Monday, October 10, 2011

Pitch & win critiques!

As most writers have discovered at some stage, synopses suck.
It's extremely difficult to take your fabulous manuscript and highlight the best bits in a succinct, cohesive way.
It's harder yet to to write a query, a 3 paragraph summary of your book.
The hardest?  A pitch, a one or two sentence summary.

So of course, that's what I'm asking you to do for a chance to win critiques.

I'm doing you a favour, honest. How can you convince someone else to read your story if you can't describe it in a snazzy, short, convincing way?

For tips, check out:

So, what's the prize?

-A critique of the first 5 pages of your manuscript by LIZ PELLETIER, senior editor & co-founder of ENTANGLED PUBLISHING (What they've achieved in a short space of time is truly phenomenal. I love working with them!)

-A critique of the first 5 pages of your manuscript by a USA TODAY, Waldenbooks & Bookscan bestseller with 30+ books under her belt. (Yeah, that'd be me!)

So here are the rules:

-As this is a blog contest, it's only open to followers of my blog (feel free to follow now to participate.)

-Your pitch must be 1 or 2 sentences max.

-Post your entry in the comments section here.  Your entry must include:

1. Title, genre, word count
2. Your polished 1-2 sentence pitch
3. your email address

-Entries must be for a completed manuscript (novellas included.)
-Contest open to unpublished writers only.

This contest will run for 1 week, entries closing 11.59pm Monday 16th October.

Entangled Publishing submissions: We are seeking novels and novellas in the following subgenres of romantic fiction for publication in Summer 2012 and beyond:

•Contemporary (including category series romance.)
•Upper YA/New Adult (17-22 yo protags) that will appeal to crossover audiences


•Romantic Thrillers

•Science Fiction
•Paranormal and Urban Fantasy

Their latest October 2011 wishlist is here.

Good luck!
And please spread the word: on your blog, Facebook, Twitter.

(Don't forget the chance to win my latest release all week here!)


Lacey Devlin said...

Oooo I'd love to enter but my novella's still in the polishing stage. Perhaps I can get it done by the 16th :-) Fingers crossed! Thanks for a great contest, Nic!

Kerrin said...

What a great idea! Too bad my story is still in first draft stage!
But i'll spread the word ;)

Nicola Marsh said...

Still pitch it, Lacey.

By the time a winner is drawn, you'll probably have it ready to go!

Nicola Marsh said...

First draft is ok, Kerrin, as long as the first 5 pages are fabulous :)

(see my response to Lacey above, if you win, you don't have to sub instantly, but story does need to be completed.)

Maria said...

Title: Festival of Lights
Genre: Women's Literature
Word Count: 82,00O words

Pitch: Caroline bore Hari a child, but he married Kavya. As Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights approaches, both women are destined to meet in India; what will be the outcome?

Alli Sinclair said...

Title: Vestige
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Word count: 85,000 words

To stop the deadly powers of an Incan relic, a flight attendant turned Indiana Jones in heels must discover if her ex husband or new lover is a reincarnation of the soul mate she lost in a past life.


Thanks Nicola and Liz for the contest. Good luck to all who enter!

Liz Fielding said...

Great competition, great prize, Nic!

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks Liz.

I'm already intrigued by Maria & Alli's entries. :)

Laurie Sorensen said...

Too bad I'm already a published author...this is a really cool idea to help authors get discovered. and the two I have already read dsound great.

Tanya Reimer said...

Wow, I’m excited I found your site. So nice to meet you. You have some interesting titles here I’m going to have to check out! Wow! Pretty interesting contest too with some fun prizes‼! Thanks for hosting it Nicola!
Here’s my entry—

Finding Balance, Urban Fantasy- New Adult, 120,000words

Addicted to drugs and sex, Watcher isn’t sure if She-devil’s entrancement will kill him or save him. He needs balance fast, but everything stands in his way from Dark Whisperers to his future self.

Deniz Bevan said...

Wow, what a great contest, thanks! Here's my entry:

Out of the Water, historical romance, 120 000 words

Rosa, exiled from her Spanish homeland by the Inquisition, is separated from her family, and her one hope of reuniting with them in Constantinople is through the help of Baha, an artist from the Ottoman Empire.

