This was certainly a new and fun Twitter Pitch Contest hosted by Brenda Drake, otherwise known for the popular Twitter Pitch Contest, #PitMad. (Click here to read the host’s page.)
Their Twitter handle lists this contest as:
A collaboration between #MSWL and #PitMad. Three teams of cupids (writers, agents, editors) compete to make the most literary matches. February 11, 1-4 EST.
Basically, the teams of cupids rummage through the 3 hours of pitches and hold them up against #MSWL (Manuscript Wish List) posts from agents and editors. If they feel they’ve found a match, they bring the pitch to the agent/editor’s attention. If the agent/editor favorites the tweet, that means they are interested and hopefully the cupids have created a love match!
Agents are busy people. Really. Busy. People. Events like these help authors to rise above the slush pile with a little extra oomph, and sometimes agents who aren’t even open to submissions will make exceptions if they make a connection through a pitch contest like this one.
And if that isn’t enough of a reward for you, then look at it this way. #MSWL got a decent refresher!
First, the winning tweets! Sorted by agent and including their posted #MSWL just to compare how accurate their #MSWL is to their interest in pitches. This post isn’t just to see the winners, but to better understand agents and publishers, and what it is they’re looking for. This is an activity I’ve done on my own for some time, and I’m an author who is in the spirit of sharing what I learn with others. Writing is not a solo endeavor. We need to stick together!
-This is a listing compiled based on live Twitter feed and is not an official nor complete list since a complete list would take me 1209498456 hours to complete *manic laugh*. There are a TON of tweets, so if I missed yours and you’d like to see it here, feel free to send a comment and I’ll add it to the list.
-Additionally, I have no affiliation with this contest. MG and PB are not included since this is not a subject interest of this blog.
-If pitches won multiple favorites, they are listed only once. Feel free to click any of the links to see the tweets yourself.**
Favorited by Literary Agents:
Agent: Mandy Hubbard via Emerald City Agency (She has recently founded her own agency after 6 years with D4EO)
#MSWL: YA where teens fake being adults, a la DON’T TELL MOM THE BABYSITTER’S DEAD.
#MSWL– YA with an absurdly ridiculous premise (like KILL THE BOY BAND, or the movie THE HANGOVER.
Tweets Fav’d by Mandy:
Agent: Peter Knapp via New Leaf Literary
#mswl – smart general fiction for adults. Think ME BEFORE YOU, THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS, TO BE SUNG UNDERWATER, THE AGE OF MIRACLES
Agent: Diedre Knight via The Knight Agency
I would love to find a Gilded Age novel. #MSWL
I would love to find historical fiction about ancient Sparta, Ancient Greece or Romo. #mswl
Tweets Fav’d by Diedre:
Agent: Mike Hoogland via DGLM
Looking for some thought-provoking speculative fiction grounded in realism #mswl
Would love to see some #A #S #T #LF #MSWL #PitMatch. I also wouldn’t say no to some #WF and #SF
Tweet’s Fav’d by Mike:
Agent: Caitlin McDonald via DMLA
I feel like this goes w/o saying but I’m really really dying for non-Western fantasy. Either on Earth or a secondary-world is fine. #MSWL
BTW, I also handle nonfiction, so hit me up with any particularly geeky book proposals you might have! #MSWL
Also looking for stories set in unusual or remote locations. Could be SFF or contemporary, but stays in the region, not transitory. #MSWL
Also still looking for that Leverage book, you guys! Heists heists heists, please send me your heists! Ideally w/ lots of women #MSWL
Canon bisexuality, for example, I am definitely eager to see more of in media #MSWL
I’d also love books that focus on female friendships–either contemporary or genre fiction. All-female fantasy quest! Girl heist team! #MSWL
I’d love diverse representation that is not presented as “issue books”–just queer, POC, & differently-abled people doing stuff. #MSWL
Big #MSWL day on Twitter today! #1 on my wishlist is lesbians: send me lesbians doing literally anything, I am dying for representation!
