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Entering Pitch Wars *Again*

I wrote a lot last year about Pitch Wars, and tried to answer common questions. If you’re new to the contest, you can check some of that stuff out here: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3. You can also look at some other great information from Brighton Walsh.

But today I want to talk to the people who read all that stuff last year. The people who entered last year and are back for another try. Because there are questions specific to people who are trying again. I have some experience in that area. I entered in 2014, didn’t get in, and then I came back in 2015 with a different (better) book and I did get in. Despite the good result, I made some mistakes along the way which hopefully I can help you to avoid.

So let me answer some questions. Also, let me say up front that if you don’t see your question answered here, you should feel free to hit me up on twitter about it. Let me also say up front that I’m absolutely *not* just procrastinating instead of starting my new edit. Nope. Wouldn’t do that. Never.

  1. I entered last year and I didn’t get in. Should I enter again? I’m going to answer this in two parts:
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    a. Is it a new book? If so, then the answer is absolutely you should enter again. Nothing has changed except you. You’ve (hopefully) learned something and have brought that to a new book. And the benefits of Pitch Wars are still there. Perhaps you’ve progressed to a level that a mentor can’t help you as much. That’s okay. We can still probably teach you a couple things. And if we can’t, we’ll tell you, which should give you the boost of confidence you need going into querying.b. Is it the same book? Now it gets more complicated. Did you revise it? Specifically, if mentors gave you feedback, did you work on that stuff? If so, then by all means, give it a shot. I know people who got in with the same book that got rejected the previous year. Did you spend the entire year querying it without much success? This is the hard part, and only you can answer it. Sometimes it’s time to write a new book. Nobody can  tell you when that time is, because it’s different for everybody. For me, it’s when a new book is screaming at me to be written.
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  2. Should I submit to the same mentors or different? Let me tell you a story. In 2015, I specifically didn’t submit to the same mentor who had rejected me the year before. Why? I don’t know. He was the best fit for my book. And that’s extra significant when you write adult SF, because there weren’t even enough adult SF mentors that year to fill all my slots. I submitted to Kellye Garrett, who is brilliant and her book is great (see it here!) but she’s not a SF writer. She writes mysteries. My book has a lot of mystery in it. It’s also set in space. She was never going to pick it. Luckily for me some other mentors thought my book was good and passed it on to the person who was always the best fit for my book, Dan Koboldt. Dan became my mentor, and is now my co-mentor. But I was lucky. Not every mentor is going to take the time to pass on stuff that doesn’t fit for them. We get a LOT of entries, and sometimes there just isn’t going to be time. You don’t want to leave it up to chance. Submit to the mentors who are the best fit for your book, regardless of whether you did or didn’t submit to them the prior year.Now if you’re in a huge category like YA Fantasy? Sure. You’ve got lots of options for mentors. Look for the best fits, still, but you can really go whichever way you want. Read on for some more nuance.
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  3.  Do mentors remember me from last year? Maybe. Certainly I remember some of the entries. And if you’ve been around twitter since then, there’s a pretty good chance that I know who you are. And *maybe* Dan and I had a conversation about a few entries we remember from last year and are hoping to see those people back in our inbox. But we had 140 entries. I definitely don’t remember them all. I’ll *probably* remember them if reminded. But think about reading 140 first chapters in a week or so. It’s a bunch of pages.
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  4. Wait. You just said there are people you hope that submit to you again. Does that mean they have a better chance? No. In the end, we’re going to pick the book that’s best for us. What we remember is liking something about that person’s work. Seeing the possibilities if they worked on a few things. Our hope is that they’re back in our inbox having upped their game. But you never know. If they’ve got a new book, maybe it’s not for us. So much is subjective, and the thing we thought we saw last year might not still be there. So when we say we’re excited to see it in our inbox, it’s exactly that. We’re excited to see where they’ve gone with their work, whether we choose them or not. We hope that everybody involved has grown in the past year.
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  5. Just tell us what we want to know. Do we have a better chance of getting in the second time around? Well I had a better chance the second time around. Because I had a better book. But I also understood the process better. I was more comfortable asking questions to mentors. As a rule, I do think you’ve got a better shot, because you’ve got more experience. If you’re still here after a year and you’ve been working on your craft, odds are good that you’re getting better. Certainly you know more about queries. Hopefully you’ve met some CPs and gotten feedback on your work. And I think it will be a little bit less intimidating this time. You probably know some of the mentors now, and realize that they’re just writers like you. You’ve seen the mentor blog hop before. You know what to expect, and how best to do your research. There are a lot of little things. But in the end, it still comes down to the book.

In conclusion, nobody knows what’s best for you but you. But as much as it feels different, being here for a second year, in the end it really isn’t. To read more thoughts about whether Pitch Wars is right for you or not, you can check out the post I wrote for Brenda’s Blog a couple weeks back about Should I or Shouldn’t I. Good luck, no matter what you decide.

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I am a Soldier and a Science Fiction writer. Usually I write about Soldiers. Go figure. I'm represented by Lisa Rodgers of JABberwocky Literary Agency. If you love my blog and want to turn it into a blockbuster movie featuring Chris Hemsworth as me, you should definitely contact her.

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