1/19 Pitch Events, ABNA, Twitter fun and More

 

Jess Schira commented last week that I ought to include the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. I so agree! (I had hoped to create a separate post just on the event, but as I was out with a nasty virus most of the week the post didn’t get written.) But it’s not too late! Here’s the link for the main page on what they’re looking for as well as links to FAQ and other information. The entry window is STILL open as of right now (last day to enter is 1/27 or when they’ve received 10, 000 entries which ever is first), so get over there and enter!

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest has arrived. You won’t want to miss this incredible opportunity to win a publishing contract with Amazon Publishing. Now in its sixth year, this international contest promises to be the best yet. Here’s what’s new:

One Grand Prize winner will receive a publishing contract with an advance of $50,000, and four First Prize winners will each receive a publishing contract with an advance of $15,000. Visit the Prizes page for the full list of prizes and details.

We’ve expanded the categories to include five popular genres: General Fiction, Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror and Young Adult Fiction. And we’re accepting entries from more countries than ever before. For complete eligibility details, view the official contest rules, or read details on how to enter.

January 25, Brenda Drake will be coordinating a twitter pitch event (#pitmad!). Brenda has some of the best contests with some very nice (and helpful!) agents and editors. I expect this will be no different. Be sure to follow her blog and find out all the details as they become available. Her sneak peek from her blog :

TWITTER PITCH PARTY! For those of you who didn’t make it into Pitch Wars and just for everyone, there will be a twitter pitch party on the hashtag #PitMad on January 25 from 8AM to 8PM. We’ll announce more details as the event nears. So get your twitter pitches ready and make sure to include the hashtag in your 140 character count.

The Blind Speed Dating Event, over at Cupid’s Literary Connection is still going on! There is a $10 entry fee, which in large part goes to a charity donation. Given the size of this contest ( 6 weeks & 60 entrants a week – and that’s just to start!) the time commitment is huge on Cupid‘s part. I have to say, this is one of my favorite contests too (although I do wish there were more adult category writers in the bouncers, but it is what it is). Wait, what? You want more info? Here ya go (I’m posting a little longer blurb than usual, but then this is a jumbo sized contest):

The contest consists of two parts: The preliminary round (Bouncer round) and the agent round (Honorary Cupid round). I am accepting a total of 360 entries into the Bouncer round. The Bouncers are all published or soon to be published authors and agent interns. As implied, they’re the Bouncers, and you must receive a “You’re in!” from one of them in the comments of your first-round entry to make it into the agent round. (They can, but are not required to comment more than this.)

So, 360 entries is a lot to read. That’s why I have 15 Bouncers lined up. I will accept 60 entries per submission window, so there will be 6 entry windows. Each window gets its own week on the blog (1/14-2/21). Each submission window is assigned 3 Bouncers. They will each read 20 entries and choose their 3 favorites to proceed. (So 9chosen a week, 54 total.) You will not know which of the 3 Bouncers will judge your entry as they will be using undercover Bouncer names. It is up to the Bouncer if they want to reveal their identity after the contest is over.

But that’s not all, she’s also arranging some one-on-one online meeting times with editors. Now these appointments aren’t free, but they are a heck of a lot cheaper than most conferences (you can bid on them but she’s put a top limit on the dollar amount for each conference). The first set of slots has already gone up for bids and closed, however she says there’ll be others so keep your eyes peeled if this appeals to you!
A new contest (well new-to-me!) site: Writers Digest Guide to Literary Agent’s Blog. Really! They’re having a Dear Lucky Agent contest right now. Here’s what they’re looking for. If this interests you, head over to the site for all the details:
Welcome to the 13th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you’re writing either a science fiction novel (adults or teens) or any kind of young adult novel, this 13th contest is for you! (The contest is live through January 31, 2013.)
I’ve leads on several contests in February, one of which it’s worth while to note now as there’ll be a bunch of prep needed by you AND your critique partner. Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire will be coordinating, with her critique partners, #PAPFest. *** They’ve added a list of agents, be sure to check it out!
In our model, writers will pitch their critique partner’s project, and our team will decide whose pitching abilities are so strong that we’re interested in seeingtheir own project. And of course, if the premise of the partner’s project is so enticing that we can’t help ourselves, we’re free to request material from them as well.
That sounds like a lot of fun and really hard! I look forward to seeing how it turns out.
Plus Operation Awesome has a mystery agent on the first of every month – so be sure to stop by their blog and check out who it is on February 1.
If you know of any contests I’ve missed, be sure to comment below and I’ll add them. Don’t forget to check out my page with popular contest hosting sites, as well as subscribe to my paper.li feed, which has links to industry and agent news.  And don’t forget to join/check out  CPSeek, it is a GREAT resource! They have a listing up there for a very fun one which’ll run from Feb-March, I’ll be listing soon, but if you want early info, join the site.

