Resources

Success Story: Rebecca Carvalho

We’re excited to be able to share Rebecca Carvalho’s #LatinxPitch success story! The Brazilian author answered some of our most pressing questions about her experience with #LatinxPitch and her amazing YA rom-com debut, SALT AND SUGAR, which was acquired by Inkyard after the 2020 pitch event, and will be published in fall 2022. Congratulations, Rebecca!

1) Tell us a little bit about your experience with #LatinxPitch – where did you hear about the pitch event from, how did you feel the day of the event in terms of expectations, and how did the event lead you to sign with your editor?

September 2020 was such a stressful month. A few days prior to the #LatinxPitch event, we had that Blade Runner, apocalyptic looking day in the Bay Area, when the sky was blood red with wildfire smoke. I couldn’t believe my own eyes. The birds didn’t sing that day. It got eerily cold. I couldn’t bear to venture outside. We were also in the thick of the pandemic and I feel like there was so much going on, my anxiety was at an all-time high.

We’d gone on sub earlier in 2020 with SALT AND SUGAR, but editors didn’t connect. At that point, my agent Thao Le and I were wondering what to do next.  

I was standing at that crossroads with my book when I first saw a tweet about the #LatinxPitch event. It honestly felt like a breath of fresh air. I was surprised to see that it was open to agented writers pursuing editors, too. I discussed it with Thao, who was super supportive and encouraged me to participate. We worked together on my pitch, scheduled it, and it’s cheesy to say this… but the sky finally cleared a lot on the day of the event, enough that it even looked blue again.

As exciting as Twitter pitch events are, I still didn’t know what to expect. I just knew I had to give SALT AND SUGAR one last try—writing the book had been such a significant experience for me, following my mom’s passing—and I just felt like I owed it to the story. I believed in my book, but I really wasn’t expecting #Latinxpitch to change my life.

I got so much support from so many people. I was speechless. As editors started requesting my book, Thao and I kept track of everyone and we later put together a list she was going to contact. I think one week later, an editor had already scheduled a call with us. It all happened so fast. I couldn’t believe how quickly the editor had read my book. She wanted to discuss her editorial vision for it and she was so enthusiastic, it all felt surreal. Other brilliant editors started showing just as much interest, too, and so Salt and Sugar went to auction. You can imagine how dizzying this whole thing can be… I’m grateful for my husband, who kept me sane throughout it all. I’m grateful for all the editors, who were so thoughtful and kind. And I’m extra grateful for Thao, who virtually held my hand throughout it all.

Rebecca Kuss (who was at Inkyard Press at the time) was my acquiring editor. It felt like a dream come true, honestly. Everyone at Inkyard Press showed so much love for my Brazilian story, and they all assured me they’d take good care of my career and my book. A book that had been a dream I dreamed together with all my loved ones. Many thanks to Bess Braswell and Claire Stetzer (my current editor)! Thank you, #Latinxpitch, for putting the right people in my life at the right moment!

2) What is your recipe for the perfect pitch?

I don’t know if I have a perfect pitch formula. It’s honestly so subjective. But if I were an agent combing through all the pitches, I’d look for the more straightforward pitches that tell me right away the problem the main character is facing (or how they’re stuck) and how they’re going to take action to solve it, or at least what’s the journey the reader will go on with the main character, so I know what’s at stake. Seeing comp titles helps, too, but I don’t think they’re absolutely necessary.

Rebecca’s Pitch During #LatinxPitch

My pitch for Salt and Sugar was “17yo Lari Ramires and Pedro Molina were born enemies. Their families’ bakeries have always been at war with each other, but when a supermarket preys on their community and corners the bakeries, together they must create the perfect recipe.”

One pitch that’s my favorite EVER was Dustin Thao’s #DVPit pitch for You’ve Reached Sam: “Heartbroken after her boyfriend’s death, Julie calls him to hear his voicemail—but he picks up. It’s their second chance at goodbye, but the connection’s temporary. The longer they talk, the more impossible it is to let him go. YOUR NAME meets IF I STAY.” I teared up reading it and I felt so emotionally invested right away.

3) What would you say to writers who aren’t sure if they should pitch?

