If you’re not a writer in the Twittersphere, particularly a young adult, or perhaps middle grade or adult novelist, you may not have heard of PitchWars.
What Is PitchWars?
#PitchWars is a writing competition – where instead of bragging rights (that agents might not even care about), the prizes are a 3-month mentorship by an agented author and a lot of visibility to agents who are signed up for the pitch round at the end.
On Tuesday, the mentor blog-hop officially began. (As usual, they slipped the link up a day early). All the mentors’ blogs now have their wishlists — and what they have to offer. From their editing or publishing experience, to their tastes in novels, to their critiquing style, this is where you go to decide who has the personality and skills to level your book up and make it agent-worthy.
As you can only submit to 4 mentors, you have to make sure you pick the right ones for you and your story.
This opportunity is for finished novels that are ready to query — or maybe you’ve already been querying and haven’t gotten as many nibbles as you’d like and you can’t figure out what’s wrong.
This is not for that rough draft you ran through spell-check. You’ve got to up your game!
For many, getting selected will improve their book, but nothing guarantees an agent. And an agent doesn’t guarantee that your book will be published.
There are thousands of PitchWars hopefuls, and 107 mentors (or mentor-pairs). The odds are pretty slim of being selected, but there’s always hope.
But, for many, the main draw of PitchWars is the community. From the forums on the website, to ‘BootCamp’ workouts provided to hopefuls to prepare themselves, to Twitter chatter, to Facebook, PitchWars has a way of taking an isolating dream and connecting writers with others at the same stage of their career.
There are tons of writers out there. Some, struggling to find the time or the words to finish a scene. Others dealing with a million ideas and fleeting focus. While others are published and working on that all-important second book.
But, through PitchWars, you can meet people with finished, polished manuscripts who are dreaming-the-dream.
Morgan and PitchWars
3 years ago, I came across the #pitmad twitter contest. Back when it was 140 characters to try and entice an agent to ‘like your tweet’ – and thereby request a query. And I saw that the next event was “#pitchwars”. I thought it was going to be another twitter contest and put it on my calendar.
As the time grew near, I double-checked the details and panicked. With 3 days to go before they started accepting manuscripts, I tore through the blog hop, and dove into the PitchWars community, whole-heartedly.
Two days later, I found myself an admin of a Facebook PitchWars Young Adult Hopefuls Support Group.
In PitchWars itself? I didn’t get a single request. At the end, I wasn’t selected, but I did win a 1st chapter, query, and synopsis critique from one of the mentors I’d submitted to. With her help, I reworked my manuscript that next Spring. Then I just started querying agents.
Then Pitch Wars rolled around again. I took a look at the mentors, trying to help my YA group find ones that suited them.
And I saw some asking for novels that sounded like mine, with books listed that reminded me of mine. (My queries having mostly resulted in form-rejections didn’t hurt) So, last summer, I submitted again.
I like to tell myself that my writing is good and they just didn’t know how to fix my novel. Mine’s unique but not a sure stand-out. That there were other submissions that they knew just how to fix.
So, here I am, looking at my 3rd PitchWars. My only polished manuscript is that same one the mentors have rejected twice.
(Not that I haven’t been writing. But, 2 rough drafts and a chapter of a 3rd manuscript aren’t PitchWars material.) I intend to sit this one out.
I’ve been querying and tweaking, querying and editing all along. I’ve gotten a few nibbles from agents, but so far, no takers.
The PitchWars Support Groups
It’s been 3 years and now I’m a Facebook admin for the main PITCHWARRIORS Support Group, the YA Support Group, and the PW Query Club — for past hopefuls (or mentees) who are querying AGENTS, not MENTORS to talk about rejection, requests, and The Call.
(I might have a slight addiction to FacebookGroups. Or compartmentalizing conversations so people who aren’t in the midst of an activity aren’t subjected to a feed full of writing/PitchWars/query chatter.)
And the Support groups don’t just sit around, collecting dust during the off-season. There’s a question-a-(week)day, encouragement, critique exchanges, and a place to vent to people who understand just what you’re going through.
Plus? One of the things I try to do for the groups is to make them a safe place.
(As always, it’s the internet, so nothing is 100, and the groups are open to any who are planning to or have already participated in PitchWars. The only people who are categorically forbidden are mentors.)
Because I like the support groups to be places where people can talk and vent and learn what is and isn’t appropriate to say online. To learn how to be professional as a writer without making a mistake in the heat of the moment that goes viral on twitter, destroys your reputation, and/or offends the very people that you want to love your work.
With members from 16 through retirement age, some are slower at learning why they should meet professional expectations.
But the real reason to join?
Friendship is Magical
Through the group, many people have found new beta readers, new critique partners, and new besties.
Honestly, the friendships and the support network that you can create by joining the PitchWars community can be an invaluable support — both emotionally and for your writing skills.
Even after you’ve stopped participating in the contest.
❤ Best of luck to ALL my PitchWars Hopefuls – past, present, and future. ❤
(Hmm, maybe someone new will be looking for my manuscript this year?)