Prepare for Battle (Behind the Scenes)

It’s that time. Mentors are preparing to battle for their favorite submissions. A lot of people wonder what that’s like. And who can you count on to give you the behind the scenes truth? Obviously you’d imagine this would be handled with the utmost decorum. Sure. Brenda keeps things calm  throws a live badger into a room full of mimes. Why mimes? I have no idea. I feel like there’s a better line there, but I can’t come up with it. But I digress.

And of course given that the mentor crew has all the grace and manners of a prison riot on a good day…yeah…things are going to get messy.

Prison riot

Fair warning. I started this post with exactly one joke in my head. So we’ve got the potential here to tank faster than Vanilla Ice’s career. Next thing you know I’ll be on some celebrity game show island, fighting with a washed up Gary Busey.

gary busey

That’s terrifying. But not as terrifying as going into battle for a submission. Let me put this into context. When you submit your work to Pitch Wars, you’re being considered against hundreds of other entrants. When a mentor battles for a manuscript, they’re being considered against one. Two, at the most. It’s some vomit inducing stuff. That’s the equivalent of asking your girlfriend to marry you on the jumbotron, and not being sure what she’s going to say.


Yes, I know that’s not a picture of a jumbotron proposal. Couldn’t find one in 45 seconds, and let’s face it, the quality control on these posts isn’t exactly the selling point.

Behind the scenes, mentors are coping with the stress in a variety of ways.


Okay. Mostly one way.

But you’re wondering how the battles work. It goes like this (seriously — this is actually true) Brenda emails the entrant to tell them they’re part of a battle. Then each mentor sends an email to the potential mentee, and the mentee chooses. I know…boring, right? There isn’t even any blood. A few progressive minded mentors are pushing for changes for next year


So that’s it. Things are settling themselves out behind the scenes, except where they aren’t. Whoever the mentee doesn’t choose, picks another entrant to mentor. And if you learn that you’re the person picked after a battle, that might initially make you feel bad. It shouldn’t. You got in, and it’s not how you get in, it’s what you do with the opportunity. Do something with it.


  • I always enjoy your posts!

  • Michelle says:

    This was quite informative, Michael. I was curious about how the alternate system worked, and whether you’d see 1-2 alternates on the list on Thursday or if it was all done behind the scenes. It is honestly a bit shocking that two mentors could potentially have the same #1 pick, with how many entries you guys receive and how unique your tastes all are. Reading your tweets these past few weeks suggests there’s a lot of talent out there though, so it’s totally believable that a few entries would blow all of ya’ll away. May the odds be ever in your favor!

    (And heh, I know what you mean about not complaining about being an alternate. I think I was the 4th or 5th pick when my mentor at NASA picked me for a her internship. But dammit, I got into NASA! :P)

Leave a reply

Get my Blog Updates straight to your inbox

About Me

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.

Read More