Wednesday, September 5, 2012

#PitchMadness selection summary

Congratulations to everyone who submitted to Pitch Madness. There were some outstanding entries and I know there were a lot of entries I was sad to not be able to include in my final selection. I actually let a couple go after the new window. Thankfully at least one was picked up by another host blog.

A lot of these pitches I think actually are Speculative Fiction. But people don't seem to know what that is so here's an article on it.

My biggest turn offs when going through subs were:

  • Word count - 75K is not MG. Nor is 100K. There were the reverse problems too. YA should be 50K minimum (except countries like Australia who accept 45K) [edit: For MG I'm talking straight MG here. Upper MG is more towards the YA word count. Yes, there are exceptions like Harry Potter. But for the purpose of this contest I was going by industry standards. There's links in the comments at the bottom, which include posts by people in the industry, on the word counts.]
  • MC age wrong for genre - Generally 13 - 17 MCs are YA, 13 and younger is MG.
  • Vague pitch - Some pitches didn't make sense to me and I can't champion something I don't understand.
  • Connection - I'm naughty and I don't have any contemporaries. I really wanted one, but none connected with me.

So here's my final list:

#1 YA Sci-Fi - this one I stole from the maybe pile because I loved what the MC was so much!

#2 MG Historical Fantasy - Something that repeatedly came up in the agent wish list was Historical and MG, not necessarily together though, but I still thought this one would catch an agent's eye. It's got links to my day job, but it's not the same one I original picked.

#3 YA SciFi - Looks like it deals with another SciFi concept I love (even though my husband tells me that a story line based on that concept almost killed Spiderman).

#4 YA Paranormal - I'm not convinced the author has this genre right. Personally, I would class it as Speculative Fiction based on the pitch. I snavelled this one before the others even got a chance to look at it, it's that good.

#5 New Adult SciFi - If you can't tell by now, I have a thing for SciFi and I think it's making a comeback. And this one has starships! (Guess who did a lot of Star Wars make-believe as a kid. I made my sister be an Ewok so I could be Leia).

#6 YA Historical Thriller - Again I think this is actually Speculative Fiction (my first genre love!) because of the cross genre components. But I know not a lot of people know or understand the genre. However, this pitch and concept totally sold me.

#7 MG Adventure - What every child needs - a fantasy adventure book that also has elements of my day job. Lets see if anyone can figure out what industry I work in.

#8 Adult Mystery - I kept coming back to this one, drawn in by the MC's occupation.

#9 YA Thriller - I loved the pitch and the concept, but the MC sold it for me. No white wash here!

#10 New Adult SciFi/Horror - Mixing genres can mean Speculative Fiction, but I'd have to read more of this one to know for sure. I really wanted a horror and the MC concept rocked.

#11 YA Fantasy - YA Game of thrones anyone? Great stakes and fantastic opening.

#12 YA Steampunk - Do I need to say anymore?

#13 YA Paranormal - This was one I saw earlier on and it kept calling to me "pick me, pick me." Again, a multicultural feel to the pitch. Excited about this one.

#14 Historical Romance - Another one that's potentially classified incorrectly. But the historical/fantasy mix reminds me of The Falconer (not released yet people) and I think these novels will be one of the next trends.

#15 YA SciFi - This could be Speculative Fiction too! I think SciFi authors need to double check their genres.

For those of you who didn't make it, don't despair as there's a #PitMad Twitter pitch party on September 13 from 8am to 8pm EST. And I'll be announcing a new pitch contest on September 20. All YA genres will be accepted, possibly MG. Look out for the #PitchOn and follow here for more details.

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  1. Ooh...Three YA Sci-Fi's...I'm crossing every finger and toe I have, mine is one of them! Btw the entries sound awesome. Great job!

    1. Thanks. Remember if you didn't make it onto a host blog list, there's still a Twitter Pitch Party on September 13 from 8AM to 8PM EDT onthe hashtag #PitMad. And there's also going to be a pitch session, called Get Your Pitch On #PitchOn, with a great publisher on my blog in October - announced after Pitch Madness is done.

  2. Awesome. I'm looking forward to seeing if I made it to your YA Paranormal list. fingers crossed

    1. I'm not sure which entry was yours, but see the advice above :)

  3. *may or may not be somewhat flailing over the implications of #12*

    1. *flails with Tristina*

      When the slushies said there was a Steam Punk I dove into the emails and snavelled it =P

  4. I was at WriteOnCon recently and there was an excellent thread and discussion about what is YA and MG.

    Upper MG word count was the same as lower YA (80 000 wasn't out of the ordinary) - and it was less the age of the protags than the age of the intended audience that was critical, as well as the type of interaction and focus of the protags ie romance was not out for MG but it definitely didn't go beyond hand holding and kissing and lots of quivery feelings, whereas YA was much more...ahem...gritty. There was one very good agent post as well - YA protags are externally focussed and developing self-awareness, MG protags were internally focussed and reactive. But the word count wasn't really discussed in this 'tweens' bracket.

    From memory the first Harry Potter (firmly MG) was around 80 000 words.

    Would you like to expand on why you think MG ends at a much lower word count and what else you would use to define the distinction, please? The big six publishing houses often list the intended reader brackets and MG extends to grade 8 - Juliet Marillier and Carole Wilkinson are marketed in upper MG/lower YA.

    Thanks. It was cool to watch.

    1. Thanks for you comment. In regards to word count, there are always exceptions to the rule, and Harry Potter (about 76K) is deemed one of them. So is Twilight (more than 100K). Both went over the traditional word count.

      However, for the purposes of this contest, I tended to stick within the recommended word count range. Some MG entries had high word counts and didn't specify they were upper MG. My opinions are based on research I've done in the past. I even double checked the word counts during the contest.

      Here's some links that look at word count that exemplify my opinion and some of the posts include great commentary on why it should be those word counts:

      I hope that helps answer your questions.