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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


The #pitchwars submissions have been closed for almost forty-eight hours and emotions are running high.  Some people are getting requests for more pages from potential mentors and some people are not.  Others are taking offense at some of the less-than-positive comments from mentors in the #tenqueries.  We've all put ourselves out there and playing the waiting game isn't easy.

Something else I've noticed are people throwing in the towel because they haven't heard from their mentors.  I have to say that giving up this early probably isn't in anyone's best interest.  A big part of being an author is playing the waiting game.  Waiting for an agent to read your query/pages, waiting for a publisher to pick up your book, and so on.  Panicking and giving up after forty-eight hours is simply a waste of time in my opinion.

There are so many positive things to take away from this contest even if you aren't chosen by a mentor.  If you give up you lose out on all of them.  You can learn from the mentors when they talk about the queries and pages they've received.  You can take their comments and go back to your own work to see if you can apply them.

There are also a lot of great people waiting out there for you to interact with.  People who are in the same leaky rowboat you are.  Chat with them.  Laugh with them.  Learn from them.  There are so many great new connections and friends just beyond the Pitch Wars hashtag.  Personally, I've already found a new betareader.  I bet you can too.

Also, we can all see you.  Lots of us are "stalking" the hashtag to follow the news and we can see you giving up and walking away.  Those people watching are other authors and agents and you don't want them to remember you as "that negative one".  I know of at least one person who lost their chance at a mentor because of their behavior on twitter.  Heaven forbid any of us be that person.

Remember, you get out of any situation what you put in.  If you are negative then it will be a negative situation.  Come and play with us - we don't bite.



  1. I love this! And I'd never heard that song before, but I think it's going to be my new theme song. (I'm sure you're not surprised in the least!)

    Yes, a positive outlook makes everything in life, including writing contests like Pitch Wars, so much easier. As someone who has been on both sides of the contest, both as an entrant (who didn't make the final cut) and a mentor, I can say without a doubt that this can be an extremely valuable experience, even if you don't make it in or get a zillion requests. Remember, there are only 74 mentors for Pitch Wars. And each one gets to only pick ONE mentee (plus an alternate, in case their mentee has to drop out for any reason). Which means there will be far more supremely talented writers who are NOT picked than who ARE. No matter what happens, don't let this ONE contest hurt your spirit.

    Two years ago, when I didn't get in to Pitch Wars, I decided it was a sign that I should simply give up on the manuscript that had been getting a LOT of nibbles from agents, but no requests. More than half of my rejections were "I love these characters. I love the story. I love the voice, and the pacing. But this isn't right for me." It was discouraging, because I felt like, if those things were working, I had nothing left to fix to make it "good enough." And I'd entered Pitch Wars with the hope that a mentor would find that hidden element that kept my manuscript off the "yes" list. So when I didn't get in, I decided it was a sign. I would never be "good enough." I was doomed to always be the aspiring author who was "almost there, but not quite." And I totally gave up on that manuscript.

    Except, I couldn't. Not really. Writing isn't just something I do. It's a key part of who I am. And I couldn't give it up. Nor could I let go of these characters who had become so real to me. So as my "final goodbye" to the story, I sat down and wrote the story of the little sister from that first manuscript as my "just for me" NaNoWriMo project. And eight months later, I accepted an offer of publication for TWELVE STEPS.

    It didn't play out the way I wanted it to. The path wasn't easy. But I consider myself a Pitch Wars success story. All because I didn't make it in.

    1. It all gets noticed. My attitude has already been noticed by an agent - as you're aware. It may or may not lead to representation (I hope it does) but people are aware of me and that's an amazing thing. I'm not just some nameless author in the slush.

  2. Great post! And a useful reminder. :)

  3. Well said, People still don't seem to realize that whatever you say or do on social media is *out there* and, like a cruel word spoken in anger, can never really be taken back. It WILL be remembered. If we want agents, editors, publishers to recognize us for the awesome, talented, brilliant literate and just-plain-cool writers we are, we need to act that way. In the end, you will show 'em what you're made of--one way of the other.

