The Pitch It! Competition is all about encouraging writers to hone their pitches to a quality, knock-out standard that would impress any children’s book publisher. With only a couple of short paragraphs, we gave you the challenge to deliver a pitch with the elements of charisma, intrigue and professionalism… and the judges certainly weren’t disappointed. What a stellar group of entries we received for our third consecutive year of running this competition! Congratulations to all!

With a combined total of almost 200 entries, our team of judges took on a mammoth task of carefully considering and scoring the entries within their categories. HUGE thanks to these professional authors, with whom between them offer many, many years of experience and understanding of the publishing industry. For our picture book category, Katrina McKelvey, Robert Vescio and Stef Gemmill. For both the junior fiction / middle grade and young adult categories, Kate Gordon and Nadia L King. Thank you all x

Here’s a little further encouragement from some of our judges about this year’s cohort of entries;

“…some terrific pitches. The standard was much higher this year than last year.”Nadia L King

“{I} thank them all for taking the courage to submit their work and entrusting us with them.”Robert Vescio

“The stand out entries for me were highly original story pitches that were strong on character motivation and emotion.”Stef Gemmill

And some amazing pointers from Katrina McKelvey:

Thank you to all the brave authors who gave me the privilege of reading these pitches. As a whole, the overall presentation and quality was outstanding. Ideas were original, some great themes were appearing, and the quality of formatting, spelling, grammar and punctuation was extremely high. Well done! We certainly have a talented bunch of authors here who take their job very seriously. Look out publishers! Wish I had the time to read the full manuscripts.
Here are some tips for improving your pitches. Some of these items were poorly presented, or weren’t presented at all.
1) Include a one-line hook. This is a very short sentence that summarises your story and grabs the reader instantly. Don’t mix it into the blurb.
2) Italicise your titles – both your title and the comparative titles. This makes your pitch easier to read.
3) Use paragraphs. Don’t set out your pitch as one paragraph. It’s hard to read. Break it down into parts (ie. hook, blurb, comparative titles, etc).
4) Give your written pitch a heading – this could be your manuscript title.
5) Don’t make your blurb too long.
6) If you’re quoting part of your manuscript, make it short and sweet, especially when you have a word limit.
7) You must include why your manuscript is different/unique to everything else on the market. This is called your ‘point of difference’. And when quoting comparative titles, say how your manuscript is similar and different to these.


So, the all-important LONGLISTS are finally here! For each of the three categories, congratulations to…


Picture Book Category

Albert’s Gift – M. Wray

Ayla’s Journey Home – J. Stampone

Evie’s Memory Stars – K. Hendriks

Frankie Stein – K. Covark

How to Catch a Rainbow – M. Salisbury

If Crickets Played Cricket – J. Gould

James’s Joy – J. Catalano

Keep Outta My Space – H. Jackson

Lollipop Lu – R. Ralfe

LOUD! – L. Fletcher

My Monster – A. Lewis

Rosie and the Rainbow Smile – T. Donoghue

Shiho Shows us Happy – K. Hendriks

Signs – H. Jackson

The Boy with Butterfly Wings – M. Jankuloska

The Garden at the End of the World – C. Polimeni

The Keyboard Warrior – J. Kalbstein

The Memory Collector – J. Nilson

The Paper Aeroplane – G. Patience

The Useful Box – G. Young

Through the Window – L. McDermott

Trash Heap Baby – Z. Moor

Vincent’s Search for Sunshine – J. Gahan

When Grace was Space – B. Nanayakkara


Junior Fiction / Middle Grade Category

92 Addington Place – P. Cleary

A Grimm Triptych – V. Wilson

Almost Friends – At the Hospital – Z. Gaetjens

How to Rule the World?- C. Fitzgerald

How to Save a Soft Drink Factory – A. Byrd

Isobel Fizz – J. Wisbey

Ocean Magic – K. Cross

Oddness Never Ends – J. Mortimer

Once Upon a Blood Moon – M. Jankuloska

Ordinary Jane – Z. Gaetjens

The Cloud Factory – L. Drew

The Great Ape Escape – H. Gallagher

The Great Ned Head Heist – S. Parsons

The Lost Loot of Lima – M. Wray

The Rat-catcher’s Apprentice – M. Jankuloska

The Smuggle Bunnies – C. Fitzgerald

The Time Freezer – E. Moss

The Vegetable Boy – M. Campbell

Tilly and Max – L. McDermott

Timefire – N. McKenzie


Young Adult Category

Enough is Enough – N. Smith

Life Without Clouds – F. Miller-Stevens

Microworld – J. Smith

Peacemaker – E. Moss

Rules of the Stitch Up – G. Borella

Septime – L. Drew

So It Goes – B. Loveridge

The Burrow – A. Davies

The Demand – K. McKibben

The Inventor and the Comet – B. Breen

The Luminance – K. Covark

The Shrinking World – S. Tacey

Walter McGee and the Magical Valley – C. Hepburn


Congratulations again! Look out soon for the Pitch It! Competition Shortlist!

Good Luck! 🙂


To see the competition guidelines and list of prizes, please head to the following link:

8 thoughts to “Pitch It! Competition 2020 Longlists Announced

  • jillsmith

    Yay, I Microworld made the long list! I’m so excited.

    • Just Write For Kids

      Big Congratulations, Jill! 🙂

      • jillsmith

        Thanks heaps, now I just need to breathe until the short list results come out. Meanwhile I’m blogging my delight.

        • Just Write For Kids

          Congratulations, Jill! I’m thrilled for you! 🙂

          • jillsmith

            Thanks, heaps!

          • jillsmith

            thanks for the opportunity, I didn’t get onto the short list but it was great practice

          • Just Write For Kids

            You did a fabulous job, Jill! Keep up the great work! x

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