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Pitch Madness Submission Window is OPEN!

The Pitch Madness 2017 submission window is now open!

To submit your manuscript pitch into the contest, use this form on Brenda Drake’s post here.

What is Pitch Madness?

It’s a contest to win a request from one or more of the participating agents. (See who they are here.)

The submission window is open from NOW and until 11:59PM EST on February 24th. You should have plenty of time to get your submissions in. Make sure to perfect your entry. If you make an error, you may not resend. What do you need to enter? A 35-word (max) pitch and the first 250 words of your finished manuscript. If the 250th word falls in the middle of a sentence, go to the end of the sentence. If you’ve entered this manuscript into contests before, you CAN still enter Pitch Madness.

There will be 60 finalists moving onto the agent round. Pitch Madness will accept Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult (never before published) fiction only, novel length (no novellas) completed and polished manuscripts only. All genres (i.e. fantasy, contemporary, sci-fi, and so on) are welcome to enter. Only one entry per writer.

Each blog host will have a co-host helping them choose their top 10 entries. We have a team of first readers who will check for formatting, grammar, and content and put their top picks through to the hosts and cohosts.

This year’s first round readers and teams can be found here.

The agent roundwill be on March 16 and 17. To see our amazing line up agents go to this post here.

All the twitter fun will happen on the hashtag #PitchMadness! Hope you’ll enter and good luck!

 

 

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Thank you, SCBWI San Diego!

I gave an intensive on The First Ten Pages . . . don’t let them put it down, and a workshop on #PitchWars, #PitMad, and #PitchMadness yesterday, February 11th. There were so many writers there with an impressive, collective talent. Their kindness was paramount. I had my own two-liter of Diet Mt. Dew, a fun lunch, a loud Mariachi serenade at dinner, and I met so many interesting people. The San Diego SCBWI community is truly blessed and I loved being a part of it!

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Among many other things, we discussed all the ways to get your first 250 words, your pitch or logline, your synopsis, your query, your manuscript, and your first ten pages looked at for free. I wanted to give the links to all these opportunities in one easy place. Ultimately, all these roads lead back to me and my collegues–and I’d love to help you in any way I can.

 

Cornerstones offers a free assessment of your first ten pages and synopsis. Click on the logo below and click through the red “Get Started” button to have them looked at by me or Michele Rubin, 17-year agent with Writers House and now head of Cornerstones US.

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#PitchMadness is a way to get your pitch and first 250 words looked at for free. It’s a contest though, so you have to apply using the submission window on February 24th. Click on the Candyland game below for more information about Pitch Madness.

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#PitMad is a contest where you tweet your 140-character pitch and agents scroll through the feed and like, favorite, heart the pitches they would like to have submitted to them. It’s a great way for agents and authors to connect!

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#PitchWars is a contest where you win a two-month mentorship with a publishing industry professional. If chosen, they will help you polish your query, pitch, and entire manuscript to be presented to agents who will request the manuscripts that fit their lists.

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As always, if you have any follow-up questions, you can reach me through Twitter: @HeatherCashman

If you were there, I’d love to hear what you thought in the comments!

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GUARDIAN OF SECRETS by Brenda Drake . . . Release Day and Giveaway!

 

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Today is the release of Brenda Drake’s GUARDIAN OF SECRETS (Library Jumpers #2)! Be sure to enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter below!

Title: GUARDIAN OF SECRETS (Library Jumpers #2)
Author: Brenda Drake
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: February 7, 2017

About the Book . . .

Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens. Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it. And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him Dzex,dz since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia. Maybe. If she survives.

Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1): Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2): Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

KIRKUS REVIEW SAYS . . .

Magic and mayhem return to the world’s libraries in this YA sequel.

. . .  Drake’s (Thief of Lies, 2016, etc.) continued love affair with libraries, through Gia’s appreciation for their beauty and architecture, both grounds the worldbuilding and fills real libraries with a sense of potential wonder. With magical trials, political uprisings, strange beasts, monster-filled pocket dimensions, prophecies, and high school, the . . . the author manages to bring all the pieces together in a cliffhanger conclusion that should have readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.

A fantasy that embraces its love-triangle motif and deftly manages to create a believably fragile political system at risk of collapse—unless the heroine can save it.

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Brenda Drake

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram

Brenda Drake is a New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2). She grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. She hosts workshops and contests for writers such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment). Look for her upcoming novels, Thunderstruck, Seeking Fate (Fated Series #3), and Assassin of Truths (Library Jumpers #3) coming soon from Entangled Teen.

Guardian of Secrets by Brenda Drake | Release Day Launch | JenHalliganPR.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Introducing the Agents . . . Pitch Madness 2017

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Pitch Madness is a contest where you can win a request from one or more amazing agents. To get all the rules, see the Pitch Madness Page.

The submission window will be open from 12:01 AM EST until 11:59PM EST on February 24. There is no limit of how many entries will be accepted. Please note: All entries sent before or after the allotted times will be deleted.

