Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Last Minute Agent Pitch Contest Details...and a Couple Surprises!

UPDATE: All windows for the agent pitch contest have been filled. No worries though, you still have a shot in the small press contest if you didn't make it, which will begin in a couple of weeks. More info to come!

Update #2: Because I had to jump in a car and travel to a farm with little to no internet connection on this weekend, I was unable to post this weeks prize winner, so I will double up on next Friday's prizes because of that. Also, I'm so sorry I wasn't as accessible this weekend. I will be back to business Monday!

As I write this post I can feel the nervous excitement bubbling through the internet from those getting ready for the Agent Pitch Contest...or it could just be my own anticipation! TWO DAYS PEOPLE!!!! Are you ready? 
I've noticed some great feedback on the Pitch Polish entries! I even saw a few 1st round judges lending some critter advice. Thanks for that:)

Now it's time to talk shop. I've got few things I need to go over for those of you entering the agent pitch contest, as well as a couple extra tidbits of goodness.

Here they are in no particular order...

Twitter Q&A - Thursday 9PM EST 
The idea of getting an agent can seem rather daunting. But when you know what you're doing it's not nearly as bad. I was told at a writer's conference last year that when you take the time to do your homework, you're putting yourself way ahead of other querying writers. I want to help put you in that position. Join me and some of my writer friends, who've been down this road and gotten agents, on Twitter where we will be at your disposal. Ask your writing questions and we'll do our best to answer them. There may also be a few agent interns and even a couple agents stopping in as well!

Critique Giveaways
Today I got the sweetest email from a fellow gutgaan, RuthAnne who wanted to thank me for this blogfest by treating everyone to a chance to win a 50 page critique from her. I don't think I need to tell you how valuable (and sweet) this is! Go HERE for more info. She will announce the winners Friday, 12PM MST so you'd better hurry on over! 

Now for the rules...

First and foremost, you must sign up on the GUTGAA Master List HERE if you want to join in the contest.

New Email Address 
If you were around for the Pitch Polish, you know how mayhem-inducing it was for me when I opened the entry window. I missed entries and miscounted. So, rather than have 200 entries fly into an inbox that is already crazy-full, I made a new one. You will be sending your query and first 150 words for the agent pitch contest to gutgaa(at)gmail(dot)com. Easy enough, right?

How to Submit Your Agent Pitch Contest Entry
There will be two entry windows: 11:00 AM EST and 4 PM EST. You will send your query and first 150 words of a COMPLETED manuscript to the email address: gutgaa(at)gmail(dot)com. Each window will close after I have 100 entries, making it a total of 200 entries. I will email you with the words "you're in" if you made it. I know you will be excited, but, so I can stay organized, please don't respond to the email. You are only allowed ONE entry and the entry can only have ONE query and ONE first 150 words. If your 150 words ends in the middle of a sentence, you may go to the end of that sentence. 

Format for the Agent Pitch Contest Entry 
I noticed this was a hard thing for a lot of people during the pitch polish. I also know that if you don't follow an agents submissions rules, most won't even open your email, so I am going to be a stickler on the format. I hate to do it, but if you do not follow the guidelines, I will have to pass on your entry. Also, once your entry is in, I cannot change anything on it so make sure it is exactly the way you want. 

Please send me your entry in Times(font), 12pt(size)-or normal font in email, single spaced, email style (meaning do not indent, please single space, and only one space between paragraphs. This makes the process so much easier for me and the blog hosts. 

Email Subject Line must read:
GUTGAA Agent Pitch Contest: YOUR NAME

Body of the email:
GENRE - ex: YA sci-fi  (I need it this specific for grouping purposes please)


I need the meat of your query here. Again, no "Dear Agent" or "I choose you because". Also, no word count or credentials (please see example below).  

First 150 Words:

I need the first 150 words of your completed manuscript here (please see example below).

