Friday, September 20, 2013
For the past couple of years I've been fortunate to have the lovely Brenda Drake invite me to be part of as a host. Which means I get to look through the mass of entries we receive, pick my favourite 15 and showcase them on my blog. It's a hectic and fun time, but the most rewarding thing is having the opportunity to connect writers with agents.
Each year there's entries that agents go wild over, with the hosts whooping at the success, and ones that miss out on any bids, leaving the hosts scratching their heads as to why the agents didn't connect with those entries.
I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the entries from both of these contest extremities to have a look at the trends of Pitch Madness.
Retellings killed it this year. Retellings of The Wizard of Oz and A Much To Do About Nothing ere huge hits.
YA Contemporaries about death, using books as love guides, cancer and seizures received lots of agent attention, showing that the contemporary trend is not back down. The Wizard of Oz retelling above is also contemporary.
YA SciFi about forced matings and time travel got a lot of attention. There wasn't an abundance of SciFi, but they all received agent interest, and those two a lot.
Dark stories weren't featured too highly, but there was aYA fantasy that received so much attention.
Bookish Themes were of great interest, including fictional characters coming to life , getting trapped in books (also MG Fantasy), Yet this story about a comic hero taken revenge on his writer got no love at all (which really bummed me as it was the only entry I found that my 15yo son would be interested in).
New Adult featured strongly. The story were a fiction character coming to life above was the NA that received the most attention. But an NA Sci Fi and a Dark NA Urban Fantasy also got a lot of attention. But this multiple personality NA story got no agent love.
Fairytale fun, a Frankenstein remaining (that also has bookish themes), But not all MG fantasy faired well. This one about a dream world received no bids at all.
Historicals about WWII, Magicians, and a Shakespearean retelling in a 1920s speakeasy all received a lot of interest. There were a couple of other historicals, including some great genre mash-ups, that only received some nibbles.
Adult was definitely in demand. Most adult entries received some attention, but it was this thriller that did the best. I predict more adult entries will be featured in the next Pitch Madness
Boys Humour MG didn't do well, much to my disappointment. Burping knights and power giving candy themed stories are ones that my 8yo would love, but agents did not.
YA Magical Realism didn't do as well as I expected. They still received bids, but usually only a couple.
One thing that really stood out for me was that there were a few entries where the Twitter buzz was off the charts, but they didn't received the same reception from the agents. All I can put that down to is the agents knowing something about the industry that we don't. They have access to the publishers' wish lists that we don't.
Pitch Madness is a great experience for all involved, even though there can be highs and lows. It exposes writers to the industry and gives those writers a platform to get in front of agents. It also helps writers hone their queries, elevator pitches and opening words. Then there's also the opportunity to network. So many writers make lasting friendships out of events like this.
I love Pitch Madness so much, and I can't wait for March when we do it all again.
Posted by SM Johnston at 7:06 PM