Friday, October 17, 2014

#PitchMAS: December 2014's dates have been SET!

More details coming soon! 

FRIDAY 12/5/14

(A blog post will go LIVE on 12/5, right here on the PitchMAS blog, where you will post your pitches in the COMMENT SECTION. Your peers will then hop around and critique/advise you on what works/doesn't work. Tamara and Jessa WILL NOT be participating in the workshop; this is for peer critique/help only.)

SUNDAY 12/7/14 - MONDAY 12/8/14

For this event, we will be accepting your 35-word pitch submissions VIA EMAIL ONLY--email address will be posted when submission window OPENS. Submission window will be open from Sunday 12/7/14 at 9:00amPST until Monday 12/8/14 at 6:00pmPST
We will delete any submissions received before or after that submission window, and it is up to you to figure out your own time zone differences.

THURSDAY 12/11/14
{35 Words or Less}
The TOP 50 pitches will go live on the PitchMAS blog at MIDNIGHT on Thursday, 12/11/14. Agents and editors will have the entire day (as well as all day Friday!) to comment and make requests. 
Please do NOT comment if you are not an agent or editor. THE ONLY EXCEPTION TO THIS RULE is if an agent/editor has asked a SPECIFIC question. Any other non-agent/editor responses or comments will be deleted. 

FRIDAY 12/12/14

{140 Characters or Less}
All day long on Friday, 12/12/14, we will have our PitchMAS Twitter Party! Agents and editors will follow the hashtag #PitchMAS, reading your awesome pitches. ANYONE can participate, even if you didn't make it into the 50 selected blog pitches. However, your manuscript MUST BE COMPLETED and POLISHED. 
Twitter pitches MUST BE 140 Characters or Less and HAVE TO include the hashtag. Don't make the agents and editors work by breaking your pitch into more than one tweet. That will just annoy them and your fellow pitchers. We also advise against making them click a link to get to your pitch. Guess what? They won't.  
Please keep your Twitter pitching to no more than TWO PITCHES PER HOUR. Do not fill up the feed with your pitch over and over again. This will annoy the agents and editors involved, as well as ruining it for everyone else and people WILL remember you for it. 

Follow along with the hashtag: #PitchMAS

Participating agents and editors will be announced soon! 

In the meantime, make sure you follow all of our blogs, and following us on Twitter probably wouldn't hurt either. (We often post the same #PitchMAS related info, but you never know when only one of us will tweet something important.)


We've posted a few #PitchMAS success stories (more to come!) here on the blog as well, so if you're curious, click HERE to view them! 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

PitchMAS in July 2014, or, Life is a bitch.

Jessa Russo and I have thrown 3 PitchMAS contests since December 2012, and we’d planned on continuing with the December/July format. Unfortunately, my mum is ill. We’ve known about her congestive heart failure for a while, but weren’t expecting her to need surgery for a few years. Unfortunately, her health has deteriorated to the point they’ve moved her surgery up first to July, and now June. In two weeks I’ll be going over there to be with her for the open heart surgery, and to help her recover. I’ll be gone for five weeks.

Because she is in England, and I am in Canada, this is a huge upheaval at the best of times. I have no idea how much help my mum is going to need, but I know she will need a lot of care and time. I haven’t seen her in about two years, and while it will be challenging, I am glad to get to spend some time with her.

The bad news, is that this year’s PitchMAS in July is cancelled. My mum needs my full attention, and I can't split my focus on a pitch contest during this period. 

We are so sorry that we’re unable to continue as planned, but this was unexpected for all of us.

We are planning December’s PitchMAS, so please stay tuned for that. We’re sorry for any inconvenience, but we wish you well with your writing journey. There are other opportunities out there, and like I said, we will definitely be back in December for our main event. PitchMAS in July was a bonus contest, and one we intend to continue in future years.

Tamara Mataya
AKA. Feaky Snucker

Friday, March 28, 2014

#PitchMAS Success Story #10: Stacey Trombley @trombolii

HUGE Congratulations to ANOTHER PitchMAS success story!

I'll let Stacey take it away!

