If this sounds really fun or helpful and you’re upset you missed out, don’t worry. Another pitch contest is being held on Jan 8th called #PitMad. Check out the info here. Work on your pitches and head over to Twitter on that day and see what happens! You have nothing to lose and only experience and good things to gain.

Here are some of my tightened up pitches.

Book 3 Pitches

*There are a lot of things Ezra Winchester didn’t see coming: his mother’s death, becoming a millionaire, and getting kidnapped. Now he sees things clearer: he’ll either fight for his freedom or die a hostage.

*Being a hostage was not part of Ezra’s plan for junior year. Now escaping with his life is the only thing that matters.

*Ezra is kidnapped for his money. His friends are taken because they’re witnesses. Together they’ll fight for their freedom or die captives.

Book 2 Pitches

*What if the bad boy is actually a gentleman and the good girl has a dark side? Can opposites attract if no one is who they say they are?

*Maddie knows how to take orders, not make choices. Cameron can take a beating, not give trust. Love will change them both.

*Maddie Carlisle and Cameron Dawson shouldn’t be together. She’s the lapdog for her popular clique, and he’s the defiant transfer student overflowing with secrets and bruises. When she trades ‘forbidden’ for ‘freewill’ opposition erupts everywhere.

And the Pitch I wrote in Part 2 for my current WIP I now realize could have been completely cut to just the first sentence:

*When eighteen-year-old Oliver Reid’s girlfriend dies and mysteriously appears as a ghost, he embraces the haunting, disregards the impossible, and sets out on mission to put the love of his life back together again.

What a difference!

For this post I’ll offer to help hone and critique anyone’s pitches. If you want to participate in #PitMad but need an extra set of eyes before next Wednesday, post your pitches in the comments, and I’ll give you feedback. I’d be happy to get a conversation going here!

Or if you see any issues or possible improvement for my pitches above, feel free to post that as well!

Happy pitching!

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Jigsaw Post

I have so many things to talk about today I feel like I should make three separate posts.

First of all, I want to recognize and pay my respects to author Ned Vizzini who passed away. I kept seeing the news last night on Twitter and through Facebook where he was kind enough to accept my friend request years ago, that he had passed. I was completely shocked as he was so young and talented. He’s made wonderful books and contributed to television and film as well. It’s so sad to lose someone you admired or who helped and impacted so many people with his work. Here’s a link to some of his books if you feel driven to check them out. Ned, I hope you are at peace. Thank you for your books, and I am truly sorry to know you’re gone.

Secondly, and on a lighter note there is another contest going on today through Twitter. The hashtag is #pitchmas and it is a pitch party for you to promote your manuscripts. Agents and editors watch the feed, and if they favorite your pitch that means they’re requesting to see more material. Here’s the link to the blog that created this wonderful party. Check out the details and guidelines and then head over to Twitter with your best pitches. Good luck!

Lastly, this is my final week of class for the English course that originally influenced the creation of this blog. As a summary of all we’ve done and learned about ourselves over the last 8 weeks, our final assignment is to describe who we think we are as writers and post it to an external audience. That’s you guys. So who am I as a writer?

I’m a dreamer.

Just like musicians imagine rocking out on stage or an actor sees his name in lights, I imagine my books sitting on the shelves of bookstores. I think about what it would be like to get fan mail from teenagers whose lives were somehow impacted by my books. I even think about what it would feel like to get hate mail. Maybe a teen writes to tell me I got it all wrong or a parent takes issue with my topics and content.

What writing means to me

I’ve said this before, but I need writing. I just don’t feel right when I’m not creating. It depresses me not to have a project going in my head or forming on the screen. I depend on writing to make me feel worthy some days.

What I write

I write YA or Young Adult. I’m not saying I can’t or won’t write anything else, but YA is my absolute love. When I go to bookstores I don’t even look at the other sections, and I can spend hours simply browsing the three rows of YA titles. I buy YA books faster than I read them because I can’t leave a book behind in a store if I think I might want to read it somewhere down the line. YA excites me. I love creating teen characters and hard situations or paths of discovery. If someone told me I couldn’t write YA anymore, I wouldn’t be the same writer. I probably wouldn’t have that same sense of worth and excitement because YA is such a big part of who I am as a writer. It’d be like telling someone they could only watch a certain genre of movie the rest of their life or never listen to their favorite band again. Those movies would never be what they really wanted, and they’d long for each band to be as good as their favorite. YA and I just go together.

So my goals from here are to keep writing. To keep trying to get published. I entered the world of querying this year and have participated in contests like #pitchwars and #pitchmas to try and get my work noticed. I want an agent. I want to go the traditional route. I want my books on shelves. I want to read love and hate mail, friend readers on social media, meet them at book signings. I want it all. Writing has been a journey and struggle, and the great thing about it is it’s never over. You keep growing and learning the more you do it. You have ups and downs; there’s just no way around that. It takes commitment, patience, hard work, hope, and undying love to be able to pursue this crazy dream. And I never want to give it up.

Thank you for reading. Who are YOU as a writer? Have you ever been saddened by the passing of an author you admired? Post below, and I hope to see all your pitches over on Twitter!

