I participated in #pitchwars and #pitchmas last week. What an eye opening experience!

  1. From Pitchwars: READ YOUR OWN QUERY before sending it. I accidentally sent the first draft of my Olivia’s Field query, and not only did three amazing authors read that oops, two of my potential mentors responded. One went through line by line and edited the quesry. Jennifer Malone took the time to really explain to me what a query should look like, even with my rough draft, half sentences that happen because the kids wake up and I forget to read my own work. Thank you!
  2. From Pitchwars I also learned: Olivia doesn’t fit type. I knew that. It’s been an issue brought up by the first beta reader. What happens is that the verbage is a little advanced for a middle grade reader, but the story isn’t sexy enough for a high school reader or NA (I just learned this acronym! It means New Adult). But I propose that a 16 year old heroine shouldn’t be pulling off her blouse for a random older boy 9 weeks after meeting him. Just my opinion and how I wrote Olivia’s Realm.   This could change, so don’t hold me to it, but I think Olivia’s impending college career adds credibility to her impulse for academic success. She had to get that field up and running NOW because she was leaving for greener pastures. I’ll keep thinking about it. Marketability is a bonus, after all.
  3. From PitchMas: The scifi’s 140,000 words can indeed be pitched on twitter in 140 characters, even including the #pitchmas hashtag. Who knew!? I’ll never complain about having to slim the plot down for a query again!
  4. A great number of fantastic agents out there are looking for YA/NA PNR, not sci fi. If you look at the publishing reports, though, scifi is right behind romance, true romance novels, in rates of books published per year. I’m not including non-fiction in this count. What am I saying? Baby, it’s tough out there.

So: read you genre, read your query and your own writing and go out there with your smile forward.