I wrote my second novel, a YA contemporary, during nanowrimo 2012 and started querying in March. I am contest obsessed so I entered nearly every contest I could all spring and summer. I was picked for some, and not others.
One of the contest on the “not” list? PitchMas.

Ironic that I’m writing this success story for pitchmas when I was rejected for it, right? This is just a little more proof  that contests are subjective. I used the same pitch that I used for Pitch Madness when I was picked. But this time, I wasn’t chosen.

BUT, because the contest hosts are AWESOME, they give an extra opportunity for writers— all writers, rejected and accepted alike. They run a twitter pitch party.

Funny thing is, I almost didn’t pitch. This was in July. I’d already been querying and contest-ing for 5 months. I’d twitter pitched numerous times in the past and even though I’d usually ended up with a few requests, I was pretty convinced all the agents had already seen my pitch. So what was the point?

But then the crazy twitter pitching started and I just couldn’t handle it. The hype, the craziness, the fun, the hope! So I tossed in this pitch:

“Anna's busted for prostitution + sent back to the suburbs to be "normal" again. A geeky boy named Arney becomes her only friend #pitchmas YA”

AND… I got a favorite, from Stephen Morgan of Entangled…

Entangled is a publisher I’ve honestly admired for a while. The only reason I hadn’t already submitted to them before this twitter pitch opportunity was because I was focusing on my agent search. But once he requested my manuscript I came up with all kinds of excuses as to why I should send. It might not be following perfect etiquette, since I still had my work out with agents, but I’m very glad I did it.

It took about 2 months for him to email me asking to talk on the phone. He wanted to work with me to revise my novel. He loved the writing, the voice, the concept, but thought the plot/structure needed some work. So I spent months emailing him back and forth, talking on the phone (more than once) until we got to a point that he felt her could take it to acquisitions (he took only a beat sheet and a new first 3 chapters to acquisitions, which was pretty insane.)

Another 2 months went by before I got another call from him. “Are you sitting down? It’s good news!”

They offered and I accepted!

This road was long and hard but totally worth it. I’m so excited to say that my debut novel will be published with Entangled Teen in 2015!

Thank you to the lovely ladies at Pitchmas for introducing me to my amazing editor and my amazing publisher. I owe you much!!
Read my full success story here:

Follow Stacey on twitter!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

#PitchMAS Success Story #9: Linda Brendle @LindaBrendle


It's another success story! 


We'd like to invite you to join us in congratulating Linda Brendle on her publishing contract with Anaiah Press! We are so excited to share this success story with all of you! 

Take it away, Linda! 

A Long and Winding Road to Publication | by Linda Brendle

My book was conceived in September of 2007 while I was making plans for an RV trip with my husband and my parents. I’m a bit of a control freak, and one of the ways I attempt to control my life is by making lists, and this epic trip was going to take a lot of control and a lot of lists. David and I had owned our motor home for less than two months, and we planned to visit 16 states in 7 weeks. To add a little extra drama, my mom had Alzheimer’s and my dad had vascular dementia. In the preceding few months I had written several articles on Facebook about my caregiving experiences, and since this trip seemed like it might provide plenty of good writing material, I added a spiral notebook and several of my favorite Precise V5 pens to my shopping list.

I filled the first notebook and bought a larger one, and 4 years and 14 edits later I had a memoir called A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos. Then the question was now that I’ve written it, what do I do with it? I talked with other authors and sought out sources to educate myself about publishing, and I learned about queries and pitches and rejections. In late 2011 I signed with an agent, but by early 2013 I wasn’t where I wanted to be, so I decided to strike out on my own.

In July of 2013, one of the members of my author support group posted information about PitchMAS, and I decided to give it a try. I didn’t make the top 50. Crushed but not broken, I put it on my calendar, and on December 15, I tried again. This time Jessa and Tamara included the top 75 in the final blog group, and on December 19, my blog pitch was posted in the #73 spot. Almost immediately I received a request from Kara Leigh Miller, Managing Editor at Anaiah Press, asking for a query and the first five chapters of my manuscript. I responded that afternoon, and the next day I received a request for the full manuscript from Jessica Schmeidler, Senior Editor of the Inspirations imprint at Anaiah.