1/12 Ready to start up again with Pitch Events? Here we go!

I’m still getting the hang of my weekly schedule now that I’m working two part time jobs (one is as a slush pile reader for an up-and-coming publisher, which I love!). I hope to be back on track with weekly contest postings soon.

So are you ready? Some awesome-sauce stuff coming up like, right now!

Musetracks will be having an Editor Shop with Jennifer Miller of Samhain on January 13 – with the window to submit your pitch on January 12 (have I mentioned I’d adore to be published by Samhain?! 🙂 ).  PLUS there’s a LOT of other GREAT stuff going on! REMEMBER TO FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES. Last time over half the entries were disqualified because they weren’t correct. This month’s event looks to be a blast, too! Here’s a tease:
As an added bonus to our Editor Shop, I’ve invited some Samhain authors to the blog to talk, answer questions and give-a-way some books to anyone who comments!
Comment to win on Jan 12th, 2013!
Miss Snark’s First Victim will be having a Secret Agent Contest on January 14, details are up on her blog with submission windows, etc.  Here’s what we know about this month’s agent:

This month’s contest will include the following genres:

Young Adult — all genres
Middle Grade — all genres

Cupid, Cupid, how did I miss you last time?! Good news is the Blind Speed Dating Event, over at Cupid’s Literary Connection is going on over several weeks. There is a $10 entry fee, which in part goes to a charity donation. Given the size of this contest ( 6 weeks & 60 entrants a week – and that’s just to start!) the time commitment is huge on Cupid‘s part. I have to say, this is one of my favorite contests too (although I do wish there were more adult category writers in the bouncers, but it is what it is). Wait, what? You want more info? Here ya go (I’m posting a little longer blurb than usual, but then this is a jumbo sized contest):
The contest consists of two parts: The preliminary round (Bouncer round) and the agent round (Honorary Cupid round). I am accepting a total of 360 entries into the Bouncer round. The Bouncers are all published or soon to be published authors and agent interns. As implied, they’re the Bouncers, and you must receive a “You’re in!” from one of them in the comments of your first-round entry to make it into the agent round. (They can, but are not required to comment more than this.)

So, 360 entries is a lot to read. That’s why I have 15 Bouncers lined up. I will accept 60 entries per submission window, so there will be 6 entry windows. Each window gets its own week on the blog (1/14-2/21). Each submission window is assigned 3 Bouncers. They will each read 20 entries and choose their 3 favorites to proceed. (So 9chosen a week, 54 total.) You will not know which of the 3 Bouncers will judge your entry as they will be using undercover Bouncer names. It is up to the Bouncer if they want to reveal their identity after the contest is over.

In late January,the 25, Brenda Drake will be coordinating a twitter pitch event (#pitmad!). Brenda has some of the best contests with some very nice (and helpful!) agents and editors. I expect this will be no different. Be sure to follow her blog and find out all the details as they become available. Her sneak peek from her blog :

TWITTER PITCH PARTY! For those of you who didn’t make it into Pitch Wars and just for everyone, there will be a twitter pitch party on the hashtag #PitMad on January 25 from 8AM to 8PM. We’ll announce more details as the event nears. So get your twitter pitches ready and make sure to include the hashtag in your 140 character count.

I’ve leads on several contests in February, one of which it’s worth while to note now as there’ll be a bunch of prep needed by you AND your critique partner. Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire will be coordinating, with her critique partners, #PAPFest.
In our model, writers will pitch their critique partner’s project, and our team will decide whose pitching abilities are so strong that we’re interested in seeingtheir own project. And of course, if the premise of the partner’s project is so enticing that we can’t help ourselves, we’re free to request material from them as well.
That sounds like a lot of fun and really hard! I look forward to seeing how it turns out.
Plus Operation Awesome has a mystery agent on the first of every month – so be sure to stop by their blog and check out who it is on February 1.
If you know of any contests I’ve missed, be sure to comment below and I’ll add them. Don’t forget to check out my page with popular contest hosting sites, as well as subscribe to my paper.li feed, which has links to industry and agent news.  And don’t forget to join/check out  CPSeek, it is a GREAT resource!