Sixty finalists move to the agent round. Pitch Madness will accept Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult completed and polished fiction, novel length manuscripts only. No non-fiction. One entry per writer.

For details about the contest and how to enter, go to Announcing Pitch Madness 2017…Candyland Edition! 

Good luck! All the twitter fun will be happening on the hashtag #PitchMadness!

 

And here are the 2017 Pitch Madness agents! 

 

Lara Perkins  Andrea Brown Literary

PictureTwitter | Andrea Brown Literary

Lara represents authors and illustrators of picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. She has been with Andrea Brown since 2010 and is also the agency’s Digital Manager.

In picture books, Lara is actively seeking picture book author/illustrators who bring unique perspectives to their work, particularly perspectives that have been historically underrepresented in children’s literature. She is drawn to bold art, a playful use of media and format, and kid-appealing humor.

In middle grade, Lara is drawn to fresh, unexpected fantasy and light fantasy, clever mysteries, and vivid contemporary realistic fiction, all with a strong sense of place and exceptional character development. Character-driven humor always catches her eye, and she loves friendship stories (especially friendship “break up” stories), multicultural family stories, and non-traditional family structures.

In young adult, Lara is seeking transformative, page-turning, character-driven fiction in any genre: fantasy, science fiction, contemporary realistic, historical, mystery, etc. She gravitates towards an unexpected premise that makes her do a double take (example: assassin nuns!), an evocative and richly described setting, and fully realized, complex characters. She’s looking for authors who wield language intentionally, and manuscripts that she can’t put down because she’s swept up in the high stakes, the compelling voice, the original world building, and/or the character-driven humor. As a more specific wish, Lara grew up in Los Angeles and would love to find a middle grade or young adult novel set in the real, diverse LA (not Hollywood).

 

Heather Flaherty – The Bent Agency

Twitter | The Bent Agency

Heather Flaherty represents children’s, middle-grade, and young adult fiction and non-fiction, as well as select adult fiction and non-fiction.

From Heather: I grew up in Massachusetts, between Boston and the Cape, and worked in New York City as a playwright during college. After a lot of country-hopping in my early twenties, I began my publishing career in the editorial department at Random House UK. I then became a young adult and children’s literary scout, advising foreign publishers and Hollywood on the next big books. Now, as an agent, I’m thrilled to focus on helping authors find that same success.

I’m looking for YA fiction across the board, especially issue-related YA with humor and heart—but not depressing or mopey. I also love hard, punchy contemporary YA that doesn’t hesitate when it comes to crazy! I want to see contemporary stories with sci-fi or fantasy elements, as well as straight-up YA fantasy. I’m also a sucker for clever retellings of classic fairytales, myths, and folklore. Finally, I’m looking for really good horror and ghost stories—not gory for gory’s sake, but dark, twisted, and even lovely. The one thing I love above all else in a YA novel is a strong and specific character voice: a real person, not another “everygirl.”

As for middle-grade, I want it stark, honest, and even dark; contemporary or historical, as long as it’s accessible. Coming-of-age stories, dealing-with-difficulty stories, witness stories about adult issues seen through a child’s eyes, anything that makes you want to hold the narrator’s hand… for your own comfort, as well as theirs. These stories can have magical or fantasy elements as well.

And on the adult side, I’m looking for female-centric thrillers and commercial women’s fiction with solid storytelling and strong voices. I’m also always on the lookout for fantastic upmarket projects that bridge the gap between commercial and literary lists.

 

Christine Witthohn – Book Cents Literary

Book CentsTwitter | Book Cents

Christine Witthohn is a U.S. literary agent and the founder of Book Cents Literary Agency (opened in 2006), as well as the U.S. Sales and Licensing Agent for Spanish publisher, Grupo Edebé (Barcelona, Spain).  She is a sponsor of the International Women’s Fiction Festival held annually in Matera, Italy and she teaches brainstorming, branding, and social media classes in various cities around the U.S., U.K., and Italy (adding France and Germany next year).  She is member of AAR, RWA, MWA.

 

 Rena Bunder Rossner – Deborah Harris Agency

PictureTwitter | DHA

In general, I represent Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Thrillers, Upmarket Women’s Fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy. I am always looking for Young Adult Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction and Picture Books. I am open to representing Non-Fiction and Cookbooks, but it would have to be the right project for me – I love Science Writing and Literary Non-Fiction.

I am desperately seeking Middle Grade! I am also very much looking for Picture Books. I am always looking for beautiful literary fiction.

I’m a poet, and I think the best novelists were poets first, so novels in verse, novels with poetic language and writing, are totally things I am always looking for.

I am very interested in representing Fantasy and Science Fiction of all types, I am always looking for Israeli and Middle Eastern Science Fiction and Fantasy, and also SciFi/Fantasy with Jewish content and themes. This includes Adult/Middle Grade/Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I also represent Young Adult contemporary novels. I would love to find a New Adult or Adult novel written about the Israeli army (LGBQT also!) I would love to represent historical fiction set in Ancient Israel, or historical fiction with Israeli/Jewish content and themes – for Adults/Middle Grade/Young Adult.

