My Pitch Wars Experience
Pitch Wars has come and gone and I’m just now sitting down to write about it. What can I tell you about this amazing contest hosted by Brenda Drake and crew?
First, if you have a manuscript ready to enter, DO. IT. The experience is invaluable.
I’ve run a gamut of emotions throughout the contest. Fear that I wouldn’t get in. Fear that I would. Worry that I wouldn’t be good enough. Worry that I couldn’t fulfill whatever work my mentor wanted me to do. Surprise. Elation. Some more fear.
I cried when I saw my name on the Mentor’s Picks List. I’ve found that writers are all about vindication. We want to know that we are good enough, smart enough, creative enough. And for some reason, that proof always has to come from outside. So, for a few moments, I felt worthy enough to call myself a writer.
Working with Katherine Fleet, my mentor, was a dream. Katherine and I have similar writing styles and come to our stories for the same kinds of things. My changes weren’t extensive, but they strengthened the story in ways I hadn’t considered before. Everyone’s Pitch Wars journey is different. Some had complete rewrites. Some had simple line edits. The goal is to prepare the manuscript for the Agent Round and everyone worked hard for two months (some worked for longer than two months). Specifically, I cut and rewrote a main character’s backstory. I changed the main setting of the story, and I strengthened character relationships and motivations.
Katherine and I went through the manuscript a total of three times before I sent it over to my mentee sister, Christine Webb, for a beta read. Lucky for me, Katherine drew a wild card and got to mentor two writers. Christine and I have hit it off since, and I’m so grateful to have someone to go through this process with.
In addition to Christine, the entire Pitch Wars class of 2017 is incredible. They’re supportive and kind and the most encouraging bunch I’ve seen. We have a secret Facebook group that’s one of my favorite places to lurk, especially if I’m frustrated. There is an awesome vibe of “we’re all in this together.” We’ve celebrated, we’ve mourned, but more than that, Pitch Wars has made me realize how different every writer’s journey to publication is. We have first time authors. We have authors who’ve been writing for 20+ years. Some have had agents in the past. Some are indie published. It’s definitely made me feel less alone in this big, big writing world.
The agent round came and went. Some manuscripts had over 40 agent requests. A very few had none. I was somewhere in the middle at 5. I thought the agent round was the hardest part of PW (at the time). Watching others get so many requests brought that good old fear back to the surface. I leaned pretty heavily on Katherine and Christine during this time (sorry Katherine, for the millions of emails). Just know, if you participate in Pitch Wars, you may not be the person who gets 40+ requests. You may be the person who gets zero. It’ll be okay. You’ll still wake up the next day. Your story isn’t over. You’re still valid.
But, it will still hurt. And it did. I looked at my five requests and I compared to those who had 40. I was warned not to do this. I did it anyway. I wish I hadn’t.
Then, the truly difficult part of PW started. The offers began rolling in. I’m SO HAPPY for all of those who’ve gotten offers, been agented because of PW. What an incredible opportunity it’s been and there are some AMAZING writers in PW17. I am constantly in awe of their creativity. They deserve their wins, and I fully support them.
As of today, there have been 44 offers of representation to the PW17 group.
I am not one of them.
I’ve been thoroughly checking my email daily, searching for my offer. It hasn’t come yet, but that’s okay. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve made some great friends. And I shined up my manuscript, query, and synopsis. I’m so proud of the work I’ve done and everything PW stands for.
Let me reiterate how difficult PW has been. It’s an emotional roller coaster. If you choose to participate, make sure you have a great support group who gets it. And most importantly, remember that this is just one contest, and no matter what happens, you are still valid. Your writing is still valid. Rejection hurts, but it’s not the end of your journey.
I’m here. I’m still waiting. My offer is out there. I just have to find it. Best of all, I’ll always have the PW17 crew to back me. Would I do it again? Hell, yes. A million times over. I wouldn’t trade the experience and all I’ve learned.
Will I stop comparing myself to others now? I sure hope so.