Example entry submission:


YA sci-fi


Kali Addison turns seventeen the day nukes annihilate her dad's time machines. Her birthday presents? A dead family and the truth--time travel has nothing to do with science and everything to do with her.

Since her dad's work has turned to ash, it seems Kali is now a freaking time machine, and those responsible for ridding the world of them know she's even more. Too bad Kali doesn't. Maybe the oh-so-hot guy, who shows up every time she's catapulted into the past can help her figure things out. But knowing the truth would mean facing a life she forgot for a reason. 

Now she must decide what's more important: Continuing to live in the dark, or embracing the danger of who she's always been. If she chooses wrong. Time is up. For everyone. 

First 150 Words:

I hate time travel.

It's the one absolute thought I have in my head when I crane my neck to take in the massive Clandestine, in all its bland glory. The Commoners appear just as dull as the timeport with their solemn expressions and outfits the color of dirty snow.

Today, I match them.

Preparation for a journey through time doesn't allow for distractions like color or commotion. There are no windows here either. So no way to enjoy the cool spring breeze or hear the birds chirp me a happy birthday song.


I get to be serenaded by the whispers of curious onlookers wondering why I'm travelling with the rest of the public, being jostled about from line to line, until we make it to the time dock I choose.   

I guess I have that on my side. My loser friends, Sage, Greer and Flip, are letting me pick the "when" we travel to as my birthday present.

Covert 1st Round Judge Names:
The first round of the contest will be making it past the judges that I introduced to you HERE. They will be prowling the entries under secret identities. So if you see the names below on any of the entries, pay close attention.

Missus Braidyhead
Princess Fluffypants
Sugar Magnolia
Molly Loo
The Rooster
The Revisionist
Lumpy Space Princess
Lady Luna
Lady Blingley
Miss Mary Mac

Aren't they great?! Now, when the 200 entries are divided into the five groups and sent to their assigned host blog I will let you know at that time which of the above judges will be assigned to your group.

I think that about does it for this post. Sorry for the length, but these things needed to be said. 

Questions? Comments? TWO DAYS!!!!!


Katharina Gerlach said...

Thank you so much for doing this. I got some really helpful comments on my entry and would love to get a chance at showing my revised bit. but if I'm not chosen (or wake up too late), I'll cheer on the others.

Anonymous said...

Hi Deana! Thanks for the info nice and early -- so good to be prepared!

One question: On the above instructions, you list only title-genre-word count under body of email, but on your example body-of-email, you have author's name-title-genre-word count. Do we list our names in the body of the email or not? (Sorry -- I can't remember if this contest is anonymous entrants or not!)

Thanks for how crazy busy you have been through Gutgaa! Sooo helpful and positive for us still looking for an agent. :)

Heather M Bryant said...

Pretty bloody excited. I can't see me making it in (the whole 1am thing) but it will be exciting to see the ones who go up.

Also, on the full schedule I thought you mentioned two opening times? Or was that too difficult?

Deana said...

Jenn- Yes, this time the name will be in the subject line of the email After the pitch polish entry window I learned it would help me much more to do it that way. I'll fix the schedule to reflect that. Thanks for letting me know:)

Heather- YES, oh man! There will be two windows. I've changed the post to reflect that:) They are at 11AM EST and 4PM EST. What would I do without you all!?!

Seth Z. Herman said...

Hey Deana,
Thanks so much again for doing all this (crazy!) work for us.

Sorry to be annoying:
A question about the font - you asked for Times New Roman, but Gmail does not feature that as an option. Do you need us to copy and paste from Microsoft Word, or will another font suffice?


Heather M Bryant said...

Umm I think the correct question is what would we do without you? Geez, woman. You're only giving a few hundred bloggers the chance to go up in front of some pretty heavy-weight agents. How could that possibly be hard work?!
And I can't believe I forgot to mention - those aliases are awesome. Some of them made me chuckle.

Heather M Bryant said...

