3 S.R. Johannes: Pay It Forward Contest

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pay It Forward Contest

A while back when I was looking for an agent, one of my blogger buddies, Suzanne Young, helped me tremendously.

At the time, I only knew her through her blog and she had just signed with an agent and got a four-book deal with Razorbill. Her new novel with Balzer and Bray, A Need So Beautiful, comes out in June. (As a side note, I'm reading the ARC now and it is FRAWESOME (freakin' awesome.)

One day, Suzanne stopped by my blog and took the time to read my synopsis on the side. She contacted me offline - out of the blue. She loved my concept, voice, and idea so much - she personally recommended me to her agent. Suzanne's agent was kind enough to read my submission quickly and offered a letter of advice on how I could improve my book. She also offered (as did a few others) to reconsider the project if I revised it.

Several months later - I sent the revised book to Suzanne's agent (at the time) and a few others who also offered feedback. Suzanne's agent at the time was the first of the few that offered representation.

I've always had a special place in my heart for Suzanne because she was so selfless in giving me my first break - and sometimes that all you need is just a break. She did this without even knowing who I really was as a person.

So I'm feeling like it's time I give back. If you know me, you probably know I love to give back. I try to help people get in front of agents and editors on my pitch contests. Though I've seen some great pitches that haven't been chosen.

So I want to try and give someone else a break. Sometimes that all we need to take a step forward in this crazy business.

Therefore, I'm holding my own "Pay it Forward" contest. It will run next week - Monday, Jan 31 at 9am EST - Friday, Feb 4th at 5pm EST.

The winner will get a personal recommendation from me to my agent, Alyssa Henkin at Trident Media. (Trust me - you want her as an agent!)

This is how it will work.
  • I will have people enter their pitch (YA or MG) and chose my top 10.
  • Then, those top 10 will send me their full query pitch letter.
  • From the top 10 - I will choose 3 I like.
  • Those 3 will get a free query critique AND get to send me their first 3 chapters of their novel.
  • I will pick ONE winner that I will recommend to Alyssa. That means you can use my name when you query her, which will get you pulled out of the slush pile.
  • You must be a follower of my blog and twitter. (If you don't have twitter, that's is fine.)
  • Your entry must be posted sometime between Monday morning 9am EST and no later than Friday 5pm EST - the contest will start and end by my clock.
  • Your pitch must be No more than 3-4 sentences.
  • You must post a pay it forward post on FB or blog sometime during the contest time. I will need the link.

To Enter: Follow these 3 steps
NOTE: You can post your entry anytime between Mon Jan 31st at 9AM EST and Friday, Feb 4th by midnight EST.

1. Post a
"Pay it Forward" post on your blog or FB (can be any day next week during the contest).
  • In that post, you MUST recognize someone for giving back to you. Maybe someone who has helped you in your writing or in your personal life. In your post, you can link to my "Pay it forward" post so your readers can also pay it forward.
2. Double check to be sure you MUST follow my blog and Twitter (if you have an account.) I like to reward my loyal followers and I want to meet you!
  • Of course, you are always welcome to join me on FB or sign up for my marketing newsletter that will start soon. I love cyberstalkers :)
3. In your entry, you MUST provide the following information:
  • name, email address, 3-4 sentence pitch, genre (MG or YA?), the link to your "Pay it forward" post (either on FB or blog), and your twitter id (if you have one).
  • Your book must be done (or in revisions to be done in the next couple of months). I don't mind if you are editing/revising it as a draft, but it cant be only 3 chapters done. I want to do the recommendation by spring or so; not wait 6 months. (to be honest, I might forget and I want to stand good on my offer)
  • your pitch can not be longer than 4 sentences.

Next week - I will be posting a few different "Pay it Forward" posts about people who have helped me along the way.

Hope to see you back here on Monday! :)


Jennifer said...

What a fantastic contest, Shelli. Can we participate if we don't have a blog? What if we post something on our facebook and link it to your blog? Does that count?

Unknown said...

I'll be sitting this one out, but it's going on my sidebar so I can try to spread the news for you! :)

Jenilyn Collings said...

What an awesome contest! Thank you so much for thinking of others and trying to help us out!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Jennifer - that's fine on the blog. YOu can do the post in your FB notes section :)

Anne R. Allen said...

What a great contest! I'll spread the word!

Blazer67 said...

What a tremendous and thoughtful idea, Shelli. I'll make sure the word gets out. You already do a lot for us just by sharing what you do but this is above and beyond. Thanks!

Marquita Hockaday said...

This is a brilliant contest! It's great to hear a success story like yours from someone recommending you. WOW! Thanks for this opportunity.

Jess said...

How incredibly generous of you! I swear, the writing community just continues to go above and beyond. This is a very special contest, so thank you in advance :)

Jolene Perry said...

I will be back. This is SUCH a great idea.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

What a great way to pay it forward, and thanks for giving so generously of your own time to make good things happen for another writer.

Donea Lee said...

What an amazing opportunity! I love the idea of paying it forward - sometimes all you need is that one right person to help you along. I'll definitely be back to participate on the 31st - thanks!

Melissa Gill said...

What a great idea Shelli. Thanks for the opportunity.

