Resources for Writers Series: How to Avoid the Slush Pile

Plane trails in sky in shape of a hashtag
Hashtag Chemtrails by Christian Bogen. CC license.

The squeaky snow in Indiana reminds me of growing up in Poland. So does the temperature, seven degrees Fahrenheit. I’m glad it’s not seventy and sunny. Better days for sitting down and writing rarely come up.

I hope you’re writing, too. Why? Because of opportunities to get your work critiqued and in front of agents. Here are three such, courtesy of Brenda Drake and her website Brenda hasn’t asked for and doesn’t know about this free pitch. Her work has brought many writers to the attention of publishing professionals and, ultimately, to readers, and her programs require no payment of any kind. Free. Gratis.

Pitch Madness (

This year’s submission window is February 24, so polish your work and your pitch. Pitch Madness takes the form of a game in which authors compete to win requests from participating agents. Come back to Brenda’s site soon for this year’s theme and submission instructions.

#PitMad (

This pitch event on Twitter brings together writers, agents and some independent publishers. It takes place every quarter, with the 2017 dates falling on March 23, June 8, September 7 and December 7. #PitMad will make you condense the essence of your work to 140 characters. If an agent or publisher marks your tweet as a “favorite” you’ve got yourself a submission request.

Two stars in the sky
LkHA 263C by Judy Schmidt. CC license.

#PitchWars (

The big fish of on-line pitch competitions, #PitchWars matches up published authors with novels in search of a home for an ultimate critique session. The two authors collaborate on revisions and edits and finish by presenting the work to a large group of agents. The competition is fierce but fun, and I have it on good authority that participation itself tends to benefit the writer. Matching with a mentor or not confers no judgment upon the value of the work; rather, the mentors in the program select the books they judge most likely to benefit from their advice.

I suspect some of you have already heard of all three, but hope this proves helpful to many. Please offer your thoughts on the past and future agent and publisher pitch events in the comments to this blog post.

Wishing everyone an amazing 2017!

Your Outreach Coordinator.

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