I think I said in one of my blog posts earlier this year that I hoped to self-publish my work-in-progress by the end of 2018. Of course as we all know, plans are made to be changed, and mine was no different. Once I discovered Pitch Wars and the PW community, I decided I’d enter the fray.
What is Pitch Wars? I’m so glad you asked.
From their “About” page: Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer to mentor. Mentors read the mentee’s entire manuscript and offer suggestions on how to make it shine for the agent showcase. They also help edit the mentee’s pitch for the contest, and query letter for submission to agents.
Pitch Wars hopefuls (like me) apply by sending a query, a 1-page synopsis, and the first chapter of their WIP, along with a list of up to four mentors with whom they’d like to work. Participating mentors consider all those entries and select their mentees and the process goes from there.
But it’s more than just a contest. There is such a large (dare I say enormous?) community associated with PW that it’s difficult to find the edges of it. Not only do mentors past and present have a big presence on Twitter, most of the hopefuls do, as well. For the most part, I’ve seen only supportive interaction, though I do see references to trolls out there (aren’t there always?). PW organizers and staff have a strict anti-bullying policy, so if someone’s harassing a hopeful (or a mentor), and they can be identified, they’re out.
Twitter also hosts PW “pitch parties” four times each year, where hopefuls have a one-day window to tweet their logline pitch for lurking agents or editors. These are fun, if a bit anxiety-ridden, and interesting to watch. There are so many talented writers out there, with truly great ideas! No wonder most of us have to-be-read lists (or stacks) longer than our arms. Other side contests, like query critique giveaways, pop up from time to time too in the PW community.
Not every mentee ends up with an agent or publisher from participation in Pitch Wars. Don’t let that stop you from playing along, though. The important thing to remember is that while nabbing representation is a possibility, that’s not the only thing this shindig is about. Participation can help you bring your writing to the next level, but more than anything else, PW is about community and networking. In a business where one must isolate oneself in order to produce one’s art, that is priceless.
This will be my first year in the Wars. Whether or not I land a spot in a mentorship, I’ve already won. My manuscript is better for the extra attention to get it ready. I have a respectable (and growing) number of followers and followees (it’s a word now), have made some great Twitter pals, and am learning something new every day.
It’s not too late to jump in. If you’re a writer, the entry window is later this month; it is coming up fast, though. Entries can be geared toward Mid-Grade, Young Adult, or Adult (though I see a mention that some mentors may also accept New Adult manuscripts), and genres run the gamut. If you’re already represented, or if your novel has been published already, it’s ineligible (but still…good for you!). If not, great! You’ll want to have it as polished and ready as possible before you enter, so check out the Pitch Wars site and then dive into revisions head first. Hey, we writers work better with a deadline anyway, right?
You can follow the contest on Twitter here: @PitchWars; or check out the pitch parties at #PitMad. And look for me there, too—@dremadeoraich. Or you can follow the festivities on their Pitch Wars Facebook page.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta get back to my revisions. See you next week!