The #PitchWars phenomenon bursts into my Twitter feed about this time every year. I never entered until 2018 and then only due to the encouragement of the wonderful Paula Munier. (Click here for the details from Pitch Wars itself).
I’m so glad I did it and below I detail why. If you are a writer who is not agented or published, I encourage you to enter, too. (For the rest of us writers, the mentor application window is open right now, please consider applying, here!).
True to the first word in its title, honing that pitch is a major part of the epicness of Pitch Wars. Think you can’t boil your pitch down to the character limit? Practice makes perfect and gives you the ability to rattle off your book “elevator” speech to anyone who asks, whether a curious reader, an agent, an editor, or your family. Even in person, you have about 280 characters to hook them. (This is about 55 words, about the length of these pink highlighted sentences).
A Hand Up
Though Pitch Wars is a “contest” in the end, the battle is all behind the scenes. During the build up to the contest, Pitch Wars devotees and mentors are all about reaching out to the next crop of writers and pulling them up.
“How To” Posts Abound
As you gain writer friends and see their content, your feed will abound with excellent advice and pointers. If you’ve worked at your writing very long, much of this is simply refresher, but excellent nonetheless. Also, regardless of where you are on your journey, you’ll learn something.
Prior to submissions, post boards allow for pitching and feedback. One can find/be a CP (critique partner). This is a fantastic way for you to get your feet wet in the collaborative effort that is book writing. Each time you do this, you learn more about trusting the critique vs. trusting yourself, and this is vital for when you are working with an agent and editor.
You learn to play as you discuss writing and your book.
A prepitch calendar build up is so much fun! Even people who are not entering play along, as do folks who are hoping to be selected as mentors. This helps you meet all the hopefuls and a big number of past participants, mentors, and mentees. Also, it spreads your message to the wider world, to readers, writers, agents, and editors, while allowing you to be you. I'm one of those persons who doesn't think that "gaining followers" is the end-all-be-all. Be yourself! Enjoy who comes along for your ride.
Participation not required
The pre-pitch daily calendar is purely voluntary in whole or in part, allowing for when life gets in the way and for our tweeting skill to grow with our comfort level. Even if you miss a day, you can see what others do and learn from them.
PitchWars is committed to helping marginalized writers have more of a shot at publication. This is a very good thing. The world deserves story diversity. Does this mean that only minority writers are mentees? No. All are welcomed. All gain from it.
Plea for a stronger Historical Fiction Genre Presence
Interestingly enough, some genres are all but absent from it (hint hint, my beloved Historical Fiction tribe). There is something about that group that tends to try to avoid Twitter like the dickens, (as we say in Texas). This is unfortunate as Pitch Wars taught me that I could showcase my exciting historical fiction story and draw in potential readers. If you are a Historical Fiction writer, I encourage you to join however you are able in participating in Pitch Wars this year, even if it is only for a day or two of the preparty. Let’s get more chatty about this thing we love, lets share the wealth. (Also, here is a guide for how and why to do Twitter, if you are interested in more info).
All Participants Benefit
This is so not like American Idol or the Gong Show or other reality TV shows. Sure, on the surface the end desired result is to be chosen as a mentee, but even without that, writers flourish with new opportunities. (See my story in another post, to be linked when I post it). The point of Pitch Wars is not only about the mentee/mentor relationship, rather, it is about helping writers become published and sell their books, as well as getting the word out to readers about them. You really cannot lose. I’ve already seen many 2018 mentees obtain agent representation and some of those have sold books. I’ve also seen a good number of my new writer friends who were not selected go on to do the same. This is a win-win for all writers and readers.
Would I have gotten my agent offer without Pitch Wars? I am honestly unsure but, ultimately, it doesn’t matter, it is all a whole process. The program elevated my presence on Twitter and possibly reminded my agent that she didn’t want to forget to read my story. Plus, I gained writer friends and knowledge that I’d have never gained without the process. I'm so thankful for that, and so glad I did it.
As you can see, I think the question is whether you are a novel writer or not. If so, and if you are serious about your completed manuscript and you are not yet agented, you've got every reason to participate in Pitch Wars, and nothing to lose.
Still not convinced? Here are some graphics I learned to create which help tell the story of my book in a way that is engaging to a modern audience:
Cover Art, (purchased font)
I AM HOUSTON, emoji story!
(See soon to be linked character list for a list of all the diverse characters)
Aesthetic of Hero's Journey--with a hint of the need for Redemption
Aesthetic of the Antagonist, Hint-Hint
Sam's Favs Playlist