There will no Science in Sci-fi, Fact in Fantasy post this week. Possibly next week as well. The main reason for this is that I’m reading entries for Pitch Wars. This is an annual contest founded by Brenda Drake that pairs experienced “mentors” (agented/published authors, editors, or literary agency assistants) with authors of completed manuscripts (“mentees”) who are seeking publication. Basically, the mentor and mentee work together for a couple of months on revisions, and then pitch the work in an agent showcase this fall.
Although Pitch Wars represents only one of many paths to publication, it enjoys a somewhat astonishing track record. About two-thirds of last year’s mentees have landed an agent. Some already have book deals. A few have MAJOR book deals. This reflects well on the contest and what it can do.
This is my second year co-mentoring with Michael Mammay, who was my mentee in 2015 and recently announced his two-book deal with Harper Voyager. We’ve read some great submissions already and hope to see more before the entry window closes. More on that in a minute.
Wizard World This Weekend
I’m pleased to be a special guest at this year’s Wizard World Comic Con in Columbus, Ohio. I’ll be at the con on Friday and Saturday. Here’s where to find me:
- Friday – 7:00 – 7:45pm. Modern Mythology and Urban Fantasy: The Magic Today with Genese Davis (The Holder’s Dominion), Steve Geiger (Bloodshot, Spider-Man, The Hulk), and Lissa Bryan (The Golden Arrow and the Butterfly).
- Saturday – 12:30 – 1:15pm. How to Get Published, from Concept to Under Contract with Genese Davis (The Holder’s Dominion) and Mindy McGinnis (Given to the Sea)
- Saturday – 3:30 – 4:15pm. Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Suspense Storytelling with Genese Davis (The Holder’s Dominion) and Matt Betts (Odd Men Out)
All of these are in room B234. If you happen to be at the con, please stop by and say hello! I’d love to meet some of my online writing friends in person. Special thanks to Genese Davis, who’s coordinating those panels and will be our moderator.
Pitch Wars: State of the Inbox
A lot of exciting things are happening in Pitch Wars this year. One of those is a shiny new website that may or may not be struggling with the huge spike of traffic that happens during the submission window. But I’m particularly excited about the announcement of Pitch Wars Forums where authors can connect and interact with one another, ask questions, and generally engage in the #PitchWars community. Things have quieted down somewhat during the sub window, but I hope that we’ll continue to have great discussions throughout the year.
If you’re still reading, there’s a good chance that you’ve entered Pitch Wars already, and you want the inside scoop. Or perhaps you’re considering it, in which case I refer you to the Koboldt/Mammay wish list, which tells you about what we’re looking for (adult SF/F) and why you might consider us for a mentor slot. Mike also has a nice Pitch Wars 2017 Q&A which may answer some of your burning questions.
So, where are we? Well, we are reading. There will be a lot to read. Last year, we had 150 submissions, and I expect we’ll get a similar number this year. Mike and I are sharing the workload of first reads; we use a shared Google Doc to track/score all submissions. It looks like this:
Note, I’ve falsified some details above so that you can’t infer which entry might be yours. But those are real scores. We’re scoring each project on a scale of 0 to 5 in two categories: quality of writing (in our unprofessional opinion) and the premise/storyline. Every qualifying submission will be read by at least one of us. Both of us will read it before we make a request.
Speaking of Requests…
As Mike indicated on Twitter yesterday, we’re not making any requests until after the submission window closes. If we do make a request, you’ll get an e-mail asking for four things:
- Manuscript. We may ask for a partial or a full, depending on what we think we need.
- Synopsis. This should tell us key plot points and how the story ends. Aim for 2-5 pages.
- Query history. We need to know how widely you’ve queried, and where things stand.
- Discretion. We will ask you not to crow about the request online anywhere.
Good luck to everyone who’s entered! Thank you for allowing us to read your work.
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