Pitch Wars 2015 is coming! Are you ready?

Painball team in action. Woman team win, sunny day location

We’re so excited for Pitch Wars 2015! For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer critiques on how to make the manuscript shine. The mentor also critiques his/her writer’s pitch to get it ready for the agent round. Those entering Pitch Wars submit applications (query plus first chapter of manuscript) to our mentors. The mentors then read all their applications and choose the writer they want to mentor for two months to get them ready for the agent round. Writers can pick up to four mentors to submit to. How will you decide what mentors to submit to?

Come back August 3 for our Mentor Wishlist Blog Hop. The mentors’ bios and wishlists will be posted to their blogs and linked from a post on my blog, and you can hop around and find the right matches for you. And visit the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars to get to know the mentors personally (virtually). The hop will go on until 8/17, which is submission day!!

This year, we won’t have alternates. Instead, I’ve added more mentors and there will be 92 mentee spots up for grabs. Applications will be sent through an easy submission form. The form will go live just after midnight (EDT – New York time) August 17 and remain open for 24 hours. What will you need to enter in the form? Your top four (max – you don’t have to pick 4, but you are limited to 4) mentors, your email address, title of the manuscript, category and genre, your query letter (sorry no personalized queries this year), and the first chapter of your completed manuscript (Word .doc or .docx format).  The sample chapter should be manuscript formatted pages (12pt, double-spaced). All of this will be fill-in-the-blank on the form.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Only Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, or Adult manuscripts will be accepted.
  • This is open to completed, full-length, fiction manuscripts only.
  • You may only enter one manuscript.
  • Only the genres requested by each mentor will be considered for the contest.
  • Writers may only apply to 4 mentors max.
  • Mentors will only consider the categories they’ve signed up for. (The mentors’ categories – MG, YA, NA, or Adult – are set.)
  • Writers cannot apply for a mentor that is not in their category or the application will be deleted.
  • No nonfiction, picture books, chapter books, or previously published works. (If you’re an unagented author and have self-published before, you may enter the contest with a never-before-published manuscript.)

WARNING: Just like an agent, mentors may request more pages or a synopsis of your manuscript to help them make their final decision, so get them ready! Mentors may also pass your application on to another mentor they feel would be a better match. If a mentor you didn’t apply to picks you invites you to be his/her mentee, you have the right to pass on said invite.

Please note: Being kind to one another is mandatory in this contest. Should I find someone isn’t being kind and respecting others, I will remove you from the contest. Also, if you are difficult with your mentor or if you aren’t working well as a team or if you don’t take any of your mentor’s advice, your mentor will have the option to opt out of being your mentor. Remember your mentor has other obligations like deadlines, book promotions, and family life, please be mindful of their time. They are only required to read your manuscript once and give an edit letter. They aren’t required to do line edits. Our mentors are very generous with their time, so please be patient. We’ve had close to forty successes from last year’s Pitch Wars and it’s because of our mentors and the care they take with their mentees that it’s been such a great success.

If you were a mentee in Pitch Wars 2014 you may not enter Pitch Wars 2015. If you were a mentee in 2012-2013, you may enter with a new manuscript. If you were an alternate in any of the previous Pitch Wars, you may enter the same or a new manuscript for Pitch Wars 2015.

!!!! If you make it into Pitch Wars, you may not enter any contests or query during the mentoring period and until after the agent round, which is November 3-5. If you are currently in a contest (such as Pitch to Publish running at the same time as Pitch Wars), you may not enter Pitch Wars. When in doubt, ask.

For those who do not make it into Pitch Wars (and those who want to join in), we’ll hold a Twitter Pitch Party on #PitMad September 10 from 8AM to 8PM EST. If you make it into Pitch Wars, you may not pitch in #PitMad.

There will be an “Ask the Mentors” event on the Twitter hashtag, #AskMentor and on #PitchWars, on August 10 from 12:01AM to 11:59PM EDT. Stop by and ask mentors questions as you see them join the hashtag.

Some our Pitch Wars mentors will be chatting live with the Whiskey, Wine, & Writing gang at 8PM EDT. Make sure to watch and get to know the mentors. Here’s the schedule:

  • August 4 and 11: Middle Grade mentors
  • August 5 and 12: Young Adult mentors
  • August 6: New Adult mentors (Mentors who are mentoring either YA/NA or NA/A)
  • August 7: Adult mentors

For my contest schedule go here.

We look forward to seeing you August 3!

 

 

Author: Brenda Drake

Author of TOUCHING FATE (Entangled Teen Crave, October 13, 2015) and THIEF OF LIES: a Library Jumpers novel (Entangled Teen, January 5, 2016), host of #PitchWars, #PitchMadness, and #PitMad, fueled by coffee and Goldfish crackers (but not together), and represented by Peter Knapp with New Leaf Literary.