I’d say go for it. You have nothing to lose. I’ve participated in other pitch events in the past (I’ve been pitching different projects on Twitter and querying since 2012, actually!) and I know how hard it is seeing your pitch sitting there without any likes, but you’ll at least make new friends, meet potential beta readers and CPs excited to read your work, and network with agents and editors. 

Participating in a more focused pitch event like #LatinxPitch is an even better opportunity, because the founders of the event advocate for different cultural backgrounds in publishing and they attract like-minded agents, editors, and writers.

4) What does an event like this mean to you as a Latinx writer?

It means the world to me. I was born and raised in the Brazilian Northeast, and I traveled alone to the United States with a scholarship to study English at Lawrence University. My mom was a single parent and she was unemployed, dreaming I’d one day achieve all my academic plans. Things were so tough back then, it wasn’t until after graduation that I reunited with her in Brazil, because all those years we just didn’t have money for me to fly home on Christmas. We wouldn’t have had enough to send me back to school, you know?

Writing has been a constant throughout my whole life. It’s been my dream for as long as I can remember—back when I was in first grade, getting in trouble with a kid who thought I’d named a character after her—but as much as I believed in my work, I didn’t know if it would ever be published. I’ve encountered so many people who doubted my writing because English isn’t my first language. I’ve always felt like I had to prove my worth as a writer the moment I stepped into a room. 

Things like getting an agent, finding the right editor, and getting a book deal, at times, sounded like winning the lottery. I felt some of it relied on luck, too. On meeting the right people at the right time… so an event like #LatinxPitch was like suddenly finding an open door. I’ve received so much love and support from the Latinx community on Twitter, and for the first time in a while I felt like my words were celebrated and needed.

5) Finally, tell us all about your YA novel, SALT & SUGAR!

SALT AND SUGAR is a telenovela-esque YA rom-com debut that follows the grandchildren of two rival Brazilian bakeries who fall in love despite their families’ feud while working to win a contest that would save both of their bakeries from being driven out by a predatory supermarket chain.

If you like stories that feature multi-generational feuds, enemies-to-lovers romance, childhood neighborhoods, and characters that bond over food, add SALT AND SUGAR on Goodreads. Publication is planned for fall 2022 (Inkyard Press).

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57814701-salt-and-sugar

Follow Rebecca on Twitter (@cavalcar) and on Instagram (@rebeccacarvalhowrites) for more book news!

Agent Interview: Jemiscoe “Jem” Chambers-Black

We’re excited to have gotten a chance to ask Jemiscoe “Jem” Chambers-Black, a participating agent in this year’s #LatinxPitch, some questions regarding what she’s on the lookout for and what an agent typically needs to see in pitches to have them click that “like” button.

Thanks so much for your time Jem!

Q: Tell us a little bit about your experience last year with #LatinxPitch and any successes you might have had connecting to writers or illustrators because of it.

A: I have participated in LatinxPitch, but it didn’t result in me signing any clients. However, some of those author’s manuscripts that I read went on to sign with other agents, and seeing that was awesome!

Q: Why do you participate in and what do you like about Twitter pitch events? What do you like about #LatinxPitch in particular?

A: Twitter pitch events can be a lot of fun. For agents, we get to read pitches and let a creator know that we have an initial interest in their manuscript’s premise/portfolio. From the creators’ side, they get exposure. It also allows an author or illustrator to choose whether or not they want to query a particular agent. But there are certain pitch events that I keep a lookout for, and #LatinxPitch is one of them. When I became an agent, I never hid my purpose of amplifying marginalized voices. We’ve all seen the percentages of who, on average, gets published, and those percentages still don’t reflect the United States demographics. In saying that, I look to organizations like #LatinxPitch that help put a spotlight on creators who are deserving and have been deserving of agents’ and editors’ attention. It serves as a virtual meetup and makes it easier for us all to connect, and I really am grateful for that.

Q: What tips can you offer to writers or illustrators that might be planning to participate in the next #LatinxPitch event?

A: Like I said, Twitter events are fun and can get you exposure, but before you participate, make sure that your manuscript/portfolio is ready should any publishing professional request it. Having an awesome pitch is only the beginning, and to be honest, not the most important. If you don’t have a complete and polished manuscript, your pitch won’t matter. And for illustrators, if the art pieces you pitched with are your only samples, my first thoughts will most likely be that you aren’t ready for representation. Take your time because, in most instances, this is your one-on-one moment with an agent or editor. We are paying attention to you, so make sure you’re ready for that spotlight and that your work reflects that readiness.

