A Kids & YA Graphic Novel Pitch
Competition and Gallery

Thanks to everyone who submitted to the competition! If you want to attend the live event, purchase a ticket below. Winners will be announced in our live event on Saturday, 12/3/22 at 12pm EST.

*Note: Submissions are closed! You are welcome to attend the Pitchfest event without submitting a pitch.

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What is KCU Pitchfest?

KCU Pitchfest 2022 is packed full of amazing opportunities to get your graphic novel noticed by industry pros. It includes a pitch competition, an online gallery of all submissions, and a half-day online event!
Distinguished agents and editors will vote on pitches submitted to the gallery. The pitches with the most votes will be featured at the top of the gallery and during the critique session by guest judges. All submissions will be displayed on the KCU Pitchfest Gallery and promoted across the industry.

KCU Pitchfest Event Details

Jurors

Speakers & Judges

  • Host: Janna Morishima, Literary Agent and founder of Kids Comics Unite
  • Colleen AF Venable is the associate Director of Original Content for Epic! Kids; author of Kiss Number 8, the Katie the Catsitter series with Stephanie Yue, Mervin the Sloth is About to Do the Best Thing in The World with Ruth Chan, The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom with Lian Cho, and the Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye series, also with Stephanie Yue.
  • Rivkah LaFille is the instructor/fearless leader of Kids Comics Intensive; author-artist of the forthcoming Five Wishes (Candlewick Press), illustrator of forthcoming graphic novel with First Second, and author-artist of Steady Beat (Tokyopop).
  • Whitney Leopard is the senior editor at RH Graphic. She works on award-winning books like Trung Le Nguyen’s THE MAGIC FISH, or best sellers like Sophie Escabasse’s The Witches of Brooklyn series. Before RH Graphic, she was an editor for KaBOOM! and worked on titles like LUMBERJANES and ADVENTURE TIME. She gets to work with super talented creators on helping them bring their beautiful stories to life. Whitney is thrilled to be part of the process and below are the books that she’s been a part of.

Key Dates

10/19/22 — Registration opens.

11/6/22 — Deadline for submitting pitches to the Competition + Gallery.

12/2/22 — Registration for the main event closes.

12/3/22 — KCU Pitchfest Event will take place on Zoom. Gallery goes live and be on display through March 2023.

Event Schedule

12pm EST Introduction

12:15pm EST “You Got an Offer, Now What?” presentation by Janna Morishima

1pm EST Mini Presentations with Colleen Venable, Whitney Leopard, and Rivkah LaFille

2pm EST Graphic Novel Pitch Panel

3pm EST Critique of selected submissions

4-4:30pm EST Wrap Up

KCU Pitchfest Ticket Prices

*PITCH SUBMISSIONS ARE CLOSED*

General Public 

  • Event Only: $50
  • Event + Competition + Gallery: $95

KC Studio Members

  • Event Only: FREE. No need to sign up – you’ll be sent the Zoom link for the event.
  • Competition + Gallery: $15. You will receive a discount code or link (emailed to you) that can be used to register for the Competition + Gallery.

Past KC Intensive Students

  • Event Only: $50
  • Competition + Gallery: $15. You will receive a discount code or link (emailed to you) that can be used to register for the Competition + Gallery.

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Competition + Gallery
Submission Instructions

You will submit your work to the Showcase through a Google form that you’ll receive once you register for the gallery. Registration opens on October 19th and the last day to submit your work is November 6th, 2022. Submissions received after 11:59 PM EST on November 6th will not be eligible for the Showcase.

*PITCH SUBMISSIONS ARE CLOSED*

Here is our mockup of what the Gallery will look like:

Your submission must include the following:

  • A short synopsis of your graphic novel (750 characters max)
  • A cover image or cover page (see more detail below)
  • Two sample spreads or four pages of script (see more detail below)
  • A short bio (500-characters max)
  • Headshot (photo or drawing)
  • A description of why you created this specific graphic novel project and/or what it means to you (750 characters max)

For Author/Illustrators:

  • One (1) 800x800px 72 dpi thumbnail image of your cover art to be placed in the Gallery view.
  • Two (2) complete, full color spreads (4 pages) of your graphic novel. No larger than 1800px wide at 72 dpi. Sequential pages are strongly recommended. They will be placed on your Project Details Page.

Here is a mock-up of the Project Details Page:

For Writers:

  • One (1) 800x800px 72 dpi thumbnail image of your title to be placed in the Gallery view.
  • Four (4) pages of your graphic novel script corresponding to four (4) pages of the graphic novel (each page should be one page of the graphic novel). They will be placed on your Project Details Page.

