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What to Expect if We Select You For Pitch Wars

Hi there. We covered some of this in our wishlist, but now I’m here to go into more detail for those of you who are seriously considering our team. First off, congratulations on your brilliant decision. Before you get too far, be warned, I’m going to talk about things like editing style and the like. Really exciting stuff.

So if we select you, here’s what you can expect.

Day 1. Strategy session. We will need to synchronize our jokes and subtle digs at the other teams. Joking. We won’t do that. Because I already have that stuff ready. That’s the kind of mentors we are. Prepared.

The first thing you can expect is communication. That’s the key to everything. We’ll email, Gchat, Skype, whatever you’re good with, early and often.

The next thing you should expect is an edit letter. Ideally, this would be the day that you’re announced as a mentee, but it depends how early we know you’re on our team. At the latest, you will get it within the first week.

So what’s an edit letter, you ask? Well my version is chapter by chapter notes on what I think you can do to make your book stronger. It will likely also contain overall first act notes, second act notes, third act notes, and full book notes for issues that aren’t contained to a single chapter. It could be as short as 5 pages, or as long as 20. In it you’ll see things like ‘You could ramp up the tension in this chapter if you did X.’ ‘This feels out of character for your MC here because of Y’ ‘Dude! This is awesome. Don’t change this, no matter what.’ (Note: Dude is a gender neutral term. If it bothers you, I’ll come up with a new one. But I will be sad.) It will talk about pace. It will talk about how you fix pace — possibly with multiple options (pace is a long story. I’ll write about it some day.) It will talk about structure and character arcs and agency and tension and plot. And anything else I want to talk about, but definitely those things.

You will be stunned into silence. Seriously. Getting in depth critique is hard. It takes a minute. Some of it will excite you, some of it will confuse you, some of it will sting. All of it will take time to fully digest. So you’ll take a day or two and do nothing. And after you do, we’ll chat. We’ll talk about which parts of it work for you and which parts don’t. For the parts that don’t, I’ll probably have other ideas. Or, if I don’t, we’ll work through it together.

Then you’ll go to work. I’ll be available, as needed, to talk through the notes and for you to bounce your ideas off of. It’s a strength for me. Just DM me and tell me we need a plotting session, and I’ll come armed with five ideas to get your brain juiced up.

When you finish, you’ll send it back to me and I’ll read it again. We may do this in chunks, depending on how your progress is, so that I can do some work simultaneously. We’ll play it by ear. This time I’ll do a line edit. We’ll talk about word choice and sentence structure and flow and all sorts of things, while at the same time revisiting any bigger issues that might still need some work.

At the same time, we’ll be working the business side of things, as it fits. Dan will talk to you about your platform, and share with you a dozen ways to make it better. We’ll talk about agents, and query strategy, and whatever else you want to know about publishing that we can help with. If you’re with us, you write SF/F, so odds are your agent search is going to be a bit slower than some other genres, and we’ll prepare you for that.

Then we’ll play it by ear. Your edits will take as long as they take. We want to make the deadline and have the best product we can by the end of October. So if you’re ready early, we’ll do more. If you need the time, you’ll have it. Unless we need you to help bury a body. I’m not saying that’s likely. But then, I’m not saying it isn’t.

And then we’ll just keep on working until you get where you want to be. That might be a week, it might be 5 months, like it was for me, it might be two years. Publishing is fickle. It’s slow, right up until it’s fast. We’re in it for the long haul. Or until something shiny comes along to distract us. Look! Squirrel!

Best of luck with your selections. *cough* Dan and Me *cough*

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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.

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