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Writing Contests!

I don't know about you guys, but the last few days have been a whirlwind for me! Between #PitchtoPublication, #Pg70Pit, and the 1st Five Pages Writing Workshop, I have been a contest entering machine! It is mostly definitely the summer of contests!

Right now, I would probably be anxiously staking the contest twitter feeds, so I figured a better use of my time would be to write a post about where to find all of these amazing contests! So here we go!

First of all, why would an author want to enter a writing contest? Because they're AWESOME! Not only do you have the opportunity to win some amazing prizes (MS critiques, query feedback, Agent representation, etc.), it’s a great way to make new friends and get feedback on your work. Plus, they’re super fun and addicting!

Where can I find these contests? Lots of places! The majority of the contests I follow are housed through twitter or various writer/editor/agent blogs. Here is a list of the contests that I have personally entered or plan to enter in the future. This is certainly not an exhaustive list and it you know of one I've missed, please let me know!

1) Pitch Wars--Hosted by Brenda Drake

Per Brenda's Website: "Pitch Wars is a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions to shine it up for agents. The mentors also critique the writer’s pitch to get it ready for the agent round. Writers send applications (query and first chapter of manuscript) to the four mentors that best fit their work. The mentors then read all their applications and choose the writer they want to mentor for the next two months. Then we hold an agent round with over a dozen agents making requests.”

The next round of Pitch Wars is coming up! Be watching Brenda’s blog for more information sometime this month. The 2015 Pitch Wars submission window will open August 17. Mentor picks will be announced on Sept. 2nd, and the agent round begins on Nov. 3-4th!!

For more information, visit:

2) Pitch Madness—also hosted by Brenda Drake

Per Brenda’s Website: “Pitch Madness is a contest held every March, where writers enter for a chance to win requests from the participating agents. Writers submit a 35-word (max) pitch and the first 250 words of their completed manuscript on submission day. Then a team of readers choose the top sixty (60) entries to go onto the agent round. The agents play a game against the other agents to win requests for more pages of their favorite entries. The best played agent request wins either a partial or full manuscript read of the entry. The game for Pitch Madness changes each event. We’ve played poker, paintball, darts, and Monopoly.”

Obviously the 2015 round has already come and gone, but this is a great contest to look out for in 2016!

For more information, visit:

3) Pitch to Publication— Hosted by Samantha Fountain

Pitch to Publication is a contest that utilizes the awesomeness that is freelance editors! Here’s how it works. When the submission window opens, writers can choose up to 5 editors to query. They send it a short Q&A, query, and first five pages of their manuscript. The editors then comb through the entries and select their favorites. From that list, they request partials (the first 50 pages of MS). After reading the partials, the editors then select one writer that they would like to work with. The editor and writer then have a month to work on polishing the manuscript and getting it agent ready! At the end of the editing period, there is an agent round. Agents will either reply back with a rejection or an offer of representation! The agent/author then have the option to participate in a Publishing House Round! Doesn’t that sound amazing!

The 2015 submission window for Pitch to Publication is now closed, but bookmark this one for next year!

Also, check out the #PitchtoPublication Twitter tag! The editors have been doing #tenqueries and giving really great/informative feedback!

4) Query Kombat—Hosted by Michelle Hauck, SC Write & Michael Anthony

Per Michelle’s Website: “Query Kombat will host 64 kombatants in a single-elimination, tournament style query-off. Entries will go head to head (one on one) with one another until only ONE entry remains. There will be a total of six rounds in Query Kombat. 64 entries in round one, 32 in round two, 16 in round three, 8 in round four, 4 in round five, and 2 in round six. Entries will be matched up based on target audience and genre.

If you secure a spot in the tournament, your query and the first 250 words of your manuscript (to the end of a complete sentence) will be pitted against another query and first 250 words. Judges will read each match-up and vote 'Victory' on the best entry.

The entry with the most ‘victories’ at the end of the round will advance to the next round until only one champion remains.

The Query Kombat tournament is open only to unagented writers seeking representation. Your manuscript must be complete, polished, and ready to submit. Submissions for Picture Books, MG, YA, NA, and Adult works will be accepted.”

The 2015 Query Kombat JUST ENDED, but this is another awesome contest to be looking for in 2016!

5) New Agent— Hosted by Michelle Hauck

Per Michelle’s Website: “New Agent is just as it sounds: a contest for newer agents. A chance to roll out the red carpet and welcome another batch of new agents to the writer community. The agent round will be July 27th-29th. The contest will feature query letters and first 250 words. There will be four or five experts as slush readers to form teams. There will be 30 entries chosen by the teams to go to the agent round. Some of those will be group picks (entries that more than one team wanted.) Each entry will get a very short window to "tweak" their entry. No big revisions or huge changes. Just touchups with advice from their team leader. This contest will take MG, YA, NA, and Adult of all genres. No non-fiction or picture books.”

This one is coming up fast! The submission window will open July 15th at noon!

