Pitch Wars 2017 … all the details!

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The submission window is now open. Go visit Brenda Drake Contests to submit!

We’re so excited for our sixth Pitch Wars! For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer edits on how to make the manuscript shine. The mentor also edits his/her writer’s pitch and query letter to get it ready for the agent round. Those entering Pitch Wars submit applications (query plus first chapter of manuscript) to their chosen mentors. The mentors then read all their applications and choose the writer they want to mentor for two months to get them ready for the agent showcase. Writers can pick up to four mentors to send an application to.

Last year, we hand nearly sixty agents participate in the showcase. You can view them here and here.

How will you decide what mentors to submit to?

  • Participate in our Mentor Wishlist Blog Hop starting July 19th. The mentors’ bios and wishlists will be posted to their blogs and linked from a post on my blog, and you can hop around and find the right matches for you. The hop will go on until August 2, which is submission day!! There will be a scavenger hunt during the hop with an exciting prize. You don’t want to miss it. More details will be on the blog hop main post on this blog.
  • Visit the Twitter hashtag, #PitchWars, to get to know the mentors personally (virtually).  Mentors will be tweeting advice and answering questions on it.
  • Check out Pitch Wars Live. Some of our mentors will be chatting live starting July 17 and ending on August 1. We’ll have a schedule up soon. Make sure to watch, ask questions on #PitchWars, and get to know the mentors. Watch the blog for more details.
  • We’ll be launching our new website on pitchwars.org soon, so look for our celebration on #PitchWars!

How do I enter? Applications (query + 1st chapter) will be sent through an easy submission form. The form will go live just after midnight (EDT – New York time) August 2 and remain open until August 6 at 10 PM (EDT – New York time).

DO NOT query or pitch or email mentors directly. The only way to submit is to use the submission window that will post August 2nd. Please, be courteous of mentors’ time and keep things polite. They are all here voluntarily and deserve our utmost respect. If anyone is caught abusing a mentor, their submissions will be deleted. Thank you.

What will you need to enter in the form? Your top four (max – you don’t have to pick 4, but you are limited to 4) mentors, your email address, title of the manuscript, category and genre, your query letter (sorry no personalized queries this year), and the first chapter of your completed manuscript (Word .doc or .docx format). The sample chapter should be manuscript formatted pages (12pt, double-spaced). All of this will be fill-in-the-blank on the form.

Send the full chapter no matter how long it is.

But my chapter is short? That’s fine. Send up to ten pages, then.

But I have a prologue? That’s fine, too. You can send prologues that are no more than 5 pages along with your chapter. What if my prologue is longer? Just send in your first chapter. If the mentors want to read more, they’ll send requests. At that time, include your prologue.

But I want to send to more than four mentors. If you want to send two extra applications, making a total of six mentors you can send to, think about donating to help support Pitch Wars. Go to this post for details on how to earn those extra applications. If you donate, keep your receipt. There will be another submission form for the bonus entries and you’ll have to upload your receipt to it.

Please note: Pitch Wars is a contest where mentors choose mentees based on the entrants’ skills and is not based on chance. If mentors love an entry but don’t feel they’re quite the right fit, they might pass it on to another mentor.

Do co-mentors count as two entries? No. The co-mentor teams count only as one application.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Only Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, or Adult manuscripts will be accepted.
  • This is open to completed, full-length, fiction manuscripts only.
  • You may only enter one manuscript.
  • The manuscript can not have been published before. That includes self-publishing.
  • Only the genres requested by each mentor will be considered for the contest.
  • Writers may only apply to 4 mentors max. (Bonus applications are available through the donation page.)
  • Mentors will only consider the categories they’ve signed up for. (The mentors’ categories – MG, YA, NA, or Adult – are set.)
  • Writers cannot apply for a mentor that is not in their category or the application will be deleted.
  • No nonfiction, picture books, chapter books, or previously published works.
  • If you’re an unagented author and have self-published before, you may enter the contest with a never-before-published manuscript.
  • A few mentors will take memoir. Ask on the hashtag #PitchWars to see who is accepting them.
  • Do not enter if you are already agented.
  • Please contact us if you receive an offer of representation during the consideration period.
  • Should you make it into the contest, your pitch and first page will be posted to my blog. By entering the contest, you are giving implicit permission to have your work posted. Please don’t enter if you do not wish to have it posted.

WARNING: Just like an agent, mentors may request more pages or a synopsis of your manuscript to help them make their final decision, so get them ready! If you need help with preparing a synopsis, here’s a post I did about them: http://www.brenda-drake.com/2016/05/pitch-wars-synopsis-simplified/,

Being kind to one another is mandatory in this contest. If you are difficult with your mentor or if you aren’t working well as a team or if you don’t take any of your mentor’s advice, your mentor will have the option to opt out of being your mentor. Remember your mentor has other obligations like deadlines, book promotions, and family life, please be mindful of their time. They are only required to read your manuscript once and give an edit letter. They aren’t required to do line edits. Our mentors are very generous with their time, so please be patient. Over all five events, starting in 2012 through 2016, we’ve had nearly 250 successes with many going on to make book deals. It’s because of our mentors and the care they take with their mentees that it’s been such a great success.

If you were a past mentee in Pitch Wars, you may enter with a new manuscript, but you may not submit to your previous mentor. If you entered Pitch Wars last year and didn’t get in, you can enter the same manuscript this year.

!!!! If you make it into Pitch Wars, you may not enter contests that main goal is to get an agent or publishing deal. You may not query during the mentoring period and until after the agent round, which is November 1-7. If you still have queries, partials, or fulls out prior to being picked, you may still enter Pitch Wars. If you are currently in a contest that won’t end before we announce the mentor picks on August 24, you may either withdraw from that contest or not enter Pitch Wars. The exception is skill-based contests (such as RWA) and pitching at conferences. When in doubt, ask. !!!!

For those who do not make it into Pitch Wars (and those who want to join in), we’ll hold a Twitter Pitch Party on #PitMad September 7 from 8AM to 8PM EST. If you make it into Pitch Wars, you may not pitch in #PitMad.

Anti-Bullying Policy

We do not condone harassment or bullying, and don’t want to see it associated with Pitch Wars. While we have no legal authority, we will do everything in our power to put a halt to it. The Pitch Wars leadership reserves the right to remove anybody from the competition for any reason, and while we would prefer not to do that, we will if that’s what it takes. If you feel like you’re being harassed and you want help, please reach out. You can contact the head of our anti-harassment team, Michael Mammay, via twitter @michaelmammay. His DMs are open. Or you can reach out to Brenda Drake and Heather Cashman via brendadrakecontests@gmail.com, or any Pitch Wars mentor and they will help you contact the right people. We are a supportive community and will do whatever we can to help. While there is sometimes debate on what is and isn’t harassment, we will err on the side of protecting the most vulnerable members of our community. If you feel that you are in immediate danger, we encourage you to contact the authorities. We will have a more detailed anti-harassment document coming soon.

Here’s the contest schedule:

July 19 – August 2:  Mentor Bio/Wishlist Blog Hop
August 2 (midnight EDT) – August 6 (10PM EDT): Writers submit applications to mentors for Pitch Wars
August 2 – August 23: Pitch Wars mentors review applications and choose a writer to mentor.
August 24: Pitch War mentees are announced.
August 24 – October 31: Mentors work with their team.
November 1 – 7: Agent Showcase

  • November 1: Adult and New Adult entries go up on my blog
  • November 2: MG entries go up on my blog
  • November 3: YA entries go up on my blog
  • November 7: Last day of Agent Showcase

We look forward to seeing you August 2!

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