#pg70pit has not yet been announced for 2018. It will not happen in July as that interferes with my first MFA residency. Subscribe to be notified when it will be back!

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New look for 2017

In 2017, I’m hosting the third annual pg70pit, a totally unique type of contest and pitching opportunity for writers with complete, polished novels (Middle Grade, YA, or NA/Adult) in any genre except erotica. #70pit17 is this year’s hashtag. Enter on JUNE 7, 2017. The lottery winners and Twinners will be announced on the 17th of June, and the top 7 entries of each category will enter the agent round on July 7, 2017. See what else is new this year.


You may only enter one manuscript per age category, and it must be polished and ready to send to agents that would request the full.

What makes 70-pit different?

  • No query, no 35-word pitch, no first page.
  • Age categories are submitted with different forms and will be given equal attention.
  • Entries will be chosen by lottery AND by Twitter Pitch popularity (see below for details!)

Why 70?

Have you ever heard of the McLuhan Test? (Go ahead, read the article. It’s only 250 words.)

It’s also called the “Page 69 Test,” and after learning about it, it’s now how I choose whether or not I’ll purchase a book. The sixty-ninth page is far enough in that things should really be happening, and it can be a better snapshot of the entire book’s style than the first page.

70pit takes this idea but removes the connotations with the number 69.


Besides, in manuscript formatting, page 69 will be your document’s page 70, since your first page is the title page.

Submission Requirements


The submission form—just one this year!—will go live at LaraWillard.com/blog at 7:00 a.m. EST on June 7, 2017, and will be removed at 7:00 a.m. June 8th, 2017

You’ll enter via online form on my blog. Be sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss it! (Sign up in the right sidebar of my blog on desktop devices, or scroll below this post in mobile devices.)

See How to Submit for submission details and answers to the FAQ.

Note: this is a family-friendly blog, and any NSFW language will be replaced with the first letter and a dash (like this: “f—”). People will still know what you mean, and my blog won’t be flagged as inappropriate.


70 submissions from each age category will be selected at random to be considered in the contest. I will use a random number generator to select the entries. Lottery winners will be announced on June 17th on my blog.

Twitter Contest

At any time on June 7th, and only once, tweet out your 7-word description with both the hashtag #pg70pit* and the hashtag of your age category: #A #YA or #MG. Pin it to your profile, too!

*Use the year-specific hashtag #70pit17 for all other tweets about the contest


Seven “Twinners” from each age category will gain entry into the contest in addition to the 70 lottery winners.

The 7 Twinners from each age category will bypass the lottery and be judged alongside the lottery winners. Twinners will be announced June 17th on my blog.

Learn how to enter and be eligible for the Twitter contest. 

Agent Round


The SEVEN top entries from each category will be posted on 7/7 at larawillard.com. Agents can peruse the entries and make requests for queries, partials, fulls, the encompassing chapter—whatever they’d like. There is no time limit for requests. After the 14th, if any more requests come in, I will email the authors to notify them of their requests.

In June, I’ll start listing the participating agencies!


  • In our first year, we had 79 MG entries, 236 YA entries, and 198 Adult Entries.
  • We chose 14 winners from each category for a total of 42.
  • Agents requested 60 times.

Any questions?

Find me on Twitter (@larathelark, @laraedits) and use the hashtag #70pit17


99 thoughts on “#pg70pit

    • Lara says:

      Only complete novels (a novel is at least 50,000 words by most reckonings) may be entered into the contest. Something shorter than 69 pages might be a novella but is more likely a novelette.

    • Lara says:

      Yes sir! If we are trying to choose between a couple of entries for the top 7, I may require finalists to send me their full manuscript so I can verify it is their 69th or 70th page.

      • Christopher Nugent says:

        Thank you, Lara.
        I did an entire revision based on your help with my query and synopsis, and Elizabeth just started an MS critique of it. I’ll submit my current page 70 with smidge of hope it’s good enough to place in YA.
        Thanks for hosting this event!

  1. kyriebuka says:

    Hi Lara– this contest sounds lovely! Because Pg. 70 Pit falls the same week as Pitch to Publication, should writers plan to submit to only one of the contests or is it alright to enter an MS into both?

    Thanks so much!

    • Lara says:

      You can submit to both! Best case scenario, you’d be a winner of 70pit and get an offer of rep, in which case you’d need to pull out of Page to Pub.

  2. Pam says:

    I am SUPER glad to see you’re setting a standard for cohosts and slushies:

    “To be considered, you must be agented, have prior experience working with a literary agency, OR have a degree in English, writing, or literature. You’ll need to read through all slush entries.”