Hey Seth, if you copy and paste from word everything can get a bit scrambled and you don't actually realise until it's sent. I may be wrong, but I think Deana mentioned the standard email font would be acceptable too.

Jess said...

Oh my gosh, I'm so excited!! I'm getting jittery :)

Thanks so much for hosting this!

Stina said...

Good luck to all who enter!

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

Is it wrong that I'm already going starry-eyed over some of the first round judges based solely on their secret identity names? I absolutely adore these!

Misha Gerrick said...

Yes, I have tried to change my e-mail to Times New Roman before, but gmail doesn't give it as an option. What do I do then?

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for this great opportunity. In the directions you do not show your name in the body of the email. In your sample you do. Which do you prefer? Thanks! I like rules. :-)

Misha Gerrick said...

Just so I can see the answer...

Ink in the Book said...

I am so excited I can barely stand it. Really. I didn't make it into the Pitch Polish, but I did post mine on my blog. I got some great advice:)

One things for sure. I am determined to make it into the contest. Don't be surprised if mine isn't the first to make it into your inbox.

Can't wait!

Deana said...

Seth and Misha, I answered your questions below, but also for anyone wondering what the best route might be...what I did when I entered these contests was open up word and paste my 150 into the doc. Then I would fix it, 12 pt, Times, single space, left indent, one space between paragraphs. Then I would paste that into the email. Before I sent it off I would send it off to myself just to make sure the formatting stuck when sent. I hope that helps.

Seth - Heather's right, right beside the Times font, it also says normal email font will work as well. I highlighted it in red so everyone can see that now.

Laura- I know! Aren't they great? I thought they did a pretty fabulous job of picking out those names:)

Misha- I know, that's why I also said right beside it that you can use 'normal' for email. I highlighted it in red so it's now easier to see.

Marcy - No, name only in subject line. Thanks for pointing out my sample mistake. I changed it:)

Talynn - Do it, girl!

Anonymous said...

Is the link to sign up for the contest the master linky list for GUTGAA? Because the link isn't actually a link :)

Unknown said...

I have the same question as above, but I also want to chime in with a huge thank you for this event. I've received invaluable advice so far. Even if I don't make the agent contest, this has made my query better and I loved seeing everyone else's work. Excuse me while I gush more in private. Thanks, again!

Emily R. King said...

This is gonna be EPIC! :D

Zvi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seth Z. Herman said...

Thanks so much for getting back to us, Deana.

Katie Hamstead said...

Is the sign up the same as the main one? I can't get the link to work

sheri levy said...

Thanks for all the hard work. You are really paying it forward! I have received fabulous information on my query, very helpful suggestions. Can't wait to try again!!If we must sign in, I couldn't click on HERE!I will try again.

Tamara said...

I also had trouble with the sign-up link. Is the link listed anywhere else?

Deana said...

Sorry guys, the link is fixed now. And yes, it is the master GUTGAA list:)

Carrie-Anne said...

Is Garamond okay for the e-mail font? I hate Times New Roman and have religiously used Palatino (with the backup font Bookman) for the last 19 years, but I think Garamond in e-mail looks close enough to my pet fonts, and not so boring and generic. I only have a few font choices in my e-mail to date.

Emily White said...

Thanks, Deana, for this great opportunity!

For anyone using yahoo email, the Serif 1 font looks exactly like Times New Roman (if you don't want to risk the copy/paste).

Deana said...

Carrie-Anne - I suppose you can use whatever font you would like, but it will still be changed to Times because having one standard font just makes it easier for the judges. I promise I'm not trying to be difficult.

I promise guys, the font won't make or break if accept your submission because I know email programs are different. BUT - all of the other stuff will.

Shiela Calderón Blankemeier said...

You are so full of awesome, Deana!! Thank you so much for all you're doing :)

Juliana L. Brandt said...

I didn't realize this was only two days away! *runs to get email ready* :)

Kathleea said...