Q: What Tweets normally catch your attention during pitch events? What do you think makes a Tweet stand out?

A: A creator should know that their value or the value of their writing, story, or artwork has nothing to do with the attention of an agent or editor during any Twitter pitch event. From our side, a creator’s pitch might not even show up in our thread even if we do a search. Because I’m on the west coast, I wake up at 5 AM during those events, and my coffee-needing brain struggles to wade through the extensive thread of people saying they will retweet and the actual pitches. 

However, to answer your question, the pitches that grab my attention are where the author doesn’t forget to post about the main character, their main conflict, the stakes, and the obstacle the character faces. You’d be surprised how many creators forget to give a central conflict and set the stakes. Without these main elements, I have no idea if I’m interested. For illustrators, make sure you’re sharing a range of what you can do. If you want to work on different age groups, showcase it. If you have artwork that features day or night scenes, show one of each. If you draw animals and humans, again, show one of each. Versatility is key here. 

Q:  What will you be on the lookout for this year? Tell us a little bit about your current manuscript wish list.

A: This year I am on the lookout for more MG and adult work. In the MG space, I’m looking for contemporary, fantasy, horror, and graphic novels. And in the adult space, I’m looking for romance, women’s fiction, and/or literary fiction. That doesn’t mean I am not open to everything in between, but that is what I have less of in my inbox. I love grounded fantasy, and I will admit I’m looking for that in MG and YA. I am always open to illustrators, and I am always down to look at portfolios with a great range. 

About the agent: Before Jemiscoe “Jem” Chambers-Black joined Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2020, she was an assistant director for film and television. Her love for books prevailed, and she went back to school to study English Literature and creative writing in fiction and earned her MFA. She represents illustrators, picture book authors (by referral only), MG, YA, and adult authors. In picture books, she enjoys laugh-out-louds, tight rhyming, and heartfelt books that deal with family, friendships, and emotional literacy.

You can find out more about Jem on the Andrea Brown Literary Agency website.

Writing and Workshopping #LatinxPitch Tweets

Although workshopping your #LatinxPitch tweets doesn’t guarantee any likes from agents and editors, paying special attention and spending some time on including basic information about your manuscript in your tweets might help an agent or editor gather enough information to know whether or not they want to click the Like button.

Whether you end up with one like, thirty, or zero, all amounts are absolutely okay. The important thing is that you tried using this one avenue to get an agent or editor. There are dozens more available! Keep querying, keep pitching, keep your chin up.

But let’s face it. We put the event together because we want everyone to have the best odds possible. Thankfully, like writing a manuscript, creating a good Tweet is somewhat formulaic:

Character + Hook + Ultimate Stakes + Hashtags = Pitch Perfect Tweet

With any kidlit pitch, it’s always good to start with your character’s age, and then go into what makes your manuscript and your character’s voyage unique. In the case of #LatinxPitch, you might also include your marginalization if your main character shares it. And, if there is room in your pitch, you might add in comp titles at the end or beginning! Don’t forget to leave plenty of room for your hashtags, too!

Examples:

  • 17-yr-old Honduran Alma doesn’t take things sitting down. She tricks her divorced parents into a shared vacation of her dreams. And their nightmares. But when her parents start falling for other people on the trip she’ll have to go above and beyond to stop them. #LatinxPitch #YA
  • 13-yr-old Gabe is a brujo protege who doesn’t care about learning magia. But when his mama comes down with a strange ailment spread by the brujx commission that’s supposed to protect them all, he must bust out his wand before time runs out to save her. #LatinxPitch #MG #Fantasy
  • 5-yr-old princesa-de-la-casa Viviana thinks camping is totally gross. But when she’s forced to go on her first camping trip ever, she starts to learn that it’s only out in the wild you find osos y venado y cascadas de agua. #LatinxPitch #PB

Although there isn’t a one-fits all formula for success, we hope that if you’re stuck building your pitches for September 15th, this is a formula that will help you write tweets that include everything an agent or editor might be looking for in terms of story details.