New Year, New Contests – Starting 1/1/13 w/ #MysteryAgent

I had planned to go through and announce how many contests I had highlighted over the past year for this post, but time (and family commitments) pulled me away, so I’ll be tallying things up some other significant time.

As for January Contests, the new year is starting with some single agent contests and moving to a wonderful twitter pitch contest at the end of the month. The very first one STARTS tomorrow!  Ready, set, go!…

Operation Awesome  is having their monthly Mystery Agent on TUESDAY, JANUARY 1! Here’s some deets (as always be sure to go to the site for ALL the details!):

Hello, all!!! You may or may not know that tomorrow is our January Mystery Agent Contest. For that reason, I’m here to provide a few details about what our Mystery Agent is and isn’t looking for.
So. Here’s what our Mystery Agent wants:
Adult & YA fiction
-soft science fiction
-fantasy
-horror
-all subgenres of the aforementioned 3 genres
-gritty, dark narratives
-contemporary YA 
(lighthearted, funny, and moving with a raw, authentic teen voice)
-stories with strong characters, smart-mouthed dialogue, and strong plots that balance romance and action
Musetracks will be having an Editor Shop with Jennifer Miller of Samhain on January 12 (have I mentioned I’d adore to be published by Samhain?! 🙂 ).  PLUS there’s a LOT of other GREAT stuff going on! Here’s a sample:
As an added bonus to our Editor Shop, I’ve invited some Samhain authors to the blog to talk, answer questions and give-a-way some books to anyone who comments!
Comment to win on Jan 12th, 2013!
Miss Snark’s First Victim will be having a Secret Agent Contest on January 14, details will be posted on her blog on January 7.  All little snippet from her blog (be sure to check there for full details on what the agent is looking for and details on submissions):
Submissions for our first Secret Agent contest of the year will be on the 14th.  Guidelines will post on the 7th.  Because of the Baker’s Dozen hullabaloo, we haven’t had a Secret Agent contest since October!  So I think this will be especially fun.
In late January,the 25, Brenda Drake will be coordinating a twitter pitch event (#pitmad!). Brenda has some of the best contests with some very nice (and helpful!) agents and editors. I expect this will be no different. Be sure to follow her blog and find out all the details as they become available. Her sneak peek (posted on  CPSeek, a GREAT resource!) :
We will hold a twitter pitch party following the agent round and alternate showcases for Pitch Wars on January 25 from 8AM EST to 8PM EST. The pitch is 140 characters and you must fit in the hashtag #PitMad. So get those pitches ready!
I’ve leads on several contests in February, one of which it’s worth while to note now as there’ll be a bunch of prep needed by you AND your critique partner. Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire will be coordinating, with her critique partners, #PAPFest.
In our model, writers will pitch their critique partner’s project, and our team will decide whose pitching abilities are so strong that we’re interested in seeingtheir own project. And of course, if the premise of the partner’s project is so enticing that we can’t help ourselves, we’re free to request material from them as well.
That sounds like a lot of fun and really hard! I look forward to seeing how it turns out.
If you know of any contests I’ve missed, be sure to comment below and I’ll add them. Don’t forget to check out my page with popular contest hosting sites, as well as subscribe to my paper.li feed, which has links to industry and agent news.  Fingers crossed for everyone who enters a contest in the new year!

12/3 Two big opportunities this week: #PitchWars through 12/5 & #Pitchmas 12/4-6, & more

First, the PitchWars submission window will close at 8 p.m.(note corrected time!) on Wednesday, December 5. If you haven’t entered yet, NOW is the time to do it! Be sure to read through ALL the mentors blogs who are looking for your category. AND follow the hashtag on twitter – lots of chatter and helpful information there! This is just a drop in the bucket of the information you wil need. Be sure to go to Brenda Drake’s blog for ALL the details! :

We’re extremely excited to announce an upcoming event where agented authors, industry interns, and editors team up with aspiring writers to shine up their manuscripts and pitches to present to some awesome agents.
Here’s the deets…
·        The teams will consist of 1 agented author or industry intern or editor (coaches) and 1 aspiring author.
·        November 26: The coaches (listed on the linky below) will post on their blogs what genre/category they want to coach. They’ll be very specific genres. Aspiring writers will hop around and decide which coaches best fit their manuscripts.
·       Between November 26- December 5: Aspiring writers will submit 3 “applications” to their top choices for coaches to the contest email (check site for parameters, formatting, etc!) That means, participants will send three separate emails to the contest email addressing each with one of their three top choices for coach.

