Writing Contests

AGENTS KNOW BEST

(Originally posted in 2015)

A long time ago, a creative genius decided to start the #PitMad contest. If you’re not sure what that is, check out this link – http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad/.

Short version – Twitter pitch contest for aspiring writers.

Confession time. After the amazing time I had with #PitchSlam, I have become a writing contest enthusiast, and I just had to enter #PitMad. Great decision.

First of all, I think it’s the largest pitching event on Twitter (don’t quote me on that). Someone actually said 31.4k tweets invaded the feed in a 12-hour period. 31.4k. To put things into perspective, San Marino has a population of about 33k. A small European country’s population rivaled the number of tweets in a feed. That is all.

I got 4 favorites (plus one from a spam account that wanted to know if I wished to be well-hung and offered a very financially reasonable solution, but that’s a different story). And the professionals who actually thought my small pitch was worth a second look are some of the most appreciated in the business. Talk about a confidence booster right there.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut….it also showed me that I have a long way to go before I start thinking like an agent. I had a total of 5 different pitches prepared in advance and I thought one of them was the sure winner. To me, it had everything – stakes, character, flavor. I was sure that one was the show stopper right there.

It didn’t get a single favorite for it. Nada. Zilch.  Not even a re-tweet from my fellow hopefuls lurking on the feed alongside me.

The most popular pitch was actually the first one I had written – and wasn’t in love with. I didn’t think it would go very far. And yet, it was the only one who managed to grab the agents’ attention. Talk about an underdog.

Looking back, I saw why. I put my advertising student cap on and analyzed it as objectively as I could. It managed to condense my 90k novel into 139 characters. My quiet baby turned into the prom queen and I couldn’t be prouder.

And yes, agents know best.

Checking out other popular pitches, seeing how agents think, cheering for your fellow writers. It’s a fun experience, where you can learn so much about your strengths and weaknesses as an author. Y’all shouldn’t miss it.

Be sure to get your manuscript ready for the next #PitMad. Trust me, it’s something you’ll want to be part of.

Advertisements
Writing Contests

HOW #PITCHSLAM HELPED ME GET MY MOJO BACK

It’s 2 am and I don’t know if I can do this story justice. I’ll try.

For those unfamiliar with #PitchSlam, I’ll try and break down the rules for you (or you can, you know, check out this link: http://llmckinney.com/pitch-slam/).

Pitch Slam is a writing contest where aspiring writers enter a 35-word pitch and the first 250 words of their (finished and edited) manuscript. A panel of judges (made up of other writers and absolutely amazing people), choose the finalists and agents browse through the entries and ask for sample pages.

Sounds pretty standard until this point, yes?

But what truly differentiates Pitch Slam from any other contest I encountered is the incredible support the community offers. This year’s edition even had a feedback round (which I missed, because I found out about the contest one day before the final deadline), where the judges offer advice on the pitch/250 words AND writers can then resubmit their work for the final judging phase.

Not enough? The #PitchSlam feed was constantly full of encouragement from everyone – finalists, writers, judges (even the occasional agent). We supported each other, laughed, came together for a common goal. Each one of us is in the same boat and wants to get to the same place. Instead of ignoring each other or showing off, we gushed over our favourite entries and lurked on the feed at the weirdest hours.

You know how they say writers are bitter people who prey on each other? Those people need just a half hour amidst us Pitch Slam-ers to see the reality. And some chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better.

And that atmosphere, more so than the finalist title (go #TeamDoubleAgent), made me want to keep writing. If judges and competitors can take time off from their busy life to say a couple of nice things per day, then there’s still hope.

On a side note, I got a partial request from an agent. Yey me! But I won’t give too much info about that.

There was only one thing this experience lacked – some of my favourite entries didn’t get a single request. I know some manuscripts work better in a standard querying process and I’m sure all of them will find representations soon. But I wanted all of us to have a success story in the competition.

With that being said, my confidence has sky-rocketed. Somebody thought my entry was worthy of a second glance. A writer can’t ask for more in the first stages of his/her career.

Thank you, Pitch Slam. You gave me the boost I needed.

thank.you