Pitch Wars Going Forward … Part One

We are sure you and many others in the writing community have questions about and for Pitch Wars. Therefore, we are starting a series of blog posts to address the recent and important issues brought up surrounding things like: the fee; inclusivity within Pitch Wars; how Pitch Wars addresses concerns of the public; and what is happening with Pitch Wars going forward.

First, we would like to thank the community for its honest conversation surrounding issues related to Pitch Wars. We understand that your honesty cost many of you emotional labor and we want you to know that your voices have been heard. We want you to always feel comfortable sharing your concerns with us and asking questions, which can be done via the Pitch Wars Twitter account as well as the Pitch Wars curious cat account. We hope this will both allow open communication between the public and Pitch Wars as well as give us comments and suggestions for how to better the program.

In addition to hearing the concerns and suggestions of the public, we created a questionnaire for our mentors (both past and present) and learned their honest opinions and advice. With all this in mind, we will be rebooting Pitch Wars with a new steering committee that will provide leadership for this year’s event. It will ensure the responsibility for the whole program no longer falls on just one or two shoulders. I will still be involved as a member of this new committee. But I have also taken a small step back to allow Kellye Garrett to take the reins. I will lend my advice based on my long experience with Pitch Wars, but I genuinely believe that Kellye will be a fantastic person to help Pitch Wars provide mentorship and support to writers.  Kellye and her committee are already doing wonderful things for Pitch Wars. I have been at peace since turning Pitch Wars over to the committee. The pressure that’s been behind my eyes for years is gone. Even though the committee is taking the reins, I’ll be around helping the committee, ensuring my experience with the program is put to good use!

Through the committee, Pitch Wars will have an inclusive and diverse cross-section of leadership that will hopefully provide insight into how to better serve all members of the writing community. We’ve already announced the committee and will be revealing more details about other changes to Pitch Wars next month. This is only a first step, and we understand that we have a ways to go to prove that mistakes of the past won’t be ignored in creating a better and more inclusive Pitch Wars that works for all.

Please follow our Twitter account @PitchWars to be alerted when each post is published and feel free to continue asking questions!

Our 2018 Pitch Wars Schedule & New Mentoring Plan

We know that there have been a lot of questions about the status of Pitch Wars this year and our transition to a smaller program run by a committee of past mentors and mentees. On Monday, we’ll launch a series of blog posts addressing past issues and talking about the future of the program.

However, we do want to share a few important things with you regarding our mentors, our new Pitch Wars schedule, and our committee members.

Our Mentors:

We’ll have 100 mentors/mentor pairs in 2018, which is smaller than recent years. In order to ensure we have a diverse cross section of mentors that reflects our community as a whole, we’ll require all potential mentors (even those who have already signed on) complete our new application form. This process will require that we push back the start of Pitch Wars this year. Please fill out our Google form if you’d like to be reminded when the Mentor Application window opens.

Our New Dates:

  • May 15, 2018 (approx) : Mentor Application Window Opens
  • May 30, 2018: Mentor Application Window Closes
  • June 7, 2018: #PitMad
  • July 15: 2018 Mentors Announced
  • August 14 – 27, 2018: Mentor Blog Hop
  • August 27, 2018 (midnight EDT): Mentee Submission Window Opens
  • August  29, 2018 (10 PM EDT): Submission Window Closes
  • October 12, 2018: 2018 Pitch Wars Mentees Announced
  • February 6 – 11, 2019: Agent Showcase
    • February 6: Adult entries are live on the Pitch Wars site
    • February 7: MG entries are live on the Pitch Wars site
    • February 8: YA entries are live on the Pitch Wars site

Our Committee:

We’re extremely excited about our transition to a new committee-run format and want to introduce you to the former mentors and mentees on it. We come from a wide variety of backgrounds and write a wide variety of genres and age categories. However, we all have one key thing in common: We love and believe in Pitch Wars and want to see it continue for years to come.

We’ll each be in charge of a different area of the program, and some of us will create our own subcommittees. While each committee member has their own job, we are all working together on all aspects of Pitch Wars to make it better for everyone.