AND here are the mentors!:

REMINDER: You can send an application for up to 3 coaches.

Lots of YA, but some NA and four Adult in there too. A great opportunity to get some feedback on your manuscript AND query and get it in front of an agent. 🙂 .

On December 4-6, Pitchmas, A Holiday Pitchfest (multi agent/editor) will be happening on Jessa Russo and FeakySnucker’s blogs. On December 4th Jessa will be hosting a pitch polishing workshop leading up to the first opportunity to pitch that evening on Tamara (FeakySnucker) Blog. PLUS a list of participating editors and agents is up for anyone who wants to peruse. Important dates, FULL DETAILS ON THE BLOG! (be sure you go there!):

Tuesday 12/4: 4am-9pm PST
PITCH-HONING WORKSHOP (Jessa’s Blog)
.
Tuesday 12/4: 11pm-2am EST
First PITCH SUBMISSION WINDOW (Tamara’s Blog)
.
Wednesday 12/5: 10AM EST-11AM EST
Second PITCH SUBMISSION WINDOW (Tamara’s Blog)
Comments on Tamara’s contest post will be open again, and she will take an additional 25 pitches only.
.
Wednesday 12/5: 11:30am-9:30pm EST
BLOG PITCH CONTEST (Tamara’s Blog)
.
Thursday 12/6: All day!
TWITTER PITCH PARTY! 
{140 Characters or Less – obviously}
 You may not pitch more than twice per hour. Please respect your fellow pitch fest contestants buy obeying this rule. It is unfair to clog the feed with your manuscript every two seconds.
We will notify you throughout the day if we see an agent or editor is lurking, so make sure you follow both Tamara and Jessa on Twitter.
***Follow along with the hashtag: #PitchMAS***
*You may only pitch completed and polished manuscripts.
*You may pitch more than one manuscript, but each pitch must be its own comment, or its own tweet. (Read: Do NOT pitch multiple manuscripts in ONE comment or ONE tweet.)
Over at Muse Tracks, they’re having their Agent/Editor Shop on December 15:

I’m happy to say the awesome Rhonda Penders with The Wild Rose Press will be our first ever guest editor at Editor Shop, and I wish you all the best of luck on pitch day.

December 15th is pitch day, so mark your calendars!

Now we all want to think every agent and editor out there is legit and a majority of them are. But there are a few things you’ll want to consider as you enter contests (and NO, I do not mean you shouldn’t enter contests – just go in with eyes wide open 🙂 ) I’m pointing this out now, so *when* you get your offer (and I am saying when, since I’m pulling for you!)  you’ll have done  your due diligence and checked out the agent/press who has contacted you. One place to start is Sarah LaPolla’s blog post on ‘Shady Business’  where she talks about ‘new’ agents who have no experience as well as new (e)publishers . She has EXCELLENT advice on what to look for (and what to watch out for) as you look for an agent/at new e-pubs. Another blog with excellent advice is Writer Beware Blogs & Guest Blog Post: Mustering the Courage to Turn Down a Publishing Contract. Personally I’d suggest checking things out prior to entering any contests so if there’s a request for more information you can go in eyes wide open and not just respond in a heady rush. To be clear, I’m not saying there have been any publishers which are on any of the ‘beware’ lists, or anything of that nature, in any contest that I am aware of, just that it make sense to not automatically assume a publisher (or agent) is in ‘good standing’ because they are taking part in a contest. (and that was clear as mud, but hopefully you get the point)

Getting Ready for #pitchwars on Monday, 11/26, Plus #pitchmas Coming Up

Okay, there’s been a lot of twitter chatter on this next contest, so I’m including a bit more detail than usual. However, you’ll still need to follow the links for the full details.

On Monday, 11/26 Brenda Drake and a team of authors will be hosting PitchWars.

We’re extremely excited to announce an upcoming event where agented authors, industry interns, and editors team up with aspiring writers to shine up their manuscripts and pitches to present to some awesome agents.
Here’s the deets…
·        The teams will consist of 1 agented author or industry intern or editor (coaches) and 1 aspiring author.
·        November 26: The coaches (listed on the linky below) will post on their blogs what genre/category they want to coach. They’ll be very specific genres. Aspiring writers will hop around and decide which coaches best fit their manuscripts.
·       Between November 26- December 5: Aspiring writers will submit 3 “applications” to their top choices for coaches to the contest email (check site for parameters, formatting, etc!) That means, participants will send three separate emails to the contest email addressing each with one of their three top choices for coach.

