Monday, August 30, 2021

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About #PitchMe

After taking a long break from "The Writer's Voice," I'm back with another multi-agent query contest--this time on Twitter! If you take what I loved most about "The Writer's Voice"--mentoring great writers at wherever they happen to be on their publishing journey--and mash it up with a pitch fest, then you've basically got #PitchMe. Are you interested? Read on!

Here’s the timeline:

September 8: The submission window opens
September 22: Selected submissions announced
September 22-October 19: Mentoring takes place
October 20: Revised Twitter pitches posted; agents like their favorites


To enter, your manuscript must meet two conditions. First, it must be COMPLETE, NEVER-PUBLISHED, AND READY TO QUERY, and second, it must be in one of the following genres:

PB fiction* (all genres)
MG fiction (all genres)
YA fiction (all genres)
Adult fiction (all genres, including commercial, literary, and/or upmarket but excluding erotica)

*Since I admittedly know less about writing and pitching PBs, I’ve asked PB author and two-time #TacoPitch winner Tara Shiroff to help me help you!

1. All submissions must be sent to kvandolzer(at)gmail(dot)com and include A TWITTER PITCH, A QUERY, AND THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript. (PB author-illustrators are also encouraged to share links to their online portfolios.) You must also paste these items IN THE BODY OF YOUR E-MAIL; otherwise, I'll disqualify it.

2. Please submit ONLY ONE PROJECT. If you submit multiple projects, I'll only consider the first.

3. It would also really help if you INCLUDE YOUR CATEGORY--PB, MG, YA, OR ADULT--SOMEWHERE IN YOUR SUBJECT LINE, but it's not a requirement. 

4. The submission window opens on Wednesday, September 8, at 11:00 a.m. EDT and closes at 12:00 noon EDT or when we reach 150 entries, WHICHEVER HAPPENS LAST. If we haven’t reached 150 entries by September 14 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, the submission window will close then.

5. Once you send me your submission, I’ll send you a confirmation e-mail with a summary of these rules.

6. Lastly, because there's so much need in so many places around the world, I PLEDGE TO DONATE $1 FOR EVERY SUBMISSION RECEIVED, which I'll split evenly between Haitian, Afghan, and Hurricane Ida relief efforts. 


I'll select 6 entries within each major category--PB, MG, YA, and adult--and up to 6 wildcards. I may pick 6 adults or 3 YAs and 3 MGs or just a single PB; it depends on what I know the agents are looking for and which submissions seem strongest.

Once I've finalized my picks--with Tara’s help, of course--I'll e-mail the winning writers and announce the winning titles here and/or on my Twitter feed on Wednesday, September 22. Then the real work will begin!


For the next roughly 4 weeks, the winning writers will revise their pitches, queries, and first pages with my and Tara’s help. You won’t be obligated to incorporate our thoughts, and the feedback we provide on your queries and first pages won’t actually be featured in the agent round itself. We just want to help you make your pitches, queries, and first pages the very best that they can be.


On Wednesday, October 20, I'll post the revised pitches ON MY TWITTER FEED for the agents to review. Here are the awesome agents who’ll be liking your pitches:

Each like will count as a partial or full request based on the agents’ preferences. Agents will be able to review and like your pitches for a full 24 hours, at which point you’ll be allowed to submit your materials to all the agents who requested them. These likes represent serious interest in your project, so PLEASE DON’T ACCEPT AN OFFER OF REPRESENTATION BEFORE GIVING THE #PITCHME AGENTS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A COMPETING OFFER.

So get those pitches polished up and plan to e-mail them to me--with your queries and first pages--on Wednesday, September 8, at 11:00 a.m. EDT. We can’t wait to read your work!

Have a question? Ask below!


Natalie Aguirre said...

What a great opportunity! I wish my manuscript was done so that I could participate. I hope that you continue to do it.

Gretchen said...

So as I'm reading it, there is a one-hour window to submit on Sept. 8 (11am -12 eastern time) unless you don't receive 150 submissions. Is that correct? This sounds like an exciting opportunity! Thank you!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thanks for always being so supportive, Natalie. If all goes well this year, I can totally see myself doing it again sometime next year!

You're reading it right, Gretchen! The submission window will definitely be open for an hour, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon EDT, but if we get less than 150 entries in that time, it will stay open for up to 6 more days, until we get 150 submissions.

Melisa Wrex said...

Hello and thank you for this opportunity! Does the 250 word limit include art notes?

