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Pitch Wars

Update on Pitch Wars 2021 – WOW!

(November 23, 2021) – We’re only now coming down off the high that our 2021 Pitch Wars instilled in us… What an absolutely AMAZING night!

We had so much fun hearing pitches from WANL Members Jon Aylward, Michael Boyle, Anthony Brenton, Lisa Cheeseman, Travis House, Joe Mitchell, Betty Mullaly-Moulton, Jason Normore, and Jon Rossiter.

This year, we would like to honour the following authors (pictured below) with these Pitch Wars accolades, as voted for by our panel of publishers:
Most Marketable – Jon Rossiter
Most Unique – Travis House
Most Prepared – Jason Normore

Thanks again to our publishers – Claire Wilkshire from Breakwater Books Ltd., Jerry Cranford from Flanker Press Ltd., Gavin Will from Boulder Books, Alison Carr from Memorial University Press, Erin Vance from Engen Books, and Marnie Parsons from Running the Goat, Books & Broadsides.
Shout out as well to our tech crew, host Zach Goudie Events Committee, and WANL Staff and Board of Directors – we’re already excited for next year!

Pitch to the Publishers returns at WANL’s 2021 Annual General Meeting!

(October 22, 2021) – Enter for the chance to present a two-minute pitch of your project to a panel of publishers at Pitch Wars, our wildly successful pitching panel first held at the WANL AGM in 2019, and virtually in 2020 (and now, 2021) via Facebook Live!

The first year of this highly anticipated event culminated in half of the pitchers securing book deals… Could yours be next?

The 2021 panel of Publishers includes Breakwater Books Ltd., Flanker Press Ltd.,  Engen Books, and Running the Goat, Books & Broadsides, Memorial University Press, and Boulder Books.

Pitch Wars is aimed at individuals with complete works who are preparing to query (about to seek out publishers/agents). 

• Fiction works should consist of a completed draft/manuscript. A full synopsis and an estimated word count will help the Publisher know what your game-plan is.

• Non-Fiction works should be a complete proposal, with a sample chapter and a complete outline/synopsis. Mention your established sources and what they bring to this book. Be ready to explain why you’re the best person to write this story, and why people will want to read it.

• Poetry works should include a number of pages, notes on overall theme/mood of the collection, any additional details regarding what inspired you to write these poems and who would like to read them.

• Children’s/Young Adult books should consist of a completed draft/manuscript, with special attention to the accompanying artwork/illustrations, if available. Sample art should be included (viewable) to the Publishers. (Some publishers may have illustrators – keep an open mind!)

Please note: only ten submissions will be accepted for the 2021 event.
We will be offering three slots for St. John/Avalon Peninsula, three for Central/Burin, and three for Western/Labrador, with all entries having a chance to secure the tenth slot.

How to register for Pitch Wars:

Pitch submissions open to pre-registration for WANL members only.

Submit by emailing with your name, email, writing genre and one-sentence description of your pitch with the subject line “WANL PITCH WARS.”

Deadline to register: 5 p.m. on November 10, 2021

2020 Pitch Wars Winners Named!

(December 2020) – Thanks again to everyone who attended a workshop, joined the panel discussion, took part in the AGM, watched readings from 2019 Pitchers, and tuned in to our live Pitch Wars (with a special thanks to our host Krissy Holmes, our panel of Publishers and our PHENOMENAL Pitchers.)

At Pitch Wars, we recognized the efforts of our Pitchers, and our Publishers voted on winners in the following categories, as an extra little prize (/bragging point/resume item/wall hanging)….
• Most Marketable: Tara Nanayakkara and Carolyn Parsons
• Most Unique: Elizabeth Whitten and Bernadine Stapleton
• Most prepared: Olivia Robinson
Congrats to all of our Pitchers – the aforementioned winners, plus these talented writers: Amanda Snow, Connie Boland, Elizabeth Whitten, Justin B. Hodder, Wayne Hebb, and Willem Peters.