Visit our event page to learn about common hashtags and all of the rules and regulations for #LatinxPitch.

Do you have your pitches ready to go and want some feedback on them? Join us for our pre pitch event on September 1st, when members of the #LatinxPitch team will be giving feedback on practice pitches!

The Agent Call & 10 Questions to Ask

Your querying journey will likely culminate in “The Call,” which is when an agent that you’ve sent your full manuscript to invites you to hop on a phone call or video chat with them, which most often leads to an offer of representation.

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! It’s no small feat and should be celebrated to the fullest.

Although The Call can cause all kinds of jitters, it doesn’t have to be stressful. During The Call, you’ll likely hear the agent gush about your project, want to know more about what you’re working on next, and overall sell you on themselves and their agency.

It’s important to note that even if an agent invites you on a call and offers you representation, you do not have to accept it. Be ready to interview them as much as it might seem they’re interviewing you. Before the end of The Call, be sure to ask to be connected to two or three of their clients prior to making your decision to sign with them and their agency. It is also standard practice to ask for two weeks to consider their offer of representation (you can ask for more time as well, if necessary) during which you can reach out to other agents with your fulls, partials, or query and see if they’re interested in offering representation.   

A few ways you can prepare for The Call include knowing about the agent and agency in terms of who they represent that you’re familiar with and any recent deals they might have brokered, thinking about what future projects are on your queue you can chat about, and preparing questions.

Below are 10 questions to consider including in your list:

  1. Are you planning to represent just this project or my career? How do you typically develop a writer’s career? And are you willing to represent books I write for age groups and genres outside of your norm? Career building and planning is definitely something that your agent should have some idea on. A lot depends on what happens with project one, etc, but you can get an overall idea from them. These questions will give you an idea if the agent usually represents writers per project or for their career. If an agent will only represent you on a project-by-project basis, having a long-term idea of when you will need to possibly start looking for a new agent can save you lots of heartache in the future.
  2. Are you an editorial agent? Why or why not? Meaning, will they revise the manuscript with you beforehand or just do small edits and send it off to editors. Both have their pros and cons, and one might matter to you more.
  3. How many clients do you have and how do you juggle your workload with your clients? You can also ask: On average how long does it take to get a project on submission?
  4. What is your communication style? And how fast are you able to reply to client emails? If you’re someone who expects day-of answers on questions or issues that might arise, asking a potential agent how quickly they respond to requests from clients will give you an idea on whether their communication style matches your expectations.
  5. How does your agency support you? Feeling supported by your agency is just as important as feeling supported by your agent. Especially if the agent you’re speaking to is newer to the industry, knowing their support and mentorship system is important!
  6. What are some projects you’ve recently sold or signed? If you write sci-fi and all they’ve sold recently are contemporaries in a different age group that’s good to consider!
  7. What changes do you think my manuscript needs, if any? If there are things you are not willing to change that the agent mentions, better to have the conversation before. Many agents won’t tell you everything, so you can always mention some things you don’t want to change, too.
  8. Do your clients talk to one another? Does your agency do any type of conferences or events for writers within the agency to meet? Are you a social person? Networking within your agency can always be helpful.
  9. How does your agency handle foreign and television/movie rights? This is a business and knowing that a potential agency has access and experience with other avenues that can make you income is awesome!
  10. How does your agency support marginalized writers/writers of color? Knowing beforehand how your agency supports their Latinx clients, can help you feel more at home even if the agent you sign with isn’t Latinx.

There are many other questions you can ask based on what’s important to you as a writer. These can be regarding an agents list, editorial eye, or even contract questions.

Now that you’re more familiar with The Call, whether it ends in an offer of representation or not, we hope that you’re feeling better prepared to take a massive and important step toward reaching your traditional publishing goals.

Preparing #LatinxPitch Submission Materials

LatinxPitch Submission Materials - Twitter Literary Pitch Event

You’ve saved the day to your calendar, you’ve finished your manuscript(s), but what else should you have ready before participating in #LatinxPitch?

A QUERY LETTER AND A SYNOPSIS

Most of—if not all of—the time you’ll need to submit a query letter with your manuscript sample pages. We recommend having a few people read and offer feedback to help you with a final version.