Managing Director:

Kellye Garrett (2014 Mentee & 2015-17 Adult Mentor)

Agent Liaison:

Rachel Lynn Solomon (2014 – 17 YA Mentor)

Communications Director:

Sonia Hartl (2013 Mentee & 2015 – 17 Adult and YA Mentor)

Fundraising and Social Media Director:

Sarah Nicolas (2012 – 17 YA Mentor)

Mentee Liaison:

Pintip Dunn (2016 YA Mentor)

Mentor & Community Outreach Directors:

Roselle Lim (2015 Adult Mentor)
Gail Nall (2013 – 14, 2016 MG Mentor)

Mentor Liaisons:

Juliana Brandt (2014 – 17 MG Mentor)
Michael Mammay (2015 Mentee & 2016 – 17 Adult Mentor)

Technology Director:

Gail D.Villanueva (2017 MG Mentor)


Brenda Drake (Pitch Wars Founding Director and 2012 – 17 YA Mentor)
Laura Brown (2016 – 17 Adult Mentor)
Kat Cho (2017 YA Mentor)
Claribel Ortega (2017 YA Mentor)

Thank you for your patience and support as we finalize details for this year. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always reach us via email (PitchWars@gmail.com), Twitter (@PitchWars) or our Curious Cat page (curiouscat.me/PitchWars ).



Back to Basics and the No Fee Model

We appreciate all of the heartfelt pleas to keep Pitch Wars free. Your voices are important to us!

We are always trying to find ways to help writers while keeping Pitch Wars without a fee. The webinars are an example of this. It gave writers a chance for critiques and information while earning a small amount of money to offset the cost of operations. Everything was intended to help writers, especially those who might not get into Pitch Wars, also have ways to interact and get help. This is also where all the query and first page workshops came in.

Since it’s already set up and free, this can now be done on the forum. You can connect there and help one another with critiques, and the mentors will occasionally stop by when they have a chance.

While these programs might’ve helped, it is also impossible to continue as we are. So we have decided to return to our simple model.

We will ask for donations to help with administrative costs. There will only be our mentorships and an agent round.

We will be returning all the fee waiver funds back to those who donated. Please give us a week to do that.

Thank you for understanding!

Brenda and Heather

STAR-CROSSED by Pitch Wars mentor, Pintip Dunn … cover reveal!!

Let us know what you think of the cover for Star-Crossed by Pintip Dunn, which releases October 2, 2018!

Continue reading STAR-CROSSED by Pitch Wars mentor, Pintip Dunn … cover reveal!!

Pitch Wars Success Stories Live…Coming This Thursday!

Our first Pitch Wars Success Stories Live is happening this Thursday!

For many years now, Pitch Wars has been THE pitching competition. Not only does it take budding authors and pair them with a mentor to help them hone their manuscript, but it’s also created a kickass community. A supporting community where authors give other authors a hand up. On top of all this, there may have been just a few (over 300) Pitch Wars alumni who signed with agents as a result of Pitch Wars, and then a few (over 150) Pitch Wars alumni who have released books into the wild, some of which have been a pretty big deal.

And in the spirit of supporting fellow authors…

We now have Pitch Wars Success Stories Live, starting on 8pm EST, Thursday April 5 .
We are pimping out alumni who have released books. And we are giving y’all the opportunity to find out details from Pitch Wars mentees on how they snagged their mentor and then went on to land a publishing deal!

Pitch Wars mentor, Jessica Bayliss, will host the online interview, with fellow mentor, Kate Foster, coordinating the coinciding Twitter party.

While the interview is live, you can ask questions of the former mentee using #PWSuccess. It’s a great opportunity to get hints, tips and some real talk about the journey from aspiring mentee to Pitch Wars alumni.

Any alumni who wants to be added to the interview schedule can email Pitch Wars Events Coordinator Sharon M. Johnston – sharon.j.pitchwars@gmail.com.

We hope to see you there!

Jessica Bayliss

Jessica Bayliss is a clinical psychologist by day and a writer all the time. Author of the young adult horror novella, BROKEN CHORDS, she has been a lover thrillers and ghost tales since her days scanning VHS rental shelves—admittedly with eyes half-averted from the gory covers. She also loves to eat, cook, and exercise—in that order—and is a firm believer that coffee makes the world a better place.

