Nano Nation: You are all WINNERS! We had such a blast with this year’s National Novel Writing Month Pitchapalooza. So many pitches with AWESOME imagination and an ASTOUNDING display of talent. Thank you so much to all the writers who participated in this year’s NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza!
AND THE WINNER IS …
This year’s Fan Favorite is CLARE VATERLAUS BIRD for her book The Cost of Silence! Her pitch is timely, full of stakes, and has a terrific title. She gets a free one-hour consultation with us (worth $250). Congratulations, Clare!
Kudos again to MARY JO TALBOT, NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza winner for Watching Wilhemina, a middle grade novel about a rock-guitar loving girl, her diagnosis with type 1 diabetes, and her discipline-challenged service dog. Mary Jo will receive an introduction to an agent or publisher appropriate for her manuscript.
We hope you’ll keep in touch. If you’d like to receive monthly publishing tips delivered to your inbox, click here to let us know. We’ll also share info about our live Pitchapaloozas and workshops around the country. Get publishing tips on our YouTube channel, and chat with us on Facebook and Twitter.
We’re hosting a live Pitchapalooza in Brielle, New Jersey on May 1. We’ll announce our special guest judges soon. Come pitch us at the Brielle Public Library.
Starting April 18, we’re leading an eight-week master class that’ll teach you how to get your book successfully published in today’s ridiculously competitive marketplace. We hope you can join us. Learn more here.
Congratulations again to Clare, Mary Jo, and all the Wrimos who bravely shared their awesome pitches.
Nano Nation delivered yet another batch of pulse-pounding pitches for NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza 2018! A Midwest Strangler and Chupacabra; inheritance and identity, love and conspiracies; a beatnik disc jockey and the threat of nuclear annihilation; a 12-year-old author; opium smugglers and sex traffickers: once again, we were totally blown away by the diversity and quantity of pitches we received. But of course we’ve come to expect this level of excellence from NaNo Nation. The Book Doctors had an absolute blast swimming in this vast pool of pitches.
Now for the 411: The 20 pitches were selected randomly. You can watch the recording of NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza to hear our feedback. It’s our mission to try to help all you amazing writers not just get published, but get published successfully. That’s why we’ve told you what works, but also what needs to be improved.
But don’t let our opinion sway your vote. What story intrigues you? What pitch would prod you from the couch to the bookstore (or, if you’re really lazy, to buy it online)? The pitch that receives the most votes by 11:59 p.m. PDT on April 1, 2018 will be awarded the Fan Favorite, and the author will receive a free one-hour consult with us (worth $250). We’ll announce the Fan Favorite on April 2, 2018.
But please note: YOU CAN ONLY VOTE ONCE! So please choose carefully. Don’t just read the first couple of pitches — read them all. You owe it to your fellow Wrimos. Encourage your friends, family and random strangers to vote for you via the link to the poll. Connecting with your future readers is a vital part of being a successfully published author today. And this is a great way to get some practice.
We will also be posting these pitches—a couple a day–on social media. We encourage anyone to like your entry but only poll votes from the webpage will count toward the Fan Favorite.
Finally, through April 2, 2018, we are still offering a free webinar (worth $75) to anyone who buys a copy of our book The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published. Just email a copy of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch to set up a webinar.
Write on, Wrimos!
NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza 2018 Voting
Click the writers' names to read their pitches. Then vote for your favorite.
