I’m excited to have the opportunity to participate in the Pitch Wars Advice Blog Hop! Thank you, Brenda Drake and the Pitch Wars team for considering my input!
Time for Business
This is supposed to be brief! The biggest piece of advice I received when I was a mentee hopeful was “The most important part of Pitch Wars is the community NOT getting an agent.” When I first heard this, I didn’t truly understand what this meant. I had a book (that I thought was ready), and I wanted (needed) (hoped) (begged) for a literary agent. I knew NO ONE in the Pitch Wars community when I entered the mentoring program. All I knew about Pitch Wars was that many people entered (about 3000 in 2017) and a few were selected (about 5%). I also knew that 50-60% of Pitch Wars mentees receive an offer from an agent (sometimes 5+ offers). Well, I was fortunate to get my manuscript selected for the 2017 Pitch Wars mentoring program, but I did not receive an offer for representation. Although, it was tough not getting an agent, I was blessed with so much more. Here are some questions and answers related to my experience that I thought might be helpful for mentee hopefuls.
Is Pitch Wars hard?
Heck, yes! My mentor, a very talented author, had to step down from the program. Another brilliantly talented mentor, with many years of mentoring experience, offered to take me under her wing. This mentor already had a mentee. My situation shows you how dedicated Pitch Wars is to ensuring you gain knowledge and guidance in this program, regardless if things don’t go as planned. I willingly changed 75% of my manuscript in about 6 weeks. This does not always happen but it can. I put in LONG hours, sometimes 12-15 hours on Saturdays. I don’t recommend that. If you believe you can’t get your manuscript the way you want it in the allowed time, you should keep working on it until it’s as perfect as you think you can get it before sending it to agents. The Pitch Wars mentoring program helps shape your manuscript, but your manuscript still has to be ready or it won’t get picked up.
Is Pitch Wars worth it?
Of course! There have been many success stories from Pitch Wars. I attended an amazing book launch for one of my Pitch Wars friends (mentee sis) and current mentor, Rajani LaRocca (who has sold 7 books in one year! Not kidding). I have purchased and read numerous books from my Pitch Wars 2017 group. The books are wonderful, but the friends I’ve made through the Pitch Wars community are more important to me than caramel apples (and I love me some caramel apples). I’ve met lifelong critique partners and friends to share with me the highs and lows of the writing business. I’ve also attended writing conferences across the U.S. and have met Pitch Wars friends from all over the world. It’s a beautiful thing to share your writing journal with so many talented people.
If you like numbers, here you go. My Pitch Wars manuscript was my second one. For my first manuscript, I received mostly form rejections. (And my query was terrible! Yes, Pitch Wars will help you get better at this.) Before Pitch Wars, with my second manuscript, I received one revise and resubmit, two partial, and one full request. After Pitch Wars, with the second manuscript revised in PWs, I received two revise and resubmit and about twenty full requests (only five from the actual Pitch Wars agent round). Most of my rejections were personal with specific feedback that I took into account to become a stronger writer. I’ve also received numerous requests for my future manuscript. Although, I didn’t get an agent, you can see the growth in my request rate and feedback, which hopefully, shows growth in my writing.
It’s also amazing being part of a community that is so selfless. How hard is it to find time to write with our busy schedules? Very. Each one of these mentors gives of his/her time just to pay it forward. This selflessness stems from the founder of Pitch Wars, Brenda Drake. She spends many, many, many volunteer hours on Pitch Wars because she had a vision to create a writing community where we can help each other succeed. This effort shines through every person involved in the Pitch Wars community. You will feel it, too.
What if I don’t get into Pitch Wars?
First, I recommend trying again next year. Also, go to the Pitch Wars website and enter in the #pitmad twitter pitch. Follow Pitch Wars @PitchWars on Twitter for updates. I was not on Twitter prior to Pitch Wars. I know people who met discussing Pitch Wars on social media and became critique partners. Two of my friends, who didn’t get into Pitch Wars, met mingling online with other Pitch Wars mentee hopefuls. They became critique partners, and both landed agents before the PWs agent round. Both have book deals. Before I entered Pitch Wars, I didn’t mingle with anyone online. I don’t recommend this. Join forums with other Pitch Wars hopefuls. They are probably just as serious about writing as you are. Therefore, you may meet some friends, and you can all push each other to take your writing to the next level.
I had an agent, prior to Pitch Wars, with my the manuscript I submitted to PWs. We weren’t a great fit. The most important thing you can do right now is to get your manuscript in the best shape that you can (through Pitch Wars or critique partners who can be found within the Pitch Wars community). This will help you get a literary agent (if this is your goal). Finding the right fit literary agent for your career is more important than being with the first agent that says, “Yes!”
Whether you make it into the Pitch Wars mentoring program or not, please know the fact that you are here, reading my words, means that you part of the Pitch Wars community already. Mingle. Make friends. Exchange manuscripts. Improve your craft. That’s what Pitch Wars is all about.
Thank you for stopping by to read. Good luck everyone and happy writing/editing. I’ll respond to any questions you may have in the comments.
P.S. For any of my regular readers/friends
I’m sorry I haven’t been posting regularly. I plan to get back into the swing of things. I read a book called Essentialism by Greg McKeown. (I recommend it. It’s a great read!) It talks about setting goals and using focused energy to get one thing done at a time. I was spreading myself too thin, dividing my energy everywhere. I took a step back and reevaluated my goals. After, I decided to focus my energy on completing my current YA fantasy manuscript. I plan to post more after I query this manuscript to agents. I hope all of you are doing well! If you comment or say hi, I’ll respond as well. Miss this WordPress community!