Pitch-slam weekend is here! Please read below for rules, and information on how to praticipate!
The pitches will be 4-5 lines in length and should be pasted in the COMMENTS section with your full name and title of the work. Nothing longer than 4-5 lines will be considered. The pitch should give the reader an idea of what the story is about. 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 Friday January 13, 2012 at 3PM EST thru Sunday at midnight EST. Agents may read pitches at any time.
During the week of January 16-19 however, judges will read and respond to/comment on pitches.
Judges will be looking for their top 5 pitches (per judge). A total of TEN members will have a chance to revise and resubmit based on agent feedback. These are the TEN finalists.
Upon completion of pitch review, judges will POST their top 5 pitches by author and title, establishing the top 15 finalists ON January 20 no later than 3PM EST. So be sure to check back then!
Once posted, those finalists will have a chance to resubmit and repost during the weekend of Jan 20-22, 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 Jan 23
The two who win the top designation will be awarded a full manuscript critique from whichever judge has chosen them. The 3rd will win a gift from Sourcebooks Fire and YALITCHAT.ORG, TBD.
Pitch-Slam Judge Profiles
Rachael Dugas joined Talcott Notch Literary as an Associate Agent in June 2011. She earned her BA in English from Ithaca College and has worked as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks, where she assisted with their women's fiction, romance, and Jane Austen-related titles. Rachael currently represents cookbooks and young adult, middle grade, and adult fiction in the contemporary, paranormal, women's, and romance genres. She would also love a beautifully written historical and/or literary fiction, some really terrific memoir, and more fun, contemporary YA or adult fiction, especially pertaining to food or the performing arts.
Carlie Webber refused to major in English in college because no one would let her read Stephen King or R.L. Stine for class. She took her love of young adult and genre fiction to the University of Pittsburgh, where she obtained a Master of Library and Information Science, and worked as a YA librarian and reviewer for publications including Kirkus Reviews. Wishing to explore her interest in the business side of books, she decided to switch from librarianship to publishing and enrolled in the Columbia Publishing Course. Now she is building her agenting career on her favorite genres: young adult, middle grade, romance, horror, mystery, suspense, thrillers, literary fiction, contemporary fantasy and women's fiction. Her ongoing submissions wishlist includes but is not limited to high-concept YA, literary suspense, grunge era nostalgia and things that go bump in the night. Carlie is also a member of the YALITCHAT.ORG Submissions Panel!
Website: Jane Rostrosen Literary Agency
(will not be offering editorial prizes, will read and comment on pitches)
Leah acquires YA fiction for the Sourcebooks Fire imprint, original single title romance for Sourcebooks Casablanca and select romance reprints for Casablanca Classics. She's looking for projects with a fresh premise, a lively pace and a solid marketing hook. YA should appeal to the older teen market with crossover adult potential. The romance can be any subgenre: contemporary, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense, fantasy, time travel, or any combination thereof. Please submit cover letter in the body of an email with full manuscript (if available) or first 3 chapters and a synopsis attached as Word documents. Leah is also a member of the YALITCHAT.ORG Submissions Panel!
Agreed that I have no clue what moon strings are... I can't even make something up, actually! I just felt like this query was full of a lot of jargon that didn't really tell us much. Be specific, please!
When Aston Smith is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he leaves Fridel in search of the truth behind his sentence. Along the way, he meets runaway princess Jade du Halen of Adion. She hides her true identity, and much more. In an adventure full of running, dancing, hiding, and romance, Aston and Jade must face inner demons, arranged marriages, and a secret that could mean the end for them both.
Some points need clearing up. I had to read it three times to realize that Fridel is a place, not a person. Facing inner demons and secrets doesn't seem to live up to the promise of the adventures that come with running away and disguising oneself.
"An adventure full of running, dancing, hiding, and romance" doesn't tell me enough *specifically* about this project to make it stand out.
"Running, dancing, hiding, and romance" definitely has to go--I'm sure your story is way more interesting than you're giving it credit for by reducing the adventure to this list, which reminds me of "sunshine, puppies, rainbows, and butterflies", or something equally saccharine and cliche. I do like that your hero takes action to decipher his erroneous sentencing versus simply avenging it, but I do think you need some concrete information to give this pitch a little more conviction.
A Ripple in Time by Rebecca Paulin
Anna Perkins has been haunted by the same nightmare for the past three years. A nightmare that shows a young girl brutally murdered by the hands of an unidentified man. When Anna meets Josh, a new student in school, her nightmares take an unexpected turn, revealing elements that Anna recalls enduring. When Anna learns that she was the victim all those years ago, she scrambles to identify her killer before he connects the dots and tries to quiet the past.
Though I don't say this much, I think your first sentence could be longer and incorporate the information from the second sentence. Also, there's an important plot point in that Anna was a victim, but it's shrouded in non-action verbs like "learns," and "recalls." You have great suspense elements and to show these off, your pitch needs more action and a front-and-center display of "the killer might kill her again."
I'm very confused here--the pitch makes it sound as though she was killed three years ago. So how is she having dreams?
I think the third sentence definitely needs more explanation--it's a little confusing as is. Also, how does she know the killer is going to come after her? How would he know she's figured it out? Just a note on your title, too: it reminds me too much of Madeline L'Engle's very famous A Wrinkle in Time. Your book is totally different (and for an older audience), but I still don't think a publisher will let you get away with the title as is.
FINDING SOPHIE by VB Tremper
When 16-year-old Sophie McNeil is forced backward in time to 1895 Paris, she takes the identity of a missing Jewish girl while trying to solve her time-travel mystery. She didn't count on falling for a young radical. In the past Sophie endures a bigoted policeman, worries over what happened to the missing girl, growing feelings for Alexandre, and suspicions about her own mother. As the window home closes, Sophie must decide whether to return to her own life of a potential prima ballerina, or live as someone else in the past and lose herself forever.
In the last sentence, we learn that there's a window home and she has to decide whether to jump through it. That is your ticking clock, as it were, that makes the premise exciting. You may want to consider moving that information closer to the beginning of your pitch, then giving us the list of what it is that happens to Sophie and the things that give her pause about returning to the present.
The real stakes here are buried. You'll also want to give a concrete feel of what makes life in 1895 Paris exciting and worth reading about.