Not a Pitch Wars mentee?

Hi YA Bookcasers!

Audio version: 

Welcome to the end of August and the almost-start of October, my favorite month of the year (can anyone say Halloween?). Pitch Wars has just come to an end (if you don’t know what that is, you can find out more here), and while some hopefuls have snagged a mentor, there are some wonderful writers who have missed out. However, that doesn’t mean your chance to build your writing career is gone. Not at all. It means you’ve taken a healthy step in the right direction.

Being a writer means putting yourself out there. It means submitting your work and waiting to see whether it gets a yes, no, or maybe. Pitch Wars is a safe way to do this, even if you do end up with a no. This is because when you enter Pitch Wars it’s a nurturing environment. While we’d all like to think the traditional query process is all roses and butterflies, we also know this isn’t the case. Agents and publishers are wonderful, lovely people. Truly they are. But publishing is a business and there is so much to do that rejections are a necessity, and you will probably receive a slew of them. And some might be harder to take than others.

So what can you do about it?

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Well, there are a few things:

  1. Ask Pitch Wars mentors questions (where appropriate on the hashtag, and not about your manuscript. Ask about craft questions.)
  2. Find new critique partners through the Pitch Wars community.
  3. Engage with readers.
  4. Look at your manuscript carefully. Did you get no requests? Then maybe your first pages need a look. Or…maybe your concept falls flat. Now, this is one I hate to say to people, because no one likes to think their idea isn’t great, but it’s important to decide whether it’s your pitch that’s wrong, or your idea isn’t just unique enough. Now, that doesn’t mean dump your idea if you truly notice it’s not unique. It can mean rework your idea, find a fresh angle. Or, you can just move on. It’s your call.
  5. Did you get requests? You can assume your concept sounded good, and your writing was good. But why didn’t it grab a spot? Check if your concept and actual plot match (sometimes pitches don’t actually tell what the book’s about, and instead are designed to be too hooky (not a good thing)). Maybe the plot flounders or the characters don’t develop. Or perhaps it was just a case of not love at first sight. How do you know? Critique partners.

The biggest piece of advice I can give to you is: analyze. Seriously, sit down with your work and examine it. It took me quite some time to get to grips with this (and I’m still learning!), but you need to dissect where you’re at. Pitch Wars (and not getting in) can be a small step in figuring out how to do this.

And if you’re feeling upset, jealous, angry, worthless? That’s okay. Because the cycle comes around. It just takes time and learning. Keep learning. Writing. Reading.

Remember, if you have any questions, you can always get in touch with me, too.

Happy writing!

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