I was excited but a little disappointed that I got no other requests, but I’ve been told that memoir is the hardest genre to sell unless you’re a celebrity, so I was grateful for Anaiah’s enthusiasm. One thing my education in publishing had taught me was that the wheels turn slowly in this business, so I settled in for a long wait. But this time was the exception. On December 26 I received an e-mail from Eden Plantz, Executive Editor at Anaiah, offering me a publishing contract. It has been a long road since I first bought that spiral notebook and those pens, but thanks to the wonderful ladies at PitchMAS and the extraordinary staff at Anaiah, I’m reaching my destination.

Anaiah Press is a Christian digital-first publishing house dedicated to presenting quality faith-based fiction and nonfiction books to the public. A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos will be released July 1.

You can find me on my blog called Life After Caregiving, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Assisted Living Directory (

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

#PitchMAS Success Story #8: Eve Castellan @EMCastellan

We're stoked to bring you ANOTHER success story! Don't forget that #pitchMAS is held twice a year, with a slightly smaller event in July, and our main event in December! 
(Quick side note: We've had a few submissions via the contact form here on the blog--this is not how to participate in #PitchMAS.) 

Stay tuned for more success stories!

For now, we'll let Eve take it away! 

Two times a year, the amazing Jessa Russo and Tamara Mataya organize PitchMas, a contest where writers can pitch their novel and editors/agents can request them. 

In July 2013, my YA Historical Fantasy LILY IN THE SHADOWS was polished and I was ready to start querying it. Because it was already a finalist in two(!) contests that month, I didn’t enter the first part of the event on the PitchMas blog. I did, however, take part in the Twitter Pitch Party on July 13th

I tweeted my pitch a couple of times, and received 3 requests. 

One of the agents who favorited my tweet was Erin Niumata of Folio Literary Management. She was (and still is) closed to queries, and her website stated she wasn’t looking for YA. 

I was both very surprised and flattered she was willing to take a look at my material. Out of the 3 requests I had during PitchMas, one turned into a nice personalized rejection and two into full requests. 

One of these full requests was from Erin. 

Still half-convinced this was all a misunderstanding (She doesn’t want YA, does she…!?), I sent out my full to Erin and the other agent and waited. 

Fast forward to November 2013: I’ve been querying for a few months now, getting requests and rejections, but also R&Rs (Revise and Resubmit). I have 3 agents who sound especially interested. Having not heard back from Erin, I nudge her at the beginning of November with a revised version of my manuscript. Erin says she’s already read and loved my first version, but she’ll read my revised draft. In December, we exchange more emails, until Erin offers representation on January 2nd 2014. 

I accept her offer on January 10th. (Insert note from Jessa: WEEEEEEEEEEEE!)

What this means:

  • Summarizing a 70K novel into a 140-character tweet ISN’T impossible
  • Agents DO request during those Twitter pitch parties
  • These requests CAN turn into an offer of representation and happy endings
  • Querying takes A LONG TIME. Erin favorited my tweet on July 13th 2013. I signed the agency contract on January 13th 2014. That’s 6 MONTHS.
  • Jessa and Tamara are AWESOME for organizing such a great event twice a year.
Thank you, Jessa and Tamara! PitchMas rocks :)

Thank you, Eve! We think YOU rock!!!

Be sure to connect with Eve online so you can watch her awesome journey to publication unfold!

EM Castellan
YA Fantasy writer, worlds builder & insatiable reader

Thursday, January 23, 2014

#PitchMAS Success Story #7: Jennifer Novotney @jennovotney

We are thrilled to bring you yet another awesome success story from PitchMAS! 

We'll give Jennifer Novotney the floor so she can tell you all about her recent publishing deal with Anaiah Press!

Take it away, girl! And HUGE congratulations!!! 