This year’s roster of Publishers included:

– Rebecca Rose from Breakwater Books Ltd.
– Jerry Cranford from Flanker Press Ltd.
– Gavin Will from Boulder Books
– Erin Vance from Engen Books
– David Reynolds from Problematic Press
– Marnie Parsons from Running the Goat, Books & Broadsides
We feel that there are GREAT THINGS COMING, and boy, are we excited! Thanks again to everyone who participated and tuned in!

to the Publishers returns at WANL’s 2020 Annual General Meeting!

Enter for the chance to present a two-minute pitch of your project to a panel of publishers at Pitch Wars, our wildly successful pitching panel first held at the WANL AGM in 2019.

This event culminated in half of the pitchers securing book deals…
Could yours be next?

Panel includes Breakwater Books Ltd., Flanker Press Ltd., Boulder Books, Engen Books, and Running the Goat, Books & Broadsides, Problematic Press, with more publishers to be announced!

Please note: only ten submissions will be accepted for the 2020 event, and due to massive interest coupled with time limits, pitchers will be determined via random draw.

How to register for Pitch Wars:

Pitch submissions open to pre-registration for WANL members only.
Submit by emailing with your name, email, writing genre and one sentence description of your pitch with the subject line “WANL PITCH WARS.”

Deadline to register: November 13, 2020, at 5 p.m.

What last year’s Pitchers had to say about their Pitch Wars Experience:

From Ainsley Hawthorn, author of Land of Many Shores: Stories from a Diverse Newfoundland and Labradorpitched at the 2019 Pitch Wars, to be released by Breakwater Books in Summer 2021:

Two minutes may sound short, but it’s more than enough time to get publishers (and the Pitch Wars audience) excited about your book. I treated my pitch like jacket copy. Jacket copy doesn’t provide a comprehensive summary of a book. Instead, it covers the highlights of the book’s contents, gives some tantalizing details, and leaves the reader wanting more.

I’d recommend checking out the jackets of books similar to your own for inspiration.
If you’re a non-fiction author like I am, you might want to include a few comments about why you’re the right person to write this book. What’s your expertise, experience, or special perspective? The identity of the author is a major selling point for non-fiction, and it’s information you would normally include in a written proposal to a publisher.

My last piece of advice is to take advantage of the public speaking format to make a strong first impression. I started my pitch with rhetorical questions to the publishers and the audience to grab their attention and give my presentation some pizazz. A powerful speaking style won’t sell the book on its own, but it will make your pitch more memorable and show publishers that you would be able to handle readings and public appearances to promote your work.


From Emily Hepditch, author of The Woman in the Atticpitched at the 2019 Pitch Wars, and released by Flanker Press in April 2020:

This event gives you the unique opportunity to stand up in a fun, supportive, and encouraging environment and talk about your passion project. Better yet, it’s an opportunity to make a personal impact on a publisher while simultaneously skipping the slush pile (i.e. the typical six-month wait to hear back on your manuscript).

This event is an opportunity to network, make new friends, and get the insider scoop on some upcoming projects by talented peer authors. As a newbie author, this event was instrumental in finding the publisher that was right for me? In fact, it was the reason I landed a book deal, just one month after I pitched!

You never know where you might find yourself a year later, surrounded by new friends working on your projects, in a publisher’s office signing a deal, or maybe even on a shelf in your local bookshop.


From Susan Flanagan, author of The Supermarket Babypitched at the 2019 Pitch Wars, released by Flanker Press in 2021:

Get your grandmother to ask you what your book is about. You should be able to answer in two sentences. For your pitch, add to this blurb, the genre, number of words, point of view, audience, two comparable books and a short excerpt. That’s it.

For your excerpt, choose a snappy piece of writing from your manuscript. Don’t be afraid to set up the context. Read it aloud fifty times, and if you stumble over a word, change it.

Practice morning and evening between now and pitch day. Practice until you can pitch without your notes. If you’re nervous, practice in front of a stranger, so you get your nerves calmed before the big day.


Above: Glovertown based author Phil Riggs pitches his children’s book to a panel of publishers, taking notes as they prepare to question Riggs about his plans for his latest works at the 2019 Pitch Wars.