I meant to write this MUCH earlier, and now Pitch Wars is upon us. Better late than never, right?
To be honest, others have covered most of this ground. There are eight million blog posts telling you what to expect and, more importantly, what not to expect. There are success stories of agents and book deals and stories of those who may not have reached those milestones yet, but won a community and a stronger sense of craft.
So, my Pitch Wars advice: Accept that there are so many things you just can’t control.
A book getting picked up is a perfect storm situation. So many people have to connect before a book even gets the green light, and then the general public has to connect (read: pay) for it before it’s deemed a “success.” It’s incredibly difficult, and even more difficult for marginalized creators. And so much of it is out of your hands.
Not being chosen for Pitch Wars does NOT mean your book is bad. It means the correct person to connect with it might not be mentoring this year. It means maybe you need one more round of polishing, one more beta read. It means maybe this book was one you wrote as a stepping stone, learning things that will make every subsequent book you write better.
The thing to remember: You are not one book.
Sounds simple, sounds easy. But when you’re in the thick of it, when you’ve poured so much into one story, letting go of it is incredibly difficult. It’s something to mourn. But know that you have more than one story in you. Know that everything you learned writing this book you love so much will follow you into everything else you write. It’s been said a million times, but take advantage of the Pitch Wars community. Connect with other writers. Pursuing this industry requires a support system, both for making your writing better and for yelling (there’s so much yelling).
If you’re chosen: Amazing! Be prepared to work. And don’t let it go to your head.
If you aren’t chosen: Pitch Wars is one avenue out of hundreds. Find CPs and betas, work on your book, query the hell out of it. Once you’ve exhausted your querying list, start fresh on that shiny new idea you keep thinking about.
Pitch Wars isn’t something you “win,” it’s something that can help make you a better writer. Whether or not you’re chosen as a mentee.