Publisher: Entangled: Select Otherworld (February 22, 2016)
Publication Date: February 22, 2016
Sold by: Macmillan
The Pitch Wars Effect
Guest Post by Colleen Halverson
When I emailed my materials to my mentor hopefuls on a warm day at the end of August of 2014, I knew it would take a miracle for one of them to accept me. It’s not that I didn’t believe in my book. I did with all my heart, but I also knew my journey toward publication had only just begun and I had so much to learn before my manuscript could be considered query worthy. This is not the story of the underdog who rose above the slush to achieve Pitch Wars glory, nor is it the story the lone writer who worked and slaved for years to finally make it to the big leagues. At the far end of that balmy summer of 2014 when I decided to enter Pitch Wars, I was, to put it mildly, completely clueless.
Writing a novel is a funny thing. All your friends and family stare in amazement at this incredible and courageous undertaking. Your mom brags on facebook about how you’re “finally fulfilling your potential,” and your high school English teacher sends a warm private message about how she always believed in you. It feels really good to be a novelist. I wrote a book. A real book! If I had balls, I’m sure they’d have felt as big as Hemingway’s.
A friend of mine mentioned this contest Pitch Wars where writers could enter in the hopes of gaining an industry professional as a mentor. Hand me a lightsaber and call me Luke Skywalker, I was ready to meet my Yoda! Sign me up! I swan dove into Twitter with the grace of Anne Hathaway from The Princess Diaries, excited about all these really clever new writer friends and their gifs, but secretly terrified at the same time. The first time I did a query/first chapter swap with some potential mentees, I literally went to the bathroom and threw up after pressing send. And when I opened up my peers’ documents and saw how clean and polished their writing was compared to mine, I wanted to crawl into bed with a Botabox and a Costco sized pack of Oreos and not emerge until this whole contest was over.
While I might have imbibed my fair share of wine in the interim of receiving feedback, what I found when I opened my swap partners’ comment was…well…a lot comments. But they were constructive, meaningful. Critical, but not cruel. Kind, but invested, offering a challenge. I took it all in and pored over my manuscript, applying their feedback and improving it word by word, line by line.
This is what is so amazing about Pitch Wars. It tends to attract the best people, and by best people I mean hard-working, passionate, considerate, and gracious individuals who want to lift each other up and collectively improve. I’ve never encountered a more dedicated group, and they all have jobs and families, husbands and wives, kids and responsibilities. But all of them are writing their asses off and then turning around and helping beginning writers meet their true potential.
Which is why it’s so vital to put yourself out there in this community. If someone offers to swap? Swap. If someone is handing out free critiques and they seem to know what they’re talking about? Jump on it. The more you share your work, the easier it gets. These days I don’t even think of zipping off work to a critique partner or to my editor because I know whatever comes back is going to be something I can work through and improve.
I wasn’t accepted into Pitch Wars. I didn’t even receive a request. But to me, just participating was a major turning point in my career. It helped me find the courage to give my work to other people to critique, and it proved to me that all that feedback wouldn’t kill me. It would only make me stronger. Through Pitch Wars I found critique partners as hungry as I was, and together we’ve challenged each other to write better books, become better writers.
Now, as a published author, I have a whole network of people from Pitch Wars 2014 I can call on at any time when I have questions about marketing, want to fill a guest post slot, or need someone to signal boost my Goodreads page. This is the Pitch Wars Effect. It ripples out in waves. If you had told me that day in August that one writing contest would have such a profound impact on my publishing career, I would have laughed and told you to settle down. It’s only contest. But it wasn’t. And it isn’t. It was introduction to my new family, and they’re going to be there for me through the long haul.
Through the Veil . . .
Elizabeth Tanner is no Tinkerbell, and her life is no fairy tale. Broke and drowning in student loans, the one thing she wants more than anything is a scholarship from the Trinity Foundation. But after the ancient Irish text she’s studying turns out to be more than just a book, she becomes their prisoner instead. And when Trinity reveals Elizabeth is half-Fae, she finds herself at the center of a plot to save the magical races of Ireland from a brutal civil war.
As Commander of Trinity’s elite warriors, Finn O’Connell isn’t used to having his authority challenged. He doesn’t know whether to punish or protect the infuriating young woman in his custody. When he discovers the Dark Fae want to use Elizabeth’s abilities to control the source of all power in the universe, he’ll risk everything to help her.
At the mercy of Trinity and enslaved to the Dark Fae, Elizabeth finds herself alone on the wrong side of an Irish myth thousands of years in the making. Refusing to be a pawn in their game, Elizabeth has to fight her way back to the man she loves, but to do so, she must wage her own war against the magic that binds her.
Enter to win a fun swag pack to go with the book!
As a child, Colleen Halverson used to play in the woods imagining worlds and telling stories to herself. Growing up on military bases, she found solace in her local library and later decided to make a living sharing the wonders of literature to poor, unsuspecting college freshmen. After backpacking through Ireland and singing in a traditional Irish music band, she earned a PhD in English with a specialization in Irish literature. When she’s not making up stories or teaching, she can be found hiking the rolling hills of the Driftless area of Wisconsin with her husband and two children.