**Update: I was not selected as a mentee this year…competition was fierce… but I learned so much! The mentors gave me great feedback/suggestions and it was a worthwhile contest to enter.**
A few weeks ago I posted about upcoming writing contests. Since then, I decided to dive right in and take my own advice by entering one for myself — Pitch Wars. The contest deadline gave me a tangible goal to polish (is that even 100% possible?) my query, manuscript, and…wait for it…the deadly synopsis. (Note: Even though the entry only requires a query and first chapter, the other components need to be ready in case more is requested.)
If you’re not familiar with this incredible contest hosted by the super-generous Brenda Drake, then click on over to her fab blog and read all about it. http://www.brenda-drake.com/2015/07/pitch-wars-2015-is-coming-are-you-ready/
As a writer, I already know there’s no better place to find support, writing tips, camaraderie, and the inside scoop on the publishing industry than Twitter. So I went into the #PitchWars world knowing it was going to be full of awesome people. THAT IS THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR and here are a few reasons why:
The Organizer: Brenda Drake organizes the Pitch Wars contest (super time-consuming on her part) to give writers in the trenches a fighting chance. She’s that generous! She’s supportive of other authors, promotes her passion for books, and gives back to the writing community she loves. If you submitted to Pitch Wars, like me, you can show her your thanks by pre-ordering her book Thief of Lies (January 2016)
The Mentors: The incredible group of authors, editors, and interns that she recruits to become mentors are all enthusiastic, dedicated, encouraging, reflective, and approachable. How do I know? They invite you to tweet them and ask questions before the contest window opens. I eagerly took advantage of the opportunity and the feedback from my questions was not only valuable — the responses came within minutes! Talk about instant gratification. I also pursued an offer for a query critique by YA author Lori Goldstein and she rocked! I learned so much in our email exchange that made my query better. Many other mentors offer query and/or first chapter critiques — totally worth looking into, trust me!
More on the Mentors: In the end, I was only allowed to choose 5 mentors to submit to for the contest — it was difficult to narrow down. If picked by a mentor, s/he will read your entire manuscript and work with you for two months to edit/polish it up for the agent round. Check out Brenda’s blog for the Pitch Wars Mentor Blog Hop, where she posts links to all of the mentors blogs/wish lists. I absolutely loved that Brenda decided not to sort the mentors by category/genre. This encouraged me to click on every single link and I discovered some amazing people and some terrific books.
The Agents: Brenda has assembled an All-Star team of agents for the Agent Round! These industry gurus eventually peruse the polished entries, make requests for manuscripts that catch their eye, and hopefully offer representation to some. They love books, care about emerging authors, and can be found tweeting some awesome pep talks. Check out the amazing line-up for the agent round here: http://www.brenda-drake.com/2015/08/meet-the-pitch-wars-agents/
Entering Pitch Wars has already been useful beyond measure — even if my nails are a little shorter and all of the snack food has mysteriously disappeared from my house. The mentors select their mentees on September 2nd (fingers crossed!), but even if I don’t get selected, the contest has already made me a better writer — by helping me to look at my manuscript with a more critical eye and harness enthusiasm from my writing peers. I’ve truly “met” some wonderful people in the Twitter world — and even found a potential critique partner along the way.
I’ll admit — it felt scary hitting send on my entry, but the creative energy generated by the whole process has been incredible! Thank you to all involved in making this contest happen!
Now excuse me while I continually hit refresh on my email…