It all started when I saw the Twitter/blog contest for Pitchmas, a pitch party run by Jessa Russo and Tamara Mataya, where editors and agents can see your novel pitch and request material. The first part of the event was on the blog and only the top 75 entries got in. Honestly, I was hesitant to enter it. During the query process for Winter in the Soul, while I had managed to rack up at least 40 agent rejections, a successful, high powered literary agent expressed interest in it and was reading the full manuscript. I didn't know if I should try and pitch it, but I gave it a shot anyway. I also sent in two other pitches for my other unpublished works. One of them, not for Winter in the Soul, got in and was displayed on the blog. The first request I received was from Kara Leigh Miller, the managing editor of Anaiah Press, who requested to read the first three chapters. It got even better because just four short hours later, she asked to read the entire manuscript. I was ecstatic! This was the farthest I had gotten with a publisher and I couldn't wait to hear back from her.
The next day was the Twitter Pitchmas pitch party where any writer could pitch their work for the day. No one was biting on Winter in the Soul. The other work, the same that had come in at number 11 on the blog contest, was getting all kinds of requests. I saw that Kara from Anaiah Press tweeted about wanting a young adult story written in third person and I told her I had one. She asked me to send the first three chapters and I waited patiently for her to request the full, just like she had so promptly with the other one. Only this time, nothing happened, at least not right away.  Six days later, she requested the full manuscript and then the next evening, just 31 hours later, she emailed to offer me a contract for publication with Anaiah Press.
I couldn't believe it. I wasn't even seriously pitching it and now, I had a bona fide offer. I had some thinking to do. I didn't even have an agent yet and I didn't plan to publish my work before getting one. I let the agent who was reading the full manuscript for Winter in the Soul know about the offer, but without a written contract from him, I decided to go full speed ahead with Anaiah Press. For one, they are amazing. Every single staff member I've interacted with so far has been professional, positive, and excellent at their job. This gave me so much confidence in them that the choice was clear. I wanted someone passionate about Winter in the Soul to be behind the book and since Kara had read it in nearly a day, I knew they were the ones to do it.
I am looking forward to working with a small press who can give me the attention I deserve for my debut novel. I'll be posting updates along the way so follow my blog to keep up to date on my publishing story.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

#PitchMAS Success Story #6: Vicki Leigh @vleighwrites

We're so happy to bring you yet another awesome success story! This one not only includes a publishing contract, but an awesome agent as well! Woot! 

HUGE congratulations, Vicki! 

Now, we'll let Vicki take it away! You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, her website, and Goodreads

The short version:
In July 2013, I participated in Pitchmas. All total, I received partial requests from six agents and three full requests from editors. After completing a R&R for Alison, an editor at Curiosity Quills, she excited me with an offer of publication! At that time, I queried a few agents, requesting help negotiating the deal with Curiosity Quills, and was absolutely thrilled when Sarah Negovetich offered representation! And on December 16th, I signed the paperwork with Curiosity Quills. Thanks, Jessa and Tamara, for hosting such an amazing event. Pitchmas helped make my dreams come true! 

The long version:

Now that things are official, and I've sent my first round of edits to my editor, I can finally share my success story with you all! (I can't believe I'm writing this post.)

Last July, I participated in Jessa and Tamara's fantastic event called Pitchmas. For those of you who don't know what that is, head over to their website right now and check it out. You won't regret it, because all this good news I'm about to share can come down to one word - Pitchmas.

All total, I received partial requests from six agents and three full requests from editors during the event. Which was freaking amazing in itself. After lots of squealing, I sent off my submissions to these nine fantastic publishing professionals and waited like a kid the night before Christmas for their responses. Would they like it? Those that had partials, would they ask for more?

A few weeks later, Alison, an editor at Curiosity Quills Press, told me she loved my story but wanted a few changes before she could make a final decision.

Um, can we say AWESOME??!! 

There are three types of responses you can receive from agents/editors: 1) No, 2) Please revise and resubmit, or 3) Yes, I love this! Two of them are positive. And I just got a request for an R&R. My first one ever.

I spent days working with my critique partners, pouring over her notes and making changes to my manuscript like my feet were strapped to a bomb if I didn't finish fast. After my CPs liked my new changes, I sent it back to Alison. 

And then a few weeks later, everything changed: She not only loved my changes, but she excited me with an offer of publication! 