- The Cost of Silence by Clare Vaterlaus Bird (29%, 388 Votes)
- Jihadi Bride by Alastair Luft (19%, 262 Votes)
- The Library of Unspoken Things by Lucy Hallowell (11%, 146 Votes)
- All The Stars Are Gone by Anna Downes (9%, 117 Votes)
- The Cyber Trials by Heather Ryder (8%, 112 Votes)
- The Bronze Mirror by Melissa Bennight (8%, 103 Votes)
- Watching Wilhemina by Mary Jo Talbot (4%, 60 Votes)
- And The Floods Came Up by Angie Romines (4%, 50 Votes)
- The Weight of a Woman by J. Jackson Pomeroy (3%, 45 Votes)
- The Prince of Little Palestine by Moe Shalabi (2%, 23 Votes)
- Audrina's Moments by H.M. Shander (2%, 22 Votes)
- Iron and Lace by Ellie Tupper (1%, 7 Votes)
- Nitza and the Chupacabra by Hannah Carmona Dias (0%, 5 Votes)
- Where Are You Really From by Samantha Mae Coyiuto (0%, 5 Votes)
- Cookie Rookie by Victoria Beck (0%, 3 Votes)
- Landslide by Emma Burns (0%, 3 Votes)
- Alliance by Tara Liem (0%, 2 Votes)
- Godsblood by Daniel T. Moore (0%, 1 Votes)
- Casey’s Star by Mike Drew (0%, 0 Votes)
- South Bay Beat by Joyce Krieg (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,354
Nano Nation: You are all WINNERS! We had such a blast with this year’s National Novel Writing Month Pitchapalooza. So many AWESOME pitches with GREAT imagination and an ASTOUNDING display of talent. Thank you so much to all the writers who participated in this year’s NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza!
And the winner is …
This year’s Fan Favorite is JANELLE FILA for her book The Gravedigger’s Assistant! Her pitch made us laugh and was well put together. She gets a free one-hour consultation with us (worth $250). Congratulations!
Kudos again to LEANN DANIEL, NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza winner for her book The Anger Album. She wrote a glorious pitch with a Nick Hornby feel, a clock ticking, and a title that immediately grabbed our attention. Amazing job, Leann! She will receive an introduction to an agent or publisher appropriate for her manuscript.
We hope you’ll keep in touch. Sign up for our newsletter to receive advice on writing and getting published. We’ll also include info about our live Pitchapaloozas and workshops around the country. Chat with us on Facebook and Twitter.
We’re hosting Pitchapalooza during the Montclair Literary Festival on April 1, 2017. We’ll be joined by agents Liza Dawson, Joelle Delbourgo, and Monica Odum. Come pitch us at the Montclair Public Library.
On April 2, we’ll lead a master class that’ll teach you how to get your book successfully published in today’s ridiculously competitive marketplace. We hope you can join us. Learn more here.
Congratulations again to Janelle, Leann, and all the Wrimos who bravely shared their awesome pitches.
NaNoWriMo + The Book Doctors + Youtube = Pitchapalooza 2017
10 Tips for Pitching
- A great pitch is like a poem. Every word counts.
- Make us fall in love with your hero. Whether you’re writing a novel or memoir, you have to make us root for your flawed but lovable hero.
- Make us hate your villain. Show us someone unique and dastardly whom we can’t wait to hiss at.
- Just because your kids love to hear your story at bedtime doesn’t mean you’re automatically qualified to get a publishing deal. So make sure not to include this information in your pitch.
- If you have any particular expertise that relates to your novel, tell us. Establishing your credentials will help us trust you.
- Your pitch is your audition to show us what a brilliant writer you are, it has to be the very best of your writing.
- Don’t make your pitch a book report. Make it sing and soar and amaze.
- A pitch is like a movie trailer. You start with an incredibly exciting/funny/sexy/romantic/e
tc. close-up with intense specificity, then you pull back to show the big picture and tell us the themes and broad strokes that build to a climax.
- Leave us with a cliffhanger. The ideal reaction to a pitch is, “Oh my God, what happens next?”
- Show us what’s unique, exciting, valuable, awesome, unexpected, about your project, and why it’s comfortable, familiar and proven.
JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER TO RECEIVE MORE INTERVIEWS AND TIPS ON HOW TO GET PUBLISHED.
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This step-by-step guide demystifies the publishing process
- Come up with a blockbuster title
- Craft an attention-getting pitch
- Create a selling proposal, find the right agent
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- Self-publish, if that’s what you choose
New information on marketing strategies:
- Connect with your community and build up a following online via social media
- Create a search-engine-friendly title
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- Make, sell and distribute an e-book (as well as information on ebook royalties)
- The latest on print-on-demand and other self-publishing technologies
The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published includes interviews with hundreds of publishing insiders—agents, editors, publicists, social media experts, booksellers and more. And of course authors. You’ll hear from Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Amy Bloom, Seth Godin, Susan Orlean, Dan Ariely and many many more.