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96 Comments

  1. If we entered Pitch to Publication, but weren’t selected by an editor, are we eligible to enter Pitch Wars?

    Post a Reply
  2. Yes you are still eligible to enter. It’s only if you’re still in the contest.

    Post a Reply
    • Okay, great! Just wanted to make sure. Thank you!

      Post a Reply
  3. Hi Brenda, would Women’s Fiction qualify for Pitch Wars? Would it be considered in the Adult category?
    Thanks, Lynette

    Post a Reply
    • Yes, it will be part of the Adult category. You’ll have to search the mentors to find the ones up for mentoring it.

      Post a Reply
      • Great! Thanks so much!

        Post a Reply
  4. What if you have submitted materials (for example a partial) out with an agent when the contest starts? Does that disqualify you from entering?

    Post a Reply
    • No, it doesn’t disqualify you. You can have queries/partials/fulls out that you’ve already sent out. You just can’t query during Pitch Wars if you’re are picked.

      Post a Reply
  5. I wanted to be clear on the rules about contests and Pitch Wars–are we ineligible for Pitch Wars if we’re enrolled in any contests during the mentoring period or just pitching contests? (For ex: I’m in the final round of an RWA chapter contest that will be announced in October. Does that make me ineligible?)

    Post a Reply
    • No that doesn’t disqualify you. Only contests that are for finding an agent or publisher, such as mine.

      Post a Reply
  6. I have a completed MS that I an currently re-writing a final time in hopes of having it ready for Pitch Wars… if I do not complete this re-write in time can I still submit, as is (3/4 re-written 1/4 original, etc), or is this considered a faux pas?

    Post a Reply
  7. If an entry was a finalist in the Pg70pit contest, is that manuscript eligible for Pitch Wars?

    Post a Reply
    • Yes. You just can’t be in a contest or enter any more or query if you’re chosen by mentor during the two month revision period.

      Post a Reply
      • What if you entered one ms in Pitch Wars but have another one you’d like to pitch in another contest? Is *that* allowed?

        Post a Reply
        • No. If chosen, the writer and manuscript can’t be in other contests until after the agent round.

          Post a Reply
  8. I made it to the Agent round of #new agent which was a mini contest for your Query and first 250 it is over before Pitch wars starts does that mean I’m out this year?

    Post a Reply
  9. Hi Brenda,

    What is the max word count allowed for the query and first chapter?

    Thanks!

    Post a Reply
  10. I have a novelette that I’m currently rewriting as a novella. The novelette has been self-published. Can I submit it in this contest?

    Post a Reply
  11. Hi Brenda!

    Thanks for putting this awesome contest on. My question is, if I had a manuscript selected for Pitch to Publication, can I participate in Pitch Wars with a different manuscript?

    Thanks!

    Post a Reply
    • No. You can participate if you are out of the contest before the submission window opens for Pitch Wars on August 17.

      Post a Reply
  12. Question about first chapter: what if you’re using mixed mediums? Like there are books written in verse but what if your first chap is only 2 pages? Is that all you’re supposed to submit? Or is there a page limit put in place instead perhaps? Or something?

    Post a Reply
    • Only submit the first chapter and query. The mentors can ask for more pages if they want to see more.

      Post a Reply
  13. What does “full length” mean for each type of audience in terms of the contest? My novel is short but can be considered a novel by some NA publishers.

    Post a Reply
  14. Hi Brenda,
    What do you mean by no personalized queries?
    What if more than one mentor likes your work?
    What if you feel like your work is complete but when it comes in it is shown to need edits? I ask because I wonder how perfect does the story have to be before I can finally let it go and send it off. :)
    Aug 3rd is when we will know who the mentors are. Aug 17th for 24 hrs we will be allowed to submit. Just confirming I read that right.
    This is such an amazing event that you have created for writers. Thank you.

    Post a Reply
    • What I mean by no personalized queries, is that you can’t personalize to a certain mentor since it’s a form and will go to all your picks.

      If more than one mentor likes you, you get to choose between them.

      It depends on the mentor if they will overlook mistakes. Your manuscript should be a close to perfect as you can get it to up your chances at nabbing a mentor.

      Yes, the mentor blog hop starts on August 3, and the submission window is open for 24 hours on August 17 (Eastern time)

      I love this contest too – thank you!

      Post a Reply
  15. Thank you so much for putting this on! I was on your #redteam in Pitch Madness with my previous MS, and you definitely run a classy, well-organized contest. Looking forward to it!

    Post a Reply
  16. I see we can’t personalize queries because all four mentors will receive the same version of our queries, but do we include our bio paragraphs? Or just the meat of the query?

