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!! 



  1. Congratulations to the winners, and thank you, Monica, for running this awesome contest. It was a lot of fun!

  2. Congrats to the winners. Thanks Monica tor having this contest.

  3. Yay! Great contest! Thank you Monica and Hannah!

  4. Congrats to all the winners! Best of luck with your writing careers. :)

  5. Thank you Monica for running this contest. It was a lot of fun and must have been hard to judge. There were many strong pitches entered! Congrats to the winners! Hannah Bowman is fabulous! Best of luck to all of you!

  6. Thanks a lot. I'm still in a daze that it was my name there. Think I will go do a happy dance. Thanks again.

  7. Congrats to everyone! And even if you didn't win, good luck querying!

  8. Congratulations everyone! Thanks again for running this contest

  9. Wow! Thank you so much for this contest and congrats to the other winners. So very exciting!

  10. Congrats to the winners!! And huge thanks to both Monica and Hannah for holding and judging the contest!

  11. Congrats to all the winners! And thanks Monica for the awesome contest :) Had a blast reading all the pitches.

  12. Congratulations to the winners! And thanks to Monica and Hannah for the contest.

  13. Congrats winners! And thanks to Monica and Hannah for all their work! This was a lot of fun:)

  14. Whoo hoo for the winners. Terrific advice from Hannah. Much appreciated.

  15. Congrats to the winners! And thank you for sharing Hannah's explanations. Always helpful to hear the view from the other side!

  16. And thank YOU, guys, for participating or helping me spread the word! <333

  17. I'm very late, but wanted to say "thanks" to Monica and Hannah for the contest. It was a fun and helpful opportunity!
    Congratulations to the winners! (I did especially love the pitch for BODYGUARDING EVIL.) And good luck to all the writers as they continue pursuing their goals.

  18. Congratulations to the winners!

  19. congrats to the winners. Way to go!

  20. Well done to the winners:)

  21. Oh WOW! Congrats to all the winners!

  22. Wow, I'm so glad you posted all that! It really helps when we're trying to figure out what to put in there and why. Thanks. And HUGE congratulations to the winners! My fingers are crossed for each of you!

  23. Congrats to all the winners! And great advice about how to write them. :)