    And just because you don't get picked for dodgeball, or asked to the prom, or win the writing contest, doesn't mean you can't walk away richer for the experience. Yeah, it's ok to go home and cry quietly in your pillow, or consume seven gallons of fudge ripple ice cream. But then toss aside your pillow or your spoon (or shovel, if you actually did eat those seven gallons) and take a step back and see what you can learn from the experience. If nothing else, you probably have something to put into your next WIP. Even if it's just a nastily creative way of murdering that guy (or gal) who turned you down for the prom. And there are connections you should have made. God knows, we're all out here too, with our manuscripts and our hearts on our sleeves, sharing what we've got, what we've learned, and looking to connect with a critique partner, a collaborator, or just someone to bitch to at 2am when you've run out of fudge ripple.

    So learn from it, people. And play nice. Or stay out of the sandbox.

    'nuff said.


  4. I agree and thank you for putting it out there. Your post was what some of us needed right now.

    I've always been known as the person you turn to for an honest, if not aggressive, view. However, online, I’ve found myself editing what I say. I've learned, the hard way, to be positive in your speech because you never know whom you will hurt. Even if that hurt is a misunderstanding or an overblown reaction to another’s opinion.

    I also know that you can't always convey exactly what you mean in 140 characters.

    But, mostly, I've learned not to take everything personally because 9 times out of 10 it wasn't meant to hurt or insult.

    The twitter reactions are interesting, from a psychological point-of-view, because of the diversity of our group. People are using our community as a sounding board, or a place to put all their positive energy, or to show their traits in teaching/counseling/guiding or, sadly, to nitpick or bully.

    True personality comes out when in stressful situations – something I’ve always found fascinating. Something I’ve focused on in my stories. Unfortunately, this is reality and the true personalities of some people are not always positive or changeable.

    I hope everyone sticks it out. I hope everyone gets helpful feedback from at least one chosen mentor. Most of all, I hope we have a community that will build each other up when we doubt ourselves, because, as writers, sometimes doubt is our best friend.

    Good luck, Friends. You’ve already accomplished something enormous. Remember that.
    Thank you so much, to the volunteers who go under the gun for us.

  5. Agree muchly, the negativity has to stop. Not only does it reflect badly on the person being negative it also threatens the future of the competition. Why would anyone want to try to run something on such a large, complex and time consuming scale only to be met with rudeness?

    With regards to throwing in the towel that you mentioned. I tweeted that I hadn't heard anything so perhaps that was the end for me, in that tweet I also thanked Brenda and the mentors and wished all contestants luck. Actually, I just found the tweet here y'are: Looks like it won't be me #PitchWars however congrats 2 all successful, well done 2 ALL that subbed & thank you 2 @brendadrake &all mentors. There is nothing rude in that tweet. However I did wrongly assume that most had received requests for more. As Brenda says, the whole process is a learning curve, there was mine. The way in which tweets are construed can be as problematic as the negative tweets that are made. So my suggestion is to make sure that you know either the person that made the tweet and their outlook in general (if you know me, you'll know I am not even an iota negative, I'm just too ditzy for a start lol) OR the tweet can be interpreted clearly, as in something like: 'It's not going to be me, no point in hanging around wasting my time' for example. Now that I would bite to, as would many.

    There is much to be taken from Pitch Wars - much to be learned and learning is a positive thing. It will help us grow both as a writer and personally. For me, it has grown new friendships and I have to say, there have been times when I have had tears rolling down my face from sheer laughter. Seriously, you guys are a funny bunch.

    No matter the outcome, no matter the negativity, firm connections have been made, new ideas have been born (a book about stalking from the view of the stalker - I would buy that lol!) and I believe that at the end of it, for the vast majority anyway, we will all be that little bit better. x Love E.L