How To: Enter Pitch Wars 2017

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If you’re a writer who’s been on Twitter at all since 2012, you may have heard of Pitch Wars.

Pitch Wars is more than a “win an opportunity to query your manuscript” sort of competition. Much, much more.

It can seem confusing to first-timers or outsiders; there are a seemingly endless amount of #PitchWars tweets, and so many mentors — who do what, exactly? — along with an unfathomable amount of writers entering.

Let us simplify it for you:

Pitch Wars is a competition in which authors submit a query letter and the first chapter of their finished manuscript to up to four Pitch Wars mentors, who will them choose which manuscripts (and authors) they want to work with. They then spend two months working with the author to polish their manuscript before it’s offered up to the huge amount of extremely qualified agents that participate in Pitch Wars. Basically, it’s a way to work with an already-published author, polish up your existing MS, and get a great agent out of the deal.

Why is Pitch Wars such a big deal?

Huge, huge names have come out of Pitch Wars. In fact, last year yielded one of the biggest YA book deals ever with Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone. Haven’t heard of it? Don’t worry, you will. The movie rights have already been snapped up by Fox 2000, and the book hasn’t even been published yet. It’ll be in stores in early 2018. According to Teen Vogue, Adeyemi made a seven-figure deal for her fantasy trilogy. A 23-year-old writer with a seven-figure book deal.

Adeyemi isn’t the first Pitch Wars success story, but it would take an eternity to list all of the amazing authors to come out of Pitch Wars. Instead, let’s talk about a couple of other great reasons to participate:

Already-published authors are willing to volunteer to revise your manuscript. They dive in head-first with you to make your MS as attractive as possible to an agent, and working that closely with an experienced writer is its own reward. Plus, you put your writing out into the world in front of a huge amount of people! The publicity that comes from Pitch Wars really can’t be beat. Instead of writing awkward queries to agents with crowded inboxes, you’re effectively mass-querying to agents who signed up to hear your pitch.

Just trust us when we say, it’s worth it.

So, how does it work?

First, in case you were wondering, Pitch Wars opens up on August 2, 2017 and stays open until August 6, 2017. 
To enter, you need to choose up to four mentors. You then send them your query letter and the first chapter of your (completed) manuscript.

The Pitch Wars mentors are all published authors with their own agents. Their (volunteer) job is to pick mentees and work with them from August 24 – October 31 to polish their manuscripts and query letters. They’ll offer advice, edits and more over that time period so that the mentee’s work is in the best shape possible for the agent showcase — when agents are thrown in the mix.

How do you pick your four mentors, you ask? Well, the first thing you should do is go to this list of mentors. You’ll find they’re split into categories by age group (middle grade, young adult, adult). They each have a “wishlist” detailing the types of books they’re looking for, as well as tips on what not to send their way. Once you find out which mentors might fit best with your MS, narrow it down to four names and get your pitch ready!

Ready to submit? You’ll need the following info: Up to four mentors’ names, your email address, the category (MG, YA, New Adult, Adult?) and genre of your MS, the title of your MS, your query letter and your first chapter.

Bonus: If you want to query six mentors instead of four, you can donate to Pitch Wars to get that privilege.

But wait, what about —

There are all kinds of details on the official Pitch Wars website! But we’ll answer some of your questions here:

Only full-length, complete fiction manuscripts will be considered.

You can only enter one manuscript in pitch wars. If you’ve entered in the past but haven’t gotten an mentor, you can enter the same manuscript. If you’ve entered and gotten a mentor before, you can’t re-enter the same manuscript.

You shouldn’t enter if you already have an agent, and don’t enter if your MS is already published — even self-published.

Got more questions? The Pitch Wars website has your answers.

Want a direct link to submit your work? Here’s a link to the submissions page, but don’t get ahead of yourself — submissions will only be open from August 2 to August 6, 2017.

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