Here is a mock-up of the Project Details Page:

Note: If you submit more than the amount specified above, we will post the first four (4) pages only. 

*PITCH SUBMISSIONS ARE CLOSED and will REOPEN IN NOV 2023*

The judges will select a minimum of three (3) submissions to live critique during the event. You do not need to be present at the event to be eligible for a live critique. 

Please check our FAQ below or contact Lisa Lowry at hello@kidscomicsunite.com with any questions related to the submission guidelines.

 

Purchase Tickets

Note: When you register for Pitchfest you will need to create an account on the KCU website. For current KCU and Studio members — this is separate from your KCU account on Mighty Network. We are slowly moving more of our paid options over to WooCommerce on our website. Creating this new account will not affect your Mighty Network account.

Tickets

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Frequently Asked Questions

YES all graphic novels for children up to and including YA graphic novels are welcomed.

We would strongly recommend they be sequential but they don't have to be from the start of the book.

If your picture book is in comics format, yes, you can submit a hybrid picture book.

No, we are only accepting pitches in graphic novel format for this competition.

The synopsis is limited to 750 characters. Here's an example of a 714-character synopsis of Gene Luen Yang's AMERICAN BORN CHINESE:

"American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny’s life with his yearly visits. These three interweaving stories, spanning from the 16th century to the present and seemingly unrelated, come together at the end with a wholly unexpected twist. An action-packed modern fable which explores issues of Chinese American identity, anti-Asian racism, and assimilation.”

Teams should submit together. For example, a writer and illustrator working together on a pitch, should submit ONE complete submission. You will have extra space to submit an additional bio.

When you register for Pitchfest you will need to create an account on the KCU website. For current KCU and Studio members — this is separate from your KCU account on Mighty Network. Our Events/Workshops tickets are purchased through WooCommerce on our website. Creating this new account will not affect your Mighty Network account.

The ticket price goes toward the costs of running Pitchfest Gallery.

Costs associated with this competition include organizing, marketing and promotion, developing and maintaining the website and other administrative costs.

Jury members are not paid to be on the jury. Panelists are paid to speak at the November 4th event.

Your ticket includes the Industry Panel on November 4th.

We are offering a few options for individuals who can’t afford the full cost:

1. Students may purchase a ticket at 50% off the full ticket price. This is done on the honor system. Please use the following definition when purchasing a student ticket:

Student: A full-time student at the undergraduate or graduate level at the time of the Pitchfest competition.

2. Those who would experience financial difficulty in purchasing a full price ticket may purchase a ticket at 50% off the full ticket price. This is done on the honor system.

3. For our international entries, please email us for international parity pricing at hello@kidscomicsunite.com

4. If the price of entry at any level is a hardship for you, please contact us at hello@kidscomicsunite.com. We don’t want anyone to be unable to submit because of lack of funds.

The gallery will be on the KCU website starting on November 4th. The gallery will stay up indefinitely. You can find last year’s gallery on the website here.

While we recognize the top vote getters with badges on the gallery, there is not a winner in the traditional sense of receiving a big prize. The top 3-5 will be given a set of graphic novels.

The purpose of this event is to get creators' work in front of agents and editors. This happens in two ways:

1. A distinguished panel of agents and editors will review each entry and vote on them. You can find the full roster of jury members here.

2. The final gallery will be promoted to hundreds of agents and editors.

The number of pitches that make it into the gallery depends on the number of entries and vote distribution. We don’t have an exact number selected in advance.

No. However, we suggest that you have a full pitch ready to submit to agents or editors if they follow up with you about your work.

You may submit up to three (3) pitches. You must pay the full $95 submission fee for each pitch.

You can find an overview of the voting process for last year’s event here. This year's voting process will be similar. 

The main difference this year is that pitches must receive a certain amount of “Yes” votes to make it into the gallery. The number of votes needed will be determined by the vote spread.

The jury will not be able to provide individual feedback.

However, at the Industry panel on November 4th, some members of the jury will provide feedback on the entries as a whole.

You are welcome to post within the community to ask for feedback before you submit!

Yes. We have judges from Canada, Australia, and the UK. Read their bios here.

Yes, we are requiring all projects to be in English.

No, we will keep your pitch in the gallery and label it as “acquired”. Please let us know if it is! Email hello@kidscomicsunite.com and we will make the adjustment. Or you have the ability to change its status later after you have registered and have an account.

We keep the gallery up indefinitely, so all past years will be viewable.

Please contact Lisa Lowry at hello@kidscomicsunite.com with any questions related to the submission guidelines or registration.

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