You’ll also find:
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The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published is more vital than ever for anyone who wants to mine that great idea and turn it into a successfully published book.
Buy the e-book for $1.99
What’s the key to unlocking publishing doors? A great pitch! Earlier this year, we taught a live webinar on how to craft a pitch that’ll grab the attention of agents, publishers, booksellers, and readers. The recording is now available for everyone to view.
The Art of the Book Pitch
Learn the art and science of the seemingly impossible task of boiling your book down into 250 words or less.
- What is a pitch?
- Why is a pitch important?
- How do authors use pitches?
- Is a plot-heavy pitch good or bad?
- What is an elevator pitch?
- How is a pitch like a poem?
- How do authors use the pitch as a sales tool?
- And more!
DO YOU WANT NOTIFICATION OF UPCOMING WEBINARS? LET US KNOW.
Nano Nation: You are all WINNERS! We had such a blast with this year’s National Novel Writing Month Pitchapalooza. So many AWESOME pitches, so much AMAZING imagination, such an ASTOUNDING display of dizzying talent. Thanks so much to all the writers who participated in this year’s NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza! As always, we got so many fabulous pitches it was stupidly hard to choose a winner. But choose we did. And the winner is …
MAY K. COBB is the winner for her book Big Woods. She wrote a glorious pitch with a vivid voice, scintillating story, gripping characters, and luscious location. Amazing job, May! She will receive an introduction to an agent or publisher appropriate for her manuscript.
The Fan Favorite this year is KELLY BRAKENHOFF for her book Death by Dissertation! She gets a free one-hour consultation with us (worth $250). Congratulations!
Sign up for our newsletter to receive advice on writing and getting published. We’ll also include info on our live Pitchapaloozas and workshops around the country. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter. And if any of you wonderful wacky Wrimos buys a copy of our book The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, you will receive a free 20-minute consultation, worth 100 American dollars. Just send proof of receipt to email@example.com.
We’re hosting a free webinar on Thursday, April 7th at 8PM EDT. During the webinar, we’ll be teaching the art of the pitch. A great pitch can open so many doors for you. A terrible pitch pretty much assures that those doors will remain closed. We will also answer any questions about pitching, publishing, writing, books, or the nature of the universe. We hope to see you on April 7th.
Read the 2016 pitches below and vote for your favorite.
- Kelly Brakenhoff (25%, 319 Votes)
- Allison Epstein (18%, 228 Votes)
- Caleb Ajinomoh (14%, 180 Votes)
- David Hogue (7%, 95 Votes)
- Chelsea DeVries (7%, 84 Votes)
- Madison Russel (6%, 72 Votes)
- Haley Bonner (4%, 55 Votes)
- Nikki Dylan (4%, 48 Votes)
- Paul Schumacher (4%, 47 Votes)
- Danielle Lewis (3%, 34 Votes)
- Patricia Walsh (3%, 32 Votes)
- James O’Fallon (2%, 26 Votes)
- May K. Cobb (1%, 16 Votes)
- Rachel Malcolm (1%, 11 Votes)
- S. Schilling-Kreutner (0%, 6 Votes)
- Sara Pierce (0%, 5 Votes)
- Carol Novis (0%, 4 Votes)
- Tlotlo Tsamaase (0%, 3 Votes)
- Jan Flynn (0%, 3 Votes)
- William Alan Webb (0%, 3 Votes)
- Miranda Lowe Summers (0%, 2 Votes)
- Jonathan Williams (0%, 2 Votes)
- Frances Avnet (0%, 2 Votes)
- Myron Kukla (0%, 1 Votes)
- Mary-Beth Brophy (0%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,279
758. That’s how many pitches we got from our awesome NaNoWriMo friends. As you can see below, we got everything from future midwives to murder-solving college administrators to husband and wife pirate teams, to virtual reality transgendering all the way from Botswana. We think it is a testament to the amazing imagination, wonderful skill, and literary daring of Wrimos the world over. Though only 25 of the 758 pitches are critiqued below, everyone should be able to take away information from these critiques and apply it to your pitch. If you read the critiques carefully, you will see certain commonalities. Too much telling, not enough showing. Too much book-report writing, not enough beautiful prose. Hardly any comparable titles. Not enough insight into our heroes. Not enough details about the dastardly villains we’re dying to hate.
