Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Help With An Agent Pitch-Twitter-Style Semi-Blogfest

I was visiting Charity Bradford's Blog, My Writing Journey, and she had posted another writing contest that really sounded interesting. It is the QueryTracker contest called:

Here are the rules:

Suzie Townsend of FinePrint Literary Management has graciously agreed to judge an adult fiction contest. (For completed manuscripts only.) What to enter: A Twitter-style pitch (140 characters or less, including spaces) Entries WILL NOT be capped. (Yay!) Entry period will be 24 hours: From noon Tuesday, July 6 - noon Wednesday, July 7. These are the genres Ms. Townsend will be judging:
  • Adult Science Fiction
  • Adult Fantasy
  • Adult Urban Fantasy
  • All subgenres of Adult Romance
  • Adult Thrillers
To enter this contest:
  1. You must have a free QueryTracker membership
  2. You must be a follower of the QueryTracker blog
  3. Your submission will be accepted on the submission form
  4. DO NOT EMAIL YOUR SUBMISSION DIRECTLY TO THE AGENT. You will be disqualified if you do.

Well, the manuscript must be complete and they suggest you shouldn't waste your time or the agent's time if your book does not fall within the genres posted.

So here is the problem. I would like to enter this contest but I haven't been able to come up with a decent logline, elevator pitch, one-line agent pitch to save my soul. And that is if I'm allowed more than 140 characters (including spaces). So I've decided to have an impromptu Help-Melanie-Come-Up-With-An-Agent-Pitch-Twitter-Style Semi-Blogfest. Enter by leaving a comment below. I will judge the entries by which is the most helpful and/or makes me laugh. I will announce the winner on 7/5/10. Um...Prize will be mention of you/your blog/your twitter address/heartfelt praise and maybe even a signed copy of my book if it ever gets published. (Like--whoa, isn't that fabulous?--say yes.)

My book is the swashbuckling, humorous adventures of a young American woman accidentally pressed into the Royal Navy in 1805. She must hide her gender or be dumped at the nearest port, alone and defenseless. Now, before you say, "Oh that could never happen," there actually was a woman who dressed as a man and joined the Royal Navy in 1805. It was eight weeks before she was discovered. Okay, so she wasn't pressed, as my MC, but let's not split hairs.

So here are my pathetic twitter pitches. Vote for one that you like, or suggest one of your own.

1. After mistakenly being pressed into the Royal Navy, Jessie must hide that she is a girl, learn to obey orders and quit offering her opinion.

2. Three cousins dress as sailors to avoid pirate capture and are pressed into the 1805 Royal Navy, keeping secret that one of them is a girl.

3. Her cousins towered over her in the cramped storeroom with their knives inches from her head. What waited outside the storeroom was worse.

I will be eternally thrilled by any help you can give. Really.


  1. Dammit I wrote a long comment but the thing didn't let me post it. I'll try again.
    This would be easier if I had read the book. A good blurb needs an element of "what is going to happen", preferably something concrete from the story.

    Lacking that something like: "Being a girl on an warship in 1805 was bad enough. Being there against her own will was worse. Will Jessie be able to survive the voyage?"

    I know this isn't good as the last sentence is too vague. It should be something like "Will Jessie be able to fend of the lecherous captain?" Or "Will the treasure make Jessie a rich woman?" or "Will the dashing midshipman be able to sweep her away in love and bliss?" But for that you need to know if all that is going to happen in your book. :)

  2. Jens,

    Excellent, excellent comments. I can see you are trying to win. *grin* I love the suggestions and well within the 140 character limit, too. Thanks.

  3. I agree with Jenku, we need to get a feel of the overall plot of the book. For that reason, #1 feels more like the right track. It tells us that she is somewhere against her will and her life depends on hiding the fact she is a girl.

    #2 gives us a little more detail. Tells us how she got in the predicament. Is there some way to combine them?

    Dressing as a boy was supposed to save her from pirates, but Jesse finds herself pressed into the Royal Navy instead.

    Eh, not great, and I'm not sure on the word count. Maybe it will spark some thoughts for you. Good luck! I need to keep working on mine too.

  4. Charity,

    Thanks for your input. And for giving me the idea of this semi-blogfest. :)

    Limiting to 140 characters is challenging, but really no more challenging that coming up with the elevator pitch to begin with. I appreciate your comments very much.

  5. Okay - so I've never done this before, but I do a fair amount of wordsmithing at work, so here goes... (do spaces count as characters???)

    If a young American woman can hide the fact that she's a girl in a sailor's kit, she just might survive this harrowing voyage of the 1805 Royal Navy on the high seas.

  6. Kathy,

    Wow, are you sure you haven't taken up writing novels? This is much better than mine. Unfortunately spaces do count but I've revised it down to under 140 characters. Does this still work?

    "If an American woman can hide she's a girl in sailor's kit, she might survive on the Royal Navy ship. But can she deceive its captain?"

    I like the word "its" because you'd think it would use an extra space for an apostrophe, but it doesn't.

  7. I want to read the book! I'm not going to try to compete with your extremely eloquent friends, but I would point out that personality is important in grabbing anyone's attention and that your phrase she needs to "quit offering her opinion" in number one needs to be included in the plot summary. It 1) gives a glimpse of the woman's character, 2) sounds like she's appealing and fun, 3) made me smile. Good luck!

  8. Winslow,

    Well, I think that is important too, but how much can we squeeze into 140 characters? Okay, how about this?

    "If they didn’t want her opinion, they shouldn’t have pressed her into their Royal Navy. True, they think she’s a boy, but an American boy."

    I really wish an agent would just read the book and then offer me a pitch line.

  9. Sounds like a great opportunity and pitching it back and forth with readers is a really good idea. I like what you've come up with so far, you're honing in!

    Stop by my blog when you get a minute, there's an award waiting for you! :)


  10. Olivia,

    Thanks for your comments and the award. I'll be by to pick it up. And maybe THAT is a good idea.

    "If you ask for a partial of my book, I'll give you an award. Seriously."

    What do you think of that for an elevator pitch?

  11. Okay, how about this one.

    Jessie thinks it's bad to be forced into pretending to be a boy on a Royal Navy war ship. But then she learns offering her opinion is worse.


Comments are great fun. Really. I love them. Except from the bots that have found my blog. I'm enabling the word verification to block them. Sorry.