For those not familiar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest hosted by Brenda Drake in which published or agented writers volunteer to mentor an unagented writer, helping her polish her manuscript and pitch in preparation for the agent round when literary agents will view the pitches and request material that interests them. Chosen mentees must be prepared to edit their entire manuscript, and be willing to accept ruthless — but helpful! — critique.
While I would love to be chosen as one of the mentees or alternates, the chance to get my work in front of agents is only part of the reason I entered Pitch Wars. Contests like this are great ways to connect with other writers, even if your work isn’t chosen. Simply preparing to enter has already expanded my virtual network of writers — I’ve commented on multiple blogs, tweeted at a few mentors and fellow entrants, and added many forthcoming books to my to-read list that I might not have come across had I not been researching the various mentors to decide whom to apply to. I’m a chronic lurker on blogs and Twitter hashtags, and Pitch Wars has given me something to talk about and contribute to conversations.
You may have heard this before, but I think the biggest, most lasting benefits to contests like Pitch Wars are the connections you make with other writers. I’ve already made a few, and I’m still waiting to hear if I’ve been chosen as a mentee or alternate. Even if your manuscript isn’t ready for Pitch Wars, I encourage you to check out the mentors’ blogs and follow them on Twitter — you’ll probably find some people who write your genre or have the same favorite books (and maybe one of their books will become your new favorite!).
For those who don’t make it into Pitch Wars, Miss Snark will be holding a Baker’s Dozen contest soon. Check out her blog for more details!
Have any of you entered Pitch Wars? Are there other contests you’re planning to enter? Please share in the comments!