Although less commonplace, some agents might also want a synopsis, or a short version of a story outline that shows your character’s complete arc. Having one already handy that has also been read by a few people is also a good idea!

A WAY TO KEEP YOUR QUERIES ORGANIZED

If you’re participating as a writer looking for an agent, whether you get one like from agents or thirty, one easy (and free) way to keep track of requesting agents is to organize a folder on your desktop for the event. Inside of it, you can add a folder with the names of each requesting agent and add in copies of the materials they’ve requested. This will help keep varying requests separate from one another and help you avoid sending the wrong files. Having this type of filing system also allows you to keep track of who you’ve queried by color tagging files and folders and it gives you room to move agent folders around as you hear back. Even if you’re participating as an unagented writer, it’s also good to have a file that includes the names of any editors that interact with your pitch for the future!

A FULL MANUSCRIPT AND A 50-PAGE PARTIAL

Having these two files prepared before participating in #LatinxPitch can save you time later on—a full manuscript and a 50-page partial (the most common partial). Spruce up your manuscript files up by adding in a placeholder page for your query letter addressed to each requesting agent at the beginning of your file, making sure your pages are numbered, and ensuring that your manuscript uses standard fonts and colors (you can never go wrong with Times New Roman).

PREPARING AND SCHEDULING YOUR TWEETS

You’re allowed to pitch each manuscript once in the morning and once in the evening during #LatinxPitch. Like your query and synopsis, be sure to try to get feedback on your Tweets before sending them out to get the most out of your experience. Once you’ve finalized the two (per project), you can always use a scheduling tool like TweetDeck to have them ready to go on September 15th if you won’t have time to send them out in real-time the day of.

Now that you have a good idea on what you might need after #LatinxPitch is over, make sure to join the community during our pitch practice day on Wednesday, September 1st. Members of #LatinxPitch and the writing community at large will be able to offer comments on your Tweets, so be sure to take advantage of any chance to get feedback!

How to Research Agents Prior to Querying

How To Research Agents Prior to Querying

One of the biggest steps a new writer will take on their path to publication is finding an agent to represent their manuscript and/or career. It’s exciting! But it can also be stressful to make such an important decision without a whole lot of information regarding agents available. And without having met someone who will become your business partner before, and sometimes even after, you sign with them.

How do you research agents prior to querying? Or after you’ve queried and have gotten a full request or offer of representation?

Here are five ways you can learn more about an agent before signing with them:

  1. Look at the agent’s track record

Some agents will have the books they’ve represented on their website or available elsewhere like on Publisher’s Marketplace (though PM is a paid option). If you’re looking for something unpaid, you can also do some research on an agent’s clients (if that list is available) and gather information on their client’s releases. This is a wonderful way to see if your project will fit with the projects they represent. Worth noting, however, that new agents might not necessarily have made a lot of deals. In this case, you can always take a look at the agent’s agency.

  1. The agent’s agency (especially if they are a new/newer agent, this can be super handy)

Signing with a new agent isn’t a bad thing. There have been many new agents that have excelled in their field in a matter of a couple of years and now have sizable lists and great track records. It might also mean that your project and career will have more attention from an agent that doesn’t have a wide list yet. What you might want to look at is whether or not a new agent who is interested in representing you has the resources, toolkit, and mentorship available to them at their agency. Are they being taught the trade by a senior agent that has experience in your age group and genres? Is the agency that they’re at legitimate, well-known, and without red flags?

  1. Reach out to current clients or to writer friends 

There has been some controversy the past year on whether or not querying writers should reach out to an agent’s clients outside of those an agent connects them with after The Call. Although it’s true that different writers will have different experiences with the same agent, therefore, a writer might critique an agent based on personal business preferences, it’s also important to be as comfortable querying an agent as possible. If this means talking to current clients (respectfully so) or seeing what information is out there about an agent, you are completely within your right to do so.

  1. Look at QueryTracker

QueryTracker is a paid yearly subscription database that allows you to keep track of the agents you’ve queried and your query status for each. Because it’s a shared database, it also gives you a timeline of responses per agent and lets other writers share their statuses and experiences with you. This is a great way to see how long an agent usually takes to respond, where you might be in their queue, and see if there are any negative notes from other querying writers left regarding the agent.

