Friday, March 9, 2012

Agent Hannah Bowman has chosen the WINNERS!!

So guys! I've got some GREAT news!! Agent Hannah Bowman said that it was hard picking the winners and that there were many entries that intrigued her. So, she said...

How about I just copy-paste what she said? She even gave us awesome advice about pitches. Read for yourselves! ;)

"These pitches were great! I had a hard time narrowing the field, and
there were several non-winning pitches that I'd love to see longer
queries for. Please feel free to query me about your project even if
you didn't win (and mention the contest in your query).

I have to admit, I picked the winners mostly intuitively--which

pitches made me want to read more? Of course, that has a subjective
element. But I also had a couple of general principles that I think
make for good pitches: 1. showing unique setting/voice; 2.
demonstrating a change or twist in the plot.

Hinting at setting or voice is very, very hard in a pitch this short,

where it literally comes down to one word to set your pitch apart.
It's important to look at every word in your pitch and see if it seems
vague and if you can replace it with something more vivid and
specific. (e.g. "pampered modern princess" shows me more than "spoiled
rich girl"). That goes for nouns, verbs, adjectives…any hint of
setting or character voice that you can get in through your word
choice makes your pitch more interesting. But don't try to add too
many, or it can start to seem confused. Focus on the most important
element that makes your story stand out.

Plot: Again, it's so hard to hint at plot in a pitch this short. This

is my personal preference (so don't take it as an ironclad rule), but
I prefer pitches that suggest some reversal or unexpected change. "A
boy goes on a quest to save the world" feels too linear and boring to
me, and makes me think the story will be too; "A boy goes on a quest
to save the world: but to do it he'll have to sacrifice the girl he
loves" is more likely to be a story I'll like. Even a pitch this short
is a story that you're telling, and good storytelling usually has some
kind of surprise, revelation, or difficult choice you can reveal in
the pitch.

Again--this kind of contest is very subjective (and you don't

necessarily see all these elements in all the winning pitches), but
they're a good place to start. Thank you all again for entering!

Without further ado, the winners:

3rd place: comment 71, Melissa King, THE BOOTLEGGER'S DAUGHTER and

comment 49, Holly L'Oiseau, SURVIVING LILAH

2nd place: comment 28, Alicia Caldwell, FIRST TIME

1st place: comment 31, Ryan James Burt, BODYGUARDING EVIL"

Congrats to Melissa, Holly, Alicia, and Ryan! (Email coming soon for the four of you with the details of your prize!)

To query Hannah, email her at and don't forget to mention the contest.

And congrats to all of you, too! :) I hope this contests leads to MANY requests!! 


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The agent-judged contest with Hannah Bowman Starts NOW!

The contest is now closed! Thanks for participating!!! :D 
I'm closing the comments, since apparently, entries keep coming, eep!

GUYS! The day has come. Awesome agent Hannah Bowman will read your pitches!! GOOD LUCK.

Post your entries below, on the comments section, but first read the rules carefully.

1) Your pitch must only be 140 characters long. You can check the word-count on Twitter, or if you don’t have an account, go to Word or go here. If it’s longer, you’ll be disqualified.

2) The pitch can only be for finished YA novels. No other genre, sorry.

3) This is for unagented writers only.

4) Since I’m doing this to help, you don’t need to be a follower, but I’d love it if you are. And I’d love it you follow me on Twitter too. ;)

5) Please, spread the word. I’m not going to haunt you if you don’t, but it’d make me REALLY happy if lots of people came to participate and this could be filled. (The contest fills after 60 entries are posted. If it doesn't, it will close on the 8th.)

6) One entry per writer.

What should you post?

-Your Name
-Title of your book
-Word-count of your manuscript
-The Twitter (140 characters) pitch
-Your email

If you’re a bit lost: I’m pasting a few links so you can read more about writing short pitches.
1st prize: query critique + request first 50 pages.
2nd prize:  query critique + request first10 pages.
3rd prize: query critique.