From Pitch Wars to Publication by May Bridges
It’s thrilling to see everyone gearing up for the 6th Pitch Wars! I remember all the buzz that built up the year I entered. It doesn’t seem like two years ago. So much has happened since then, from finding my agent, signing a book deal, and now publication.
I can tell you that the two years since Pitch Wars didn’t go exactly as I might have planned. With expectations and excitement running at an all-time high all the way through the Pitch Wars contest, it’s hard to know what to expect when the dust settles. Does everyone that makes it get an agent? Is your writing career suddenly boost into overdrive and put on the fast track to publication? Well, maybe, but that isn’t how it goes for everyone, and I’d say it isn’t how it goes for most. Some end up agented almost before the contest ends. Some get tons of requests, some don’t. Of those that find an agent, their Pitch Wars book might be what gets them a book deal, and it might not. I’m sure some of you are scratching your heads, wondering if all of this is true, if it’s possible to go thought it and end up without an agent or a book deal, what is the big deal about Pitch Wars?
The prize for many isn’t what you might think. The greatest benefit of Pitch Wars is the people. It’s the connections you make with other writers, and industry professionals. No matter how your journey goes post Pitch Wars, the people that went through that with you will be priceless.
For my PW group, there were some that were agented almost before the contest ended and had book deals within weeks. But that wasn’t the end of PW for them. Our group is still a sounding board for them. We are critique partners for each other. We are a private group they can share new book ideas with, work through plot issues with, and test out new titles on. We talk to each other about our journeys with our agents and what being on submission is like. Each of us are in different places on our journey, we bring our own knowledge and experience to the group. It makes for a wealth of knowledge that you can tap into. It is a prize that is immeasurable in value.
In my journey, I didn’t land my agent through Pitch Wars. I worked with my amazing Pitch Wars mentor, Jami Nord, to make sure my query letter was on point and I jumped into the slush after the judging round. During that time I had my Pitch Wars group to support me through rejections, and cheer with me during requests. When it came down to the call with my soon to be agent, I had agented people in my group to talk to. I asked them what to expect, what questions I should ask on my call. It is a support system that your friends and family can’t be, because they haven’t been on the same path you’re on.
I signed with Kim Lionetti of BookEnds Literary in February 2016, four months after my season of Pitch Wars. After another quick edit of my PW book, it was on to submission with editors. That process was a whirlwind and I signed my Pitch Wars book in a three book deal with Eileen Rothschild of St. Martin’s Press – Swerve. My Pitch Wars team was there the whole way. With everything from signing the deal to helping me work through plotting a series.
In the writing process, I have a group of writers that don’t laugh (at least not out loud) when I ask silly grammatical questions. Together we make up a broad range of knowledge on everything from law enforcement, finances, military affairs, foreign travel, languages, finance, medical practice, the list is never-ending. I haven’t asked a question yet that someone in the group couldn’t either answer first hand, or help me get the answer to. It is better than Google, I swear.
Now that I’m close to publication, my Pitch Wars group gives me access to marketing professionals, bloggers and reviewers. People with knowledge on making any kind of marketing tool you can think of from bookmarks to digital advertising. And I haven’t even gone through all of the ways my Pitch Wars mentor, Jami, has been priceless. There isn’t a step she hasn’t been there for. And the kicker is, these are all people that want to help you. They want to see you succeed, because they understand the journey you are on and are now a member of this writing tribe with you.
I’d say that if you asked anyone that has gone through Pitch Wars, whether they signed with an agent and got a book deal on day 2 of the agent round, or have shelved their Pitch Wars book and are working on their next great novel, they’d tell you the greatest gift this contest gives you is the people. So if you are polishing up your pages and gearing up to enter this year’s contest, be open to the people around you, know that no matter how the contest goes for you, those people will be there with you in the end and for years to come. Cherish that and be good to each other.
You can check out the book that snagged me a mentor and started my Pitch Wars journey, Killing June. Now available for pre-order and out July 4th. Thank you for your support!
SEDUCED BY PAIN
At night I’m June, dominating with the whip, even as I crave the hot, searing blow of the cane, myself. I loathe this side of who I am, but I can’t deny it or escape it. And as my clients cry out for me, begging for mercy, I can’t help but want June dead.
By day, I’m Alex Ryan, the good, successful Southern woman everyone thinks I am. I’ve compartmentalized my life to make it bearable, and to get what I want most: revenge. I can have a future with June dead, as soon as I confront the man that terrorized my past.
SAVED BY SIN
Cade Brannon is the local gun for hire, part of the seedy underworld of Dallas, but he may also be my savior. I want his help and he wants me. But Cade refuses to play by my rules and is forcing his way into every one of those compartments that I want to lock away. Now the parts of my life I’ve fought so hard to keep separate are bleeding together and it’s tearing me apart.
I just want to go back to being Alex Ryan. But at what cost am I willing to kill June?
May is a misplaced Southerner. Even after a decade in Colorado, and another decade in Oregon, she’s still let down when she can’t find grits on the breakfast menus. Other than her plans to make fried okra a national food staple, she is busy devouring books from her favorite authors. Rainy days in Oregon are spent inside writing dark, gritty romance, or drawing and covered in charcoal. Sunny days are almost always spent on the softball field or fishing, hiking, and enjoying the great outdoors.