Tag Archives: Pitch Wars

Dear 2015 Pitch Wars Mentees

26 Aug

*Update: Welcome to my stop on the blog hop! To find links to the other bloggers’ posts, see the bottom of this one.*

Congratulations on making it in to PitchWars 2015! Welcome to the club and what an awesome club it is. I am in awe of my brilliant 2014 PW peeps. But what does being in the club really mean?

You might be hoping it means instant fame and one miiiiillion dollars.

Okay, not that exactly, but that success (insert fireworks and champagne here) is on the horizon. It might be, but it’s impossible to know how long that journey will take. To be sure, it’s good to look at the horizon every now and then, to keep that distant vision in your heart and stay on course. The trouble with the horizon is it never seems to get any closer. And that can be really daunting, even paralyzing, at times.

So my advice is to spend most of your time looking at the road right in front of you or in your rear view mirror.

When you focus on the next mile or even just the next ten feet, you know you can do it.  Deepening that secondary character? You can do it. Pulling out a minor plotline? You can do it. Just keep putting one step in front of the other.

Then, after a while, take a look back. Looking back allows you to see and celebrate what you’ve accomplished so far. And it can give you the fuel you need to take that next step when you are worn out. Because no one tells you that even the best manuscripts have to be revised 8,452 times.

Lastly, don’t compare your journey with anyone else’s. You do you.

If I had known the odds last year, I probably wouldn’t have entered. Looking back, I’m glad I did. I’ll bet you’re glad, too. Now get going on that journey and make the most of every step.


To read more words of wisdom/terror/ hope from the writers of the PitchWars 2014 class, check out these links:

Amanda Rawson Hill: On Doubt and Hope

Jennifer Hawkins: Last year at this time, I was you…

K. Kazul Wolf: Congrats on getting further into the insanity…

A.B. Sevan: Swimming with the Big Fishies

Tracie Martin: What No One Tells the PitchWarrior

RuthAnne Snow: 2014 Pitch Wars Mentee here, looking to offer…

Rosalyn Collings Eves: Most of you are probably sick with dread

Janet Walden-West: The Long Game

Destiny Cole: Yup, I’m talking to you…

Kelly DeVos: Confessions of a PitchWars Alternate

Mary Ann Marlowe: First things first…

Mara Rae: I’m going to keep it short and sweet…

Jen Vincent: Last year, on a complete whim…

Nikki Roberti: 3 Things You Need to Know

Anna Patel: Don’t Panic

Erin Foster Hartley: I’ve been putting off…

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

1 Jun

tortoiseWow, It’s hard to believe that last post was in September. Now that many moons have passed, it’s a good time to take a look back, see what I’ve accomplished creatively and look at where I go from here. Let’s see…there was:

September, in which I gained a mentor and lost a stepfather

One of the many benefits of #PitchWars is that I got a mentor (Yay!)  Even better, she’s a super-awesome writer of middle grade fiction who lives in the South. (Like me!)  Her name is Lisa Lewis Tyre and her book, Last in a Long Line of Rebels, comes out this Fall. I can’t wait to read it! If you like to read tween/teen stories or you know middle school or upper elementary readers who do, you can pre-order it here now. Anyway, Lisa loved my story and was so encouraging, while still giving me lots of feedback and suggestions for adding flavor to it. I was thrilled to work with Lisa.

But often when one hand giveth, the other taketh away.  At the same time this exciting thing was happening with my writing, my stepfather was fighting for his life against a brain tumor. It came out of nowhere in August. By the end of September, he was gone. I spent more time with my extended family in that month than probably in the last five years combined. And every minute was worth it. There are some things that are more important than writing, and it’s a good thing to remember that, especially when you are living in rejection-ville, as happens when you are querying.

October, in which I learned how bad I suck at queries

You’d think that putting together one short paragraph that hooks the reader and gives them the basic concept of your book would be easy, especially when you’d already written a whole book. You’d be wrong.

I wrote, got feedback and rewrote those three paragraphs approximately 8,332 times and finally settled on something. But you never really know for sure until you throw it out there.

November, in which I got two full requests(!) 

So maybe I wasn’t so bad at queries. I wasn’t great but I ended up with a couple partial requests from PitchWars anyway (Yay!) And, I got another outside that, too (Yippee!) Then, I got a rejection (Boo.) But then…I got two follow up requests for full manuscripts. (Yahooo!)

December, in which I read a lot and tried to pretend I wasn’t waiting for anything

The header says it all. The waiting stinks. And, as you hear of others landing agents even during the holidays, it’s hard to convince yourself that you just haven’t heard anything from agents yet because they just haven’t opened your email.  But it was good to read a lot just for pleasure. I haven’t indulged in that nearly as much as I’d like in the past year.

January, in which I stopped waiting and jumped back into the race

I started querying in earnest but slowly. And I started getting requests, especially when I included sample pages, which means hey, my writing doesn’t suck. But the process of finding an agent who is just the right fit is often a long one. 

Since then…

I’ve gotten more rejections and I’ve gotten more requests. I’m sticking with it, listening to the encouraging feedback I’m getting from agents and fellow writers, and improving my work.

I have to give myself credit for all I accomplished. I…

1) finally finished the book

2) did well in a couple contests and got some notice

3) got a fabulous mentor

4) learned how to revise and produce a polished end product

5) got some agent interest

And what got me these accomplishments was: to just keep doing the work, step by step, and find the joy in that. To make my writing the best it can be and keep putting it out there. Slow and steady wins the race (I hope!)

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