As they travel together, Rosa's drive to find her loved ones is matched by a deepening desire for the man at her side, yet her family will never accept her marriage to a man of a different faith, unless they can prove that their love can withstand their differences - together.

denizb33 at gmail dot com

Danica Winters said...

In Mending Butterfly Wings, a 70,000 word paranormal romance, a veela, Gloriana, is struck with a curse that forbids her to love; rejecting the dark magic, she tempts fate by taking a lover who is then viciously killed. On a mission for revenge, she unites with a tortured werewolf, Alex, to seek justice against the sadistic man that has wronged them and they quickly find that their most challenging battles will not be against their enemy but instead, their heart—for if she gives in and samples the forbidden love again, only one thing is certain—Alex will fall victim to the curse of her kind and all battles will be lost.
Danica Winters
"Making romance one keystroke at a time."

Juliet Madison said...

Here is my first entry:

Title: The Life Makeover Club
Genre: Contemporary women's fiction
Word count: 75,000

‘Sex And The City’ meets ‘Eat Pray Love’, The Life Makeover Club follows the twelve month journey of a glamour girl whose biological clock is ticking, a career-woman in a destructive marriage, and a frazzled mum of three as they push through their comfort zones in an exclusive LIFE MAKEOVER CLUB!


Juliet Madison said...

Here's my second entry:

Title: The January Wish
Genre: Contemporary women's fiction with romantic elements
Word count: 80,000

An eighteen year old secret, a hidden talent, and two guilty hearts collide when Dr Sylvia Greene’s impromptu wish comes true.


Victoria said...

Title: Crystal Keys:The Emerald Key
Genre: Urban Fantasy
WC: 70,445

What would you do if you found out the necklace you’d been wearing for years was one of four keys to a magical realm? Cassandra Richards discovers this and knows she must keep the key safe at all costs, but from whom?

Nicola Marsh said...

Great entries, loving them!

Keep them coming!

Nicola Marsh said...

Juliet, Entangled pitched BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD as 'Sex and the City' meets 'Eat, Pray, Love.'

Great minds :)

EW Gibson said...

This is wonderful! Still working on the story, but I thought I get in on the fun anyway.

Title: Cult of the Fox
Genre: YA Fantasy
Wordcount: Anticipated 85-90,000

Two sisters fight over a magical chalice that can save or doom hunanity dependibng on who possess it.

Andy said...

Thanks for this opportunity!

Title: CLICK
Genre: Literary Fiction
Wordcount: 75,000

In a blue-collar town west of Boston, Margaret and Richard Manning appear to outsiders like a happily married couple. When Richard falls victim to late stage lung cancer, however, Margaret pleads with her adult kids to disconnect him from life-support sooner than later.

Jo Denton said...

Thanks for the opportunity. Here's my entry:

Title: Dangerous Masquerade
Genre: Historical
WC: @70000

A mask and a sword are Bryony's weapons against a powerful man and local smugglers. When the Marquess of Standforth crashes her party, will hte prove friend, foe or lover?

Juliet Madison said...

LOL Nicola, re Sex And The City meets eat Pray Love!! Great minds indeed!

Sarah Shade said...

Thank you for this wonderful opportunity, Nicola!

Genre: Upper YA Futuristic Romance
Word Count: 90,000

In a world where “Night of the Living Dead” meets “A Handmaid’s Tale,” a seventeen-year-old tomboy must find a way to work with the boy who betrayed her in order to prevent a necrotic, cannibalistic mutant from destroying the last remnants of humanity. But can she learn to love herself before she loses everything worth loving?

Anne Van said...

Title: Tokyo Dare
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 78,000

Sixteen-year-old, Erin, doesn't know an Unagi Roll from a Kaiser Roll, but a dare sends her as a high school student to an elite academy in Tokyo, where a disastrous breakdown between cultures makes her host family think she's the devil, and a wacky to-do list sends her on a journey that will turn her world inside out.

Nicola, thank you for the opportunity!

Heather Gray said...

“A provocative Easterner who’s lost her family farm hastens to save a young rancher from the same fate, awakening his passion for the land...and for her.”

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 72,000

Thanks for the opportunity!

Heather Gray said...

Here's my email address:

morethaniappear said...

Okay hee it goes!
Title: The Billionaires Affair
Genre:Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 50,000

Paloma has landed the wedding of the year and she couldn't be happier. Until the man of her teenage, and older, dreams is back in her life, and he doesn't plan on playing nice.

morethaniappear said...

oops sorry i forgot my email address

Laura Ann Dunks said...