Look for her upcoming release, TEN AFTER CLOSING (Sky Pony Press, spring 2018). For more information about Jessica and about PsychWRITE, her series of courses and workshops for writers, visit: www.JessicaBaylissWrites.com. You can also find her on Twitter.

Kate Foster

Kate is a freelance editor, the editorial director at Lakewater Press, and an MG Pitch Wars mentor. She’s an Englishwoman living on the Gold Coast in Australia with her all-male family, and if she isn’t talking about writing, editing, and books, she’ll be with her family or playing with her dogs, eating, and looking at Tom Hardy photos. You can find her via her website www.katejfoster.com and on Twitter.

Enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of TRUE NORTH by L.E. Sterling!


To celebrate the paperback release of TRUE NORTH by L.E. Sterling, we’re giving away a paperback copy! All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below.

ABOUT THE BOOK … Continue reading Enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of TRUE NORTH by L.E. Sterling!

Pitch Wars Success Story with Lana Sloan and her mentors, Heather Van Fleet and Jessica Calla

We’re so excited whenever one of our mentees gets an agent offer or a publishing deal. Celebrating these successes is one of our favorite parts of the Pitch Wars process. We hope you can join us in congratulating Lana Sloan and her mentors, Heather Van Fleet and Jessica Calla. Lana signed with Jordy Albert with the Booker Albert Literary Agency, and we couldn’t be happier for her!

Lana, what was it about Heather and Jess that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application?

All things romance! It was refreshing to find mentors who are as obsessed with romance as I am. From their wish list, you could really tell that they love the genre, and there were several things they were looking for that I had in my story.

Image result for romance gif

Heather and Jess, what was it about Lana’s Just a Taste of You that hooked you?  Continue reading Pitch Wars Success Story with Lana Sloan and her mentors, Heather Van Fleet and Jessica Calla

Pitch Wars Success Story with Syed Masood and his mentors, Marty Mayberry and Leoni Kelsall

We’re so excited whenever one of our mentees gets an agent offer or a publishing deal. Celebrating these successes is one of our favorite parts of the Pitch Wars process. We hope you can join us in congratulating Syed Masood and his mentors, Marty Mayberry and Léonie Kelsall. Syed signed with Melissa Edwards of Stonesong Literary Agency, and we couldn’t be happier for him! Continue reading Pitch Wars Success Story with Syed Masood and his mentors, Marty Mayberry and Leoni Kelsall

Pitch Wars … supporting a mentor during a difficult time

Pitch Wars mentor, Clarissa Goenawan’s husband was hit by a car and is in critical condition and will need surgery. There’s a GoFundMe page to help with the costs if you’re able to donate. Any little bit helps! Also, Clarissa has canceled all promo events to be with him. Please consider picking up a copy of her debut novel, RAINBIRDS, and/or donating to the GoFundMe page to help them as they go through this most difficult time.

Here’s the link to the GoFundMe page.

And here’s information about Clarissa’s book …


Title: Rainbirds

Author: Clarissa Goenawan

Published by: Soho Press

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

Genre: Adult, literary mystery with elements of magical realism

Amazon | B&N | BookDepository | Indiebound

About the Book…

One of the Gooodreads’ 28 of The Season’s Highest-Rated Debuts

Goodreads Link

Clarissa Goenawan’s dark, spellbinding literary debut opens with a murder and shines a spotlight onto life in fictional small-town Japan.

Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister, Keiko’s, sudden death. She was viciously stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, still failing to understand why she chose to abandon the family and Tokyo for this desolate town years ago.

But Ren soon finds himself picking up where Keiko left off, accepting both her teaching position at a local cram school and the bizarre arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politician’s mansion in exchange for reading to the man’s catatonic wife.

As he comes to know the figures in Akakawa, from the enigmatic politician to his fellow teachers and a rebellious, alluring student named Rio, Ren delves into his shared childhood with Keiko and what followed, trying to piece together what happened the night of her death. Haunted in his dreams by a young girl who is desperately trying to tell him something, Ren struggles to find solace in the void his sister has left behind.



