Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pitch Madness Interviews Pt. 1 - It's All About The Slush

Pitch Madness is a popular pitching event created and overseen by Brenda Drake. This year the event took place in the first week of March and there were over 900 entrants vying for one of 60 coveted spots. Slush readers read hundreds of entries, combing through pitches and first pages to find the stories they though agents would most connect with. After the slush readers had weeded out the most promising pitches, team captains from four different teams selected their top 15 choices during a draft which was covered live over Twitter. The selected entries were then posted on one of four blogs and agents were able to request pages.

I Have Some Questions
Brenda allowed me behind the curtain after the team selections had been finalized so I could run stats on this year's Pitch Madness event. That glimpse behind the scenes made me curious about the people who bring this popular contest to life each year. With Brenda's permission I emailed one of the Pitch Madness slush readers, one of the team captains and Brenda herself. I kept it brief, 5-6 questions at most. These are busy people with books and blogs to work on. But they were each gracious enough to spare some time for me. Their answers show how truly fantastic Pitch Madness is, not just for those entering, but for those helping out each year as well. Over the next few days I'll share each of their interviews with you.

A Professional Slush Diver
Up first is slush reader K.T. Hanna, one of many people helping out with Pitch Madness this year. Her slush-diving credentials are impressive considering K.T. is a New York agency intern. In addition to filling out reader reports for agents, K.T. also helps run an editorial service, Chimera Editing. She's been helping out with Pitch Madness for the past three years and was a Pitch Wars mentor in 2014.

Approximately how many hours did you spend reading entries for this year's contest?
KT: I went through about 685 entries. I think I spent about 15, maybe 18 hours on the entries.

What inspired you to volunteer to help with Pitch Madness?
KT: I took part in the original Pitch Madness in March 2012 and met my first agent (who sadly left the business). But, since then, I’ve always offered to help Brenda out in anything she runs, because I think this sense of community she fosters is amazing and I love that writers don’t have to feel alone.

What was your favorite moment in this year's Pitch Madness contest?
KT: When so many of my favorite entries got picked and requested! That and all the camaraderie on the hasthag (#PitchMadness). Love the community so much.

Is there one pitch that really stood out for you?
KT: There were a lot of pitches that stood out for me. In fact, I had like 30 on my list, haha. I really can’t narrow it down better than that.

Silly question time. You sit down at a bar, look over and your favorite author is sitting next to you. Who is it and what is he/she drinking? What do you do?
KT: Ahhh this one makes me sad. My favorite author is Louise Cooper (and if you haven’t read the Time Master Trilogy, you need to). Sadly she passed away on my birthday in 2009. But if she were there, she’d probably be having a cup of tea. I’d go sit down next to her and chat to her, because those books made me not only want, but need to be a writer.

Special thanks to K.T. to answering my questions despite a rather hectic week. Follow her on Twitter @KTHanna or at her website,

Tune in tomorrow for a perspective on Pitch Madness from one of the team captains.

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