We know so many of you are working hard to get ready, so we wanted to make sure you know what to expect when the submission window opens on September 26. If you’re new to Pitch Wars or aren’t quite sure how it works, start here.
At the bottom of this post, you’ll find a video where Sarah Nicolas walks through the entire submission form.
Submissions will occur via a “sub-site,” which we will link to from our website and on Twitter. When you go to submit, you’ll be asked to click on a link indicating your age category: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Adult, or New Adult. Only mentors accepting that age category will be selectable on your form.
Here are the fields that will be on the form:
- Genre – This is from a drop down list. Choose the closest to your genre and feel free to be more specific in the query. See the list of genres here. (We will not be adding genres to this list)
- Title of the Manuscript (a working title is fine)
- Word Count – Round to closest 1k words.
- Name – If you use a pen name, you can either type that or “[Real name] writing as [pen name].”
- Email – Requests for additional pages or information will come to this email. Please make sure it is entered correctly. We CANNOT change this for you.
- Twitter Handle – This is optional.
- Website – This is optional.
- Query Letter – This will be pasted into the form.
- Synopsis – One page, single-spaced. This will be pasted into the form. There is a character limit to prevent a synopsis of longer than one page. Omit any header. (ETA: The character limit is to prevent abuse. Your synopsis still needs to fit on one page (see FAQ below) regardless of whether it fits in the form.)
- First Chapter – This will be pasted into the form, but the text block is somewhat formattable. Copy from a document that is in standard manuscript format: Times New Roman, Courier, or Arial 12pt font; insert scene breaks by placing a # or a similar symbol in between. For this submission form there is no need to include what you would normally put on a cover page or in headers/footers, but please have a proper cover page, headers, and footers in your full manuscript if requested by a mentor. There is a character limit to prevent abuse.
- Mentors: A minimum of one selection is required. A maximum of four. These will be selected from a drop-down list. The order does not matter in any way.
- Under/Over 18 years old checkbox – If you are under the age of 18, we require legal guardian permission to enter. You’ll be required to complete additional information, including sharing your guardian’s email address and having them indicate they are giving permission for you to enter. i.e. Your guardian will need to be present at the time you are filling out the form and will need to respond to any email we may send.
- Permission to share submission materials with other mentors: We will ask for permission to share your submission materials with mentors that you did not select, in the rare case another mentor would like to see it. If you select this, only what you submitted via the form will be shared with that mentor. If you don’t give us permission, your submission is not eligible to be considered by any mentors other than those you selected. You will not be able to change your selection after you submit.
Does it matter when I submit?
No, all submissions will be given a fair chance, regardless of when they’re submitted. We ask that not everyone submit as soon as the application window opens, to avoid crashing our servers. We recommend that you do not wait until the last minute, because if there’s a technical issue, there may not be time to resolve it before the submission window ends.
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.
What if my first chapter is short?
Send the first chapter or the first ten pages, whichever is longer.
What if my first chapter is long?
If it’s over 10,000 words, you may surpass the field’s character limit. If your first chapter is longer, please paste only the first 10,000 words.
What about prologues?
If it’s less than five pages, send it along with your first chapter. If it is longer, omit it and send only the first chapter. If a mentor later requests additional pages, you can include the prologue then. If your prologue and first chapter combined is still shorter than ten pages, send ten pages.
How do I know if my submission went through?
After submitting, if you see your submission info in a non-editable format, it went through. You should receive a confirmation email, but some email providers block us because of the volume. You can help with this by adding “firstname.lastname@example.org” to your safe senders list before submitting. Historically, gmail works best. Please check your promotions and/or spam folder before contacting us.
I messed up, can you change something for me?
No. Please ensure your submission is correct before submitting. Due to labor demands, we won’t be able to edit your submission for you.
One Page Synopsis?!
Yes, one page. Single-spaced, Times New Roman or Arial 12pt font, 1” margins, US Letter size paper, no funky formatting. If you follow these industry-standard guidelines, you’ll be safe. We will not be giving out a word or character count limit.
Should I include content warnings? How?
Yes, if your submission includes content that may be potentially troubling, please include a short content warning somewhere in your query.
Please see additional FAQ here, then let us know if you have any additional questions in the comments!
This video from Board Member Sarah Nicolas walks you through the submission form:
The text box for the Query, Synopsis, and First Chapter will all accept formatted text and preserve formatting such as italics, but may not preserve alignment, so you’ll need to double-check that. You won’t be able to use varying fonts. Use alternate formatting to replicate the effect of different fonts, if you use them. The format bar looks like this:
When you paste your first chapter, it will appear to strip the double-spacing and indents, but do not be concerned about that. Do not manually insert these. Please see Kellye’s twitter thread here, showing how beautiful your text will look to the mentors, thanks to our webmaster’s mad skills.
When you paste your first chapter, skip any cover-page info or header info and start with “Chapter 1” or “Prologue,” whichever is applicable.
If you are unfamiliar with industry-standard manuscript format, this document will help.
Rest assured: no one is going to be rejected for imperfect formatting. The book, the writing is the most important thing.
We will not be announcing the character count for the synopsis text box. Please see the above note about the one-page synopsis.
Unrelated to the form, but we’ve been asked a few times: Mentors may start requesting fulls on the first day, so your book needs to be 100% complete when you submit.
Do not include links in your query, synopsis, or writing sample unless they are part of your book. Mentors will not click on any link “for more info” about your submission.
The people who will have access to your submission are: the mentors you apply to, the web/technology team, and submission readers assisting the mentors you applied to. If you check the box to allow sharing, other mentors may also have access to the materials, if shared.
For some uncommon combinations of Word settings and browser settings, copied text will eliminate spaces between paragraphs. If this happens to your submission, please manually place the space between paragraphs inside the text box.
Good luck with your submissions!
Should content warnings be only for what is in the submission, or for the entire manuscript?
The warning needs to be for the entire manuscript.
Where do we put the content warnings? At the head of the query? The end of the query? The synopsis? Is there a reference you suggest using that could help me figure out what trigger warnings I need to use?
Hi Mia! That’s actually all answered in the post above, so please see the section that says “Should I include content warnings? How?”
My first two chapters are very short, and are 10 pages together. I’ll plan to submit both, but when entering them, should I use a “#” section break to separate the chapters, or should I label them as Chapter 1 and then a Chapter 2? Thank you!
I would use Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 as a # is recommended for a scene break.
When I click on “submit” the page says that 2020 submissions are now closed. How do I get to 2021 submissions?
Hi Betty! Submissions open on September 26th and close on September 30th. Submissions are now open.
Hi! I have a multi-part book that I strongly, strongly feel would be right for both certain MG and YA mentors I have researched. Is there any way to split up my submissions into a couple entries in each category?
From our FAQ: “You must select one category and only apply to mentors accepting that category; there is no mixing and matching categories.” http://pitchwars.org/submission-faq/
Sarah, in the video tutorial around 17:30 you said, “If your first chapter is over 10 pages, post the whole first chapter.” Is it frowned upon to post more than a traditional MS-formatted 10 pages if my chapter is longer than that? I want to make sure what you said is a green light!
Thanks for all you do!
As our guidelines say, the first chapter or the first ten pages, whichever is longer!
To whom do we address the query letter?
Dear Mentors is your best bet.