Now for the 411: The 25 pitches below were selected randomly. Our comments follow each pitch. It’s our mission to try to help all you amazing writers not just get published, but get successfully published. That’s why we’ve told you what works, but also what needs to be improved.
On April 1st, we will name a winner. But, in the mean time, don’t let our opinion sway you. What story intrigues you? What pitch would prod you from the couch to the bookstore (or, if you’re really lazy, to buy it online)? This year, we’ve made it easy for you to vote for your favorite pitch. The pitch that receives the most votes will be awarded the “Fan Favorite,” and the author will receive a free one-hour consult with us (worth $250).
But please note: YOU CAN ONLY VOTE ONCE! So please choose carefully. Don’t just read the first couple of pitches — read them all. You owe it to your fellow Wrimos. Encourage your friends, family and random strangers to vote for you via the link to the poll. We will also be posting these pitches—a couple a day–on our Facebook page. We encourage anyone to “like” your entry but only poll votes from the webpage will count towards the Fan Favorite.
This year, we’re doing something new and special. We’re hosting a free webinar on Thursday, April 7th at 8PM EST. During the webinar, we’ll be teaching the art of the pitch. A great pitch can open so many doors for you. A terrible pitch pretty much assures that those doors will remain closed. We will also answer any questions about pitching, publishing, writing, books, or the nature of the universe, mankind, womankind, life, love and death. Details to follow, but mark your calendars now!
Finally, through April 1st, we are still offering a free 20-minute consult (worth $100) to anyone who buys a copy of our book The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published, which was updated in July 2015! The new edition includes information on e-books, crowdfunding, social media, micro-publishing, and more. It retains all the topics covered in the earlier edition, including how to get an agent, self-publishing, and marketing. Just email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) a copy of your receipt and we’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.
Your humble servants,
The Book Doctors
P.S. You can join our newsletter to receive interviews and tips on how to get published.
Murder at Tulip Time by Myron Kukla
Murder at Tulip Time was written during NaNoWriMo 2014 and is a murder mystery romance set against the pageantry of the annual Dutch Tulip Festival in Holland, Mich.
Drawing tens of thousands of tourists, this year’s flower fest gets off to a disturbing start when the body of the town recluse is found strangled and planted in a tulip bed in the shadow of the towering DeZwaan Windmill.
Digging for the truth behind the murder, local crime reporter John Garth battles for the big stories against his arch competitor and girlfriend Jennifer Jono Ines as the body count rises. The motive could be the discovery by the deceased of a century old fraud that could make him and others multi-millionaires but rip apart the fabric of this God-fearing community. Things get personal for Garth when his car is rammed into the path of a speeding semi truck and he has to solve the murder himself before he gets killed. Prime suspects range from the city’s brash Irish mayor to a rich businessman who could lose everything by the revelation. Or, is it a competitive tulip grower seeking to create the illusive black tulip? There are plenty of suspects. But Garth pins it down to one improbable killer and a fight to the death on the spinning blades of the DeZwaan Windmill.
I am a full-time author and freelance writer living in the Tulip Capital of the world, Holland, Mich. I have 9,000 bylined stories online.