Tweets Fav’d by Caitlin:
Last one for now: poignant boy-girl FRIENDSHIP. Not everything has to end in romance. Not everything should. #MSWLHuge fan of anti-heroes. There has to be something likeable about them, but entirely redeemable..? #MSWLLiterary fiction with oh-so-casual magical realism. Like THE PALE KING, where someone can hover above his desk and it’s nbd. #MSWLSee Amelia’s Feed for more…
The Saddle Club for the next (tech) generation. Frienship and ponies. Need I say more? #mswlAmerican memoir that explores an unknown story or a hidden facet of history. Killer voice is a must. Think Rocket Boys #MSWLContemporary romance for teens with a touch of humor in the vein of @SimoneElkeles Humorous adult contemporary romanc also a win! #R #MSWL
Wendy helps orphans become Lost Boys, only to find out Neverland might be more dangerous than London #PitMatch#YA#Retelling#Twist
#PitMatch#ya#retelling Hook didn’t always have 1 hand & she wasn’t enemies w/Peter. Jas fell in love w/TigerLily & it tore Neverland apart
#PB #MG #YA set in an exotic or unique location (i.e the jungle, mountains of Nepal, Morocco, Thailand etc. etc.) #MSWL
A fun, lighter romance with a lot of quirk and deadpan humor. I loved THE FUTURE FOR CURIOUS PEOPLE by Gregory Sherl. #mswl
Mysteries with long-buried secrets. Dig them up and let the chaos ensue. #mswl
A YA about friends who do fun projects/challenges/pacts together. Kinda like THE NIGHT WE SAID YES by @laurengibaldi #mswl
Anything with a strong sense of nostalgia. I love characters who have nostalgia for their homes/each other. #mswl
On the lighter side – a YA road trip with a cool, specific premise. There are tons out there so you gotta stand out! Humor a plus. #mswl
A favorite theme: boredom/restlessness leading to trouble. Also love the troublemaker/exasperated type-A friendship combo 😀 #mswl
I’m a sucker for dangerous girls. But they need to be smart and have real, tangible motives, just like the boys do #mswl
I love moments when characters look at each other thinking “What have we done?” Think THE SECRET HISTORY. #mswl
Check Shannon’s feed for the rest…
Fav’d by Alex:
I’d love a dark/gritty high fantasy. Strong female MC, w/ diversity + powerful friendships. Wit, humor, and heroine who saves herself. #MSWL
2nd gen immigrant character, family issues & cultural clashes, navigating both worlds, sense of place/culture #diversity#YA#NA or #A#MSWL\Contemp #MG or #YA w/fantasy aspects, character discovers/gains special ability but loses it & must deal w/being in world without it #MSWLEpic sci-fi w/environmental (not dystopian), metaphysical or fantasy aspects. Dune but without the worm. #A #SF #MSWLSee Lisa’s Feed for more… (I’m not sure what is interesting about Dune without the worm. Dude.)
Seeking #fantasy in ALL age categories w/ vivid world-building. Think Chronicles of Prydain, Lockwood & Co., Jonathan Strange… #MSWLA #YA project that makes me feel like DOPE did. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=strEm9amZuo … #MSWL
Quirky specifics: #WF #YA #T #MG or #R that features ballet, food, antiques, art, classic movies, debate, football, Austin, theater. #MSWLContemporary realistic #YA with a strong voice that stays away from melodrama. (Loves: Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins.) #MSWLSee more on Jennifer’s Feed…
Agent: Kurestin Armada via PS Literary
#MSWL Fantasy (urban or otherwise) dealing with the diaspora of a magical community
#MSWL I love characters that are willing to get their hands dirty to reach their goal, that are sly and cunning and ruthless
#MSWL Still into retellings of fairy-tales and myths, but with some kind of twist. Different ending? Gender swapped? You tell me!
See Kurestin’s Feed for More…
Tweets Fav’d by Kurestin:
Cryptozoologist adventure caper, real world or fantasy world. Lots of monsters. Humorous. #MSWL#SF#F#A or #YASciFi about human evolution set in near or far future a la Greg Bear’s DARWIN’S RADIO. Strong character development. #MSWL#A or #YA#SFHistorical fiction about ballet set in NYC, Russia, or France. Preferably written by a dancer (pro or amateur). #MSWL#A or #YA#HFFor more see Mary’s Feed…
#PitMatch A Hollywood dancing star is romanced by the secretly dying George Gershwin. Her Broadway comeback inspires modern jazz dancing.
Favorited by Publishers:
17yo girl shipwrecked in Scotland fights Laird & Selkie to get home but her rescuer steals her heart GREAT&TERRIBLE BEAUTY #HR#YA#PitMatch— This one almost got a favorite from Agent Mandy Hubbard, but she said she’s not a Selkie fan
Like I said before, this is by no means a complete list, as the amount of action for this contest was massive. And I think you’ll agree you’ve seen enough as it is. I had so much fun compiling it though and I learned a lot about my favorite agents and editors in the process.
I hope it helps you to better understand what agents and editors are looking for. Generally, the pitches matched pretty well with their MSWL. And if any trends can be noted, it’s the typical “YA is hot” and “magical realism” where one MSWL even asked for “Dune without the Worm” haha. I can’t imagine what’s attractive about that but okay. Oh, and let’s not forget the MSWL asking for “lesbians doing anything.” I have nothing against lesbians, but I’m sorry, that’s not the sole trademark of a bestseller. But– gotta give the people what they want, right? (I feel like I should make a Wattpad reference here. But I’ll restrain myself.)
Happy writing and congratulations to all the winners!