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Should These Pitches Be Ditched? Part2

So I made an earlier post where I shared elevator pitches (or my attempt at them) for my three novels. It was part of an English course assignment. Now that course requires us to “repurpose” or rework content we already shared now that we’ve been given feedback. So I decided to work with my pitches a bit more. I even added a new one for the piece I’m currently writing. As before, feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section and let me know if these pitches are better or worse!

Book 1

When seventeen-year-old Patrick Walker’s biggest secret is threatened to be exposed he shuns his friends and embraces his anger. For him, his worst possible fate isn’t that his father physically abuses him, but the thought that someone might actually find out. As the evidence mounts his secret becomes less safe, but Patrick won’t accept help, even though it means turning away a girl he could really love. He deals with the pain in dangerous ways, but his real struggle isn’t in knowing how to take a beating, but in finding the strength to share the truth.

Book 2

Maddie Carlisle, a high school senior and member of the in-crowd elite, is forced to confront the consequences of her decisions and the reality of her life when outspoken, eighteen-year-old Cameron Dawson moves in next door, covered in bruises and carrying more secrets than luggage. As their relationship forms she realizes he might be the person to help her change back into the person she wants to be, not the person she’s told to be.  However, their relationship is tested by Maddie’s controlling friends, her emotionally-abusive parents, and even Maddie herself. When Cameron’s dark past threatens to tear him apart, she realizes she not only needs to change for herself, but for Cameron too.

Book 3

Seventeen-year-old Ezra Winchester has gone from high school Junior and winning track star, to orphan and teenage millionaire within weeks. Now he’s a hostage, but he isn’t the only one. The group of teens is forced into a battle for survival where both their mental and physical strength is tested. In between the recurring beatings and emotional traumas, Ezra discovers there are secrets at work that could change everything, and he has to decide which is more important-freedom or justice?

WIP YA Novella

When eighteen-year-old Oliver Reid’s girlfriend dies and mysteriously appears as a ghost, he embraces the haunting, disregards the impossible, and sets out on mission to put the love of his life back together again. Along the way he meets a snarky psychic who has uncomfortable visions about Oliver’s ghostly girlfriend, a headstrong Necromancer with a grudge against lovesick soul mates, and a posh Reaper who could care less about the mundane life of humans, unless a little soul-stealing is involved. Together they can gather all the parts needed to reanimate Lana in her body once more. It will only take a little grave robbing, a sexy zombie encounter, a roundtrip tour through the other side and back, and a bloody touch of murder, but hey, love conquers all, right?

My critiques of myself? I’d say they’re probably still too long, even though we were given a 3-4 sentence boundary. I think they read like jacket summaries, and I’m not sure that’s the point here. Maybe they give away too much information about the plot when I could have been vague. I think there’s always room to learn though so let me know your thoughts and advice.

Do these pitches make you want to read more? What are their faults and strengths? Share your honest opinions in the comments below!

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Should These Pitches be Ditched?

In my current English course, New Media and Publishing, we are studying writer platforms and how to sell yourself. This week is about creating “elevator pitches.”  We were told to describe our material in 3 to 4 sentences as if we only have 30 seconds in an elevator to make an impression on a publisher. I’ve dabbled in this before, but it’s not a precise process. I’m trying to strike a balance between giving away enough meat and detail of the story while still remaining mysterious/enticing without being too vague.  So here are my pitches for my three novels. Maybe they work, or maybe they need work. But that’s what learning is for. Feel free to let me know your reactions in the comments.

Book 1 Pitch

Seventeen-year-old Patrick Walker is good at keeping his secret and even better at hating his father. He covers the fact that his father physically abuses him, afraid of being sent to foster care if the police knew the truth or what his father would really do to him if people discovered their happy relationship was all fake. Patrick won’t accept help and deals with the pain in dangerous ways, including drinking and fighting at school and getting in trouble with a violent gang leader who knows just how to get in Patrick’s head. His real struggle isn’t in knowing how to take a beating, but realizing when to ask for help and standing up against the man who should have loved him most.

Book 2 Pitch

Maddie Carlisle, a high school senior and member of the in-crowd elite, is forced to confront the consequences of her decisions and the reality of her life when outspoken, eighteen-year-old Cameron Dawson moves in next door, covered in bruises and carrying more secrets than luggage. Maddie knows who to be and how to act to please everyone, secretly loathing her perfect popular lifestyle. When she meets Cameron they form an unlikely (and forbidden) bond that is tested as she struggles between pleasing the people that control her life and staying true to her own heart. The more he opens up, the clearer it becomes that Cameron is struggling with his own demons, and Maddie is the only one who can help him face them.

Book 3 Pitch

High school Junior, Ezra Winchester, is drugged, kidnapped, and taken to a remote location where he’s held by a trio of brutal and greedy strangers that ransom him for the millions of dollars he’s worth.  He quickly realizes rescue isn’t coming and is forced into a battle for survival where both his mental and physical strength is tested. After months of beatings and emotional traumas, Ezra discovers there is more at play than he first realized, and those secrets could push him past a point he can’t come back from. But to him justice might just be more important than making it out alive.

So did I earn an A on this assignment or did I fail? Would you want to read more based on these pitches or would you politely pass? What are your honest opinions?

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