My Pitch Wars Experience – Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

When I was applying for Pitch Wars, I scoured the internet for any and all tidbits from former Pitch Wars mentees. #NotAStalker. I wanted to know everything about the whole experience. So here I am paying it forward. I present to you Part 2 of My Pitch Wars Experience.

I wrote part 1 the night before the showcase started. I’d decided I was going to be A-Ok and filled with cupcakes no matter what, but I was absolutely shocked and delighted that I got sixteen requests! It was a wild and wonderful day getting email after email from my mentor as the requests came in.

MYTH #1 More requests equals bigger and quicker success.

Nope.

The number of requests has NO correlation to your chances or timing of getting an agent. We were told this beforehand by the organizers, our mentors, and previous mentees. The only thing the number of requests tells you is how many agents connected to your query at that time.  But in the moment it’s hard to keep that in mind.

THE FACTS: Every mentee got at least one. A few got a tons. But in the end, those who got the most requests didn’t sign more quickly than those who got fewer. And some who got few requests were some of the first to sign. NUMBERS MEAN NOTHING!

I thought a decent number like sixteen meant things might start happening quickly for me.  But I was in for a long wait.

Myth #2 Pitch Wars is a fast track to the top of the query pile.

Nope again.

THE FACTS: Some mentees got a request for a call within mere days and were agented shortly after. But many are still in limbo waiting to hear back from PW requesting agents over 2.5 months later.

So after my excitement died down enough for me to sit still at my computer long enough, I started sending out my ms to PW agents, and then a few cold queries as well. Within a day rejections started trickling in. There wasn’t really a pattern to what they found wrong with it. In fact what some told me they loved about it others found to be their problem with it.

But I didn’t understand that at the time. All I could see was “all these things are wrong with it” instead of realizing publishing is such a subjective arena.

I started wondering if I really have what it takes? What if the book I walked through the fire for in PW was nothing but a pile of un-salvageable crap?

So I cried. I doubted myself.

Cupcakes nom nom nom!

Then I got over it.

I sent out more queries, received more rejections. I made notes with each one, if they agent gave notes. Most just gave a form rejection.

Then Pit Mad came along. Should I do it so soon after PW? Would people see my name and say, “Oh hey, wasn’t she a PW mentee? She STILL doesn’t have an agent? What is WRONG with her? She must suck.” I almost didn’t do it, but at the last minute I worked on a few twitter pitches and got caught up in the frenzy. It was sooo much fun!

I got a few requests. At first I thought I only had three, then I saw a fourth one that I didn’t realize was an agent at first. I didn’t recognize the name, and I didn’t see an agency listed in the profile. Remember this detail. 😉

While I waited to hear back from the PM agents, I continued querying and the rejections from the PW agents continued to trickle in. The only trend was they liked my humor. My queries were getting rejected too. I rewrote my query. But mostly this part was just a lot of waiting. A lot.

It felt like a long time because so many other mentees were getting agents, and even book deals started trickling in. This awesomeness was happening to people I care about, so I was happy for them, but it still hurt that it wasn’t happening for me.

Truth Bomb #1: IT IS ABSOLUTELY OKAY TO BE HAPPY FOR OTHERS AND SAD/ENVIOUS AT THE SAME TIME! You are normal.

Part 3 is coming soon.

 

My Pitch Wars Experience – Part 1

It’s the eve of the agent round for Pitch Wars so feelings, thoughts, and emotions are all over the place. I’m using my number one coping mechanism – writing.

I didn’t blog after I got chosen. I meant to, but I was caught up in the whirlwind and in shock for quite awhile. I entered Pitch Wars fully expecting it to be my “practice” run. I had no notion I’d get any requests, much less get chosen as a mentee! But 2018 was the year I left my comfort zone and tried big things. And boy did I chose a big one with Pitch Wars!

Sus, my mentor, told me in the beginning the revision process was going to be intense and that I might even hate her at some point. She was right about the first one. It was beyond intense. But never, even for one second, did I ever feel anything less than adoration for her. She wasn’t stingy with the praise and when something wasn’t working, she’d tell me straight up, but also help me figure out how to fix it. She prefaced every suggestion with, “This is YOUR book. If you don’t agree with this, push back.” I rarely had to, because her feedback made perfect sense since she KNEW my characters.