AND here are the mentors!:

REMINDER: You can send an application for up to 3 coaches.

Lots of YA, but some NA and four Adult in there too. A great opportunity to get some feedback on your manuscript AND query and get it in front of an agent. 🙂 .

On December 4-6, Pitchmas, A Holiday Pitchfest (multi agent/editor) will be happening on Jessa Russo and FeakySnucker’s blogs. On December 4th Jessa will be hosting a pitch polishing workshop leading up to the first opportunity to pitch that evening on Tamara (FeakySnucker) Blog. PLUS a list of participating editors and agents is up for anyone who wants to peruse:

This will be a three-day event (you will not have to participate in all three days if you don’t want to) where your peers will first help you hone your Twitter/Blog pitches and then you will have the chance to pitch your manuscript to your dream editor or literary agent!!!
*All manuscripts must be completed and polished.

With NaNoWriMo winding down I expect there may be a spate of other contests in mid-December, before the holiday lull. In the mean time, if you missed them last week, a bunch of sites have been posting some great writing advice:

Red Sofa Literary Agency, in honor of NaNoWriMo is posting writing and submission advice every day! Day #13 – Best time to Query is good, as is Day #10 – Revise, Revise and  Revise again. Heck all of them are good, go and take a look.

Lit Reactor had a good post recently about Eight Words to Seek and Destroy in your Manuscript. They always have interesting and informative articles as well – from editorials on the Sock Puppet incidents at Amazon (and Amazon’s reaction) to grammar tips to a discussion titled “Should Some Books Be Banned?” Not a bad place to check out or subscribe to the ‘feed’ for. (They also have classes and seminars, however I have no experience with them and cannot personally recommend them, so do your due diligence and ask around, read reviews, etc, before signing up)

Rachelle Gardner is on a roll with posts on What Does Your Online Activity Say About You?, ‘The Best Blogging Tip Ever’ and Writing a One Sentence Summary.

Finally one several of my friends (an myself as well!) can relate to: Writer Beware Blogs  Guest Blog Post: Mustering the Courage to Turn Down a Publishing Contract. While the hosts of all these contests I link to do their best to provide clear and unfettered access to publishers and agents, you still need to do your due diligence and check out each one. I’d suggest you do it prior to entering so if there’s a request for more information you can go in eyes wide open and not just in a heady rush. To be clear, I’m not saying there have been any publishers which are on any of the ‘beware’ lists, or anything of that nature, in any contest that I am aware of, just that it make sense to not automatically assume a publisher (or agent) is in ‘good standing’ because they are taking part in a contest. (and that was clear as mud, but hopefully you get the point)

JUST ran across this and had to add it too! Sarah LaPolla’s blog post on ‘Shady Business’ ties in well with the above post. She talks about ‘new’ agents who have no experience as well as new (e)publishers and has EXCELLENT advice on what to look for (and what to watch out for).

Happy reading, and to those people participating in NaNoWriMo, go, go go! Fingers crossed you make your goal.

(Making a note to myself, if I ever organize a pitch contest, I might want to run it the last week of November. People should be over their exhaustion from the explosion of  Fall contests. Maybe a ‘black friday’ one. Liking this idea! Something to mull over for next year).

10/21 Upcoming Multi-Agent Pitch/Query Contests: #bakersdozen #agenttreat #pitchmas

With the new look of the blog, I’m trying to clean up my upcoming contest list. One thing I’ve noticed, there definitely seems to be some burnout right now. Mother.  Write. (Repeat.) cancelled her monthly “Agent Inbox” (where people have the opportunity to be chosen submit a query to be read by an agent who then blogs instant feedback on the query on the blog).

First off, an apology: Due to unforeseen circumstances, I’m cancelling this month’s round of “An Agent’s Inbox.” And because of the general contest weariness I’ve noticed around the blogosphere/Twitterverse of late, I’m holding off on scheduling another until after New Year’s. I’m so sorry to anyone who was counting on entering a round this year!