    Thank you so much for running Pitch Wars every year and taking the time to answer questions and just being generally awesome!

    Post a Reply
  17. My MS starts with a prologue. Should I skip over this and just submit chapter one or should I use the prologue as the first chapter? Thanks!

    Post a Reply
    • Is the prologue essential to understanding the first chapter? Is it in the same voice/character as chapter one? I would just submit chapter one.

      Post a Reply
      • It’s the same voice/character as the rest of the book, just ten years earlier. Hopefully, chapter one will be easy enough to follow without it, I’ll just submit chapter one, thanks!

        Post a Reply
  18. So I’m currently planning on pitching to agents at a convention the last weekend in August. I haven’t submitted to them yet, and I’m wondering if I do pitch wars, if that will clash with pitching at the conference.

    Post a Reply
      • Great, thanks. I’ll plan on participating then. 😀

        Post a Reply
  19. Hi Brenda, wanted to check if I’m eligible to enter since I’m currently in a contest. The winners are announced Sept 8 and the prize is a chapter critique from an agent. I figured it didn’t count since the contest isn’t for finding an agent, but just wanted to make sure.

    Thanks so much for everything you do :)

    Post a Reply
  20. Can we submit a MS if we have partials/active queries out on a Different MS, and follow the no querying clause if chosen?

    Post a Reply
      • Hi, Brenda! This contest sounds great, thank you! Just wanted to confirm: if our manuscript is chosen by a mentor, can we query a different manuscript during Pitch Wars, or do we stop querying on all manuscripts? Thank you!

        Post a Reply
        • You should stop querying all manuscripts. You will learn so much during the mentoring round, your weaknesses in your writing, which will help you evaluate your other manuscripts. If you query and there’s something you can fix in your writing, you’ll lose out on those opportunities. This contest is for writers who are almost there but need help to perfect their manuscript and other manuscripts in the future. Also, per agents’ suggestions, you should query one manuscript at a time.

          Post a Reply
      • Thanks! Will you be separating or categorizing the mentors by their primary genre interest?

        -Lisa :)

        Post a Reply
        • No, I won’t be. It’s a bloghop and I want everyone to hop through and “meet” all the agents. We will have live Chats on Whiskey, Wine, & Writing so you can meet them with “Get To Know the Mentors” post on my blog for each category. Also, there will be an #AskMentor Twitter event all day on 8/10.

          Post a Reply
  21. If you have queries out before PitchWars, get selected as a mentee, then receive a partial or full request during PitchWars (for the queries that were already out prior to the contest), are you allowed to send the requested materials? Thank you so much for all your hard work, Brenda! I’m a fan of all your contests!

    Post a Reply
    • Yes, but you’ll want to discuss this with your mentor. He/she will be able to advise you how to handle this. Because you’ll want to contact the agent and ask if you can send the revised one when it’s done. You want the best chance you can get.

      Post a Reply
  22. What if your queries are out, fulls and partials requested, you enter the contest with a different ms, but you get an offer from an agent? (A lovely conundrum), but how should that be handled?

    Post a Reply
    • You would bow out and let you mentor know you have an offer so that they can pick a replacement. It’s important to let them know immediately so they can decide if they have enough time to work with another writer.

      Post a Reply
  23. One follow-up question if I may. Can you speak more about the Agent round? (I’m new to this contest). Do agents sign up prior to the event? If so, will contestants know in advance who they are? Or is it an open forum? (Thanks so much for putting this together!)

    Post a Reply
    • We have 23 agents signed up so far and waiting on about ten more to respond to invites. I will give a “sneak peek” of the agents signed up so far on Monday’s post. The rest will be revealed in about week in my “meet the agents” post.

      Post a Reply
  24. Do I have to be unpublished (other than self-published) to participate?

    And if so: I’m published through a small press of which I’m part-owner. Does that count as self-published?

    Post a Reply
    • Also, I assume prior publication of a short story wouldn’t disqualify me. Is that right?

      Post a Reply
      • You have to be unagented to enter. You can be published, you just can’t enter a manuscript that has been published before.

        Post a Reply
  25. I just want to double check, is Pitch Wars open to international writers? (I am in Australia)

    Thank you!

    Post a Reply
  26. Question: the rules state that we cannot query during this process. How does that apply on a ms that you’ve been querying? If my manuscript is currently making the query rounds, is it excluded from entering or can I just stop querying when the contest starts?

    Thanks for running this contest. It looks fun!

    Post a Reply
    • It’s doesn’t apply. You only have to stop querying if you get chosen by a mentor.

