How do I enter?
Applications (query + 1 page single-spaced synopsis + 1st chapter) will be sent through an easy submission form. See 2019 Pitch Wars dates here!
- Only Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, or Adult manuscripts will be accepted.
- This is open to completed and polished full-length, fiction manuscripts only.
- You may only enter one manuscript.
- The manuscript can not have been published before. Even if it has been unpublished. This includes self-publishing.
- Only the genres requested by each mentor will be considered for the contest.
- Writers may only apply to 4 mentors max.
- Mentors will only consider the categories they’ve signed up for. (The mentors’ categories – MG, YA, 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, novellas, short fiction, or previously published works.
- A few mentors may take memoir and graphic novels. Check the blog hop wishlists to see who is accepting them.
- Do not enter if you are already agented. If you still have queries, partials, or fulls out prior to being picked, you may still enter Pitch Wars.
- Should you make it into the contest, your pitch and first page will be posted to our 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 of your manuscript or additional information to help them make their final decision, so the full MS needs to be available on day one!
Are international participants allowed?
Yes! We have mentors from all over the world. We’ve had many mentees from different countries around the globe as well. You do not need to change British/Canadian/Australian spellings to American spellings.
What will you need to enter in the form?
Your 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 (do not personalize queries to mentors), your synopsis (one page, single-spaced), and the first chapter of your completed manuscript (Word .doc or .docx format). The sample chapter should be manuscript formatted pages (12pt, double-spaced, one-inch margins). All of this will be fill-in-the-blank on the form. Please see more info here.
Can I enter if I have queries/partials/fulls out to agents or publishers?
Yes. Please contact us immediately you receive an offer you are going to accept.
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 what if… Send the first chapter or first ten pages, whichever is longer. It doesn’t matter if it stops in the middle of a scene.
Do co-mentors count as two entries?
No. The co-mentor teams count only as one application.
What about New Adult?
We no longer have dedicated NA mentors, but some of the YA and Adult mentors may be open to NA manuscripts. Check their wishlists. You will only be able to submit to those mentors who have indicated they will accept it.
What if I was a past mentee in Pitch Wars, can I enter again?
You may enter with a new manuscript, but you may not submit to your previous mentor.
What if I entered Pitch Wars before and wasn’t selected as a mentee?
You can enter the same manuscript as you did in previous years. We suggest you try different mentors this round, though, unless you have done major revision then you may try the same mentors again.
What happens after I submit my application?
In the weeks between when submissions close and mentees are announced, mentors will read through their submissions. They may request additional materials and ask follow-up questions via private email to help them make their decision. The mentors’ picks will be announced on the Pitch Wars blog on the scheduled announcement day (check the Pitch Wars schedule). Everyone, chosen or not, will find out at that time by checking the posted list of selected mentees.
If I make it into Pitch Wars as a mentee, may I query or enter other contests or programs?
You may not enter other contests where the main goal is to get an agent or publishing deal or be an active participant of any other publishing mentoring program. You may not query during the mentoring period and until after the agent showcase. 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, you may either withdraw from that contest or not enter Pitch Wars. The exceptions are skill-based contests where the goal is not to get an agent/deal (such as RWA) and pitching at conferences. When in doubt, ask.
If I have been published before or had an agent before, but do not currently have an agent, can I still enter?
Can I enter with more than one manuscript?
No, you can only enter one manuscript. If you attempt to trick us by using two names and we find out, you will be automatically disqualified.
Can I enter if I am not yet 18?
Yes, but we require parent permission. Your parent will need to be present at the time you’re filling out the submission form.
What happens if more than one mentor wants the same mentee?
The mentee will be offered a choice after each mentor presents their case.
If I’m not on twitter/don’t participate in the forums/don’t have a blog/don’t participate in #boostmybio/etc does that harm my chances of getting in?
No. All of that other stuff is extra and can be a great way to get involved in the community and learn more about writing in general, but mentors only care about your book. However, most mentors will check your social media to make sure you’re not a troll or a bully before choosing.
What is considered “previously published?”
- Any piece of work that has been available for sale or free download on a retail site, no matter the amount of sales or type of publisher.
- Any piece of work that has been assigned an ISBN or ASIN, even if the title has changed.
- Any piece of work that has participated in a program that pays royalties, revenue share, or any other sort of payment structure.
- Any longer piece of work based on a published shorter piece of work that amounts to more than 20% of the word count of the longer piece. (e.g. a 100k word novel based on a 15k short story is okay, but a 100k novel based on a 30k novelette is not.)
- The above applies to previously published books that have been since edited or revised.
If my story is posted to Wattpad or another online novel platform, can I enter?
We don’t consider the unpaid version of Wattpad “published” so you’re in the clear. For sites where the ultimate goal is to get a publishing deal, you will need to remove your work from the site if you are chosen as a mentee.
If I won’t have access to the internet during the submission period or shortly after, what can I do?
Find a trusted friend or family member to submit for you. You may include a note in your query that you will be out of contact during specific dates.
What about Graphic Novels or other illustrated texts?
Please briefly describe the style of illustration in the query letter and include image descriptions in [brackets] in the text. If a mentor is interested, they will email to request sample art. For graphic novels, the entire script must be complete in order to enter, but only sample art is required.
What is my category/genre/subgenre? Is my word count okay? Can you give me advice on my query letter or first page?
Please feel free to post on the #pitchwars hashtag or Forums for assistance with any sort of personalized advice. The Pitch Wars leadership is unable to answer these kinds of questions for you.
Please note: Being kind to one another is mandatory in this contest. Should we find someone isn’t being kind and respecting others, we will remove you from the contest. Also, 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. We’ve had fifty-five successes from 2016’s Pitch Wars. Over all our events, starting in 2012, we’ve had more than 300 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.
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 to PitchWars@gmail.com. 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.