I love all types of historical fiction, in all genres. I’d love to see literary novels set in the Middle East – historical fiction, fantasy, and especially multicultural romances.

 

Amy Bishop  Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret

Twitter | DG&B

Amy Elizabeth Bishop joined Dystel, Goderich & Bourret after being a DG&B intern in the summer of 2014 and then continuing to hang around until after she graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a degree in Creative Writing. She grew up in upstate New York and has now made the traitorous switch to downstate living. Reading-wise, she is interested in both commercial and literary women’s fiction, fiction from diverse authors, historical fiction, and contemporary YA. In terms of nonfiction, she’s compelled by personal narratives, biographies, and anything with strange facts. She is also a poet and reads for The Rumpus in her spare time.

Amy wants to see more…commercial women’s fiction and romance.

 

Lindsay Mealing – Emerald City Literary Agency

lindsaybio.pngTwitter | Emerald City

Lindsay has been writing stories since she could first hold a pencil. It wasn’t until she sat down to edit a manuscript for the first time she realized her true love was not on the writing side of the publishing industry, but the business side. She began interning for Mandy in early 2015 and quickly realized agenting was what she wanted to do forever more.

Lindsay is a self-proclaimed  nerd, loving everything science fiction and fantasy – from epic tomes to gaming. She fell head over heels with the SFF genre when she read KUSHIEL’S DART by Jacqueline Carey (she even has Phedre’s marque tattooed on her back).

 

Erin Harris – Folio Jr.

Twitter | Folio Jr. 

From Erin: I’m an agent who loves to champion the careers of debut and established authors.  I represent YA, literary and upmarket commercial fiction, and narrative non-fiction.

My life in publishing began in 2007 when I interned for the literary agent William Clark of WM Clark Associates.  In 2008, I joined the Irene Skolnick Literary Agency, where I first experienced the thrill of advocating for books I believed in and writers I admired.

Early on, it became apparent to me that there was a need for agents who could think like writers.  I’d studied literature at Trinity College (Hartford, CT), but I was eager to hone my creative and editorial skills. This desire led me to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at The New School.  I now see myself as a kind of interpreter, an agent conversant in both the language of the writer and the language of the industry, whose job it is to help you navigate publishing’s shifting landscape.

Outside of the office, I’m an active participant in New York’s literary community.  I’m a member of PEN American Center and Women’s Media Group, as well as a founder and host of H.I.P. Lit, a literary event series based in Brooklyn.

 

Penelope Burns – Gelfman Schneider / ICM Partners

TwitterGelfman Schneider

Penelope Burns is the newest member of Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners. She came to the agency as an intern after graduating from Colgate University and attending the Denver Publishing Institute in 2012. Currently, as an agency assistant, Penelope is looking to a build a list of her own. She is interested in Literary and Commercial fiction and non-fiction, as well as a variety of Young Adult and Middle Grade.

 

Andrea Somburg – Harvey Klinger Literary Agency

Andrea SombergTwitter | Website | Harvey Klinger

A literary agent for over fifteen years, Andrea Somberg represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including projects for adult, young adult and middle grade audiences.  Previously an agent at the Donald Maass Agency and Vigliano Associates, she joined Harvey Klinger Literary Agency in the spring of 2005. Her clients’ books have been NYTimes and USABestsellers, as well as nominated for The Governor General’s Award, the Lambda Award, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award.  Andrea also teaches courses for MediaBistro and Writers Digest, on topics such as nonfiction, memoir, mystery and thrillers, fantasy and sf.  Her client list is quite full, however she is always actively looking to take on new authors who write in the following categories:  Fiction: literary, commercial, book club fiction, romance, thrillers, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, new adult, middle grade. Nonfiction: memoir, narrative, popular science,  pop-culture, humor, how-to, parenting, self-help, lifestyle, travel, interior design, crafts, cookbooks, business, sports, diet, health & fitness.

 

Stefanie Lieberman – Janklow & Nesbit Associates

Stefanie LiebermanTwitter | Janklow & Nesbit

Senior Counsel, Literary Agent

Stefanie seeks to represent authors who write upmarket commercial fiction, and she would likewise welcome young adult and romance submissions that feel fresh to the reader. She is particularly energized by manuscripts that feature strong female characters and voices that sparkle off the page.
Stefanie joined the agency’s Legal & Business Affairs Department as Senior Counsel in 2005.

 

Liza Flessig & Ginger Harris-Dontzin – Liza Royce Agency

Ginger-Harris-and-Liza-FleissigTwitter | Liza Royce Agency

Liza Fleissig, with her partner Ginger Harris-Dontzin, opened the Liza Royce Agency (LRA) in early 2011. Their goal was, and remains, to represent authors in all stages of their careers, from the most established to those developing their craft, as well as debuts. Both former partners in NYC based litigation law firms, Liza and Ginger bring a combined 40 years of negotiating experience to the field. This background, along with connections rooted in publishing, movies and television, allowed them to focus and build on a referral based clientele.

