Sunday, 16 August 2015

#PitchCB - Go On Have a Go!


Two weeks ago, on Friday 24th July, I was sitting at my computer writing a magazine story when I decided I could do with a break. A cup of coffee and a few minutes on social media would be just what I needed to recharge my writing batteries, so I clicked onto Twitter to have a look at what was going on in the writing world outside my living room.

It wasn’t long before something caught my eye. Someone had shared a tweet from literary agents, Conville and Walsh, advertising a new initiative called #PitchCB. I had read about it before but hadn’t looked into it further for reasons I will go into later.

I expect you’re wondering what #PitchCB is.

It’s quite simple really. It’s an event for unpublished novelists, hosted by agents Rebecca Ritchie and Richard Pike, which is held on the fourth Friday of every month. You have 24 hours to pitch your novel idea in 140 characters or less, using the hashtag #PitchCB and during that time, agents from both literary agencies will be online to read each pitch. If they like yours, they will ‘favourite’ it, allowing you to submit the first three chapters of your novel in the usual way to that particular agent.

Sounds great – so why had I left it so late to consider submitting my pitch? Basically, it was because my novel wasn’t finished and I hadn’t planned to submit to agents until it was. So what changed my mind that Friday morning? It was the fact that I’d been thinking about a one-to-one meeting I'd had recently with a publisher while I was at the RNA conference. She'd told me she loved my novel idea and first chapter, and thought it very marketable - the only problem was they only accepted agented submissions. I needed an agent, and I knew I would be silly to miss this opportunity, so I sat down and wrote my 140 character pitch and tweeted it.

Once I'd done that, I tried to distract myself. Oh, how hard that was! Luckily, I only had a short while to wait, for within ten minutes I had received two ‘favourites’ – one from each agency. I can’t tell you how excited I was but, once I’d calmed down, I realised that the pitch was only the start of the journey… I would need to perfect my first three chapters, re-write my synopsis (based on advice given at the RNA conference) and write a covering letter that would hopefully make me look like a professional, enthusiastic, creative, and fairly normal person.

The next day, I emailed everything to the two agents and then set to work getting my novel finished. If the agents liked my first three chapters, and wanted to see more, I didn’t want to have to make them wait for months.

So here I am, two weeks latet, feeling very proud of myself for taking that big step. Not because I have heard anything yet but because the whole experience has focused me and given me confidence. It’s proved that I can write a catchy tag line and that my novel idea is interesting enough for agents to want to see the first three chapters at least (apparently the agents chose 100 out of 2,000 pitches). It’s also got me well on the way to getting the novel finished (I have only about another 15,000 words to write) and it's now with my RNA New Writing Scheme reader awaiting its critique.

So, if anyone out there is looking for an agent from a quality literary agency, I would highly recommend you have a go. The next #PitchCB is on August 28th.

Go on… be brave!

You can find out more about #PitchCB  here

*UPDATE*

Since writing this post, I have heard from one of the agents from Curtis Brown. Unfortunately, the book wasn't their taste so it was a no but they said my writing was engaging, the idea appealing and that I write with real energy and enthusiasm. They also said it was a difficult decision to make as they were impressed with my submission. 

I can only be happy with that!


21 comments:

  1. Excellent news Wendy - congratulations! Fab to have had your pitch noticed - and by both agencies! How exciting. Good luck with finishing it :)

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  2. Thanks, Sam - it's been a good experience for me, whatever the outcome.

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  3. That's fab, Wendy. A couple of writer friends were favourited by the team and submitted- no reply as yet! Do keep us updated with your progress good or bad as it helps us to know who is an editor and who is a predator . I did pitch in a half-hearted sort of way just to see what would happen. Predictably, nothing!!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Lizzie - and I will certainly let you know of my novel's progress.

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  4. Good to hear your novel is going so well. I hope you hear from one or both agencies soon but in the meantime what a positive attitude you present to the rest of us! At the end of the day no-one can do it for us but your encouragement is infectious.

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    1. At the moment, the important thing is that I am loving writing it and, by whatever method, can't wait to share it. Thanks for your comment, Natalie.

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  5. Hi Wendy
    Good luck with it. I'd have a go but I'm no sure how to use the hashtag thingy! Can we still approach the named agents in the normal way?

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    1. It's very easy to do, Sharon - just write your pitch then at the end of it write #PitchCB. That's all there is to it. Don't forget you can only pitch on the fourth Friday of the month though and only one pitched allowed. If you don't want to do it this way, I'm sure you can still submit in the normal way but I'm guessing the agents will be tied up reading the #PitchCB chapters they've favourited.

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    2. Many thanks Wendy!
      I'm new to twitter and I didn't want to mess it up. Did you mention the genre of your novel in there as well?

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    3. Not directly, Sharon. It should have been apparent from my tweet.

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  6. Well done for going for it & good luck. You will be close to having the ms ready methinks in time for when they want to see it ...

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    1. I love your optimism, Tracy. Even if I'm not lucky enough to get through to the next stage, at least I should have a complete manuscript in a few weeks.

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  7. Well done, you, Wendy, for seizing the moment! To be in the top 100 out of 2000 pitches is fantastic. Fingers crossed for you.

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    1. Thank you, Marianne. Whatever happens next, it has all been a positive experience.

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  8. Thanks for the nod, Wendy, might have a go at that.

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  9. Congratulations, Wendy. To be chosen - not once but twice - out of so many is a great achievement. Your positive attitude is a good example to the rest of us. Best of luck with your submissions.

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    1. It was certainly very exciting, Susanna.

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    1. Thanks, Della. It just came into my head.

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  11. Thanks for this Wendy - I had not heard of it either.

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