Plus, there’s this piece from Natalie M. Lakosil, on an agent’s perspective on the current frenzy of pitch and query opportunities and some agents feeling like they’ve seen a lot of the same things in multiple contests. I actually wasn’t going to enter a contest because there were only two agents and one had already seen my entry multiple times. In the end I decided to enter because I had revised the story and there was that other agent.  But the piece made a point I hadn’t considered: keep track of which agents are participating in the contests so you’ll know who’s seen your work. I hadn’t been doing that, but I will be now.

However, if you’re just jumping in and haven’t done a query contest before, Sticking To The Story has a wonderful post on what to expect and how to get ready. Even if you’ve done them before there’s LOTS of helpful information there.

Short list right now. Here are the multi-agented contests:

The ONLY multi-agent contest which has an entry this week (October 24), is Trick or Treat with Agents, so I’m going to put up the whole beautiful flyer they made up (it’s hosted by the wonderful Brenda Drake, Kimberly Chase and Deanna Romito.) You will need to go the the blogs for information on agents wish lists and more particulars! (plus Brenda has a teaser up for her next big contest, Pitch Wars, which opens 12/10).

The following week, on October 30 and November 1, Miss Snark’s First Vicitim (MSFV for short) will have the first entry windows for the ADULT authors who want to try to get in to Baker’s Dozen. (This week she’s having the secret agent contest, information in the single agent/publishing house section below). Here are the windows for Bakers Dozen entries (be sure to go to the site for all the details!)

 

ADULT ROUND 1: Tuesday, October 30 (100 entries)
ADULT ROUND 2: Thursday, November 1 (100 entries)
YA/MG ROUND 1: Tuesday, November 6 (150 entries)
YA/MG ROUND 2: Thursday, November 8 (150 entries)

AFTER NaNoWriMo, December 4-6, Pitchmas, A Holiday Pitchfest will be happening on Jessa Russo and FeakySnucker’s blogs:

This will be a three-day event (you will not have to participate in all three days if you don’t want to) where your peers will first help you hone your Twitter/Blog pitches and then you will have the chance to pitch your manuscript to your dream editor or literary agent!!!
*All manuscripts must be completed and polished.

I’m keeping an eye on  Cupid’s Literary Connection, I’m guessing they’ll have a contest announcement before the end of the month.

For this next week there’s only one contests which has ONE agent/agency or publisher stopping by (at least that I know about). Miss Snark’s First Victim wil host Secret Agent (who is looking for MG and YA). The entry window for the lottery is on 10/22, so be sure to hop over to her blog to find out the details. There are many blogs which host pitch contests for single agents, I don’t have a complete list by any means. One of the best ways to find contests is on Twitter, by following authors you see on the contests, and the hosts and agents as well, you’ll see information on new contests as the information hits the twitterverse.

Plus, if you look over on my left side bar, you’ll see a link to a paper.li news article feed which pulls contest, agent news and publishing opportunities which I run across into one place. Easy to check and subscribe. There’s general publishing news too, but mostly about pitch contests and submission opportunities. AND I have links to several blogs which host contest, multi-agent at once, or multi-agent over time (NEW LINK ADDED – Muse Tracks) Wishing every who enters the best of luck!

Catching the Eye of an Agent/Pub: Other Events if you missed #PITMAD #CAGI #GUTGAA

Three well attended and popular pitch events are running full swing right now: Pitch Madness over at Brenda Drake’s Blog (its sister event PITMAD – a twitter pitch event – ran on September 13), Cupid’s Literary Connection‘s Come And Get It (CAGI) and Deana Barnhart‘s Gearing Up to Get An Agent (GUTGAA).

But they are now all ‘closed’ and in the agent phase. So the question is: what next if you missed the getting in or were unaware these were going on.

First remember, as C Scully wrote recently: You don’t need a contest to query an agent.  If you weren’t able to enter one of these events, or your 140 character twitpitch didn’t get picked up, but you saw an agent who you’d love to work with go to their website and, after making sure they rep what you write,  follow their guidelines and submit directly.

However, participating in blog contests have a lot of benefits.

  • Feedback. You aren’t going to get comments on what works and doesn’t through a traditional query process.
  • Camaraderie. Writing is inherently a lone profession. Hanging out and seeing what other authors are doing and building friendships through these contests helps build a sense of place for you as a writer as well as a sense of community.
  • Bang for the buck. Most contests have multiple agents (& sometimes small presses as well) ‘trolling’ through the queries, giving you more exposure than individual querying does by a long shot.

The good news is, there are lots of opportunities coming down the pike. In fact ALL of the websites I list above and mention below as having contests are excellent places to bookmark and follow since they frequently host these events.