Butterfly with Broken Wings
Contemporary, literary, young-adult novel.
Approximately 80000 words.

When chronic illness leaves ambitious seventeen-year-old artist, Amelia, bed-ridden, she must embrace her body's metamorphosis while fighting for her sanity, independence, and the boy she loves.

GFC - Laura Ann Dunks

Thank you for hosting this competition!

ros said...

Contemporary romance, 37,000 word novella.

They are on opposite sides of the boardroom but the same side in the bedroom: Khaled Saqat, a marine biologist and heir to an oil-rich Arab kingdom, and Olivia McInnes, Scottish oil executive. As Olivia and Khaled journey from the cold shores of the Scottish North Sea to the warm, sparkling waters of the Persian Gulf, they find their way from impulsive, transient pleasure to deep abiding love in this warm, sexy, contemporary romance.

Email ros at theoldshed dot me

Ju Dimello said...

Hi Liz, Nicola,

Thanks for the wonderful opportunity!

Title : Beckoning Darkness
Genre : Paranormal Romance
Word Count : 21,000 words

Clarissa Zennet, a psychic, while fleeing her fanged attackers, literally falls into Lucien's arms, who according to her visions is both her lover and killer.

Lucien Mercado, a vampire, is avenging his family by hunting down Scals--dark energy vampires, and what he doesn't count on is losing his immortal heart to the woman he might be forced to kill.

Robyn said...

What a great contest! Here's my entry:

Title: Freefalling
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 50,000

Lone wolf, Cole Matthews, tries to ease his guilty conscience over a fellow mountaineer's death by providing financial assistance to his comrade’s widow and baby daughter, but finds his heart and freedom under threat instead.

email paperweight at iprimus dot com dot au

Nicola Marsh said...

I'm loving all your great pitches!

Only a few more days to go until we announce the winners!

Anonymous said...

Great Contest Nicola

Intimate Strangers Word Count 55.000
Contemporary Romance

Quoting on the flowers for an upcoming society wedding was the chance of a lifetime for Victoria Scanlan. Then she discovered the groom, banking tycoon, Kier Donovan was the man she knew as Seth Donahue...her young son's father.

Kristina Knight said...

Pitch: Best-selling self-help author Cassandra Cash could lose her career if the press keeps hounding her over the rumor that her fiancĂ© has left her for another man. A quiet Caribbean cruise seems like the perfect solution until she learns a reporter has followed her on board – and a stranger has taken up residence in her state room. Can she trust either man with her reputation – or her heart?

Mr. Right Now is a completed 46,000 contemporary romance

Email: kristi_writes_romance @

Nas Dean said...

Hi Nicola,

Thanks for this great opportunity for aspiring writers.

I'm loving everyone's pitches!

Nicola Marsh said...

So am I, Nas!

The hardest part now is choosing the winners...

Ju Dimello said...

Hi Nicola,

Just a quick question. Would you be choosing the winners or Liz ?? ;) Curious minds wants to know :)

And I had a *head desk* moment. I hadn't even left my email id : judimello AT gmail DOT com

Nicola Marsh said...

Both, Ju, as we're both critiquing :)

Liz P. said...

Thank you so much for the opportunity to read all of these wonderful pitches, Nicola. :) They all sound so interesting, but the one which really stood out for me and is the winner was BITERS. The high concept sounds fascinating!

I also really liked MR. RIGHT NOW and FREEFALLING and would love to see fulls of both. :) You can email me directly at

Good luck, everyone!

Lacey Devlin said...

Congratulations to Sarah, Kristina and Robyn! What a fantastic surprise to have an additional two full requests :-)

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks Lacey.

Actually, it's an additional 3 full requests, as Liz was lined up to judge 1 'first 5 pages' so she's been incredibly generous with her time.

Thanks Liz!
You're amazing.

Nicola Marsh said...

I'll announce all winners in a post tomorrow, including mine :)

Ju Dimello said...

Congrats to Sarah, Kristina and Robyn! It's great to see more winners--shows the pitches were that great!

Thanks to Liz and Nicola for this wonderful opportunity as well :)

Nicola Marsh said...

You're welcome, Ju.

Stay tuned for more pitch contests!