  1. Find interviews online

Some agents will participate in cons or panels that are later posted on YouTube or made available online. Seeing an agent and getting to know them on video is at least second best to getting to meet and pitch to them in person. You might also be able to find online interviews that don’t contain videos but will still allow you to learn more about an agent, their style, and what they’re looking for! 

It’s important to remember during any pitch event that you don’t have to send your query or manuscript to all the agents who request it. When it comes to choosing representation, remember to go with your gut and to do your due diligence. Only query the agents who you would be happy about getting an offer of representation from. And who you are sure are legitimately in the business. Knowing how to learn about agents prior to querying can help you narrow down your list and make signing with an agent so much less stressful!

The Different Types of Agent Responses from Querying

You’ve done it! You’ve sent away your first queries (or are planning to send some soon) and are now patiently (or not so much) refreshing your inbox for any news from agents.

What are some of the responses you might hear back?

Read on for some of the most common.

PASSES

Let’s get the not-so-fun responses out of the way first. You might receive a pass on your query within a few hours, a few days, or even months down the line after sending your pitch to agents. The majority of agents still respond to every query, but some don’t have the bandwidth to do so. Likely these agents will have a timeline posted on their submission guidelines that will let you know how many weeks after you submit to them can you consider their response a pass. Passes at the initial querying level are typically generic, with the agent simply stating that they didn’t fall in love with the project, that the pitch just wasn’t for them, or even that they already have something similar on their list. It’s important to not take passes to heart. Though this is difficult, publishing is a very subjective business. All it takes is one yes, so keep querying!

PASS WITH AN INVITATION TO SUBMIT MORE

There might be times when an agent passes on your manuscript but invites you to submit your next project to them. Or even asks you if there is another project that they can look at from you at the moment. Among the many reasons you should be professional when messaging agents after passes, this is a big one! Agents don’t offer to look at more projects from you unless they’re truly interested. This kind of pass might also keep you motivated to keep writing and working on your next project.

PARTIAL OR FULL REQUESTS

Based on your query and sample pages (if applicable) an agent might ask for a partial of your manuscript, which is usually fifty pages or so, or they might go straight to requesting your full manuscript. It’s a good rule of thumb to include your query letter at the start of the Word document before sending it to agents. And make sure that your manuscript is a standard, 12 pt., black font. A partial might also turn into a full request, so be prepared to send your full manuscript in a timely manner.

REVISE AND RESUBMIT (R&Rs)

You might have heard the term R&R before but haven’t been entirely sure what it means. R&R stands for Revise and Resubmit. This is when an agent passes on but also invites you to revise your manuscript based on their feedback (which could be extensive or a sentence or two) and send your manuscript back to them if you choose to make their changes. An R&R is completely optional! You should definitely believe in the changes being offered before tackling an R&R. If you choose to complete an R&R, it’s also good to keep in mind that it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive an offer of representation, but it is an opportunity to potentially make your manuscript stronger with the feedback from an agent!

REQUESTING A CALL

The most exciting thing that can happen once you’ve sent an agent your full manuscript is hearing that they’re interested in hopping on a call! This might be a phone or video call, the latter of which has become more commonplace since the pandemic started. The Call might be an offer of representation, which the agent might tell you about beforehand, or it could be to discuss changes before offering representation. Rarely, but it does happen, The Call might be a pass with the intent of offering feedback on a more personal level. It’s important to not jump to any conclusions about The Call, but to also be prepared! The Call is as much about you as a writer getting to know a potential agent and interviewing them as it is the other way around. Have questions ready to go, and maybe a celebratory meal planned for the best possible outcome.

Although this isn’t a full list of agent responses you might hear on your querying journey, we hope it has helped prepare you for five of the most common. Whatever responses you receive from agents, remember to celebrate that you have gotten this far. Querying is not an easy road or process, and just having the confidence to send out your work is a major step in becoming a traditionally published writer!

Managing Twitter Pitch Event Expectations

You’ve surely heard that no publishing journey is the same and it’s so true! Some writers will query for the first time, find an agent in days, and land a six-figure deal within a week. Although these are unicorn cases, they’re often the stories we hear most often and daydream about. Meanwhile, the reality is that most published writers will have queried and gone out on submission with multiple projects before finding a home in traditional publishing. Both cases are absolutely okay and can lead to successful writing careers. So much about the publishing industry revolves around managing expectations and doing so for pitch contests isn’t any different than for any other part of the process.