From picture books through adult projects, fiction and non-fiction, LRA welcomes strong voices and plot driven works. Their inaugural books became available in stores January 2013.  Their first was an Edgar nominee, another was an Indie Next Pick, and two others were optioned for film. LRA’s success began right out of the gate.

Here’s to more great books!

 

Kathleen Ortiz – New Leaf Literary

Twitter | New Leaf

As the Director of Foreign Rights at New Leaf, Kathleen regularly attends book trade shows around the world to sell titles to translation publishers and looks for new medium opportunities for our clients’ books. She is also a Literary Agent actively seeking to sign more authors and illustrators, specifically fresh, new voices in YA and animator/illustrator talent. In YA she gravitates more toward beautiful and exceptional world building as well as contemporary stories whose main characters stay with the reader far beyond the pages. She would love to see a beautifully written YA set within other cultures and experiences. On the illustration side, she loves animator/illustrators and their unique way of storytelling. Kathleen is not currently seeking middle grade, screenplays, or adult projects not listed above.

 

JL Stermer – New Leaf Literary

Facebook | New Leaf

JL is adding to her non-fiction list in both YA and adult categories with smart pop-culture, comedy/satire, fashion, health & wellness, self-help, and memoir. She’s also growing her fiction list (a bit more selectively) and is looking for adult and some YA coming-of-age, humor, dark and edgy stories, and new and original voices in commercial and upmarket. She also thinks graphic novels are really cool.

JL is looking for voices that reflect the world as it changes, stories that share the human experience of life, love, growth, and achievement. And they don’t have to all be serious–having fun is important! Some of her favorite reads include: The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll,Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood by Janet Mock, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, French Milk by Lucy Knisley, Less Than Zero by Brett Easton Ellis, and Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.

A born and bred New Yorker, JL has lived in Manhattan her whole life and is a lover of all things arts & culture, people watching, and doughnuts.

 

Jaida Temperly – New Leaf Literary

Twitter | New Leaf

Jaida’s primary focus is Adult Fiction, with a special affinity for literary fiction, magical realism, historical fiction, upmarket fiction, horror, and speculative. Jaida also loves stories that shed light on marginalized experiences and question the “status-quo”, as well as titles that include #OwnVoices themes, international settings, political commentary, conspiracy theories, and alternate histories. Some of her all-time favorite Adult Fiction titles include: THE VEGETARIAN by Han Kang, THE SELL OUT by Paul Beatty, THE DINNER by Herman Koch, JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL by Susanna Clarke, and A THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME by Mark Haddon.  

Prior to joining New Leaf Literary, Jaida studied Biology at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, and briefly attended medical school, before moving to NYC and interning at Writers House. She loves art history, traveling, logic puzzles, secret societies, antiques, and numerous other topics that come in handy for Trivia Night and crossword puzzles.

Suzie Townsend – New Leaf Literary

#NoDAPL TownsendTwitter | New Leaf

Prior to joining New Leaf, Suzie graduated film school, earned her Masters of Education, taught high school English, and coached a swim team. In her spare time, she read everything she could, which prompted her move to publishing. She got her start as an intern at FinePrint Literary Management where she was hired as an assistant before making the move to literary agent. She’s been part of the team at New Leaf Literary & Media since its inception in 2012.

Suzie represents all brands of children’s and adult fiction. She loves women’s fiction, all subgenres of romance, fantasy, and crime fiction. On the children’s side, she particularly loves YA and MG. Suzie loves strong characters and voice-driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres, and she’s always looking for unique new voices in stories.

 

Peter Knapp – Park Literary & Media

Peter KnappTwitter | Park Literary

Fueled by the thrill of reading a new story for the first time, Peter works creatively with clients and the PLM team on marketing, branding initiatives and promotions to get great books into the hands of readers. Before joining PLM, he was a story editor at a book-scouting agency working with film clients, and he continues to look for new ways to partner with Hollywood on adaptations and multimedia properties. Find him re-watching Studio Ghibli movies, playing board games with friends, or right here to submit a new fiction query—he’s ready to add more authors to his growing client list!

 

Abigail Koons – Park Literary & Media

Image result for abigail koonsTwitter | Park Literary

Always eager to travel the world, meet new people and learn about other cultures, Abigail began her career working for the multinational corporation, EF Education. After realizing that books were her passion, she joined the foreign rights department at the Nicholas Ellison Agency where her prior experience in international business combined with her outgoing, adventurous nature proved invaluable to building relationships with co-agents and publishers.  After joining PLM in 2005, Abigail expanded her roster of clients and today, in addition to her role as the Executive Director of International Rights, she represents both emerging and established authors, including Emily Anthes, Catherine McKenzie, Emily Voigt, Martin Michaud and Diana Yen. Although her projects—and tastes—run the gamut from popular science and narrative nonfiction to commercial fiction and thrillers, all her clients’ work share elements of adventure, surprise and the unexpected.