So excited for this. I've tweaked my query and first 150 words many times!!! Good luck to those that make it in. Thanks, Deana for doing this! I wish I had known about it last year but hey, maybe this is my year!!!!

LisaAnn said...

Woohooo!! I absolutely cannot wait to get to "judgin'!"

Brinda said...

Hi Deanna-I've been pitching my MS as New Adult. Can I label it that way or do you want me to choose the YA or Adult Genre label? I know you need to know where to put it.

Deana said...

Brinda - Absolutely list it as New Adult:)It can be Adult, New Adult, YA, MG, Chapter Book or Picture Book.

I'm curious, is there some place I left New Adult out? I just want to change it if so:)

Connie B. Dowell said...

Woo! I can't wait for the Twitter Q&A!

Kelley Lynn said...

I've said it before but I'll say it again. You are amazing woman.

And I'm SO pumped to judge the entries. It wasn't too long ago I was the one entering these things. Gosh, good luck everyone!!

Stephsco said...

Looking forward to making some tweaks and readying the trigger finger for Friday.

LyndseyLewellen said...

Deana, you are so awesome for doing this! I can't wait so badly that I typed mine up and have it sitting on my computer ready for me to hit "send" on Friday. Oh man! Exciting!

Angela Brown said...

Deana, you make an excellent point regarding the need to be a stickler to the rules set up. This is very good practice for literally Gearing Up to Get an Agent: practicing following submission guidelines to a "T". So thank you for this additional lesson that many of us are picking up in order to hopefully make it as part of the 200 for the agent pitch contest.

And to RuthAnne, you are a doll!!!

Jenny S. Morris said...

Deana, you are so awesome! I am stoked for the judging round. I love everyone's names. ;0)

Good luck everyone!

Charlie N. Holmberg said...

Thank you so much for making all the effort to do this for us! I'm really excited for this contest!

Michael Sirois said...

Thanks for doing this, Deana.

I got some great feedback on my query and story opening, have done judicious revisions, and am ready and raring to go.


Elizabeth Briggs said...

Can't wait to read the entries! Good luck everyone!

Shallee said...

Yay for the contest! Good luck to all those who enter.

Dr Margaret Aranda said...

My first time. Getting the hang of it. I'll have to stop by your blog more often!

Dr Margaret Aranda

Trisha said...

Just to be clear, is EST New York time?? I'm in Australia and we have EST in Australia too, so it's confusing ;)

Unknown said...

thanks again for doing this, you are too sweet! also thanks for the advice to send it to yourself, what a great idea!! I sent it over and over until I was sure it was right, and I'm still nervous something might be off :( oh the pressure we writers feel when agents are involved!!

Anonymous said...

Since my submission is a picture book and needs some illo notes to understand or compliment the text, do I count the illo notes as part of the word count?

Leslie S. Rose said...

To quote Barney from "How I Met Your Mother," this contests is LEGEN - wait for it - DARY.

Deana said...

Trisha- Yep, it is NY time:)

Anon- I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what illo notes. I can only take the first 150 words of you book...even if it is a PB. I hope that helps.

Thanks for the sweet words everyone! Love love you back! And good luck tomorrow!!!

RAD - Dot Painter said...

Your energy is inspiring! Thanks for everything! - Rachel

Katharina Gerlach said...

Sorry for sending my entry too early. I miscalculated the time difference yet again. That's for getting up too early... ;-)

Jane Ann McLachlan said...

Hi Deanna,
I didn't think of revising my pitch for review on the pitch polish, until someone else did it. I think that's a great idea, even though it's too late for this competition. Could you maybe announce that people can do this still and that the pitch polish can continue, so people will know to keep reviewing the pitches if they want to?

Unknown said...

I am new to this online chatting, so I don't know the rules. I am hoping it is ok to ask these questions.
Is it all right to have a small curse word in a title of a book? (piss)
Can we follow all the people in this conference via twitter? Which I need to figure out twitter. lol.
Thanks to anyone that answers me.

