It’s that most wonderful time of the year: PITCH WARS! It’s an awesome, amazing mentorship program designed by the incomparable Brenda Drake. Seriously, check out the site and become a part of this community.
I had the tremendous honor of being a Pitch Wars mentee in 2017 and it was incredible. I loved my mentor, Natalie Mae, loved the community and met some of my best writing friends during the competition. I had a blast during the agent showcase and it was just such a learning experience and one I’ll cherish.
So in honor of Pitch Wars being right around the corner, I’m going to have a bit of a party here on the site and feature past mentees to share how they got ready for submission, revised, and survived this crazy lil’ thing called PW.
Read on, friends!
Next up, Amanda Coppedge Bosky
Thanks so much for chatting with me today. Alright, let’s start from the beginning!Tell me about your Pitch Wars PRE experience. How did you find out about it,and what made you decide to enter?
I had just experienced a setback in my writing and was very down in the dumps about it. My friend Kat Abbott (https://www.instagram.com/katsawriter/) convinced me to enter Pitch Wars and even helped me research which mentors I should submit to.I am lucky to have such a supportive writing pal!
I know it can seem like a super long wait between submission window and actually seeing if you were chosen. How did you stay sane?
I have been riding this wild pony for a few years now so I was a pretty seasoned wait-er by that time 🙂
Once you were chosen, what happened from there?
It was so lovely! I clicked with my mentor, Kara Seal, right away. I loved that she was such a middle grade horror fan and that she really “got” my manuscript.
After you got all your notes or phone calls from your mentor, what was your game plan? How did you take all of your mentors advice and boil it down into doable steps?
I went through two rounds of revision with Kara, mostly strengthening the emotional subplots and working on the ending, which was shaky. I took Kara’s emails and broke them down into a checklist labeled “beginning,” “middle,” and “end,” and went over and over them as I worked through the three acts. It was easiest to knock out minor changes and scene-level notes first, then revisit the broader notes repeatedly as I revised.
Alright! The fun/agonizing part! The agent showcase! How did that go for you and what did you do to pass the day? It can definitely be a whirlwind!
It was tough because our showcase’s comments were still public at the time, so it was easy for anyone to see who was popular and who wasn’t. Not gonna lie, I passed the days by checking my entry frequently and hitting Refresh!
The PW community is one of the best, most generous writing communities out there! I highly encourage everyone to enter and be a part of the community. How was your experience with all the writers in PW?
I wonder if people hear us say “The best part of Pitch Wars is the community” and think we’re exaggerating or just being Miss Susie Sunshine. It’s really true, I think especially for those of us who weren’t the most popular picks in the showcase, for those of us who didn’t get an agent and/or a book deal out of it. It has been wonderful celebrating successes and commiserating over setbacks with my fellow class of 2017 mentees. But honestly what has really made me a Pitch Wars fan for life is seeing how the team has weathered difficult times. When it comes to diversity, for example, I have seen other people and organizations put their foot in their mouths and double down on their ignorance. It has been a beautiful thing to see the Pitch Wars team committed to self-examination, transparency, and re-organization as needed.
Finally, what advice would you have for someone thinking of entering this year’s Pitch Wars? How can they best go about it, increase their chances of success, and overall have a great time participating?
Remember that all the hashtags and social media events are for fun and to build community–because we’re really not lying when we say the PW community is the best part, and you don’t have to be selected as a mentee to form community based around PW. The most important thing is getting your manuscript in the best shape you can on your own and crafting a good query for it. Like I said, I hadn’t even been planning to participate until the eleventh hour–I got selected because of my book, and because my mentor had a vision for how to improve it.
As far as having a great time participating, I think Pitch Wars is a great first experience for anyone who hopes to break into trade publishing. It is a taste of the life ahead of you–the waiting. The potential rejection. The ups and downs. The excitement of thinking you’ve reached a major goal–only to have the rug jerked out from under you. I think it’s like playing guitar–you have to build up those rejection/disappointment calluses on your soul. This is a great way to start that practice.