Was it tough? Yeah! But it was the kind of tough like running is. That “oh my stars, I’m literally going to die, why am I doing this” feeling. Until you hit that point of “hell yeah, this is the best thing ever, I could go on for miles!” Then it’s done and you feel like a rock-star and you realize it wasn’t so bad after all!

That’s Pitch Wars!

Now it’s over…almost. In mere hours my pitch and first words will be out there for the world to see. How do I feel?

Terrified. Excited. Hungry. Hopeful.

But most of all proud. I pushed myself and I survived!

If no requests come I’ll cry. A lot. But then I’ll get back on my unicorn and keep going. Because I have a damn good book, and it will find the right agent.

And until then, I have emergency cupcakes. Because as long as there are cupcakes in the world, life is worth living!

Read Part 2 here.

Nutella or Peanut Butter & Chocolate?

The Pitchwars submissions window opens in a couple of weeks, and I, like many other WannaMentees, (ya like that word there?) have the seemingly insurmountable task of choosing just four mentors to submit to. The problem is, I am awful at choosing. I stand in front of nail polish samples for an ungodly amount of time trying to decide what color to change my nails to for just two weeks.

It’s even worse when it comes to actual people! For the love of the two-hearted Time Lord, I can’t even figure out which Doctor is my favorite! Everyone has a favorite it seems, and they form secret clubs. Fine, not that I want to be in your secret club (yes I do), but my favorite is actually David Matt Ecclespaldi.* It’s a real name, look it up! Oh, and don’t even get me started on my favorite companion who goes by the completely legit name of Allofthem Everysingleone!

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While one can have all the Doctors and companions one wants, the rules of Pitchwars state you can only submit to four mentors.
Time to get serious and make a plan!

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Step 1: When the bios came out I began stalking following everyone who seemed like a good fit.

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Step 2: Once the wish-lists were published (I may or may not have sat at my computer hitting refresh waiting for that moment), I read each blog hop post in the Adult category and narrowed to list down to ten.

Step 3: While re-reading each post, I made extensive notes, carefully considering many things. Did they seem like someone I could work with? Did I fit what they were looking for in a mentee? Does my ms seem like something they’d get excited about? Are things that give them grabby hands the same things I have to offer?

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Step 4: Based on my notes, I gave each mentor/mentor team a score between 1-5. An explanation of my scoring system is as follows:

A 5 means EEEEEEP which is the squeaky sound I make when I can’t put my excitement into words. It’s also the sound I made when I saw the Avengers trailer for the first time. If you didn’t make a similar sound, I am not sure we can be friends.

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4s mean please move next door to me so I don’t have to get out of my pajamas to stalk you properly.

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***Let me stop and say here that I would be LUCKY, BLESSED, and OVER THE FREAKING MOON, to be chosen by any of the mentors. They all seem like an amazing, talented, bunch, and my scoring isn’t based on their quality, but how well I think we would work together.***

3s are like Nutella. According to some, it’s the most divine gooey substance ever invented. There are whole Pinterest boards dedicated to it. I BELIEVE you when you say it’s great. Thousands of people wouldn’t lie about its greatness. If it was the only thing I had to eat, I wouldn’t cry about it, but I don’t bow down at the feet of the Nutella gods and sacrifice random foods to them.
I’m all about the PB and Chocolate!

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1-5 is also how I rank Eurovision participants. But it gets way more complicated because there are scores for both song and performance and lots of snacks are involved. If you don’t know what Eurovision is, don’t even bother googling it. It must be experienced to fully appreciate it. Get with me next May and I’ll point you in the right direction!

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So now that you know the extent of my selection silliness…this is how it went. Out of the ten mentors and mentor teams I ended up with:
Two 5s
Five 4s
Three 3s

Step 5: I instantly made a shrine and sacrificed a llama to both 5s. *kidding* I’m not a monster, sheesh! It was a goat. *kidding*

I just used lots of exclamation points and hearts then put them in the AbsoSmurfingLutely YES pile! Consequently, AbsoSmurfingLutely YES, is what I would say if this guy showed up at my door and asked me…well anything. “What do you need Jax? A cup of sugar? My left kidney? A place to bury a body? Oh, you just want me to run off with you? AbsoSmurfingLutely YES!”
Don’t worry, my husband said it was ok!

