4 Reasons You Should Enter Pitch Wars

I tried something new for the first time and recorded a video for my newest blog post!

It's all about why you should enter Pitch Wars.

Now if you don't know about Pitch Wars, I can quickly tell you that it's an online competition that:

  • Matched me with an amazing mentor and editor,
  • Whipped my manuscript into shape and,
  • Got me 15 offers of representation (one of them being my current agents, Alexandra Machinist and Hillary Jacobson)

Because I got these awesome agents, I was able to revise my book under their guidance and then get my three-book publishing deal and movie deal.

So essentially, Pitch Wars is the reason I get to write to you now as a future-published author.

Now it's easy to say enter Pitch Wars because all of your wildest dreams could come true, but the real reason I think every eligible writer should enter is because:

  • It gives you a real deadline
  • It gives you the ability to get free critiques
  • It gives you an awesome community of writers

I talk about all of this and more in this video/blog post, so click below to discover why you need to enter Pitch Wars this August!


TRANSCRIPT:

Hey!

I'm Tomi Adeyemi, the author of CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE (March, 2018, Macmillan), and today I'm here to talk to you about why you should enter Pitch Wars.

Now I usually write blog posts at tomiadeyemi.com, so I don't know how this is going to go, but just bare with me as I tell you 4 reasons why you should enter Pitch Wars.

So first: 

What is Pitch Wars?

Pitch Wars is an online competition that matches writers with mentors who work with them over the course of two months to intensely revise their manuscripts.

Now at the end of these 2 months the writers are entered in this agent round, so they take their shiny new manuscripts which they work like crazy to revise, and all these amazing agents comes and take a peak at them and then they get to request material.

Click here to learn more about it!

So that's what Pitch Wars is, but I don't really want to talk about what it is because you can read about that. I want to talk about why you should enter. 

And the reason I feel like it's important to talk about this is because it is so frickin' scary to put yourself out there as a writer. I don't think there's anything scarier than just putting your work out into the world.

But this is something that could be so great for you that I want you to push past your fear and do it anyway and I'm going to try and convince you by telling you 4 reasons I think it'll be worth it.

So the first reason is obvious and I don't want to spend too much time on it, but it's worth saying.

Reason #1: It Can Make Your Dream Come True

Pitch Wars was designed to help writers match with literary agents. It's been around for 5 years (this year is it's 6th years), and over the past 5 years over 200 writers have signed with literary agents directly from this competition.

Dozens of them have gone on to get book deals with those Pitch Wars books. I'm one of those people!

I worked with the amazing Ashley Hearn (who's mentoring this year, so if you write YA Fantasy you should sub to her!)

Because of me working with her, when I entered the agent round I got 15 offers of representation. Now I queried my first book for like 8 months before that and got 62 rejections.

So just to give you a picture of what being in Pitch Wars and working with someone who knows how to revise your book can do, I went from radio silence when I was querying my first book to all these offers on my second book.

Because of Pitch Wars I signed with my dream agents (Alexandra Machinist and Hillary Jacobson at ICM Partners! They're incredible! Query them!) and we revised the book and when we took it out on submission I was able to get a book deal at Macmillan and then Fox bought the movie rights to my book.

So I don't want to say that none of this would've happened without Pitch Wars, like I don't know if I would've signed with an agent, I don't know if I would've gotten a book deal, but I do know whatever success I could've had with my manuscript before Pitch Wars was magnified by a 100 because I did Pitch Wars so the number one reason you should do Pitch Wars is because great things can happen!

Another example of a Pitch Wars book is THE LAST NAMARA by Kristen Ciccarelli

Now she was a mentee in 2015 and she's another Pitch Wars success story! She revised for two months with amazing mentors, she got an agent, she revised again, she got this book deal, and now her book is something that I can hold and it comes out in October and it's amazing.

You guys this is one of my top 3 favorite books of all time and guess what? She's a mentor! If you write YA Fantasy, you should sub to her. I also want you to sub to me and Kit Grant, but you should sub to Kristen Ciccarelli and Ashley Hearn, too! If I was applying this year, I would sub to them!

So yeah! Pitch Wars makes books, it makes books that you can hold in your hand! Why wouldn't you enter something that can help you do that?

So reason number 1: Pitch Wars can make your dreams come true.

Now I'll be honest, that's the least important reason I think you should enter and the reason is whether you get into Pitch Wars are not there are so many benefits you can get just from entering.

Reason #2: It is a Deadline

To submit to Pitch Wars, you need a polished manuscript by August 2nd (technically by August 5th since that's the last day to submit)

Before you have a book deal and a contract with a publisher, it's going to be really hard to get a concrete deadline of when you need to finish something. That makes it so much easier to say, "Oh, I'm not really feeling it, this chapter isn't working, I'll put it away for a week," which turns into a month, which turns into a year.

If you know a little bit about my writing story, I couldn't finish any of my stories until I had a concrete deadline and I got that deadline from National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which takes place every November. 