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Great question, Melisa! I've given this some thought, and I'm going to say yes, just so everyone gets to submit the same amount. If you make those art notes as word-economical as you possibly can, that would be great!

Melisa Wrex said...

You got it!

ReedandWrite said...

I have an early middle grade book or advanced chapter book (11,950 words) do I qualify?

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thanks for asking, ReedandWrite. That word count may be a little tricky, but you're welcome to enter it as an MG, if you'd like!

ReedandWrite said...

I do have PB (under 500) might be safer?

Krista Van Dolzer said...

That's completely up to you, ReedandWrite! I would say submit whichever project you think is stronger.

Arty said...

Thank you so much for putting together this opportunity! I'm super excited to participate :D

Anonymous said...

Should we include hashtags in our Twitter pitch? For example, if we have used our pitch for PitMad, should we include those hashtags? Thank you!

Gretchen said...

One more question, Complete pb's are usually submitted with a query. Do you want the entire ms for a pb, or just the first 250 words?

Ashlyn Cramer said...

This sounds like a great opportunity - thank you for doing this! I'm just wondering if I need to have a twitter account to participate?

Tam Francis said...

WOW! This is super cool and fun. What an opportunity. Thank you for your kindness. For the Twitter pitch do you want ANY hashtags included in the 250 count? like #PitchMe or #YA or #STEM ???

Krista Van Dolzer said...

You're welcome, Arty! Can't wait to read your work!

Anon, you don't have to include hashtags in the Twitter pitch you submit, but if you think they would make your pitch stronger or clearer, you're welcome to include them.

Gretchen, I know whole manuscripts are usually submitted with PB queries, but for the purposes of this contest, I'd still just like to see the first 250 words. Looking forward to it!

You're welcome, Ashlyn! And no, since submissions will happen over e-mail--and since I'll then be posting the revised Twitter pitches on my own Twitter feed--you don't have to have one to enter #PitchMe. Hope that helps!

Janet Frenck Sheets said...

Queries are normally personalized to the agent. ("Because you enjoy quirky humor..."). How should we handle that for this competition? Thanks so much for the opportunity!

Christy Swift said...

So exciting! Does the word count include the title? Thanks!

MJ said...

If the 250 word mark comes in the middle of a sentence should we cut the sentence off? Or should we include the rest of the sentence?

Anonymous said...

Does that mean I can’t enter with a 10k word Early Middle Grade/Chapter Book?

Or can I submit it as MG? There are very few opportunitirs for Chapter Books, so it would be nice.

In any case, thank you so much for doing this!🙂

Ashlyn Cramer said...

Also - just wondering what you mean by twitter pitch. Is that 140 characters or 280? Or is it a certain number of words? Thanks :)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Hi, Tam! You don't need to include any hashtags in the Twitter pitch you submit unless you think they make your pitch clearer or stronger. And the 250-word count only applies to the first page, which you're only submitting so I can get a feel for your writing style; it won't actually be used in the agent round itself.

No need to include personalization in this case, Janet!

Christy and MJ, the word count doesn't include the title, but even if it did, those words probably wouldn't make much of a difference, because you definitely shouldn't end your 250-word sample in the middle of a sentence. The truth is, I'm not going to be counting words; I just want to get a sense of your writing style, so if it's a little longer or a little shorter, that won't be a big deal.

Anon, you're welcome to submit your chapter book as an MG, though as I mentioned above, the word count might be a little tricky. The reason I didn't include chapter books in #PitchMe is because very few agents are actively looking for them--and even fewer of the agents who agreed to judge this contest are--so it wouldn't help you or them to show them something they're not necessarily interested in seeing. Hope that makes sense, and very best of luck!

Ashlyn, a Twitter pitch should be no more than 280 characters. If you want to see some examples, try Googling #PitMad!

Christine Alemshah said...

Hello! Can your participate if you have already started the querying process, as in is there an opportunity to withdraw if you receive an offer of representation?

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Good question, Christine. Yes, you can withdraw if you're one of the finalists and you receive an offer of representation before the agent round. I usually keep a couple of alternates in my back pocket in case that very thing happens. Hope this helps!

Mona said...

2 questions: If our MS is chosen, will we be notified before it's on your Twitter feed? If we aren't chosen, will we be notified?

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Hi, Mona! If your manuscript is chosen, I will e-mail you before I post the winners, though it may not be until that same day. If your manuscript's not chosen, you may not get an e-mail; it will probably depend on how many submissions we get...