(First, on Monday, September 17 THIS MONTH’S CONTEST IS FULL) Krista Van Dolzer, over at Mother. Write. (Repeat) is having an Agent’s INBOX contest – something she does roughly once a month or so. This one is limited to twenty entries, so let’s hope gmail doesn’t go down for this one (like it did for GUTGAA on Friday).

“An Agent’s Inbox” is exactly what it sounds like–next week, I’m turning the blog into an agent’s inbox, a public one. We’ll get to see 20 queries along with their first pages, and we’ll get to hear what a bona fide agent thinks of each one.

The queries and first pages will be yours, of course. I’ll accept your entries this Monday, September 17, and then I’ll post them next Wednesday, September 19. The entrants and anyone else who wishes to review them may comment until the following Monday, September 24, when I’ll announce the winners.

On Monday, September 24, Miss Snark’s First Victim is having the first of MANY rounds and levels of entry for her very popular Baker’s Dozen Contest:

It’s here!  Well, almost.  Welcome, everyone, to the season of the third annual BAKER’S DOZEN AGENT AUCTION!

For the newcomers:  The Baker’s Dozen Agent Auction is MSFV’s biggest event of the year.  60 250-word entries, hand-picked by Jodi Meadows and Authoress, will be placed on the auction block for agents to bid on (with requests for pages, up to a full manuscript request).  It bears the name “Baker’s Dozen” because the original auction in 2010 included 13 agents–a baker’s dozen.  The actual auction is in December, but the fun starts NOW!

Later in the month Deana Barnhart will also be having a small press contest, with entries being accepted on Friday, September 28:

Friday:
Small Press Pitch Contest Call for Entries – There will be one window for entries–at 11AM EST. I will accept a max of 100 entries. To enter the small press pitch contest you will need to paste in the body of an email the query and first 150 words of your completed manuscript and send it to gutgaa(at)gmail(dot)com. Go HERE for details about what I mean by query and first 150 words as well as the format for entries. I will take entries until 11:59 PM EDT or until I get 100 entries. I will post the format directions on this day as well.

Again, these blogs along with Brenda Drake and Cupid’s Literary Connection frequently have pitch events. Follow them, subscribe to their feeds and you can be ‘in the know’ for when the next one comes up. And don’t forget Savvy Author. You can sign up for free, and take advantage of pitch opportunities there as well (they had a huge event for paying members recently too).

Plus, if you look over on my left side bar, you’ll see a link to a paper.li news article feed which pulls contest and publishing opportunities which I run across into one place. Easy to check and subscribe. There’s general publishing news too, but mostly about pitch contests and submission opportunities.

Entering any of these can help you get one step closer to becoming published. Wishing everyone luck! (me too!)

If you’ve never done a query contest Sticking To The Story has a wonderful post on what to expect and how to get ready. Even if you’ve done them before there’s LOTS of helpful information there.

p.s. There are many blogs which host pitch contests for single agents. For instance We Do Write has a monthly one (coming up soon!).

ONE MORE TO ADD:

Missed the window for #PitchMadness#CAGI &#GUTGAA? The Hook, Line & Sinker contest is coming! (In October) Details here on Kat Ellis’ blog.

Hook, Line and Sinker!

*waits for applause and cheering to subside*

That’s right kids, on October 13th the entry window opens at 11AM EDT! Take your entries to the appropriate blog based on category. Dee is hosting Middle Grade at www.writeforapples.com, Summer will be hosting the party for Adult at www.Fizzygrrl.com and I’ll be hosting Young Adult right here:http://katelliswrites.blogspot.com! There’ll be details on what your entry should include COMING SOON.

And here is where it gets real, yo. We have agents coming to play.

Oh yeah, that’s right. Real, live, top drawer agents will be coming by to make requests!

Now, we can’t tell you who just yet, but we will say that you can’t count them all on one hand…

ANOTHER BLOG TO FOLLOW:

YAtopia, who was one of the wonderful hosts for Pitch Madness, also hosts other pitch events. A little birdy (aka Stacey Nash) told me they’re announcing details for a contest called PitchOn later this week (Sept 20).

Queries, Critiques and Agents: Contests, Thoughts and Getting Out There

I’m sure they’ve always been there, but in the past six months I’ve found a number of places online where I can get my query/first page critiqued and/or in front of an agent. Just this week there are, and have been already (and it’s only Tuesday!) a lot of opportunities.

