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