Immediately, I queried a few more agents, seeking help negotiating the deal with Curiosity Quills. (Don't underestimate the fantastic-ness of agents, you guys. They are so incredibly wise and they know the business.) Again, I got three more requests for my full manuscript, one of them being the absolutely amazing Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

A couple days later, I signed the contract with Sarah, and on December 16th, I signed the paperwork with Curiosity Quills. 

What a ride, let me tell you. A terrifying, exciting ride. 

If you have a chance to participate in Pitchmas this year, I so recommend it. Doing so literally changed my life. 

Thank you, Jessa and Tamara, for hosting such an amazing event. Pitchmas helped make my dreams come true!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Twitter pitching, lovelies! #PitchMAS


*Throws confetti and donuts*

WOOHOOO! It's time! It's time! 

--->We go live at 5:00 AM pacific time on 12/20/13, and the pitching will continue all day long. The agents/editors will respond to the pitches they want to request. IF an agent or editor does not respond, but favorites your pitch instead, please view their feed to see if they've mentioned what they want from starred pitches, OR ASK ONE OF US FOR HELP.

-->NEVER NEVER NEVER pitch directly to an agent or editor UNLESS THEY HAVE ASKED. 
Please follow this simple rule . . . at all times, not just during pitch events.

--->If you did not get through to the top 75, and even if you did, please join us for the Twitter Pitch Party!
ANYONE can participate!


Did you read that? Go back and read it again. I'll wait. *whistles*

Completed and polished. Please, please, please do not pitch a bare-bones idea/concept or a half-written manuscript. No one will sign that, and they'll just be disappointed when they request pages that don't exist. This makes us sad.

--->Twitter pitches MUST BE 140 Characters or Less, and they HAVE TO INCLUDE THE HASHTAG. Don't make the agents and editors work to read what you're pitching because you've broken your pitch into more than one tweet. Don't make them follow a link. Just, NO. 

That will just annoy them, irritate your fellow pitchers, and ensure that your pitch gets lost among the others.

--->Please keep your Twitter pitching to no more than TWO PITCHES PER HOUR, per manuscript. Do not fill up the feed with your pitch over and over again. This, too, will annoy the agents and editors involved, as well as ruining it for everyone else--which I know you don't really want to do, do you? (Plus, people WILL remember you for it.)

Twitter pitch parties are a LOT of fun--trust us, we've both done many as both hosts and pitchers--but please don't get carried away. TWO PITCHES PER HOUR is plenty, and doesn't bog down the feed.

Please respect us, the agents and editors participating, and your fellow writers by respecting these rules.

You are welcome to pitch more than one manuscript, but please only pitch EACH manuscript no more than TWICE per hour.

Follow along with the hashtag: #PitchMAS

Make sure you follow us on Twitter. (We often post the same #PitchMAS related info, but you never know when only one of us will tweet something important, AND we tend to tweet from our personal accounts way more frequently than our poor neglected PitchMAS account.)




For the list of awesome participating agents and editors, please go HERE.

PLEASE ask any and all questions in the comments below or by tweeting to us directly (@feakysnucker or @jessarusso)! One of us will respond as soon as we can.

Jessa & Tamara

Thursday, December 19, 2013



Category/Genre: Middle Grade Adventure

Word Count: 47000

Pitch: Axual is going to run away from home. He captures two leprechauns, and they convince Axual that joining them on their quest to find stolen unicorns would be just like running away but even better.

#PitchMAS Entry 75

Title: The Beautiful Man

Category/Genre: Adult/Contemporary with paranormal elements

Word count: 84k

Pitch: Pretty boy actor Ambrose Lawson is a bit of an arse. But a near-death experience turns him into an angel and sets him on the road to redemption. He just doesn't know it.

#PitchMAS Entry 74


Category/Genre: Adult/Science Fiction/Thriller

Word Count: 110.000 words

Pitch: Twelve strangers, unexpectedly thrust through time, must battle dinosaurs, and each other, to find their way back before it’s too late—not only for themselves, but for the entire human race.

