Today’s blog post is twofold. First, I’m thrilled to announce my latest client and Fuse family member is Jessica Gibson. Jessica accepted representation from me after we connected through a fabulous online pitch event called #DVpit. I thought I’d share my thoughts on not only finding her, but also the event itself.

The event, #DVpit, was created by literary agent Beth Phalen at The Bent Agency. The goal was to place marginalized authors and manuscripts in the spotlight. Writers from around the world had only 140 characters (a tweet limit) to entice agents and editors from publishing houses to ask to see more.

Well, it worked.

Only Beth has the details on how many success stories have come from the one day event so far, but I remember being completely destroyed by all the amazing pitches on that hashtag feed. I’m not exaggerating. Diversity bloomed from every single pitch. Heck, there were pitches in genres I don’t even represent that I wanted to see!

The main thought I had was “holy pancakes, where have these stories been all my life?” Most of you know I support diversity in all its forms, especially in books. It’s not only reading about main protagonists who are ethnically mixed. I wanted to find stories that opened Romance and other genres of commercial fiction to me, expanding my experiences through characters I did not usually encounter, or lives that were different from mine in some way.

One example of this turned into an offer of representation. Enter Jessica Gibson.

Okay, imagine me trolling the #DVpit hashtag like a chocoholic locked inside the Hershey’s factory. All the yummy pitches had me pumped up and excited about the universe. I was stoked. Then I came across this pitch: “Falling for each other, a trans nurse and burned firefighter realize they both have some healing to do.”

Jessica’s  pitch hooked me at “trans nurse and burned firefighter.” A love story of two scarred people? Conflicts hitting them from every side? A suspenseful tale where Cupid would have to work harder than ever to triumph? Yep, I was sold on the pitch. After reading an excellent query letter and ten sample pages from Jessica, I requested the full and finished that in no time.

What worked for Jessica and others who received query requests from me was simple: she (and they) gave me incredible and promising stories where diversity was integral to the plot. That’s one way diversity works extremely well. It’s not pointing a sign at a character that said “Yo, I’m black (or in a wheelchair or gay or whatever).” On the whole, the participants in #DVpit proved kick-ass stories were out there, waiting to be discovered, waiting for a chance in the spotlight.

And they deserved it. Each and every one. And I’ve found two new clients (so far) because of that fantastic event (Monica Hoffman is my other one).

So, welcome to Team Fuse, Jessica Gibson! I can’t wait until we can share your manuscript with the world. To everyone else who participated in #DVpit (or who are thinking of participating in similar events), keep pushing and pitching.

We need your stories.

We need you.