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March Madness Agent Pitch Match. Game on. – The slush

Thursday, 8 March 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake
We’ve finished reading through the entries for the March Madness Agent Pitch Match, and I wanted to do a post about rejection and what it means to me. Some of you may have heard that after many years, and several bad manuscripts, I’m an agented writer. Those years were quite difficult at times, but they were also filled with joyful moments. 
I’ve queried and entered contests throughout the years. I’ve received requests and made it into the final rounds of contests. I’ve been rejected more times than I like to count. I would do it again. Why? Well, it’s my journey. It’s in the rejections that I discovered my weaknesses. It’s the rejections that made me tougher. Because of those rejections, I also became humble and more compassionate. I know how it feels to get that “no thank you”. And I know how some of you (138 to be exact) will feel when you don’t see your entry make it into the final agent round. (We had three submission times and accepted fifty entries each, plus those who were in our February workshop who submitted prior to the start of the contest, which gave us 198 entries.)
We had four readers. All with different tastes, yet similar too. As you’ve heard before, likes are subjective. And they are. There were some entries that I loved but didn’t make it to the final round. Some made it that I had passed on. Am I mad? No. Disappointed? Yes, a little. But I understand that not everyone will like what I do.You all should be proud. It was a hard decision and tons of you made it into the contenders’ round.
Then there were the mistakes. Make sure that you follow the rules of a contest and that your spelling and grammar shine before sending your entry in.
Then there were the agents’ tastes. While reading, we kept in mind what the agents liked. So, if you had a Paranormal story, you were up against a larger batch of entries then say a contemporary.
If you didn’t make it into the final round, don’t give up. Keep writing. There will be other contests. And you should keep putting yourself out there. Get critiques. Learn your weaknesses. Know that it may just be the story and not your writing. There are A LOT of Paranormal and Dystopians out there, so yours has to shine and have a unique twist to get past the slush.
I love this community. I love how you’re willing to help each other. And I know you all will be as happy as I am for your fellow writers who made it into the final round.

With that said, I’m participating in another contest with Krista Van Dolzer (@KristaVanDolzer), CupidsLC (@CupidsLC) , and Monica B.W. (@Monica_BW)  in May. It’s The Writer’s Voice. We’ll be choosing teams and coaching them to go up against agents, so check back for details soon. 
If you’d like me to do another workshop, let me know in the comments below. Depending on the responses, I was thinking of an intense one in April.  
  • Cassie Mae says:

    Beautiful post Brenda! It’s a good reminder to us that yes, this is a subjective business. I always tell myself though that’s why it’s so awesome! I can love something my friend totally hates, and that’s okay 🙂

    Thanks again to you and your fellow co-hosters for doing this contest! And this one you’ve got coming up with Krista and Cupid (Can I say wow!!! for those bloggers???) sounds super fun! You guys are awesome!

  • Meagan says:

    It feels like all of the rejections and losses just make the end victory, whenever we get there, even better. Because we’ve always worked hard, figured out what needed to be better, and kept trying. This is a great and optimistic post.

  • Amber says:

    Thanks so much for this. It does help to see the trials a published author went through. To know rejection is a part of the process makes it sting just a bit less. And I would love to participate in a workshop. My ms wasn’t ready the last time.

  • K.T. Hanna says:

    Thank you for the encouragement. Making it or not is all part of the process. Rejection is a huge path in the journey.
    All anyone can do is keep at it, and slog on. If we give up – we probably weren’t in it 100% to begin with.

    Thank you for the kind words and I wish everyone luck – whether we make it or not 😀

  • Artemis Grey says:

    Thanks so much for the words of support and encouragement! I’m excited and terrified all at once now, and can’t wait to see who made it to the finals. Good luck to everyone who ends up in them! And to all the rest of us, KEEP WRITING!!! And keep loving it!

  • ilima says:

    Thanks for this great opportunity. I’d love to participate in a workshop. I missed it the last time.

  • Tonya Kuper says:

    Awesome post, Brenda! Thank you & your partners for your hard work & this fun opportunity. A positive attitude, faith in what we are doing, and a love of writing/storytelling will help us propel forward and persevere.

  • Classy, Ms. Drake, very classy. Thanks again, for the opportunity.

  • Ryann says:

    Hi Brenda. Thanks for all of this–both the contest and your encouraging and genuine words in this post.

    I wasn’t aware of your blog until a friend (Love you Jamie) tweeted it, so I wasn’t aware of the workshop last time. I’d love to participate if another is held.

  • M.E. Summer says:

    I’m in for a workshop, too, if you can spare the time. The advice I’ve found on your blog has always been helpful and compassionately given. Thank you so much for continually providing an opportunity to learn. And thanks so much for this post. I’m going to print it and tape it to the wall next to my desk. 😉

  • I loved the Pitch Workshop and was able to add great revisions to my ms. I would absolutely be interested in another workshop! Thanks for the opportunity 🙂

  • Gabrielle says:

    As a very beginning writer who has yet to put herself out there, I haven’t experienced much rejection. I’ve been bracing myself for it, prepared for the absolute worst. Thank you for this post! It is a good reminder for me that rejection is part of the process and nothing to be terrified of.

  • Suzi says:

    I am just amazed at the time and effort you ladies put into these contests… you, Krista, Cupid, Miss Snark’s 1st victim few… and so many more. I can’t imagine the time it took to review all the entries.

    Yes, it’d be disappointing to not make it in, but it will be fun to watch. Thank you

  • Jade Hart says:

    Hey Brenda, very true and put so beautifully. It really is a subjective business, and it does well to be reminded of that from time to time 🙂
    Thanks so much for your time and energy putting these contests and workshops together – amazing 🙂

  • Ashley Maker says:

    This was a great post! And very encouraging. I missed the first workshop, so I’d absolutely be interested in future workshops. Thank you for the opportunity that you’ve given to everybody. I’m very excited to see what entries made it in!

  • Very well said, Brenda. Also very true. It has been the rejection that has made me look twice at things and reconsider it. That along with some amazing critiques from my wonderful friends. Yes, it hurts. But it’s through those rejections that something beautiful blossoms. Thank you all once again for doing this contest! I can’t wait for the next one! And yes! Do another workshop!!

    @Ryann Love you too! I’m glad my tweet helped you see this wonderful contest! Good luck!

    Good luck to everyone!!

  • B, you ROCK. What a sincere, thoughtful post. And so true. Good Luck Finalists!!

  • What a great post. Thanks for sharing a bit of your heart. All the best to the finalists.

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  • Robin Weeks says:

    Contests are always good. I’ve lost tons of them, so I know. 😀

    I’d love to see another workshop whenever you want to do it. Please let me know if I can help.

  • Very inspirational! And chocolate helps rejection, too! lol

  • Beautifully said Brenda! Thank you. I think it’s also important that you and Cassandra and Shelley are doing this to HELP your fellow writers! And for that I thank you.

    Would LOVE another workshop!

  • Wonderful post, Brenda! Rejection is hard, but it is what drives us to be stronger writers.

  • Great post. Thanks Brenda, both for the words of encouragement and all the work you put into this contest.
    I can’t wait to see the entries that made it. 🙂 ( I assume the people who made it in know, right?)

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Aww, you guys are so kind! I <3 you all!

  • Brenda Drake says:

    We haven’t announced who’s made it into the match round yet. We’ll post them on 3/12 at 8AM EST

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