Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why You Should See YALitChat Pitch Slam--Also, Congrats to Deana!

In case you've ever wanted to find out what agents are thinking before they send that form rejection, now's your chance.

Well, maybe not for your work, since I was a slacker and didn't tell you about this while you could still join in the fun and bloody games, but still.

Over the last two weeks over at YALitChat, Pitch Slam 2 has been in full swing. Three agents have made it all the way through the scores of pitches that entered. One agent is still commenting.

It's been brutal, folks. BRUTAL. A virtual bloodbath.

Also, instructive.

I now know:

  1. Why agents don't have time to send personalized query feedback--the hours these ladies are logging while they comment are simply amazing. There is NO WAY they could do this with their slush piles. Even if they did nothing for their existing clients, there are simply not enough hours in the day.
  2. Why most queries / pitches get rejected: they don't stand out. They sound like everything else out there. Even if the premise is exciting, if it sounds like something the agent has read before--and doesn't have some indication as to what makes it unique, they pass.
  3. "Pixies" + "rainbow colored" = "This sounds like MG" Who knew? 
Head on over and see for yourself. Even if your pitch isn't in there (and, really, you'll probably feel better about yourself if it isn't), the simulated slush pile they have going on is amazingly educational.

In that "pain is good" kind of way.

Also, I should mention that my writer's groupie, Deana Barnhart, got rather negative reactions on her pitch from the participating agents... and still landed an agent yesterday. 

Shows what they know. (It probably has something to do with the fact that her agent got to read more than six lines, but still.) 

Congrats, Deana!


  1. Great info, Robin. We're all trying to learn how to make our writing stand out more.

    Congrats to Deana!

  2. Thanks for the congrats Robin! And it is no joke, my querying abilities stink BIG TIME:)

    1. Which brings me so much hope, you have NO idea. ;)

  3. Wow, so happy for Deana!!! Yeah, my pitch got torn apart, too . .. but what do they know indeed, since afterwards I got an offer for publishment:) But, like you said, it may have to do with the fact that I'm not good at summing it all up in 6 lines. Cheers to those fearless (and SMART) souls who are:)

  4. I will check it out. I lurk on the pitch and query forums and sites that host events. I absorb what I can before I venture into that world myself. :)

  5. I've been reading through the pitch slam, you're right I see a lot of harsh comments -- but probably for the best. I saw a comment early on about how YA historical is a tough sell and that plots on racism are inherently preachy. I would pitch my book different than the person who wrote the piece I mentioned, but still. I keep clinging to the fact I've seen 2 agents now say they are looking for a "YA Mad Men." I guess all I can do is try to write the best story I can and go from there. :)

  6. How funny. I thought I commented on here before. I guess I rushed over to wish Deana congrats too fast. lol