 

Blair Wilson – Park Literary & Media

Blair WilsonTwitter | Park Literary

A contract master, Blair works alongside our co-agents to negotiate publishing agreements outside of the United States with a focus on Eastern Europe, South Korea and the Baltic states. After a day of executing foreign taxes for authors or assisting with submissions, you might just find this North Carolina native teaching textile arts classes at the American Folk Art Museum and Textile Arts Center in New York City. This creative studied Victorian Literature but has truly fallen in love with the voices of new and emerging authors, making PLM a perfect fit for her. She is actively building her own list of clients in the areas of middle grade and young adult fiction and adult non-fiction with a focus on D.I.Y., lifestyle, pop culture, pets, and books dealing with issues of sexuality, identity and culture.

 

Eric Smith – PS Literary, Associate Agent

EricSmithTwitter | Website | PS Literary

Eric Smith is an associate literary agent at P.S. Literary, with a love for young adult books, sci-fi, fantasy, and literary fiction. He began his publishing career at Quirk Books in Philadelphia, working social media and marketing on numerous books he absolutely adored. Eric completed his BA in English at Kean University, and his MA in English at Arcadia University. A frequent blogger, his ramblings about books appear on BookRiot, The Huffington Post, and more. A published author with Quirk Books and Bloomsbury, he seeks to give his authors the same amount of love his writing has received. Which is a lot. If you would like to send a query to Eric, please click or tap here to review our Submission Guidelines.

 

Thao Le  Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency

Thao Le

Twitter | Sandra Dijkstra Literary

Thao Le is a literary agent at the Dijkstra Agency since 2011. She also handles the agency’s financials and select contracts.

Thao is looking for: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Picture Books by author/illustrators, Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, and is selectively open to Romance.

In the Adult and YA Sci-fi/Fantasy realms, she enjoys stories rooted in mythology, fairytales, and legends with atmospheric settings and strong world building. Particularly stories that are inclusive and multicultural. She’s also a fan of magic realism.

In contemporary YA, she’s seeking witty, heartfelt writing with an authentic teen voice. Especially stories about family and friendships. Think Stephanie Perkins, Jenny Han, or Sarah Dessen.

And in Middle Grade, she’s looking for fantastic adventures and clever protagonists the likes of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, and Soman Chainani’s School of Good and Evil.

In the picture book arena, she is only currently taking on author/illustrators, however she’s a fan of Jon Klassen, Kate Beaton, Cale Atkinson, and Liz Climo and would like to add projects in the same vein to her list.

In Romance, she’s drawn to heroes/heroines who turn stereotypes and tropes on their heads (such as heroines in typically male roles and sensitive heroes who aren’t necessarily alpha, but just as swoonworthy). She enjoys historical romance the likes of Julia Quinn, Courtney Milan, and Eloisa James, speculative romance similar to Gail Carrier’s Parasol Protectorate series, and contemporary romance that is as addictive as Sonali Dev’s Bollywood series.

In general, she loves beautiful literary writing with a commercial hook. She is most excited to add more writers of diversity (including, but not limited to, all ethnicity, sexual orientation, mental and physical health, and socioeconomic status) to her client list.

Saba Sulaiman – Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC

sabaTwitter | Talcott Notch

From Saba: I was drawn into the world of literature by default when my sister’s growing collection of books in our tiny room began to overflow onto my bed. Bewildered by her fascination with these musty, decaying volumes, I decided to experience them for myself—and instantly fell in love. Born to Pakistani expatriates in Sri Lanka, and knowing how to express myself only in English for the first fifteen years of my life, I found comfort in reading about other culturally displaced people, unable to communicate in their native tongues, and hesitant to assert themselves in environments where there were few examples of people like them. Moving to Pakistan and absorbing what it meant to be an educated woman in a traditional Islamic society contributed greatly to my desire to learn more about similar narratives, especially from other women. In an effort to understand how it felt to be surrounded by other ambitious women with the desire to shatter patriarchal restrictions, I enrolled as an undergraduate at Wellesley College. And the rest, as they say, is history

After double majoring in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies at Wellesley, I studied modern Persian Literature at the University of Chicago, where I got involved with editing our department’s academic journal. And it finally hit me—working closely with writers to hone their craft; seeing a piece of writing from its inception through to its eventual publication; and advocating for what I believed was stellar prose worthy of recognition—this was my calling. So I interned at various newspaper and magazine publications, worked as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks, and then wound up at Talcott Notch, where I’m excited to begin my career as a literary agent.

I’m currently open to the following genres:

Adult: up-market literary and commercial fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir.

Young Adult: all subgenres except paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi. I’m particularly interested in contemporary realistic YA — anything with heart, humor, and personality. But if you’ve got a fast-paced, chilling mystery, I’m all ears.

Middle Grade: anything that’s smart, accessible and written with flair. Whether it’s quirky and funny, or just plain sweet and heartwarming — it’s no big secret that this is my favorite category. Also, I’d love anything Roald Dahl-esque.

