Pitch contests can be a little more complicated. Some pitch contests span months, and have stages in which you hone your work, preparing it for an agent.
Others simply allow you to tweet your pitch, cold. Agents are on the alert at these times, and they have the option of "liking" your pitch, and then asking for a full or partial.
Believe it or not, pitch fests actually do work. Busy, overwhelmed agents are often more likely to read and respond to an interesting twitter pitch than they are to a query. It takes less time and a lot less effort.
However, it will not take less effort on your part. Boiling your novel down to a short sentence is loaded with pitfalls. It's surprisingly easy to turn your exciting novel into a one-sentence summary that would bore an elephant to tears. So, I would suggest that you read What's Your Book About? How to Make a Pitch before attempting one of these contests.
It is also immensely helpful to read some twitter pitches first. You can get onto twitter right now and type #PitchCB into a search to read some excellent pitches. (Go ahead, do it now. I'll wait.) Some of those pitches will make you want to BUY those books, which is precisely what the pitch is intended for. Contrary to what you may think, a pitch is not really about the meaning, theme, or inherent quality of your book. It is a sales tool. So, think about what would make you want to read a book, and convey that in your pitch. (A hint: Pitches, like queries, follow the story arc of your main character.)
Here is a list of 2016 pitch fests. Like twitter itself, pitch fests are constantly changing and evolving. There are probably a few that I've missed. And, some of these may vanish by next year, but that is the nature of publishing. It's a volatile industry.
March 4, 2016
"Pitch to Publication is for writers with FULLY COMPLETED manuscripts, who are ready to achieve the next level of literary wholeness. Authors will submit a query and 5 pages of their draft manuscript to one of our fifteen, highly sought-after freelance editors. Each editor will select one (and sometimes two!) authors to work with for a month of intensive manuscript development. Your editor will help prepare you and your work for our agent round in the middle of April!"
Online writing conference for authors of Adult and New Adult works.
#KidPit is for COMPLETE AND POLISHED MANUSCRIPTS ONLY. Children's literature.
Both are held on April 1, 2016
#PitchWars - August 3
#PitMad - June 9, September 8
Note: You may only tweet your pitch three times during #PitMad. Read about the new rules HERE.
April 24, 2016 (see site for complete schedule)
FicFest is a brand new contest launching in 2016 that will help put manuscripts in front of agents. FicFest is unique in that this contest covers the five major categories of writing: Children’s Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult. The chances for each category to get agent requests is equal. Unlike most writing contests, an equal number of finalists will be chosen for each category so that one does not overpower the other. FicFest creators also ensure that there will be a plethora of agents wanting each of these categories. Our goal is to help writers of all books get out there, get great feedback, and have the opportunity to get partial/full requests from agents.
Read more HERE.
#DVpit is a Twitter event created to showcase pitches about and especially by marginalized voices. This includes (but is not limited to): Native peoples and people of color; people living and/or born/raised in underrepresented cultures and countries; disabled persons; people with illness; people on marginalized ends of the socioeconomic, cultural and/or religious spectrum; people identifying as LGBTQIA+; and more.
Hosted by Michelle Hauck, Mike Anthony, and Laura Heffernan
May 21, 2016
“Query Kombat will host 64 kombatants in a single-elimination, tournament style query-off. Entries will go head to head (one on one) with one another until only ONE entry remains.
Participants in Query Kombat submit a query and their first 250 words to the Query Kombat team via email. Of these, 64 entries will be selected to “fight” against one another one-on-one. During these battles, two similar submissions are posted, and a selection of professional judges will vote “Victory” on their favorites. Whichever submission gets the most Victory votes will move on the the next round, until only one remains standing. In addition, an agent round will happen after round one of the Kombat, which means that 32 total submissions will have the chance to be requested by agents."
Note: The submission window is only open for one hour.
Hosted by Mandy Yates
June 16, 2016
For picture books only.
Hosted by Dan Koboldt
June 23, 2016
The contest will happen on Twitter under a common hashtag (#SFFpit). During a 10-hour window on the chosen day, authors with completed manuscripts who are seeking representation or publication can tweet a pitch for their books (at most, once per hour).
Hosted by Lara Willard
July 1-7, 2016
August 5, 2016
This Twitter pitch party is open to all genres and readerships. That includes picture books, early readers, chapter books, middle grade, young adult, new adult, and adult readerships.