So you didn't get into Pitch Wars. Now what?
I'll let you in on a little-known secret: I applied to Pitch Wars last year. And...I didn't get in. I didn't even get any requests. (I did get a lovely email from Evelyn Skye a few weeks later telling me that I was basically query-ready. I appreciated it. It still hurt.)
Trust me, I know what it feels like to not see your name on that triumphant list. And trust me when I tell you that it's nowhere near the end of the world. While during these few months it may seem that #PitchWars has taken over the Twitter-sphere and will never relinquish its grasp, this will pass. The publishing world continues, and it is much larger than one mentoring contest. If you, like me, didn't get picked, please see the following words of wisdom:
- Sure, Pitch Wars seems amazing. (And to be perfectly honest, it kind of is - so far for me, anyway.) But you don't need to enter contests to land an agent or get published. When I didn't get picked, I put my head down. I kept writing. I revised my manuscript again. While I entered a few more contests after Pitch Wars, the truth is that I signed with my fabulous agent a few months later on a cold query. Queries work. The slush pile works, if your manuscript is ready.
- Pay attention to feedback if you are lucky enough to receive it. All mentors are donating their time and expertise to this contest. Please know that if you receive feedback, it is well-intentioned and meant to help you make your manuscript better. That doesn't mean we are right about your book simply because of our mentor hats, but it does mean that no one is trying to tear your work apart for the fun of it.
- Also know that if feedback simply doesn't resonate with you or your work after careful consideration, you can (and should) ignore it. My feelings will not be hurt.
- Even if you didn't get chosen as a Pitch Wars mentee, Pitch Wars can still work for you. I didn't realize this last year - I basically faded off the internet for a while. But even aside from the main event, the #PitchWars hashtag has already made friends and compatriots (and in some cases critique partners!) of over 1,500 writers. (I myself have already met one new critique partner through Pitch Wars, and I have a feeling that I'm just getting started.)
- Finally, my fellow Middle Grade mentor Wade Albert White has summarized pretty much all of my "Did you get in?!?" Pitch Wars thoughts here.
In conclusion: Chin up. The publishing world is FULL of rejection at every stage, and it's my sincere wish that your future holds bigger, better rejections than this one contest. Keep writing. Keep improving. Keep your eye on the prize, whatever that means to you - because your writing goals can go SO much further than Pitch Wars. Mine do. I hope yours do too.