First, a BIG, HUGE CAVEAT. It’s very important that you are able to a) take criticism, since many of these contests have a open posting forum where others can comment on your work and b) have a strong sense of your voice so that you are able to pick out what suggestions work for you and not end up with an over processed / lifeless piece of writing which tries to please too many people at once and reads like a text book. OTOH, when you have several people comment ‘I didn’t get/don’t understand/didn’t like’ a particular part you need to be able to step back and revise it and not, as I’ve seen, keep it in there because you thought it was a clever turn of phrase indicative of your voice. Unless you want your voice to appear muddled, get over it. Mini-rant over.

Back to what’s out there right now. Brenda Drake  is having a workshop on queries (contest ends midnight Thursday!). It’s time for another workshop. This one is for the dreaded query letter. I’ve gathered some talented writers and editors to help me critique forty query letters. All genres and finished or not quite finished manuscripts welcomed. We’ll choose forty names from the Rafflecopter, and critique two a day for five days on our blogs. Ms. Drake and her other blog hosts mostly write YA, something which may or may not affect your desire to enter.

Over at Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents Blog there’s a ‘Dear Lucky Agent’ contest for MG writers open until Aug 27. Welcome to the 11th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you’re writing middle grade fiction (see exactly what this term means below) novel, this 11th contest is for you! (The contest is live through Aug. 27, 2012.)

The annual WriteonCon for writes of YA, MG and PB (picture books) is going on right now. While some of the contests are closed, there are still a couple coming down the pike AND there’s forums where you can post your query, first page and first five pages. Why? Well apparently there are Ninja Agents who like to lurk about the boards and read them. 🙂 All you have to do is use our forums the same way you should be using them anyway (because they’re AWESOME) and you could have a super-cool Ninja-Agent critique your work. And even if they don’t comment on your work (they promise they will try to comment/critique on as many as they can) you can learn SO much from the comments they leave for others. Because really, the best part about the forum is that you can go read the feedback whenever your schedule allows. They actually have hour time slots scheduled for agents, so there’s still opportunity to get out there! PLUS, they have a great area to find critique partners, but more on that later.

Already passed but places to keep an eye on going forward:

Miss Snark’s First Victim – Always a good site for getting out in front of agents there’s (mostly) monthly Secret Agent contest and other goodies which pop up during the year. For instance last week she had a ‘first line grabber’ contest. Her entry window for the August secret agent was yesterday – I got in at #11. Fingers crossed, it’s my first time attempting. And will be, for secret agent at least, for another six months – she’s placed an understandable restriction given the popularity of her blog.

Mother. Write. (Repeat). has a number of different contests throughout the year. Yesterday’s Agent Inbox was full within twenty minutes of opening. Set up to show the thought process of an agent I’d love to get in the next one. Please keep in mind that THIS CONTEST ISN’T FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. I’ve encouraged The Agent to treat the entries exactly as he or she would a normal batch of queries. Essentially, The Agent will be answering the question, “How much of the entry did you read, and if you didn’t read it all, why did you stop?” I think this process will be instructive for all of us, but if you enter, you need to be prepared to hear exactly what The Agent thinks of your query and first page.

Cupid’s Literary Connection had a number of fantastic events this past spring (Writers Voice!!), mostly geared for YA writers but some which were open to all. They’ve taken the summer off and are gearing up for an event this fall. Can’t wait!

Last, but not least, there’s Query Shark. Not a contest, per se, but a site you can submit your query to for feedback. Query Shark critiques fiction queries. You have to send a query to the shark for it to be considered. There is a checklist for how to do that on the post labeled “If You Want Your Query Posted, Read and FOLLOW These Directions” Queries are acknowledged IF THEY FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. This can take several days if the QueryShark is swimming about in the Sea of Writing Conferences. If you have not followed the directions, or if it’s immediately clear you have not read the archives your query is discarded. Not for the faint of heart, but then much of this business isn’t.

Oh, shoot, I was going to go into opportunities to find beta readers/ critique partners, but I guess I’ll save that for another post. So, go out there! Dip in the pool and get your toes wet. The water may be shocking at first, but you’ll get used to it soon and it’ll make you a better swimmer in the end.

If you know of more contest, leave a comment and I’ll add them to the end. I kinda feel like I’m missing a biggie 😉 . Plus, I seem to have gotten in a loop with many YA contests. I wonder if there are SFF ones or Horror ones too? Hmm…