 

Lauren Spieller  Triada US Literary Agency

sunglasses pictureTwitter | Website | Triada US 

Literary Agent Assistant Lauren Spieller comes to TriadaUS with a background in literary scouting and editorial consulting. She has a sharp editorial eye, and is passionate about author advocacy. Lauren is seeking Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, as well as select Adult fiction and non-fiction. Whatever the age category or genre, Lauren is passionate about finding diverse and underrepresented voices.

In MG, she’s drawn to heartfelt contemporaries, contemporary fantasy and magical realism, and exciting adventures. Some of her recent favorites are Rules for Stealing Stars, George, The Thing About Jellyfish, Wonder, Hour of the Bees, and Rooftoppers. In YA, she’d love to find authentic teen voices in any and all genres. She is especially fond of fantasy, magical realism, and space operas; contemporary stories with a hook; and anything with a feminist bent. A few favorites include Dumplin’, Scorpio Races, An Ember in the Ashes, OCD Love Story, Six of Crows, The Raven Boys, and Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.

In Adult, Lauren is seeking commercial fiction, particularly female-driven psychological thrillers (a la Lauren Beukes and Gillian Flynn), and immersive literary fantasies, such as The Night Circus, The Miniaturist, and A Darker Shade of Magic. She is also interested in female-driven Upmarket General Fiction, especially if it’s funny or has a touch of magical realism (note that she is NOT looking for Romance), and unique non-fiction with an existing platform. She’s particularly hungry for counter culture books, cocktail books with a twist/theme, or narrative nonfiction with a unique hook (if you’re the next Lindsey West, Roxanne Gay, or Lauren Duca, she wants to hear from you).

 

Thank you to our Pitch Madness 2017 agents! We hope you all find some manuscripts to love!

 

Here’s the schedule for Pitch Madness …

February 24: Pitch Madness submission window opens for 24 hours

February 24  – March 5: Pitch Madness Slush Readers sort the entries

March 6: Pitch Madness Draft – Hosts pick their top entries

March 6 – 14: Hosts coach their teams

March 16 – 17: Agent Round

March 23: #PitMad Twitter Pitch Party (Even if you made it in, didn’t make it in, or didn’t enter Pitch Madness, #PitMad is open to everyone!)

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Announcing Pitch Madness 2017 . . . Candyland Edition

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The Pitch Madness submission window will be open for 24 hours on February 24!

What is Pitch Madness? It’s a contest held every March, where writers enter for a chance to win requests from the participating agents. Writers submit a 35-word (max) pitch and the first 250 words of their completed manuscript on submission day. Then a team of readers choose the top sixty (60) entries to go onto the agent round. Though Pitch Madness has a game theme, the next contest will transition to more of a critique based contest with agents simply requesting in the comments of the entries’ posts instead of having the agents play for requests. Also, hosts will coach our team members, helping them polish their entries and first pages.

We’ll have an agent introduction post up next week.

The submission window will be open from 12:01 AM EST on February 24 until 11:59PM EST. You should have plenty of time to get your submissions in. There is no limit of how many entries will be accepted. Please note: All entries sent before or after the allotted times will be deleted.

There will be 60 finalists moving onto the agent round. Pitch Madness will accept Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult completed fiction, novel length (no novellas) completed and polished manuscripts only. This time around we will not accept non-fiction. Only one entry per writer this round.

What do you need to enter? A 35-word (max) pitch and the first 250 words of your finished manuscript. If the 250th word falls in the middle of a sentence, go to the end of the sentence. I will post formatting instructions before the submission window opens. There will be a form on the submission post to enter your pitch into.

Pitch Madness will be on six blogs and each blog host will have a co-host helping them choose their top 10 entries.

We’ll have a small team of first readers ranking the entries for the host round.

All the twitter fun will be happening on the hashtag #PitchMadness!

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Meet our first round readers …

 

Jami Nord

Jami Nord

Website | Twitter

Phone monkey, former Lit Agent intern, freelance editor for , & writer under a pen name. Bi, pagan, nerdy, & liberal. I don’t bite, promise.

 

Kerbie Addis

Kerbie Addis

Twitter

Writer. Feminist. Slytherin. Bacon mage. Future librarian. Lit agent intern. Army wife. Lover of dark stories & dark lipstick. co-mentor.

 

Mary Ann Marlowe

Mary Anne Marlowe

Website | Twitter

Author of SOME KIND OF MAGIC Feb ’17 * Repped by at * Mentor, Whovian, & Sassenach

 

Samantha Joyce

Samantha Joyce

Website | Twitter

Author of the LOVE IN DISGUISE series. FLIRTING WITH FAME and DEALING IN DECEPTION out now from Pocket Star! Repped by of ABLA. Broadway Geek Girl.