    A big problem I have with contests is when they have hosts/coaches/mentors/slushies who offer authoritative query feedback but don’t have any credentials. I don’t think anyone has any business critiquing queries as an authority if they haven’t successfully queried themselves. Peer review is valuable, but some of these people aren’t presenting themselves as peers.

    However, I’d argue that a degree in English/writing/literature/creative writing isn’t enough to make someone a query authority.

    • Lara says:

      Thanks, Pam!
      I do think anyone can give good feedback, but not everyone knows what agents and acquisitions editors are looking for.
      I was going to have the third option be “OR be a freelance editor,” but anyone can call him/herself a freelance editor. Not everyone can graduate with a degree in English, writing, or literature. The assumption is that any graduate in the field has read widely, knows how to craft a sentence, and has been critiqued or graded by a professor or professional editor.
      Ultimately, though, it’s the readers who decide what gets read, so any reader’s opinion is valuable! And all opinions need to be taken with a grain of salt—though one’s authority can give you an idea of how many grains of salt you’ll grant each opinion 🙂

  3. Xelanhua says:

    Thank you for this contest! It’s a great idea! Will the submission window be all day or will it be cut off after a certain number of entries? Do I need to sit ready to press enter on my email, bang on a certain time? That’s already too many certains and exclamation marks…doesn’t bode well for my writing ahem. I shall just go do some editing.
    My two year old daughter loves your Anna (withalongA) costume.

  4. Christi R. Suzanne says:

    Is it bad form to enter this contest as well as the Pitch to Publication one? Both sound great and there isn’t a guarantee that I’ll get into either. What’s your opinion on entering both?

    • Lara says:

      Enter, by all means! I’m actually one of the editors for Pitch to Pub 🙂
      If you get an offer from an agent before either contest is finished, you need to email either me or Samantha letting us know so we can take you out of the contest.

    • Lara says:

      Seven entries per age category. We’re judging based on voice, not genre, so any genre can win.
      Our co-hosts will each get an additional 7 saves, for a total of 14 per age category.

  5. Maxym says:

    So excited for this! I can’t wait for Friday. 😀 Thanks so much for hosting this, as well as participating in Pitch to Pub. All the feedback is wonderful and greatly appreciated.

  6. Rachel Hobbs says:

    Hi Lara. I have two MC’s. Do I write seven words for each, or seven between the two? The latter might be challenging!

    • Lara says:

      Last year people tended to do 7 for main MC and included a note if the page was in a different POV. I’d recommend doing 7 words for whichever character we are hearing from on the 70th page, and thenow before you paste your page say something like **This book is told in alternating POVs**

  7. Carrie Pulkinen says:

    Is 7am the beginning time this year, too? I’m leaving for the airport on the 2nd, and I want to be sure I can get my entry in before I go. Thanks! 🙂

    • Lara says:

      It isn’t. Query away, and if you get a request, you can send your partial or full and mention that he/she can disregard your previous query.

  8. Katie says:

    Hi! This contest sounds awesome! One quick question– is the seven word description we tweet the same as the one describing our MC?

  9. Kimberly Riley says:

    Thanks for doing this!!

    A few questions. The book I want to enter, it was published in the past through a small publishing company. But, shortly after the book was released, the publisher closed and that has forced me back to finding a new agent. May I still enter with that book?

    Also, when you’re looking at page 69/70, should you count any prologue? Or just skip over that? (mine is like a page and quarter, thus pushing page 68 to be the technical page 70 and page 72 to be the actual page 70 of the book – if that makes sense).

    • Lara says:

      Hi Kimberly! Yeah, I’m not sure when the next pg70pit will be because I just started my MFA this summer. Hopefully I can figure out a time to do it in 2019!
      I’ll answer your questions anyway! In reverse order:
      Yes, count the prologue and any other pages of narrative.
      Unfortunately I think pg70pit should be open to unpublished manuscripts only. I’ll update the rules to state this explicitly. The mission of pg70pit is to amplify voices that haven’t been heard yet. There’s also legal issues associated with published manuscripts I don’t have the capacity to navigate through. If your page won, and I posted it on my website, I’d be “publishing” something I don’t have the rights to publish. I’m so sorry that your publisher closed, and I hope you understand and also find a new home quickly! The fact that it did get published is definitely a sign that you’re creating quality work! Maybe by the next time pg70pit rolls around, you’ll have a new manuscript you can enter? But I also hope you connect with a new agent before that happens. ❤

      • Kimberly Riley says:

        Thanks for getting back with me! And yeah, I totally understand that you’re looking for unpublished (though on another note, thankfully, the legal aspect is all taken care of or I would have that problem too!). I am working on something new right now, so maybe I will get a chance to enter later. Good luck with the next contest and good luck with the MFA too!

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