      Post a Reply
  27. I was wondering about the no chapter books. I’m kind of confused, I have a completed book that is 20 chapters. Is it not allowed to enter that manuscript? And is there an age limit? I’m 13 and a huge writer, but the only book I currently have completed is this one and I’m interested in entering Pitch Wars. Thanks in advance.

    Post a Reply
    • Chapter Books are children books that are younger than Middle Grade books. It’s a category. Your novel that is middle grade, young adult, new adult, or adult that has chapters is accepted. There isn’t an age limit to enter.

      Post a Reply
  28. This will be my first pitch wars and I am just trying to get organized! So on the 17th we will fill out the application form on your site for our top 4 mentors? Do we also have to tweet at them throughout the day? Thanks and looking forward to this!

    Post a Reply
    • Yes you fill out the form, but you have 5 mentors you can apply to. You don’t have to tweet to them throughout the day. You can follow the hashtag throughout the two weeks of the mentor bloghop and tweet them and ask questions.

      Post a Reply
  29. Wondering about length requirements of first chapters. Minimum/maximum length. Working hard to make it shine and want to be sure to get it right. Thank you so much for hosting this contest and amazing opportunity.

    Post a Reply
  30. I’ve had a novel published by an indie publisher, but have a new MS with which I hope to find an agent. It’s in a different genre than the book I had published. Am I eligible to participate in PitchWars with my new MS? Thanks!
    Essie

    Post a Reply
  31. Hi there! If you have had a novel published with one of the big houses but don’t have an agent, can you submit?

    Post a Reply
    • Yes you can enter as long it is with a manuscript that has never been published.

      Post a Reply
  32. Hi Brenda, I appreciate your reasons for not separating the agent profiles by age group, but please reconsider. Going through web page after web page packed with animated GIFs after long days working full-time is headache-inducing and incredibly frustrating. Not all of them have the coffee cup graphic at the top that immediately shows which age group they represent, and scrolling through 108 different pages with those images is just too much. It doesn’t mean people like me are less dedicated to writing or forming relationships with agents – it’s just sensory overload. (And mentors, I beg of you, one GIF on your page is enough!) Thank you.

    Post a Reply
    • I think the point of not separating the mentors out is to give them and their writing exposure through the contest. They are dedicating a lot of time to the contest and deserve that much if nothing else. We get two weeks to go through and choose mentors. Maybe spread out your search over several days to keep yourself from blog page fatigue?

      Post a Reply
    • The point isn’t to form relationships w/ agents. It’s to form relationships w/ other writers. They’re dedicating 2 months of their time to whoever they mentor. It takes 5-10 min to read a blog post. 750-1000 min is about 10-16 hours, BUT it’s still not 2 months. It’s a way to weed out who’s willing to do the work of networking without the immediate payoff of making friends w/ agents. Also, you can learn things from the writers who aren’t mentoring your categories/genres if you take the time to learn them. Most of the friends I’ve made in the last several weeks aren’t mentoring YA or fantasy, but they’ve helped me out a LOT. Brenda doesn’t have to do this, so asking her to change the rules is rather bad form, since one of the points is to meet peeps in the community.

      Also, just fyi, it’s not that hard to get through the blog hop. I work 40+ hours a week, run a household, and had a sick roommate to take care of when I went through all 100+ blogs in one sitting while participating in the #PitchWars explosion on twitter that came about due to the blog-hop being posted. One about 3 hours of sleep. As everyone kept telling me, we have 2 weeks to get it done along w/ our ms polishing. It *is* doable.

      Post a Reply
  33. Dear Brenda – What an awesome project! However, I regret that I cannot locate the link to the mentor blog hop on your site. Will you please help me with that information?

    Thank you,

    PJ

    Post a Reply
  34. Nonfiction books are not allowed?
    But I saw many mentor blogs that requested YA romance…does that not mean they want nonfiction romance?

    Post a Reply
    • Nonfiction means it really happened. YA just means young adult (for teens age 13-18). The book has to be a novel (fictional) to be subbed to PitchWars.

      Post a Reply
  35. Hi Brenda! I currently have a few fulls out with agents on a previous manuscript, can I enter this with a new manuscript?

    Post a Reply
    • You can enter with the manuscript out with agents or a new one. Your choice, but only one. And if you get chosen, let your mentor know right away if you get an offer so that can pick a new mentee.

      Post a Reply
  36. Where can I find the mentors list?

    Post a Reply
  37. Hi Brenda!

    Should the query letter be the same we would send to an agent, or should it be tailored to Pitch Wars?

    Post a Reply
    • The query should be the same as you would send to an agent. Just use “Dear Mentor” instead.

      Post a Reply
  38. I miss understand the term “midnight” and didn’t see the early opening for submission. Probably shouldn’t be a writer if I can’t understand English. Oh well :\

    Post a Reply

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