Showing posts with label accommodating agents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label accommodating agents. Show all posts

Discover Pitch Wars by YA author Brenda Drake

"Alone we can do so little; together, we can do so much." Helen Keller
Our chapter of the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators had the honor of welcoming New York Times bestselling YA author Brenda Drake for our August ShopTalk meeting. Brenda is the founder of Pitch Wars, Pitch Madness, and #PitMad. In 2012 the idea came to her while watching an episode of "Cupcake Wars" on TV. On the Pitch Wars’ website, Brenda writes, “["Cupcake Wars" is] a show where bakers have an assistant help them prepare the best cupcakes possible for a round of judges. While watching all the yummy creations come together, I thought it would be great to have a publishing contest where agented/published authors, those who are a few steps ahead, could mentor authors’ full manuscripts and guide them through the publishing trenches.” But even before the "Cupcake Wars," Brenda started her first contest in 2010, described on the website as “Pitch Wars . . . a legacy,” which developed into the contest called “Pitch Madness.”
Today, Pitch Wars is a mentoring program for Middle Grade, Young Adults, New Adult or Adult manuscripts, described on the website:“where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for an agent showcase. Pitch Wars is open to completed and polished full-length fiction manuscripts only. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents.”

Pitch Wars has developed into a community of authors, editors, agents and more who come together to help each other by offering advice, with the eventual goal of publication. One of the authors in our SCBWI chapter found her critique partners in the community. After participating in the mentorship program, the idea for her second book came to her fast. And she says, the information you learn will stay with you.

How Can You Participate?
•    Do your research. Study the Pitch Wars website. Begin on the page, “New? Start Here.” This page offers step-by-step instructions on how to get involved, how to find a mentor, to prepare your submission, submit and join social media. Also, the page provides the Pitch Wars schedule.
•    Click on “About #PitMad,” which is a pitch party on Twitter where writers tweet a 280-character pitch for their completed polished and unpublished manuscripts. All genres are welcomed. Agents and editors make requests by liking/favoriting the tweeted pitch. Every unagented writer is welcome to pitch. All genres/categories are welcomed. #PitMad occurs quarterly and upcoming dates are posted.
•    Go to the Pitch Wars Blog to learn more about the Pitch Madness contests.

Take a few moments and visit Brenda’s website,, take the “Library Jumpers Mystik World Tour,” and check out her other books in a second series, “The Fated;” and her latest standalone book, dubbed “a fast-paced romantic adventure” by Kirkus Review, “Analiese Rising.” One peek at Amazon Reviewers for Thief of Lies, the first book in the Library Jumpers series tells it all: “This has to be one of my all-time favorite fantasy books!” and “Conceptually, this book (series) is brilliant.”
Image courtesy of:
Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 150 articles for adults and children, and several short stories for children. She has recently become editor of the New Mexico SCBWI chapter newsletter and is working on several projects for children. Follow Linda on Facebook.

Importance of Email Signatures with Award-Winning Author

Your Email Signature: Choosing Courteous and Great Marketing

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Borrowed from Carolyn’s free #SharingwithWriters newsletter that has been helping writers succeed since 2003.

In a public e-mail to her clients, someone near and dear to me (an expert) said most people look at the first two lines of an email. That’s it. They aren’t interested in fishing through pages of post-signature blather. People need to have ways to learn about you, not reasons to put up shields.” She advised three or four lines, tops.

Boy, did that set me off. So, these people we send mail to are in such a hurry that they’d rather spend time looking in dozens of places for the information that could just as easily have been in the contact’s e-mail signature?

Here’s my rant—er . . . rebuttal:

My old friend, I so disagree with this.

For one thing, there are no fast rules. Much depends on a writer’s preferred genre. Another depends on the author’s personality. But more than that, I view a signature as a courtesy. Put that word in caps! COURTESY!

There is nothing more annoying than getting an e-mail from someone who doesn't have proper contact information in it. And the trouble is, depending on what the recipient plans to do with the email, it is difficult for the sender to know exactly what will make the life of that contact easier.

Will she need your website address? Will including your Twitter moniker help her in some way? Won't the repeated visual of your book cover to your contacts help your branding? And if your contact has seen your cover before, will it hurt her that much to see it again? Especially considering that old marketing advice based on research that people need to see something seven times before they act on it.

And don't you––as an author or someone whose business it is to help authors--want to sell as many books as possible and to get as much media attention as possible?

In the PR world the winner is the person who makes it easiest on the gatekeeper to do her job. It is a busy world. She doesn't need to be searching for information, especially information that could easily go into a signature.

To arbitrarily tell anyone how to sign their emails without any idea of the tone or purpose of the email seems presumptuous to me. When signatures eliminate something that will help me help them, I may get annoyed. Depending on how busy I am, I may move on to greener fields (meaning a source that understands this gatekeeper’s needs and respects her time!)

I hope you will consider this alternative view. Many authors are already far too reluctant to get the word about their books out there. Having agents, publishers or even fellow authors tell them to arbitrarily limit information in their signatures may encourage their reluctance to do right by their books—and their own careers.

Here is the signature (with permission) used by an author and director of several South Florida book fairs. It could be flashier (maybe include some social network addresses), but it is also quiet enough for most authors to feel comfortable with a similar one:

Hugs, [Yes, hugs. Even rants are mostly designed to help and make enemies!]


Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a former journalist, retailer, and marketer who started publishing how-to books for writers for the classes she taught for UCLA Extension’s renowned Writers’ Program. Members of the California Legislature named her Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment. Learn more about her how-to books and her creative writing at Learn more about book promotion (and avoiding being the reluctant book promoter!) in her The Frugal Book Promoter and the rest of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for write Subscribe to her #SharingwithWriters newsletter at where you’ll find a great free Writers’ Resource section, too. The newsletter subscription form is at the top right of almost every page.

What Authors Need to Know to Avoid Vital Front Matter Booboos

  To WritersontheMove Blog Subscribers and Visitors: 2023 has been a celebratory year for the release of the third edition of  The Frugal Ed...