Challenges & Twitter Events for Kidlit Creators

While there are a variety of challenges and Twitter pitch parties sprinkled throughout the year, I've noticed most of them are concentrated in the four months of October, November, December, and January. There's something about the year ending and beginning that helps us find our creative motivation.

Twitter Pitch Parties

What is a Twitter pitch party? And why do we care?

Well, these pitch parties give you an opportunity to pitch your story to participating agents and editors on Twitter. This might open doors at agencies that are normally closed to queries. And yes, I do know people—including some of our Storyteller Academy students who've ended up with agents and book deals through Twitter pitch parties.

Does it work better than sending queries?

No, you're still more likely to sign with an agent by sending query letters, so keep doing that, but it's nice to have options.

There is a dark side to Twitter pitch parties, though. Predatory self-publishing companies sometimes pretend to be traditional publishing companies, and people offering self-editing services sometimes present to be literary agents. Make sure you research anyone who likes your pitch before sending your story. If a literary agent doesn't have any sales and/or charges reading fees, they aren't worth your time. You aren't obligated to send your work just because someone liked your tweet.

Upcoming Twitter Pitch Events That You Can Enter

October 6 brings us a pitch (both on Twitter and the website) event for graphic novel (MG and younger) creators.  You can check out their website: www.kidlitgn.com, where you can you can begin adding your website pitches starting at 8 a.m. Oct. 2 until 11:59 October 5. Please note the October 5 deadline. There will be opportunities to win things like Ken Lamug's Making Comics mini-class. You can find them on Twitter: @KidLitGN #KidLitGN.

October 14 is when all of you who write dark or scary stories can pitch your stories. Learn more on Jason's website: https://jasonhuebinger.com/pitdark/ or on Twitter: @pitdark_ #pitdark.

October 25-26 brings us a pitch event for historically marginalized authors and illustrators. Learn more on the website: www.dvpit.com and on Twitter: @DVpit #DVpit.

October 28 is the day picture book writers and illustrators get to pitch their work. For more information, visit the website: www.pbpitch.com and Twitter: @PJMcIlvaine / @ShumakerDebra #PBpitch.

November 19 is for practicing your pitches on Twitter.  Find out more on the website: https://kyramnelson.com/mockpit/ and on Twitter: @KyraMNelson #mockpit.

December 2 brings us to the original—the very first—Twitter pitch event. Here is their website: www.pitmad.org and Twitter: @PitchWars #pitmad.

December 7 is just for fun. Formerly known as #TacoPitch, writers and illustrators tweet fake pitches for laughs. Mark is still transitioning, but here is the website: https://www.tacopitch.com and Twitter: @CookiePitch #CookiePitch.

Free Challenges

When Jake Parker started Inktober in 2009, there's no way he could have foreseen what he'd just started. There are currently so many daily art challenges available in the month of October that it's probably impossible to try to round them all up. These are a great way to build your art skills and interact with others participating in the same challenge. It's not too late to jump in if you want to get some daily drawing in this month. Here are some more Inktober alternatives.

While October is largely dominated by drawing/art challenges, November is National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words in the month of November. And it is a challenge. I've started NaNoWriMo three or four times, but I've only completed my 50,000 words by the end of November once.

Write Nonfiction in November challenges nonfiction writers to write a work of nonfiction in November. Pretty straightforward, right?

And then in January, Tara Lazar kicks off the new year by hosting Storystorm on her blog. Coming up with 30 new story ideas really is the best way to jumpstart your creativity in the new year. I love finding inspiration in the daily posts on her blog.

I don't think it's a good idea to jump into every challenge or Twitter event. You'll want to make sure that participating serves YOUR goals, instead of distracting you from them. But if your goal is to draw every day or to write a novel or send queries to a certain number of agents, one of these challenges or events might be just the thing. Thanks for reading!

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Myrna Foster
Myrna Foster

Myrna Foster writes and edits content for Storyteller Academy and the WriteRiders Newsletter for SCBWI Nevada. She has spent a lot of time teaching and coaching children, including five years as a preschool teacher. She's also worked as a journalist, and Highlights High Five has published six of her poems.

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