That was the first time in my life when I said, "Okay, I'm not going to write when I feel like it, I'm going to write until I have a book" and then I had my first book.

A deadline can help you finish a book that you would've finished in three years in three months. 

When you're thinking about entering Pitch Wars, you should do it just to give yourself that deadline. For me just the deadline of Pitch Wars was the key to my success.

I found out about Pitch Wars in 2015, but I found out in September so the submission window had closed like 3 weeks earlier. I was so bummed, but that meant for the next 11 months Pitch Wars was on my radar, Pitch Wars was my deadline. So when I decided I was going to write a new book last May, Pitch Wars was still my deadline. 

It was crazy because my first book took me like 3.5-4 years. I was like "how am I going to do everything I did there in 3 months?"

But because I had a deadline, because I wanted to do it, because I had been waiting almost a full year to enter Pitch Wars I forced myself to do it. It was crazy, but I can tell you for a fact that I wouldn't have finished my book as fast as I did if I hadn't had a deadline like Pitch Wars.

So that's the second reason you should enter, it's going to give you a deadline and that's going to give you at least one new draft of your manuscript that you wouldn't have had if you didn't enter Pitch Wars.

Reason #3: Free Critiques

The third reason you should enter Pitch Wars is because of Critiques!

Pitch Wars has over 200 mentors. These mentors are professional editors, published and unpublished authors, they're agented authors, they're interns at literary agencies.

These are people who have some degree of knowing their stuff when it comes to writing. And they're so excited to give back that they give critiques away for free!

So you could get a:

  • query critique
  • synopsis critique
  • first ten pages/first chapters critiques

for free! So much great stuff for free!

Now I am someone who doesn't usually win things and when I entered Pitch Wars last summer I won four query critiques. And guess what? I used all of them. By the time I entered Pitch Wars, I had a really good query.

It was also because of one query critique that someone said, "Hey, this sounds like something the mentor Ashley Hearn would like. She should be on your list!"

Ashley was on my list, but because of what this critiquer suggested, I bumped her to the top. And guess what? Ashley was my mentor and clearly that had a happy ending! (SUB TO ASHLEY HEARN!)

So it's not only a great and free way to improve the things you'll need to enter Pitch Wars, it's a great way to publish your submission package for querying literary agents afterwards!

It's also a great way to get to know mentors and get tips about whether they'd be a great fit for your manuscript!

So come on! People pay for critiques like this. If you could get it for free just for entering a contest that could potentially make your dreams come true and give you a deadline, why wouldn't you do it?

Exactly! No reason not to do it. You should do it!

Reason #4: It Can Give You A Community

So the last reason I think you should enter Pitch Wars is actually the most important reason.

So just to explain the importance of a community, let's take a book, any book!

Here's WANT by Cindy Pon. This is one of the last books I read and it's so beautiful, I love the cover. Okay, so let's go to the back of the book where you see the acknowledgments.

Now, I never read the acknowledgements of any book until I wanted to get published. Then I started reading them like "okay, I want to get published, let me learn what's going on/what's in the back of these books."

That's when I realized that every great book ever has a whole list of people who helped that book become a reality. That is what the acknowledgements are.

You know that saying "it takes a village?" It takes like a frickin' city to make a book a reality. All of that is community!

Now that I've formed a writing community, I can't even tell you how different my publishing experience and my book would be if I didn't have all the amazing people who've given me feedback, who've motivated me, who've helped me talk through plot holes (one of them being Kristen Ciccarelli, submit to her!).

But in all seriousness, community is what it takes to make it. You're going to need a community, you're going to need other writers who understand you, who can support you, who can help you through difficult moments because there's a lot of difficult moments on the road to publishing!

I don't know an easier way to meet other writers who are really enthusiastic and passionate about pursuing their publishing dreams than Pitch Wars. Like the whole lead up to Pitch Wars is just excited people on Twitter who are excited to meet you and connect.

And behind the scenes, writers who are entering connect with other writers to give feedback and critique queries! There's facebook groups for people who are applying. There are so many ways to connect!

If you walk away from Pitch Wars with just one critique partner, that's worth your weight in gold. 

Just entering Pitch Wars gives you the ability to find some of those people who are going to be in your acknowledgements one day when you publish your first book.

So beyond making your dreams come true, beyond the deadline, beyond getting free critiques--the opportunity to form a community and make some of those bonds is the reason you have to enter Pitch Wars.

So that's my spiel! Obviously I'm very passionate about this. I probably should've mentioned that I'm going to be a mentor this year with the amazing Kit Grant!

We're really excited so if you write YA Fantasy submit to us! We're really excited to work with you!

Every mentor is so excited about this and we can't wait to meet you guys. I know it's scary, but the worst thing that can happen is you get a free query critique. It's not that you don't get in. That's literally the worst thing that can happen - someone helps you with your query which helps you for the rest of your literary life with that book.

So enter! Do it!