 

 

Here are the links to the host blogs and their co-hosts for the contest …

 

Image result for ice cream sea candylandTeam Ice Cream Sea hosted on Brenda Drake’s blog

Brenda Drake

Brenda Drake

Twitter

NYT bestselling author of YA fiction. Latest, THIEF OF LIES & CURSING FATE. Next, GUARDIAN OF SECRETS 2/7/17. Rep’d by & Creator

 

Monica M. Hoffman 🍸

Monica Hoffman

Website | Twitter

YA Spec-Fic Rom Writer | Trekkie, Dr. Who, & Star Wars fan | Music is my blood | SCBWI Member | Mentor | Rep’d by &

 

 

Related imageTeam Gumdrop Mountains hosted on Heather Cashman’s blog

Heather Cashman

Heather Cashman

Twitter

All things wordy, generally nerdy. Editor at . Agent intern. member. Assistant to

 

Nikki Roberti

Nikki Roberti

Website | Twitter

YA Contemp author rep’d by of , ‘s assistant, Mentor, Query Editor, Awarded Playwright

 

 

Image result for peanut brittle house from candy landTeam Peanut Brittle House hosted on Pintip Dunn’s blog

Pintip Dunn

Pintip Dunn

Website | Twitter

New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. RWA RITA® winner for Best First Book. The FORGET TOMORROW series; THE DARKEST LIE; GIRL ON THE VERGE (Jun 27).

 

Darcy Woods

Darcy Woods

Website | Twitter

Counts laughter as exercise. Lives to swoon. Award-winning YA author of SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS (Random House/Crown). Repped by .

 

 

Image result for Lollipop WoodsLollipop Woods hosted by Rebecca Weston’s blog

RebeccaCoffindaffer

Rebecca Coffindaffer

Website | Twitter

Author, shipper trash, all-around nerd. Freelance copy editor at . Making my own fun since 1983. Repped by .

 

 

Marieke Nijkamp

Marieke Nijkamp

Website | Twitter

#1 NYT bestselling author of THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS (Sourcebooks Fire) | Dreamer | Wanderer | | Secret Agent: , Barry Goldblatt Literary.

 

 

 

Image result for licorice castle candylandTeam Licorice Castle hosted on Sharon Johnston’s blog

Sharon M Johnston

Sharon Johnston

Website | Twitter

DIVIDED & SHATTERED: Open Heart Novels out now with mentor.

 

 

Jeyn Roberts

Jeyn Roberts

Website | Twitter

Author of the Dark Inside trilogy, The Bodies We Wear and When They Fade. Vancouverite. Animal lover. Destroying words in a coffee shop near you.

 

 

 

yTeam Peppermint Forest hosted on Wade Albert White’s blog …

Wade Albert White

Wade Albert White

Website | Twitter

Author of THE ADVENTURER’S GUIDE series. Mentor. Member of . Also, I own one pretend cat and one real one.

 

 

Timanda Wertz

Timenda Wertz

Blog | Twitter

Middle Sschool science teacher, SF/F geek, Ravenclaw, equal parts football & Broadway fan, Pitch Wars MG co-mentor, represented by Elizabeth Kaplan of Kaplan Literary

 

 

Here’s the schedule for Pitch Madness …

February 24: Pitch Madness submission window opens for 24 hours

February 24 – March 5: Pitch Madness Slush Readers sort the entries

March 6: Pitch Madness Draft – Hosts pick their top entries

March 6 – 14: Hosts coach their teams

March 16 – 17: Agent Round

March 23: #PitMad Twitter Pitch Party (Even if you made it in, didn’t make it in, or didn’t enter Pitch Madness, #PitMad is open to everyone!)

 

That’s it for now. Look for our agent announcement post next week and join us on Februrary 24 when the submission window opens!

 

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The Four Act Structure–Witches Brew or Scientific Formula?

 

formula1As a scientist, I became used to the idea of formulas. It was better if things didn’t die or blow up. I learned that you had to be precise, adding just the right amount of this chemical and that liquid to get the desired product. Maybe it was fake banana flavoring or the right mixture of agar to feed the sprouting plants in my Petri dishes. Once you knew the exactly correct formula to make things work a certain way, then you could “experiment” with the formula to see if you could make things better. And sometimes things died or burned me or fizzled out.

Writing books is the same. Formulas have their place. And it isn’t until we understand the formulas that work that we can tweak them, change and bend and twist them. Sometimes they snap. Sometimes they look better twisted. When writing, I probably look more like a witch at her cauldron rather than a scientist in a crisp white coat, but the end result feels remarkably similar sometimes.

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So this is the formula I use. It has evolved over the years from three acts to four, I’ve added in things gleaned from books or talks or blogs. I don’t know where it all came from at this point, and if I’ve taken it from you, please let me know so I can give you credit.

 

FOUR ACT STRUCTURE

ACT 1
Introduce main character (hero/heroine), their main flaw, the enabling circumstances, the opponent. The hero must be an ordinary person in this world who shows hero potential.
The life-changing or inciting incident near the beginning. (by 10%)
The lock in, or something terrible that ups the stakes just before Act 2.

LIFE CHANGING EVENT => CHOICE (around 25%)

ACT 2
The MC reacts to the life-changing event and seeks out an ally or is brought out by the ally. Ally must be established with a basic modus operandi that will qualify them to be the most well-suited person to help MC out of their predicament.
They make a plan, usu the MC’s not so great plan that sounds great but will ultimately fail because they think that they can remain the same and overcome their problem as they are. (We all want to be good enough now—but we aren’t.)
The MC struggles to hold onto flaw or not recognize it while still trying to react to the inciting, life-changing event. The MC and ally must have a confrontation.

