The submission window for #PitchWars is fast approaching. Possibly even more quickly than you official know about! In case you’re on the fence about it, here are some reasons you should think about submitting:
- Find a mentor. If you’re selected for PitchWars, for the next two months, you’ll have a new CP! Your mentor will help you polish your query letter and manuscript into something awesome.
- Make the agent round. True, if you make PitchWars you can’t query before the agent round. But have you seen the list of incredible agents who are participating in Pitch Wars this year? Three words: worth the wait.
- Join the community. The next month — between the submission window and the pick announcement — is one of my favorite times to be on Twitter. #PitchWars hopefuls are always so positive and supportive of one another. If you don’t leave this contest with a bunch of new writerly friends, something’s gone horribly wrong.
- Put yourself out there. It’s not easy to send your work to someone else to be judged — much less a peer (because that’s what we are) — but that’s what it ultimately takes to improve your work and get published.
In other words, there are many good reasons to be entering Pitch Wars. By now, if you’ve done your homework, you researched the mentors who were in your manuscript’s age category and winnowed it down to the top five. You probably agonized over this, and I don’t blame you. But take some reassurance in the fact that if we get a fantastic project that’s simply not the right fit for us, we’re apt to pass it along to another mentor. Lots of this back-and-forth takes place behind the scenes.
Last year, for example, I got this incredible adult fantasy submission. I loved everything about it: the prose, the worldbuilding, the pace. But it was a fairy tale retelling, and I didn’t feel like I was the right mentor for it. Another adult mentor approached the group and said that she hadn’t fallen in love with any of her own subs, and was looking to shop around a bit. Did anyone have a good adult fantasy project?
Hell yes I did! They were a great match, and that author landed an agent soon afterward.
How to Get Ready
Look, the sub window opens soon, so all you can do is get your ducks in a row. Here are some tips to make the submission process an easy one:
- The submission form will ask for your book’s title, age category, genre, word count, query, Twitter handle, and first chapter. Have those ready to go.
- Make sure your first chapter is a Word document in standard manuscript format.
- The query is useful, but most mentors are likely to skim it and jump to the chapter 1. Polish that until it shines. Get someone to give you a quick beta read of it, if you haven’t already. Give us the best you’ve got.
- The importance of clever titles and hooky opening lines cannot be understated.
What Do I Want?
My Pitch Wars bio has the essentials of what I want. Adult science fiction, fantasy, or thriller. If it falls into that age category and one of those genres, please send it my way! I’d really love to find a good space opera or near-future (not apocalytpic) science fiction, but a good story with strong writing is the only trump card you need. That said, here are some ways to score bonus points:
- Use standard query formats and manuscript formats
- Be on my mailing list. Fun fact: my mentee last year was the second person to join it, and that was months before Pitch Wars.
- Follow me on Twitter. It’s my favorite social media platform.
- Preorder THE ROGUE RETRIEVAL. Just kidding! I really have no way to track that.
- Be polite and respectful to mentors, to fellow authors, and to Brenda Drake.
Good luck, Pitch Wars hopefuls! See you on the other side.
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Dustin Fife says
You’ll make a killer mentor to one lucky mentee. Good luck this year!
Sarah Baker says
Hello, Dan Koboldt.
I was planning to submit to you tomorrow, but upon reflection I realized I am not sure if my novel is adult fantasy or YA fantasy. I tried to do some Googling for a concrete answer and came up empty-handed. Do you have any criteria you use?