Writing Journey

HOW TO WIN PITCH WARS

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There is no doubt the Pitch Wars community has helped me become the writer I am today. Brenda Drake’s goal of authors helping authors has sent ripples of writerly love across my heart and the hearts of many others.

You can read in my How I Got My Agent Story that I applied three times to Pitch Wars. So, I know what it is like to be selected as a mentee, and I know what it is like to be SUPER disappointed to not see my name on the list. If you are choosing to go for it and submit your words (YAY!), you should know that it’s HIGHLY likely that you will NOT see your name on that list. Does that mean you lose Pitch Wars? It could – IF  you make it that way. The result is really up to you – not the master list of Mentor picks.

Here’s what I mean:

There is something magical about Pitch Wars. I think it is a little like playing the lottery. You conjure up some big dreams while you wait to see if your name makes the list. But instead of big wishes of a huge house, lots of money to donate to good causes, or not having to work anymore, writers dream of the elusive agent and publishing deal. Getting picked for Pitch Wars seems like the yellow brick road to all of a writer’s publishing dreams.

And it is definitely a way to make the path smoother. But not the way you might think it is.

You see, from RIGHT NOW until those picks are announced, you could be “playing” Pitch Wars and winning. You could be part of the team. If you are sitting on the sidelines, not finding critique partners and beta readers, you are missing out. If you are not in the forums critiquing the work of others and asking others to critique yours, you are missing out. If you are not learning from the mentors and other writers on the #PitchWars feed who are a little further ahead on their journey, you are missing out.

Let me pause for a second to talk about that journey. I have an agent. There are a lot of writers out there that are not agented and know things about writing that I do not. Some of the most talented writers I know do not have published books, but they can teach you writing like nobody’s business. They might actually know more about the art of writing than some editors. Do not take someone’s publishing credentials or lack there of as the mark of a good writer. Read. That is how you find the mark of a good writer. Read their work. Learn from them. Offer to beta read for people so you can see how they craft a story.

Okay, back to winning Pitch Wars. You win by just getting your words out on the court…er…into other writers’ hands. You win by reading. You win by learning and asking questions.

Getting picked for Pitch Wars is lovely. I’m not going to downplay that one bit. It is a great thing. BUT, I got 26 requests in the agent round and ZERO agent offers in the coming months. When you send out a query and get rejected, that hurts. It can hurt a lot. I’m not going to argue that point. But these agents weren’t just reading my first pages and query anymore. They were reading my story. Some of them only read 50 pages. Some read the whole thing. No one loved it enough to work with me. If you think that doesn’t shake your ego a bit, you’d be wrong. It does.

So, I didn’t get an agent from the agent round. Does that mean I lost Pitch Wars?

Not one bit. I’d won big time over the three years that I “played” Pitch Wars.

Here is what I gained:

-Numerous critique partners and beta readers

-Things I didn’t know that I needed to know about my craft

-Knowledge about the publishing business

-How to be a better critique partner

-Resources on writing

-And most importantly – a writing family.

I needed to have ALL of those things in order to become a better writer. And THAT is what got me my amazing agent. Later. After Pitch Wars. With a different manuscript. And I will need to keep learning from her and my fellow writers so I can keep my career moving forward.

Go into any bookstore and look at those beautiful treasures sitting on the shelves just waiting to be opened so someone can go into another world, another path, another culture, another moment in time. NONE of them could have been done without a writing family.

I’m just a small twig on the big family tree that Brenda Drake planted, but I hope you’ll choose to climb on up and play Pitch Wars with us. You don’t have to wait for the Mentor picks to be announced to win. The game is already afoot. With every connection made, critique pondered, and acorn of knowledge you collect, you win Pitch Wars. That is the true genius of Brenda Drake. You can’t lose Pitch Wars as long as you play the game.

 

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