Second Chance Pitch Slam is here! Please read below for rules, and information on how to participate!
If you have already participated in Pitch Slam 2, Second Chance Pitch Slam is a chance to be seen and read again, only this time, by a group of great small presses interested in reading your work whether historical, contemporary, paranormal, science fiction or something of a mash-up! Judges hail from InkSpell Publishing, Tribute Books, Magpie Eclectic Press and Month9Books!
For a list of participating publisher bios, click here!
PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT, ADD PITCHES OR OTHERWISE UPDATE, DELETE, REMOVE, INCLUDE, ADD, REVISE, RESPOND, ETC. to any of the below pitches unless you are one of the participating judges. All of the rules of Pitch Slam 2 apply to Second Chance Pitch Slam. Please be sure to read the rules prior to posting. All comments not made by judges will be deleted.
If a judge/small press wants to see more of your submission, they will reply with a note asking you to send it. Judges may not comment on your submission, or they may give their opinion about how to improve. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, RHETORICAL QUESTIONS.
Judges will read your pitches July 1-14, 2012. For those of you who did not originally participate in Pitch Slam 2, you will have a chance again in September when we hold Pitch Slam 3.
The pitches will be 5-6 sentences in length and should be pasted in the COMMENTS section with your full name and title of the work. No pitch longer than 6 sentences will be considered. The pitch should give the reader an idea of what the story is about, including the major conflict. For example, below is a pitch for Harrry Potter.
"Harry Potter is the most miserable, lonely boy you can imagine. He’s shunned by his relatives, and forced to live in the cupboard under the stairs. Harry’s world gets turned upside down on his 11th birthday, when an invite to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry arrives. He learns of the evil Lord Voldemort who killed his parents, and then tried and failed to kill Harry when he was an infant. Harry later learns he was saved for a reason." -- from Wiki Summaries
Members will enter pitches beginning Monday May 28, 2012 at 9AM EST. You may post pitches (as many as you have) any time between Monday May 28, 2012 and Monday June 4, 2012. YOU MAY ONLY POST PITCHES FOR TITLES THAT ARE COMPLETE.
Agent judges may read and respond pitches at any time.
During the week of June 4-11 however, agent judges will read and respond to/comment on pitches.
Judges will be looking for their top 5 pitches (per judge). A total of TWENTY (there are 4 judges) members will have a chance to revise and resubmit based on agent feedback. These are the TWENTY finalists. You may ONLY revise and resubmit IF a judge requests that you do so in the comments they make to you. Judges are instructed to ignore any revise and resubs which have not been approved.
Upon completion of pitch review, judges will POST their top 5 pitches by author and title, establishing the top 20 finalists ON June 22 no later than 3PM EST. So be sure to check back then!
Once posted, those finalists will have a chance to revise and repost during the weekend of June 22-30, 2012.
Judges will review the revised pitches and choose 1 (each judge) as winners: 1. The best and 2. A second best, and 3. Runner up, by July 15.
The four who win the top designation will be awarded a full manuscript critique from whichever judge has chosen them. However, judges may request more than one manuscript from members of the top twenty, or from ANY pitch they like, regardless of whether the pitch itself made it into the top twenty.
Pitch Slam 2 Agent Judge Profiles
Tamar Rydzinski worked at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates prior to joining the Laura Dail Literary Agency. She graduated from Yeshiva University in 2003 with a major in literature and a minor in business.
Tamar is not interested in prescriptive or practical non-fiction, humor, coffee table books or children’s books (meaning anything younger than middle grade). She is interested in everything else that is well-written and has great characters, including graphic novels. A fantastic query letter is essential – “you need to make me want to read your book, and be excited to read it,” she says, “with those first couple of paragraphs.”
Pam van Hylckama Vlieg joined Larsen Pomada as an Associate Literary Agent in 2012 to represent young adult and middle grade children's book authors. Over the past four years Pam has become one of the top YA book bloggers in the country at Bookalicious.org. She partners her blog with Hicklebee's, a children's bookstore in San Jose, CA.
Pam writes fantastical YA and MG fiction and is represented by Laurie McLean, also of Larsen Pomada Literary Agents. She lives in the Bay Area of California with her Dutch husband, two children--a boy and a girl the perfect set--a Jack Russell terrier, a bulldog puppy, and a small guinea pig. It is her greatest dream to own a menagerie.
Michelle Witte* is an agent at the Mansion Street Literary Agency. She is interested a variety of YA & MG fiction, including: Magical realism (think Sarah Addison Allen for teens/tweens), Obscure fairytale retellings (Just say no to 12 Dancing Princesses!), Fantasy, Supernatural (creatures you run from, not date), Sci-fi, Mystery/Suspense, Adventure, Contemporary realistic, Historical. Michelle is a bit weary of Paranormal Romance and Dystopian at the moment. She would love to find a great manuscript that is:
Elana Roth* is an agent at Red Tree Literary. She's a Brooklyn-based creative type, specifically of the word variety. After 4 years of agenting at other people's companies, she opened Red Tree Literary to continue working with a select list of children's and young adult authors on her own.
How she fell in love with children's content is a long story that begins by sheer dumb luck with an internship at Nickelodeon Magazine. Books followed when she began working as an editor at Parachute Publishing, where she spent 5 years learning the publishing ropes on series for kids of all ages (and that includes some adults). She switched to agenting in 2008.
Educationally, Elana is a graduate of Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she earned degrees in English literature and Bible. Surprisingly, it's that second degree which comes more in handy when trying to make conversation at cocktail parties.