Deb Salisbury, Magic Seeker and Mantua-Maker said...

What a cool contest, and a brilliant idea!

Janet Johnson said...

Shelli, you really are wonderful! You are one of the first writing blogs I found when I took a tentative step into the writing blogosphere (about a year ago).

In that first post I read, you called out all those who lurk and don't comment. That changed me, and I'm grateful for it, so thank you! I've gotten a lot more from this world than I would have without your encouragement (even though you didn't even know I was in your audience).

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Wow, this is awesome. You are so wonderful to have these contests. I'm excited!

Elena Solodow said...

This is excellent! Thanks so much for doing this. I'm over from Amparo's blog.

Kelly Polark said...

You are always so generous, Shelli! Fabulous contest!

Unknown said...

What a great idea. I don't blog but I will post on my FB notes. You just can't make it as a writer without writer friends who come along beside you.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Wow! What an awesome contest and great that you are paying it forward. We all need to do what we can.

My manuscript needs one more revision and I don't have a blog. So I can't enter. But it's better to do the revision and get it right. Maybe you'll do it again in the future.

Jemi Fraser said...

You rock! What an awesome idea! :)

E. Arroyo said...

Wow, you are awesome. This is a great idea!

Marie Rearden said...


That's what's happening at this blog. I'll be back next week.


Marie, http://marierearden.blogspot.com

MichelleMiller said...

I know it's late in the day, and most everything's been said. But I still wanted to let you know your contest is such a creative and wonderful way to engage and help writers! Though I don't have a project to contribute, thank you so much for sharing, and everything you do!

kathrynjankowski said...

You've paid it forward in so many ways already, this is just the icing on the cake!

storyqueen said...

I love pay-it-forward events!

Great idea, Shelli!

B.J. Anderson said...

Such a feel-good, awesome contest!

Heidi-"Heidi in Real Life" said...

Excellent idea! Dumb question though--what is YA or MG when you ask for a pitch?

Heidi-"Heidi in Real Life" said...

Excellent idea! Dumb question though--what is YA or MG when you ask for a pitch?

Kerri Cuev said...

Wow, Shelli this is amazing and so generous! Thanks for sharing that wonderful story. I love happy endings, and I think blogging buddies are the BEST!! :)

Lisa Galek said...

What a great idea! And how generous of you! Thanks!

Unknown said...

This is seriously nice of you--good things are on your horizon for sure! :)


Anonymous said...

Gosh, I love this post. I'm not going to participate in this one, but really hope that I can someday follow in your size 100 shoes of goodness. You rock.

Kass said...

How generous of you. I may forward this on to friends, as I don't have a novel ready. Just poems.

Stephanie said...

AWESOME!!!!! I am so entering!!!!!! Thanks so much for this!!

Unknown said...

Great idea! This is pretty generous of you.


Anonymous said...

Fabulous! I loved the film Pay it Forward too. Sounds like a wonderful opportunity. :O)

Gail said...

What a generous offer! Pat-It-Forward always feels good. Alas, my MG novel needs some major rewriting and the one I'm subbing now is a PB. But kind acts come back around!

Michael Di Gesu said...

You are the best! What a wonderful thing to do for us. I can't wait to read all the entries.

Thanks again.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a nice thing to do. Shame I don't write in that genre. I'm sure you'll hear about a lot of great stories over the next few weeks!

Lydia Kang said...

Great contest! I'm in and will email you shortly with all the bits.
I'm a new follower, and found you from Kerri's blog.

Mary Trimble said...

NAME: Mary Trimble
EMAIL: mhtrimble@gmail.com
PITCH: The game could be the death of them….It’s two days from May 1st, the Celtic Feast of Beltane, and in a small town outside Chicago, Morgan — a humorous, acerbic thirteen-year-old — thinks it’s a fantasy dream come true when he encounters a shapeshifting creature who grants him a wish in return for help. This wish propels Morgan into a conflict where he has to grow up fast: two beguiling witches have taken over the local hangout, Village Games and Magic, and are ensnaring kids with a video game designed to bring about sacrifice and death on Beltane; as Morgan teams up with his beautiful cousin Nell to save the lives of their friends, he discovers the power of his own magic (and learns that time travel makes you itchy).

No Twitter Account
Facebook Post:
Mary Trimble Here's a link to a Pay It Forward contest for children's writers...a wonderful inspiration, to give thanks to the people who have helped your writing with their support and their gut-wrenching criticism...I'm indebted to Mahesh Grossman and a terrific live interview he hosted with writer Leah Komaiko several years back. Thank you!

Beth said...

Name: Beth Fred
Email: bethfred08@gmail.com
Title: Phantom Fires
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Pitch: Brandi O'Malley and the boy next door, Laurent Stephens, love to hate each other, until a new boy, Damian Cooper enters Brandi's life. Vowing Damian is a menace that Brandi must be protected from, Laurent becomes overbearingly protective. But since Brandi seed Laurent disappear in a phantom fire every night by Calling a moment of the future she knows she's not the one in need of protection.

Pay it forward (blog post): http://bethfred.com/2011/02/pay-it-forward/

Twitter: @bethfred08