#PitchMAS Entry 73

Title: A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Category/Genre: Narrative Non-Fiction/Memoir

Word Count: 68,000

Pitch: Seven weeks in an RV with two Alzheimer’s patients – Dad broke the toilet, Mom’s wet, my head hurts, David’s hungry, and we’re still driving. Not the ideal retirement, but still a caregiver’s dream trek.

#PitchMAS Entry 72

Title: My Sick Soul: The Johnson Diaries

Category/Genre: YA Psychological Horror/Thriller

Word Count: 82,000

Pitch: Doctors say Kaitlyn is a multiple personality in Carly’s body. But when Carly vanishes, leaving her behind, Kait must battle mental delusions or Haitian demonic possession to get her back. Found-footage style YA Horror.

#PitchMAS Entry 71

Title: BEAST

Category/Genre: MG/UF, Fairytale Redux

Word Count: 53,000

Pitch: Elliot’s soul is trapped inside a guilt-ridden beast and his best friend is locked in an asylum for believing it. Needing her help to free himself, he must risk his life to save her.

#PitchMAS Entry 70

Title: The Conch Shell of Doom

Category/Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Word Count: 62,000
Pitch: All Bailey wants is a normal, anxiety-free summer break. Those plans go out with the tide when he learns his parents and their friends want to awaken an ancient monster and its powerful oceanic army.

#PitchMAS Entry 69

Title: The Death Clock

Category/Genre: Adult/Literary

Word Count: 99,000

Pitch: In Kit's world, everyone is born with the knowledge of when they will die. But when her ex-lover dies without warning, he leaves clues to a government secret: death isn't as predictable as it seems.

#PitchMAS Entry 68


Category/Genre: YA contemporary thriller

Word Count: 67,000

Pitch: Honor student by day, serial killer by night, sixteen-year-old Ella must protect her secret if she wants to keep her family alive.

#PitchMAS Entry 67


Category/Genre: MG/Fantasy Adventure

Word Count: 36,000

Pitch: A dangerous treasure hunt. A skilled sorcerer bent on claiming the treasure. A hungry bear-dog. A vicious dragon. And more. Twelve-year-old Princess Cassandra’s quest to save her best friend’s life just might claim her own.

#PitchMAS Entry 66

Category/Genre: YA Contemporary/Light Sci-fi
Word Count: 76,000

Pitch: Eighteen-year-old Trinity’s bummer summer babysitting her brothers on a remote island morphs into a Gothic novel when she learns the island has been cursed with a monster that her father created.

#PitchMAS Entry 65


Category/Genre: Adult/Urban Fantasy

Word Count: 81,000

Pitch: The killing’s begun and Entlain D’Iammo is locked in the dark as hunters stalk the girl he swore to protect. If he doesn’t save her, the rebellion will succeed. And they’ll target the humans next.

#PitchMAS Entry 64


Category/Genre: NA Paranormal Romantic Suspense

Word count: 55,000

Pitch: Emma faces a fear greater than the cursed book characters hell-bent on killing her; a date with her online-flame.  Through chaos and disaster, both will depend on love, lies and a little Gypsy magick.

#PitchMAS Entry 63

Title: LOCKER 103

Category/Genre: MG Magical Realism

Word Count: 45,000

Pitch: Homeless Winter Malone discovers that the school building she's
sleeping in is living, breathing... and trying to turn her into its
Soul. If she can't outsmart it, she'll spend eternity as Iowa's
ugliest middle school.

#PitchMAS Entry 62


Category/Genre: YA Paranormal

Word Count:88,000

Pitch: The pact between a dangerous New Orleans witch hunting group and the Witch’s Council has come to an end and now sixteen-year-old Aurelie LaRue must perfect her craft or end up dead.

#PitchMAS Entry 61

Title: Lucid Dreaming
Category/Genre: NA/Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 72,000
Pitch: When Melaina – half Oneiroi, or dream spirit – treats a client for possession by a nightmare creature, she unleashes the wrath of an enemy who targets her job, her best friend, her family and her life.

#PitchMAS Entry 60


Category/Genre: YA/Dystopian

Word Count: 90,000

Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Amber loads her pistol as her boyfriend is escorted into the execution chamber in place of her mom’s real murderer. She has one last chance to set things straight. If there’s enough time.