Friday, March 29, 2013

I Took the Dare

By Kim

A couple of weeks ago our own Pamela Hammonds dared our readers to take a few risks. Among the challenges was to enter a writing contest. It’s been many years since I’ve done so, and I might have shrugged off the advice had Joan not alerted me to Pitch Madness, a contest led by YA author Brenda Drake and hosted on her blog, as well as the blogs of authors S.M.Johnston, Shelley Watters and Summer Heacock.

The good news: All I needed to do to enter was e-mail the first 250 words of my manuscript and a 35 word or less pitch. If the “slush zombies” sent me to the final round, a panel of fifteen agents would see the work and potentially throw darts (requests) at it.

The bad news: I didn’t know about the contest until a few hours before the deadline. The idea of trying to compellingly summarize my book in one sentence made me feel faint.

I remembered Pamela’s dare, and went to work. Joan kindly critiqued both pitch line and the first 250 words. Off it went.

On Monday, I knew the agent round was a day away and I hadn’t heard anything, so I assumed I did not make the cut. Then I received an e-mail that linked to a Twitter post featuring the Pitch Madness logo. I’m not on Twitter much, but I decided to dust off my account and see what was going on. I happened upon Brenda Drake’s site where she listed her 16 finalists. I wasn’t among them, but I saw a reference to 64 total finalists. I clicked on S.M. Johnston’s blog, and there I was. If you want to see my entry, here is the link.

The agent round is going on as I write this, but all requests will be revealed by the time the post is published. Hopefully, I’ll be hit by a few darts. No matter what, though, I’ve learned a few things from this experience.

I CAN write a compelling short pitch, painful as it was to do.

My opening 250 words make people want to read on.

Many agents are active on Twitter and they do tweet about their preferences. At the very least I should follow and lurk.

Anyone else take a risk with their writing recently? Tell us about your experience.

Update 3/30/13: I got hit by two darts asking for sizable partials.


  1. So excited for you, Kim. And for Joan for accepting your challenge to do the Twitter pitch. You're both winners for putting yourselves out there!

  2. So glad Joan entered the Twitter pitch - and got a request!


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