A. Benedetti

After #PitchWars

Many of you listened to me obsess over PitchWars for the last couple of months. Last night, the writers selected by mentors were announced. It’s been an incredible experience and I wanted to share the results with all of you.

Let’s talk statistics.

Overall, there were 1,957 submissions. Of those submissions, 137 (125 mentors plus 12 bonus picks) were chosen which provided a hopeful with a 7% chance. That being said, no two mentors were the same. Mentors were broken up into age categories-32 for Middle Grade, 66 for Young Adult, and 32 for Adult/New Adult. Each mentor had a wish list which stated which genres they were accepting. This narrowed the field considerably. Many Adult mentors were seeking romance but the other genres were a little tougher to find homes for. My entry was Adult/Mystery. The stats that came out after the submission window closed showed that 47% of the entries received were for YA, 36% for A/NA, and 17% for MG. Needless to say, the Adult category was very competitive this year!

I submitted my entry on Aug. 3rd while on a trip to Scotland. I thought for sure this amazing trip would distract me from the PitchWars feed and from refreshing my inbox. HA! I hadn’t paid for cell service while in the UK but I didn’t let that stop me. I never realized how many businesses provided free wifi nowadays. Sometimes, it required asking employees for the password and other times I was able to sit down at a table and search the Twitter feed right away while waiting for food to arrive.

After several agonizing days, I received a request for my manuscript. Then came the long wait until mentees were announced. During that time, I learned the mentors who requested my manuscript promised to provide feedback to the people who submitted to them. I was stunned. The mentors are not getting paid to do this contest. They are not compensated in any way. What they get out of it is simply the satisfaction of helping other writers achieve their dreams. To take the time to provide feedback to all those people not selected was huge. Since my goal for entering PitchWars was to get feedback on my latest manuscript, I was guaranteed to get exactly what I was looking for.

Now, let me review the goals of PitchWars. PitchWars is an opportunity for writers to connect with other writers, learn from each other and hopefully find some lifelong critique partners who will help each other through the long and difficult journey to publication (and beyond). This is the place to meet other SERIOUS writers who are not just wanting to publish a book but to begin and maintain a writing career. Making those connections starts a couple months before the actual submission window opens. In preparation for submission, the hopeful entrants exchange chapters, query letters and synopses for feedback and work hard to make them the best they can be. During those exchanges is when most connections are made. I found several stories and writing styles I loved that I believed would mesh well with my own.

Also during that time, many mentors tweeted writing advice and posted on their blogs tips to improve your craft. A great lady, Lisa Leoni, rounded up all those blog links on her website and you can find them here. If you’re a writer, it’s a like getting a crash course in creative writing/editing/publishing. It would have taken me years to learn all of this without PitchWars.

After submission, those new connections rallied together and cheered each other to the finish line. Last night when the mentees were announced, my name was not on the list of finalists. When I read the results, I expected a wave of disappointment to wash over me.

A day later and it’s still not here. However, my feedback letter is. And I’M THRILLED. The feedback addressed something I was concerned about in the manuscript and suggested what was needed to correct it. It was more detailed than I could have dreamed and am ready to get busy. I’ve set a personal deadline for revisions and plan to work just as hard as I would if I’d been selected.

In the end, I got exactly what I needed out of this contest and consider that a win!

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