Kathleea said...

How soon will we know if we got into the first window?

CallMeKarma said...

Thanks for doing this! Looking forward to the entries.

Unknown said...

Yes, what Kathleen said. :)

Dr. Milestone said...

How long should we wait for the email before assuming we didn't make it into the first window and try again at 4pm EST? I sent it right at 11:00am and I don't want to get disqualified for sending again...but I don't want to be left out if I did send the first one too early!

Eileen Rhoadarmer said...

I know you must be crazy busy, but I, too, was wondering how long to wait before assuming. I'm also wondering how to know _exactly_ when the window opens. My clock may be off by several minutes from yours. If mine is too late, 100 people may already submit in the 2 or 3 minutes between your clock saying it's 4:00pm and mine saying so. On the other hand, if my clock is faster than yours and you see it arriving at 3:58, would that disqualify me? Sorry to be so picky, but if you're receiving over 100 emails in the span of two minutes, then you'll be making decisions based on this stuff. If you do get the time before 4:00, I think we'd all appreciate knowing how this works.

Thanks SOOO much for all you're doing with this!

Heather M Bryant said...

I'm assuming if we haven't received an email by now that means we didn't make it in, going by the whole 'no response equates to a no' rule.

Considering I sent it at 1.01 (my time - 11.01 yours) there must have been a lot of eager people with their fingers hovering over 'send'.

Deana said...

I can, but out will hasn't to wait until later. Iwill be traveling for the next ten hours. It will either be tonight put tom.

Deana said...

Yes and yes:-)

Deana said...

You would already know:-)

Deana said...

I emailed right away, so you would already know. Trier is a great way to stay .up to date. Computer clocks are the best

Heather M Bryant said...

Holy Moly. How quickly did it fill up?

And did you get many early ones?

Aldrea Alien said...

Seems I missed out with both windows. -_-
Ah well, I don't think I'd make the top 50 anyway. Be interesting to see who does and from what genres.

Wishing good luck to all those who got through. ^_^

Unknown said...

So we would know if we made the second window by now? It's crazy, I sent the first one at 11:10, and the second one at 4:15. :(

Heather M Bryant said...

I sent the first one at 11.01 and the second at 4 on the dot. And no dice. It's crazy how fast they must have filled up.

Aw well, I'll be happy to cheer on those that made it through.

Kayla Olson said...


Thanks so much for all you're doing to run this whole thing. I'm guessing I would know by now if my entry had been accepted? I sent it at 4:00 EST on the dot, but fear it didn't pass your updated submission guidelines. I went by the guidelines on your FAQ page, which weren't nearly as specific as the ones I later found in this post (which I only saw *after* I sent the email, unfortunately). It would have been helpful if the FAQ page had been updated, as well. (I found this contest through Twitter—a friend had linked to the schedule post. I clicked from there directly over to the FAQ page, and thus *completely* missed today's most recent post.)

Anyway. I look forward to reading the entries that made it through. Thanks for all your hard work—I know y'all are probably still working out the kinks for submissions and all that. Just thought I'd mention my difficulty so this doesn't happen to anyone else in the future.

:) Kayla Olson

Traci VW said...

Whew! What a day it has been. I didn't make the first window, but the second window I did. Yay! I'll tell ya, my heart was pounding and my eyes went all googly watching that dang clock.

Thanks a million Deana for all this fun!

Kathleea said...

I didnt make the first window but I made the second one! So excited to see if mine goes forward. :)

Unknown said...

Deama: Are people still finding out if they made the second window? Did you receive mine?

Unknown said...

Deana, not Deama...

Heather M Bryant said...

Laura, my dear. I'm afraid we've probably missed out. It's midnight NYC time so I'm guessing Deana has gotten back to everyone.

At least there's still the small press to come.

And Deana - obviously you can't personalise because of the amount of pitches you probably received, but is there any chance you noticed a reoccurring problem with the format requirements that caused you to auto-delete?