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Step 6: I then eliminated the 3s. Sorry Nutella with your beautiful hazelnut gooey goodness.

Step 7: After closer inspection I was able to eliminate two of the 4s, but I’m still left with five awesome possible mentors/mentor teams and I can only submit to four. This shall require much more stalking… and maybe a dance off.

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I still have a week and a half to figure it out.The irony in all of this, is while I am stressing over how to choose four mentors, each mentor/mentor team will have dozens, (maybe hundreds?) of submissions to go through before they each select JUST ONE! The chances of ME being selected by one of the four I submit to are slim. But it’s gonna be an adventure, if nothing else!

So if any mentors are reading this, and have made it to the end, here is a bit about little ole me. My MS will do most of the speaking for me, but here is a preview to find out if I am your Nutella or your Peanut Butter and Chocolate?

*9-12 of course. I couldn’t get into the earlier Doctors but I am anxiously awaiting lucky 13 and Jodie Whitaker’s Doctor! Squee!

Live Until You Die

Living my life on the Rockin’ Roller Coaster almost a year ago. I don’t know who any of these girls are but I hope they keep living until they die.

I do my best thinking when I drive and since I just drove over an hour round trip for a HaleyCakes cupcake, I did some primo thinking. My brain stew was all about how once in my “youth” someone made a comment that life would be over when I hit my 40s.

I can’t even remember who it was, but if I could tell them one thing, I’d say this, “Life isn’t over until you stop living.”
So keep living until you die. Don’t just exist. In other words Carpe the crap out of that Diem, my lovelies! Life in my 40s is much better than it was in my 30s. And life in my 30s was better than my 20s. I don’t want to speed my life up, but let me just say, I can’t wait to see what a hoot I’ll be in my 80s!

How I got my happy on in the northeast!

I’m spontaneous. When I go on a trip, I just go with the flow. I see what I wanna see, and do what I wanna do.

I’m a planner. Before I go on a trip, I usually know what I’m doing, eating, and even wearing every single day.

Which of these do you think is me?

Both are!

I’ve done trips on both ends of the spectrum, and while I enjoy my travel companions, my solo trips tend to be the ones of the first variety, and in turn are some of my favorite excursions. Tor worked during the day and had meetings most nights, so for the better part of the day I did only what I wanted to do. On the first day, it snowed so I sat in the hotel room and wrote most of the morning. I was perfectly content with my hotel breakfast and my laptop, sitting by the large picture window weaving my tales. The snow melted rather quickly so I spent the afternoon at a mall, and then a book store. It was a good day!

It occurred to me later that night that some might think I wasted the day. I could write and shop in Texas, couldn’t I? Why do it in a location that has so much more to offer? Because I’m a big girl and I can do what I want, right? You bet your granny’s sweet tea I can! I decided to let go of the idea of what I “should” be doing and just go with the flow. Vacation police are not a real thing.

On Tuesday I went to Salem where I spent hours in a graveyard. It was my third trip (third and a half really but that’s another story) to Salem, but my first trip to that particular grave yard. That’s all I did in Salem. But that was okay because the grave yard was the highlight of my day. That’s when I told myself, “It doesn’t matter what I do each day, as long as I do at least one thing each day that makes me happy!”

Wednesday I visited my beloved Concord. That’s a whole other post in itself, which I will get to, but several things that day made me happy.

Thursday I decided, since this was at least my 4th or 5th trip to the Boston area, I must actually see Boston. A flat tire interrupted those plans, so instead I went to the hotel restaurant, had a cheeseburger and wrote. You’d think nothing that day would make me happy, but I got a lot of writing done and that was one damn good cheeseburger!

Friday was checkout. That morning I began to think about all of the other things I “should” have done. Had I wasted the week? If I had, it was too late because the trip was almost over. I headed back to Concord to a shop I’d read about online. I saw many things I wanted, but I’d put myself on a tight souvenir budget, preferring to spend my money on experiences, rather than things. But then I saw something that was not only the perfect souvenir, but the perfect ending* to the perfect week. It says, “Do one thing everyday that makes you happy.”

Mission accomplished!

 

*It was the ending of my week in MA, but the beginning of a wonderful weekend in Maine.