«Goenawan’s debut balances a finely wrought plot with patient, measured portraits of fragile relationships, making for a spare yet inviting novel that grabs hold and doesn’t let go.» Publishers Weekly

«Elegantly [combines] a suspenseful mystery with an eloquent meditation on love and loss. »

«This literary debut is sure to spark your attention.» —Bustle

«Goenawan pens a phenomenal debut that will grab readers from the beginning. «Goenawan’s debut proves to be a soulful whodunit full of deadpan humor and whimsical narrative unpredictability. A witty, well-constructed debut. » Kirkus 

«With its dream sequences, chance encounters and leisurely attention to music and food, this debut novel evokes the simple joys of early Haruki Murakami… A satisfying heartfelt tale about letting go.» —amNewYork

The timing of the tale is nearly perfect, and the writing is both poignant and captivating.» RT Book Reviews


COURAGE BETWEEN LOVE AND DEATH by the late Joseph Pillitteri & What Makes a Pitch Wars Success


Many  months ago, Joseph Pillitteri wrote to tell us…

“I was an alternate in pitwars last spring. No agent bit on my query, but the changes the mentor suggested to my ms, THE IRISH NURSE, has landed a publisher for me. It will be published by Fireship Press this fall.

Wanted to say thank you. I wouldn’t have made the wining changes on my own.”

Since this email, Joseph passed away, but his wife wrote to us with the following news…

“I’m the wife of Joseph Pillitteri who wrote you earlier about how grateful he was for the input he received from a mentor in a Pitwars contest. Joe died last fall after a long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease, but Fireship Press is releasing the book posthumously on March 29th.

 Joe thought it was important for contestants to know you don’t have to win an agent to be a success. The motivation to improve your book to make it good enough to enter a contest can be what makes the experience a winner. ~Adele”

His book releases March 29th!

So today we celebrate this upcoming release with tears and heartfelt thanks to the whole Pitch Wars community for having courage to keep writing and pursuing your publishing dream!



Author: Joseph Pillitteri

Publisher: Fireship Press (March 29, 2018)

Publication Date: March 29, 2018

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Elspeth has recently landed a nursing position at the 1901 Pan American Exposition Hospital in Buffalo, New York. This is a big boon for her, but things are not going as expected. She has to navigate mischievous patients, egotistical doctors, rival nurses and prejudices. For an Irish girl with a temper, this is no easy feat. Now President McKinley is coming to visit the Expo and everyone is in an uproar. On the home front, her life is no less hectic as she struggles to put food on the table and look out for her younger siblings.

When the unthinkable happens, it is a turnings point, not only for the medical industry and our country’s security, but also for Elspeth personally. With her career and reputation on the line, will she have the courage to overcome the challenges she faces to clear her name and continue to be there for the ones she loves?

“…Joseph Pillitteri’s writing is flawless and delightful. The tension builds up very fast and doesn’t slow down until the satisfying conclusion. Courage Between Love and Death is focused, deft, and balanced, and the reader will follow the protagonist through her emotional and psychological turmoil until the very last page. A gripping story with great historical references, it’s an edge of the seat read. Courage Between Love and Death by Joseph Pillitteri is a historical novel that is well-researched and written to great satisfaction.” —Christian Sia, Readers’ Favorite

“Courage Between Love and Death is a well-researched and masterfully crafted historical novel with strong characters and a mesmerizing plot. Apart from developing a very strong conflict, Joseph Pillitteri does a brilliant job in weaving powerful dialogues and intrigue into the story. The reader is transported into an atmospheric world with medical personnel, strong personalities, and a historic event that will remain engraved in the minds of many. There is so much to enjoy in this novel — the drama, the emotional and psychological intensity of the story, the excellent prose and the compelling characters. I was sucked into the narrative from the very first page.” —Romuald Dzemo, Readers’ Favorite

“…Pilliterri deftly weaves together the state of medicine, the social class spectrum and a light love story…the chaos of the surgery on the President and the anxious days till his death provide palpable tension…” —Dr. Jean Richardson, Associate Professor, Emeritus, Buffalo State College