The Book Doctors: We love the hook of this pitch. The Dutch Tulip Festival. Holland, Mich.. Not only is this just cool, it has regional appeal, and what the heck, you could actually sell this book at the Dutch Tulip Festival, if there is one. It has a great team at the center of it: an arch competitor/love interest, speeding 18 wheelers, black tulips, and murder, murder, murder. The specificity of the black tulip, and the DeZawaan WinMail are what set this book apart. But again, too much telling and not enough showing. We want you to paint us beautiful pictures of what the tourists look like, what the flowers look like, and instead of telling me it’s disturbing to find a body strangled and planted in a Tulip bed, really show it to me, show me the Windmill, and make me disturbed. Because we didn’t feel a jolt at this murder. “Digging for the truth behind the murder” feels redundant because that’s what every crime reporter does. Don’t tell us things we already know. And show us our heroes together, maybe finding the body, so we can feel confident that you can create a scene full of sexual chemistry, tension and suspense. We don’t really know enough about our hero, or his love interest. What are the inner demons they are fighting against? We don’t really understand who the “him” is who’s going to get rich from the century old fraud. You haven’t really told us enough about the God-fearing community for us to care about them. We are not emotionally invested in those people. And we think that the speeding truck should be presented much more dramatically, so it gets our heart beating faster. The villains, frankly, seemed rather like clichés that we’ve seen 100 times. Also, we don’t really get a sense of the series of harrowing, crazy, madcap tulip-centric events that are going to give us plot twists and turns which will be exciting and satisfying, yet wonderfully unexpected. Plus, there’s a spelling mistake. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is proofread when submitting. And please, someone explain this to us, because we don’t understand it, where are all the comparable titles? We are very impressed that you have 9000 bylined stories, give us a couple of examples that display your self-deprecating humor, and the wide swath of your interests and expertises. Great hook for a murder mystery, interesting dynamic with the main characters, needs more specificity, local color, and some idea of the madcap plot twists that are going to entertain and delight us.
Vote for your favorite pitch. The pitch that receives the most votes will be awarded the “Fan Favorite,” and the author will receive a free one-hour consult with us (worth $250).
The Prophet’s Ladder by Jonathan Williams
A seventh century Arab general, an American robotics engineer, a Tunisian activist and her journalist fiancé, and a famous Moroccan explorer; each have a tale bound together in a novel of exploration, self discovery, and betrayal that spans centuries.
When Todd Wittry is invited to work on an astounding piece of technology — a space elevator — for an aerospace tech startup, he moves to the Middle East and learns firsthand the meaning of the term ‘culture shock.’ His journey intertwines with that of Amina Hannachi, a Tunisian activist and her journalist fiancé Ali ibn Abd al-Aziz who are attempting to build on the success of Tunisia’s Arab Spring revolution. Paralleling these modern day tribulations is the account of several of North Africa’s most famous historical figures, whose adventures eventually shape the world Amina, Todd, and Ali fight to save.
The Prophet’s Ladder is a historical science fiction novel, complete at 53,000 words.
The Book Doctors: This is a very cool idea and very timely. It’s got historical figures, culture shock, activists, fiancés, and a space elevator. We have no idea what that is, but it sounds absolutely awesome. All that being said, this pitch is not everything it needs to be. First of all, start with your title. As we said earlier, when you mention your title, it makes your book seem more like a book. Second, that first sentence is just way too long and packed with way too much stuff. By the time we get about halfway through, we’re completely lost, and have no idea who anybody is. When David was making his living as a screenwriter in Hollywood, he once had a meeting with someone at the Roger Corman company. Roger Corman was a B-movie producer who made like 10,000 films. Every single one of them made money. The executive told David that the first thing Roger Corman would do when he started a project, before writing a word, was design the poster. This forced him to ask: Who’s the star on the poster? We don’t know who’s the star on your poster. Yes, it could be one of those posters with five different stars on it, but those stories usually don’t do as well as the stories that just have one star. It’s very difficult to pitch a story with lots of characters. Usually we suggest that you pick one of your characters and make that person the hero for the purpose of the pitch. When you start your pitch by telling me it’s a novel of exploration and self discovery one part of our brains just shut off. In a certain sense, every novel is a story of exploration and self discovery. You have to start off with a bang or a hook that gets inside us and won’t let go. There’s also too much tell, not enough show. Show us that space elevator. If you’re going to dangle the idea of famous historical figures, and deliver us at least some specifics of who they are. Very of-the-moment, sounds taut, tense and brimming with fascinating characters going through amazing changes, just not enough specifics of who these people are, what the action of the book is, and the world the author is taking us to.
Vote for your favorite pitch. The pitch that receives the most votes will be awarded the “Fan Favorite,” and the author will receive a free one-hour consult with us (worth $250).