* YALITCHAT.ORG member
ADVICE FOR A SUCCESFUL PITCH
Pitches are open to members of YALITCHAT.ORG, regardless of tier. Do encourage friends who aren't members to join, and pitch their Young Adult or Middle Grade titles.
DO pitch only Young Adult and Middle Grade titles. May be speculative, contemporary, historical, non-fiction.
DO test your pitch out in Query Kick-Around or First Pages for feedback from other YALITCHAT.ORG members.
DO have a friend or colleague read your pitch for clarity, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
DO use as many lines are as needed to form a fully-realized pitch.
DO sample pitches online for the proper format. Google is your friend.
DO NOT present the same pitch more than once.
DO NOT delete a previous pitch that was commented on by an agent judge, because it had errors, and replace it with a new one. The new one will NOT be read.
DO NOT PITCH AGENTS OUTSIDE OF PITCH SLAM. That means, on twitter, on Facebook OR on YALITCHAT.ORG.
DO NOT RESPOND TO PITCHES thanking agents for commenting or asking for clarity. DO NOT RESPONG TO PITCHES AT ALL, UNLESS ASKED TO DO SO.
DO NOT SEND EMAILS TO GEORGIA MCBRIDE ASKING IF YOU CAN REPOST YOUR PITCH, REGARDLESS OF THE REASON. YOUR REQUEST WILL NOT BE READ.
DO NOT pitch a title that has not been written, or in is the process of being written, or you are considering writing, etc. YOU MAY ONLY PITCH COMPLETED, fully revised, and edited titles.
DO NOT PLAGIARIZE another's idea, pitch or story, or in any way present it as your own. Our staff will troll the forum during pitch slam to remove and disqualify vastly similar stories.
DO NOT ask an agent judge about the status of your pitch.
DO NOT add anything other than your 6-line pitch to the comment, except your full name, work title, genre, category. For example: Georgia McBride, YA Fantasy, BEWARE THE GODS, Pitch: Greatest book ever written by a human. You know you want it.
DO NOT claim to have the greatest book ever, or that your title is like another well-published title. Just pitch your book.
DO NOT post questions or anything other than pitches in the comments section. DO NOT COMMENT ON OTHER pitches, or offer feedback or support below. COMMENTS ARE FOR JUDGES ONLY.
Wishing you all the best of luck. This forum will open for comments on Monday May 28, 2012. If you have any problems pitching, or posting, please contact member support at firstname.lastname@example.org, and someone will respond to your note within 48-hours.
Historical fiction is a difficult market in YA, and 1970s is history to kids. This might be more striking if it focused on the same social problem, but today.
I hate to say this feels tired, because that sounds terrible when this is the premise, but...I feel like I have read this book before. I agree with Tamar that it might be more interesting to set this more currently and give it a spin kids would find more relevant—and we know it's still relevant in some places.
The pitch is too general in that it could describe a whole host of similar books. To Kill a Mockingbird, for example, if a few details are changed. Though it looks like there might be plenty of exciting events in the story, the way events are described in the pitch feels bland and ho-hum. Use good active verbs and offer a few details to make us feel the tension and fear that afflict Boady and Alex as their lives are threatened.
Larissa Hardesty, THAT SUCCS, YA Paranormal Romance
Fifteen-year-old Emmy Duivel believes in true love: heart flutters, first kisses, candlelight dinners, even the crazy idea that love lasts forever. But when she puts her first date in the hospital—with a kiss—her mother tells her the devastating truth: she’s not human and she must take one human life a month for the rest of her life. And to make matters worse, her crush Paul has secrets of his own that could destroy Emmy and everything she holds dear. Refusing to accept her role as a killer, she puts her trust in Paul. They’ll either find a way to get her out of killing, or be killed trying.
I think you could rework this to make it sound less trope filled. Nothing stands out to me as being unique or having not been done to death in the genre recently.
I agree with Pam. And this reads choppily. Is Paul the one she put in the hospital? Does he tell her about the secrets but they work together anyway? Too many questions pop up in my head as I read this.
Wait...didn't I just read this story a few pitches earlier? A plot about a fairy girl killing her first date with a kiss? That fact alone should point out how crucial it is to make your pitch pop.
Why must she take a life once a month? What kind of creature does that make her? Vampire? Succubus? Killer tomato? (Totally kidding with the last one.) And how does she come to accept the fact that she's becoming a murderer, unless she now considers all of humanity to be her prey. That might be a bit of a stumbling block in forming friendships in the future.
Also, most of the PNR pitches I see include a mysterious boy with dangerous secrets. Like Elana said, you have to make your pitch stand out, and not sound like a rehash of The Twilight Hush of Fallen Dawn. Shelves are overburdened with similar books, so you have to make yours brilliant and different from the others out there.
Larissa Hardesty, LURE, Upper MG Paranormal
Fifteen-year-old half-Lakota Mitch would rather pound a nail through his thumb than hang out with his grandma and the strange Medicine Man she always has over. But then everyone in his small South Dakota town starts obsessing over a book—unable to stop reading it, even to eat or drink. The only person not reading the book, Mitch must embrace his heritage and perform a dangerous ritual in order to break the spell before everyone he loves reads themselves to death.
This sounds very unique and fun. Great job on the pitch!
There doesn't seem to be enough here to be the basis of a full-length book.
This reminds me of a Star Trek episode where everyone starts playing this game and stop participating in reality. So, since I can see that plot at work here, I just need to know why the Native American hook is needed. That plot could work in any number of settings. Think about how you can ground this in that world more organically.