HERO-ALLY CONFRONTATION AND FACE UP TO FLAW (around 50%)

MIDPOINT—MC recognizes main flaw. This is sometimes referred to as the the Moral Premise, where the protag stops working from a false moral premise and starts working from a true moral premise. Stan Williams has a book about this called The Moral Premise.

ACT 3
After recovering from the previous debacle, MC now fully allies with ally and prepares for the final battle/confrontation with opponent/antagonist. Of course, the opponents are rallying as well, so the stakes are increased because there are more bad guys doing more bad stuff.
By the end, it appears that failure is inevitable.

RESOLUTION OF FLAW THAT ALLOWS HERO TO CONFRONT ANTAGONIST UNENCUMBERED BY FLAW (around 75%)

ACT 4
Hero, now completely unencumbered by flaw, literally or metaphorically battles the opponent to overcome and triumph. Return to new equilibrium with better hero. (around 90%)

And because I’m a hopeless romantic, hopefully they get their HEA as well. (100%)

THE END (of the book but never the story)

 

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There are always many ways to change this, make it unique, own it.

There are an infinite number of ideas out there waiting to become books.

I’d love to hear what kind of plotting devices you use!

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One of My Crit Partners is Soft (ware) . . .

But man is it hard on me!

One of my living, breathing CPs introduced me to the marvel of software designed to improve your writing. There are some caveats, I’ll admit.

~ It will never replace the creative, human editor inside you that feels what’s right to write.

~ They never catch everything.

~ Occasionally, they catch the wrong thing.
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Automation issues aside, they’re still incredible tools to get the best self-edit out there. Then the human CPs can catch even more mistakes without wading through the obvious ones. (I know, I know, I have seventeen “blue”s in the first three pages.)

There are several programs out there, and each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, but overall, they have tightened my writing tremendously. One of the great things about them–most are free for small samples. If you write novels like I do, you’ll quickly become frustrated with the limitations of the free versions, but the main benefit is that you can try it and see if it’s something you’re interested in.

My two favorites are AutoCrit and ProWritingAid.

Hope this helps!

 

autocrit

How it works . . .

You can upload a file or cut and paste into the window, then click analyze on the report of your choice. You can run a variety of reports on the uploaded text: pacing an momentum, dialogue, strong writing, word choice, repetition.  My favorite sub-categories are overused words, cliches, passive voice, and repetition. There are so many. It’s designed by a writer for writers.

Once the analysis is done, you can go into the text and modify it, then immediately re-run the report to see the improvements.

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What I like . . .

I love the immediate satisfaction of improvement. This can be taken too far, though. Another benefit (for those of us who tend to be obsessive–yes my had is raised) is that it gives you an average amount of “acceptable” infractions. No manuscript will be free of some passive voice, an extra “very” or “just”, but this gives a percentage per word count and even gives you a “Good job!” so you can pat yourself on the back.

I also feel like it analyzed a bit better than ProWritingAid. I haven’t been using it nearly as long though, so I’m not sure.

What I don’t like . . .

You can only use it in an online dashboard. No wifi=no AutoCrit. I like to go on retreats, so this becomes difficult for me when I’m out in the middle of the woods, writing at the beach, or at a monastery at the SCBWI Advanced Writer’s Retreat.

I also don’t like the hassle of cutting and pasting back into my manuscript. But that’s really just me whining a bit.

Cost . . .

Levels of memberships range from $5-$12/month to analyze various lengths of material at a time. The Gold, or lowest membership, allows 1,000 words at a time. The Premium, or highest membership, allows unlimited words as many times as you want.

Go To AutoCrit Now

 

prowritingaid

How it works . . .

ProWritingAid is an add-on to your word program, so it works inside the file you already have. You select the text inside your file, go to the toolbar always available, and run the report. You can run all the reports together, and this feature is superior to AutoCrit. Seeing all the issues with a sentence saves you from having to fix the same sentence twice for two different mistakes.

As with AutoCrit, you can immediately re-run the report, but it takes longer if you run them all at once. (Whining again. We’re talking about fifteen to twenty seconds.)

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What I like . . .

Your text is always there, ready to be analyzed as soon as you finish a chapter. No need to upload or cut and paste, and the text is always right where you left it. To stop the editor, all you have to do is click a button and it erases all the highlights and marks in the text, leaving what you’ve changed. Viola!

It has different colored highlights for the different reports, which is nice.

What I don’t like . . .

It doesn’t catch everything. I had “you’re” and “your” slip once. A couple other things. The format isn’t as pretty, but whatever.

Cost . . .

The free version allows 19 writing reports, no interactive editing, online use only, maximum 3,000 words.

Premium is $40/year and allows interactive editing, use with MS Word or Google Docs, has no word limit, and includes more reports.

Premium + is $45/year and includes all of Premium as well as 50 plagiarism checks per year.

Go To ProWritingAid Now