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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pitch Slam Summary, Twitter Style

**First, a little announcement: My blogging buddy Kimberly is giving away a $100 Writers Digest Gift Certificate —good for entry fees, books, webinars and more…and, FYI, agent Mary Kole (with Andrea Brown Lit) is having another webinar on February 3. If you sign up, you’ll get a 1-2 page critique. Awesome! Click HERE to enter**

Okay, did you all hear about the incredible Pitch Slam put on by Writers Digest last weekend in NYC? As part of the conference, over 500 lucky people were there for an exciting two hours of pitch mania with 50 agents. I can’t even imagine the pushing/scrambling that must have taken place to get a solid spot in front of a dream agent, hit them with a three-minute pitch, then dash desperately to the next one, hoping the line wasn’t too long. How crazy would that be? Thanks to Twitter, it's possible to know a little bit of what went on during the weekend, even if we weren't lucky enough to attend (the hashtag is #wdc11 if you want to check out the Tweets).

Agent tweets right before the storm of writers attacked:

*Holy Crap. Here come the writers.

*And the stampede begins...

Agent tweet a few minutes into Pitch Slam:

*And the line at @janet_reid's table is officially 3 miles long.

Meredith Barnes, fantastic assistant to super-agent Janet “the Shark” Reid, was tweeting agent tips throughout the conference:

*Your pitch is comprised COMPLETELY of your main character (name, age) and what CHOICE they face. Drop backstory/"situation."

*If you're getting rejections, look at your novel and query. Don't exhaust all queriable agents before you rework things!

*YA wordcount (via Mary Kole): 45k words up to 95k words. 100k words is pushing it, esp for a debut.

*35k is ballpark for mg. But 30k is skirting the low end of the range, so keep that in mind!

*For #kidlit, always mention your protag's age in the query. MG readers are 9-12, 35k words. YA 14 plus. Remember kids read up!

*"Quiet" literary fiction can do BIG things! It's about how "dramatically and passionately" you write about your subject.

*Should I hire a ghosteditor? @Janet_Reid: BULLSHIT! You want to be a writer, you've got to write your own book.

*Once you're getting "microadjustments," like you'd get from a line editor, you're ready to sub!

*How do you know when your ms is ready? If ur getting comments that resonate as something you *need* to revise...keep revising.

Post-Pitch Agent Tweets:

*I've seen 32 writers in 1 hour. good news: requested a small handful of good stuff :D

*The intensity of Pitch Slam was quite the scene. Found a few gems, saw a few tweeps & met very excited writers! Good time all around.

I was sorry to miss the excitement, but felt like I was almost there thanks to Twitter. Cool information abounds. And by the way, just because you’re on Twitter and follow people does NOT mean you have to Tweet all the time (or at all), so don’t be intimidated!
FINAL NOTE: If you missed the WriteOnCon LiveChat with Pippin Properties, click HERE to read the transcript (pssst, it includes a little info on what they like to see in queries!).


  1. This is great! Almost feels like you're there without the background. Thanks for this.

  2. What a great summary. And I got some helpful tips from it! Yes, I know, I should be using twitter....

  3. Jess! Your posts are ALWAYS just filled with all sorts of writery goodness! Love it - thanks so much for the info! Wow - pitch slam sounds intense. I think I'd rather query from afar... :)

  4. Wow! Thanks Jess! Some really great stuff! Sucks that I missed the writeoncon thing but so glad there is a way to read it! Thank you!

  5. Did you put all of this together? That is so awesome...and informational. I'm printing this one out and adding it to my query/pitch folder! Thank you!! :)

  6. Thanks, Jess, for posting about my contest!

    This is such great stuff from the Pitch Slam you compiled. Thanks you. I have a couple of favorites:

    *Holy Crap. Here come the writers.
    *Should I hire a ghosteditor? @Janet_Reid: BULLSHIT!

    They made me laugh. :)

  7. Fan-tabulous blog post, Jess!

    I can't even imagine being a part of the pitch fest (although I've done something similar at a conference here in Seattle - just not quite on the same scale)...crazy, crazy, crazy!

    And thanks for the link / contest over on Kimberly's blog - I just entered myself!

  8. man! this thing sounded so crazy! but hooray for all the authors who got requests out of it! and the agents who found things they wanted to request!
    thanks jess for compiling this! you have such informational posts! :)

  9. this is cool! I still can't seem to figure out Twitter, so thank you for posting this. Sort of glad I wasn't there! Yikes!

  10. Tons of great stuff here. Thanks for the post. I really wanted to go to that but didn't have the time or finances, but thanks to you and your resources, you have put me there. :)

  11. Loved getting a peek into this event--thank you!

  12. Felt like I was there with this blogpost! Thanks for putting this up! I thought of going to this. Maybe next year.

  13. Sounds like it was crazy! It's nice to hear that some people got requests out of it. Must have been something from the agent's perspective though!

  14. OMG you are all kinds of awesome to share this great stuff. So I am now following three agents and looking for more. This is too good to miss out on. What's your Twitter name? Can I follow you, too?