Whether this is your first time participating in a Twitter pitch day or your 10th, here are three realities that might help you manage Twitter pitch event expectations:

  1. You might not receive any likes or retweets. As recent years have gone by, Twitter pitch events have gained momentum and popularity. Although this means that more agents and editors are participating in events, it also means that lots of writers have adopted this as one of their favorite methods of gauging interest from agents/editors prior to sending out queries and pitches for their manuscripts. The most popular pitch events are reaching tens of thousands of posts. This is a lot of writers pitching on an extremely fast-moving thread, especially when the target audience doesn’t have the bandwidth to review all the tweets sent out. TIP: In order to make the most out of your Tweets, schedule them at least an hour apart so they appear at different places in the event thread.
  2. Agents and Editors might react differently to your pitch once they receive your query letter and sample pages. 280 characters is not a lot of room to completely pitch your manuscript, so it’s understandable that agents and editors might react and be more or even less excited once they receive your query letter and sample pages. TIP: Double-check that your pitch matches the content in your query letter, and that your query letter matches the content in your sample pages if applicable. Consistency can be extremely helpful in keeping agents/editors interested in your project based on what they read about it in a Tweet. 
  3. The number of likes/retweets you get on a pitch don’t necessarily matter. This one might seem contradictory; however, the reality is that you can get one like from an agent that amounts to a full request that might turn into an offer of representation, or you might get ten or thirty with the same outcome. Or an adverse outcome. TIP: More than worrying about the number of likes you might get, concentrate on celebrating that you’re putting your manuscript(s) out there and the many ways you can take advantage of a pitch event!

It’s impossible not to think of the possibilities that come with a Twitter pitch event. This might be what leads to you finding the perfect representation or even house for your project, and that’s a big deal. Hopefully these realities of what pitch events can be like, though, help you navigate the realities and what is likely to happen during the event and focus on the most important part of it all: The simple fact that you believe in your manuscript enough to participate is already a win!

Run Little Chaski: A Cover Reveal

Chaskis as drawn by chronist Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala in 1615.

Mariana Llanos, one of the founders of our #LatinxPitch has a new book coming out this year, and the best news is that it releases simultaneously in Spanish and English. Run Little Chaski! An Inka Trail Adventure and ¡Corre Pequeño Chaski! Una aventura en el Camino Inka, illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson, will release May 1st of this year with Barefoot Books. Hear from Mariana Llanos:

I wrote Run Little Chaski late in 2016. After running it through my critique group, working on revisions, and finally feeling like it was “ready”, I decided to begin the submission process. It was last year, and with the help of my new agent, Clelia Gore, that I sold it to Barefoot Books.

The few people who have read the book mention what a novel idea it was to feature these interesting foot-fleeted messengers that delivered messages through the Andes mountains in the times of the Inkas. I feel fortunate I found a publisher committed to diversity, but what people usually don’t realize is that novel ideas set in lands (not to mention times) faraway are a tough sell no matter how original they may seem.

Many publishing houses still puzzle over the idea of producing books set in other cultures. The most common argument is that children in the U.S won’t relate or that the editors themselves can’t relate. I obviously, disagree with this notion. As I have stated before, I grew up reading books set in “other” cultures, but those books still made me dream, laugh, and learn. How do we expect children to open their mind to the world if all they can see is their own reflection?

I learned this when I published my first self-published book in 2013 (Tristan Wolf). In those times I was doing plenty of Skype in the Classroom visits to schools around the world. On the same date I had a visit to a school in Illinois and one in Nigeria. I was a little worried about both visits: would the Illinois children understand my accent? Would the Nigerian children understand my accent?

It turned out they did (as children usually do), but not only that. Those children who were in different continents, separated by a great big ocean, reacted with laughter and surprise to the same parts of the story. Furthermore, their questions were substantially similar. So, my conclusion is, children are children wherever they are. They crave adventure and a well-told story. They recognize universal themes and are excited about learning from “others”. Children are children, everywhere.

Without further ado, here you have my newest book, which is also available to preorder from AMAZON (Hardcover English or Paperback Spanish) or BOOKSHOP (English or Spanish).