6) Page 70 Pitch —Hosted by Lara Willard

Page 70 Pitch is a little different from most other contests. Instead of submitting a pitch, query, or first page, writers are asked to submit Page 70 of their manuscripts. It’s based off of the McLuhan Test and the theory behind it is that the 70th page of your MS should be a good snapshot of your book’s style.

The submission window for the 2015 #Pg70Pit JUST ENDED, but I would definitely bookmark this one for next year!

For more information, visit:

Also, check out the #pg70pit twitter tag! Lots of good feedback and info!

7) Secret Agent—hosted by Miss Snark's First Victim

The Secret Agent contest is a monthly contest that runs once a month (with the exception of June and December). Each contest includes a maximum of 50 entries, which will be posted on the opening day of the contest and critiqued by the blog community and a Secret Agent whose identity will not be revealed until the contest closes. Submission guidelines are posted one week before the opening of each contest.

I don’t have the date for when the submission window opens, but it should be soon! Keep your eyes peeled!

8) PitchMAS—Hosted by Jessa Russo & Tamara Mataya

PitchMAS is a 3-day pitch fest and workshop that takes place bi-annually in July and December. Per the website, the purpose of PitchMas is to “help you avoid the slush with a chance to pitch your completed manuscripts directly to agents and editors!”

No word on the submission window for this either, but I will keep you guys posted! Be on the lookout!

For more information, visit:

9) 1st Five Pages Workshop— Hosted by Adventures in YA Publishing

Per the AIYAP website: “The First Five Pages Workshops begin the first Saturday of every month. We accept the first five middle grade or young adult manuscripts received by email starting at noon. As time permits, two of our permanent mentors will work alongside a guest mentor to tell you what we see in those first five pages with respect to your voice, plot, characters, setting, pacing and writing in general. Depending on the mentor's schedule, they may comment only on your initial entry, on the initial entry and one revision, or on all subsequent revisions. You'll also get feedback and comments from your peers, and have the opportunity to post two revisions, so you'll end up the strongest possible start.”

This is a monthly contest and the submission window opens at NOON (EST) on the first Saturday of every month—selected entries are posted on the following Monday.

For more information, visit:

10) Twitter Pitch Parties—Various Hosts

There are TONS of pitch parties that occur on twitter on a year round basis. Basically, you submit your pitch via a tweet (140 characters max) using the pitch party hashtag. If an agent/editor favorites your tweet, then that means they’d be interested in seeing your query and maybe a partial!

These are the big ones I follow, but I know there are tons more! Let me know if you have one I can add to the list!

#pit2pub Small Press Twitter Party -- Info HERE. Next Party: July 15th

#AdPit Mini Conference & Pitch Party -- Info HERE.

#PitMAD Twitter Party -- More info HERE. Next Party: Sept. 10th

#KidPit Twitter Party -- Info HERE.

#SFFPit Twitter Pitch Contest -- Info HERE

#PitchMAS Twitter Pitch Contests -- Info HERE

11) On the Block-- Hosted by Miss Snark's First Victim

This is a new contest, just announced today! This contest is designed like an auction and will feature 24 writers' first pages! All genres (except erotica) are accepted! There is a $20.00 entrance fee for the contest and you can only enter a max of 2 manuscripts. The first 250 entries will be accepted. Once the 24 entries are chosen, agents will have time to read the pages and decide which they'd like to bid on. On Nov. 10th, the bidding will begin! Entries go to the highest bidder--which means a full request for the writer! How awesome is that?

The submission window for On the Block is Tuesday, September 10 from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm EDT!

12) Red Light, Green LIght-- Hosted by Adventures in YA Publishing

This is another brand new contest! This contest is unique because focused on the very first line of your MS! Here's how it works: When the submission window opens, the first 100 people to enter will be selected and asked to submit the first sentence of their manuscript. Then a team of judges will votes and WE, the readers, also get to submit votes! The top 50 1st lines will move to the next round. Then a second sentence will be added and voting will begin again. There are multiple rounds and participants will be whittled down from 100 to 50, 50 to 25, 25 to 10, and then finally 10 to 3.

The top ten entries (excluding the top three) will each receive a one chapter (up to 12 pages) critique from a published or soon to be published author. The 3 grand prize winners will each receive a one chapter (up to 12 pages) critique and/or partial request by at least one participating agent. The grand prize winner will also receive a partial request from the amazing Ammi-Joan Paquette, who is currently open only to submissions via referrals.

We all know how important those 1st lines are and this is a great way to shine yours to perfection and win some awesome prizes! The submission window for the contest opens on July 21st at 9am (EST) and the 1st 50 correctly formatted entires will be selected. The window reopens at 9PM (EST) for the remaining 50.

For more information, visit: & check out the #GreenLightWIP twitter tag!

Contests are a GREAT way to make new connections, get invaluable feedback on your work, and earn some incredible opportunities! Check em out and good luck to all of you!

Until Next Time, Folks!

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