And more exciting news: Run Little Chaski debuts as a Junior Library Gold Standard in English and Spanish. What an honor!

Please be a good Little Chaski and share the news far and away!

Corre Pequeño Chaski: Una aventura en el Camino Inka
Run Little Chaski! An Inka Trail Adventure

Learn more about the chaskis (or chasquis) from the National Museum of the American Indian

Learn more about Mariana and her books, including her latest Eunice and Kate (Penny Candy Books, 2020) HERE

Rules to Participate in #LatinxPitch

LatinxPitch is around the corner! We hope you are preparing your pitches for September 15, 2021.

Here is a reminder of who can participate and how to participate.

ELEGIBILITY

  • All UNAGENTED and AGENTED Kidlit LATINX authors, author-illustrators, and illustrators are welcome to participate. Kidlit includes board books, picture books, chapter books, middle grade, graphic novels and young adult.
  • Anyone who self- identifies as Latinx with cultural ancestry in Latin-America is encouraged to participate. If you’re a bilingual Latinx creator not living in the US but are interested in publishing in this market, you are eligible to participate.  If you are married to someone who is Latinx or your subject matter includes Latinx heritage, but you are NOT a self-identified Latinx creator, we ask you to refrain from participating in this specific event. 
  • Latinx creators are welcome to submit any type of story or topic that falls under the Kidlit umbrella. There is no expectation that pitches should only cover Latinx themes as we fully recognize the diversity of talent, interests, and knowledge of our community. Our goal is to showcase these talents and promote Latinx expertise and skills to the wider community.
  • Agented authors and illustrators should check with their agents and agencies before the pitch.
  • If you’re an illustrator pitching work-for-hire/commissions include work samples from your portfolio and your topics of interest. 

HOW

FOR WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATORS

  1. Post your pitches using #latinxpitch from your personal Twitter account. You are not required to register for this event. 
  2. Add your genre #BB (board books) #PB (picture books) #CB (chapter book) #MG (middle grade) #GN (graphic novel) #YA (young adult)  #Art to make it easier for agents and editors to find you.
  3. Add a subgenre if desired:  #AuthorIllustrator,  #NF (Non-Fiction),  #OWN (Own voices), #DIS (Disability), #Romance, #Fantasy, #LGTBIQ, #WFH (Work-for-hire)
  4. Artists will use hashtag #Art and submit a link to their portfolio or 4 individual illustrations. You may mention what are your sources of inspiration or what kind of projects you are interested in working.
  5. Agented authors and illustrators must include the hashtag #Editor to indicate they are looking for an editor and not an agent.
  6. Pitch each manuscript/art project only ONCE in the morning and ONCE in the evening. Each project can have a total of two pitches during the event. Only pitch completed, unpublished manuscripts or samples of a complete proposal for artwork. Self-published projects are not eligible. 
  7. You can post up to 4 manuscripts/art proposals in the morning and 4 manuscripts/art proposals in the evening, for a total of 8 pitches during the day. You can only post the same project twice during the event. 
  8. Remember do not like fellow creator’s pitches. As a creator you can show your encouragement to work you like by commenting on pitches. We are looking for ONLY Agents and Editors to FAVORITE and RETWEET pitches. A retweet from an editor will be a signal for agents, they are looking for this specific type of project (#MSWL). A retweet means interest, a like means request.
  9. Please note if an editor likes your pitch, but can accept ONLY agented submissions, do not submit your work directly to them. However, you can note their interest when querying agents.
  10. If you receive interest from agents or editors accepting unagented submissions, we recommend you do your research before submitting. You have no obligation to submit your work if it’s not a right fit for you. 

FOR AGENTS AND EDITORS

  1. Please visit our event from 8 am to 8pm on September 15th. Writers will post up to 4 original pitches in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. The same project will be posted a max of 2 times.
  2. Post your guidelines for submitting on your twitter page.
  3. Please LIKE pitches you would like to request. Agented writers will use #agented as a hashtag. Unagented writers will not have that hashtag. If you prefer only agented submissions, you may RETWEET to signal agents you are interested. A retweet means interest, a like means a request.
  4. We hope you find many voices to enrich your book lists and we appreciate you for opening a door to the Latinx community.