Pitch Wars 2017 … all the details!

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We’re so excited for our sixth Pitch Wars! 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 edits on how to make the manuscript shine. The mentor also edits his/her writer’s pitch and query letter to get it ready for the agent round. Those entering Pitch Wars submit applications (query plus first chapter of manuscript) to their chosen 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 showcase. Writers can pick up to four mentors to send an application to.

Last year, we hand nearly sixty agents participate in the showcase. You can view them here and here.

How will you decide what mentors to submit to?

  • Participate in our Mentor Wishlist Blog Hop starting July 19th. 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. The hop will go on until August 2, which is submission day!! There will be a scavenger hunt during the hop with an exciting prize. You don’t want to miss it. More details will be on the blog hop main post on this blog.
  • Visit the Twitter hashtag, #PitchWars, to get to know the mentors personally (virtually).  Mentors will be tweeting advice and answering questions on it.
  • Check out Pitch Wars Live. Some of our mentors will be chatting live starting July 17 and ending on August 1. We’ll have a schedule up soon. Make sure to watch, ask questions on #PitchWars, and get to know the mentors. Watch the blog for more details.
  • We’ll be launching our new website on pitchwars.org soon, so look for our celebration on #PitchWars!

How do I enter? Applications (query + 1st chapter) will be sent through an easy submission form. The form will go live just after midnight (EDT – New York time) August 2 and remain open until August 6 at 10 PM (EDT – New York time).

DO NOT query or pitch or email mentors directly. The only way to submit is to use the submission window that will post August 2nd. Please, be courteous of mentors’ time and keep things polite. They are all here voluntarily and deserve our utmost respect. If anyone is caught abusing a mentor, their submissions will be deleted. Thank you.

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.

Send the full chapter no matter how long it is.

But my chapter is short? That’s fine. Send up to ten pages, then.

But I have a prologue? That’s fine, too. You can send prologues that are no more than 5 pages along with your chapter. What if my prologue is longer? Just send in your first chapter. If the mentors want to read more, they’ll send requests. At that time, include your prologue.

But I want to send to more than four mentors. If you want to send two extra applications, making a total of six mentors you can send to, think about donating to help support Pitch Wars. Go to this post for details on how to earn those extra applications. If you donate, keep your receipt. There will be another submission form for the bonus entries and you’ll have to upload your receipt to it.

Please note: Pitch Wars is a contest where mentors choose mentees based on the entrants’ skills and is not based on chance. If mentors love an entry but don’t feel they’re quite the right fit, they might pass it on to another mentor.

Do co-mentors count as two entries? No. The co-mentor teams count only as one application.

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.
  • The manuscript can not have been published before. That includes self-publishing.
  • Only the genres requested by each mentor will be considered for the contest.
  • Writers may only apply to 4 mentors max. (Bonus applications are available through the donation page.)
  • 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.
  • A few mentors will take memoir. Ask on the hashtag #PitchWars to see who is accepting them.
  • Do not enter if you are already agented.
  • Please contact us if you receive an offer of representation during the consideration period.
  • Should you make it into the contest, your pitch and first page will be posted to my blog. By entering the contest, you are giving implicit permission to have your work posted. Please don’t enter if you do not wish to have it posted.

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! If you need help with preparing a synopsis, here’s a post I did about them: http://www.brenda-drake.com/2016/05/pitch-wars-synopsis-simplified/,

Being kind to one another is mandatory in this contest. 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. Over all five events, starting in 2012 through 2016, we’ve had nearly 250 successes with many going on to make book deals. 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 past mentee in Pitch Wars, you may enter with a new manuscript, but you may not submit to your previous mentor. If you entered Pitch Wars last year and didn’t get in, you can enter the same manuscript this year.

!!!! If you make it into Pitch Wars, you may not enter contests that main goal is to get an agent or publishing deal. You may not query during the mentoring period and until after the agent round, which is November 1-7. If you still have queries, partials, or fulls out prior to being picked, you may still enter Pitch Wars. If you are currently in a contest that won’t end before we announce the mentor picks on August 24, you may either withdraw from that contest or not enter Pitch Wars. The exception is skill-based contests (such as RWA) and pitching at conferences. 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 7 from 8AM to 8PM EST. If you make it into Pitch Wars, you may not pitch in #PitMad.

Anti-Bullying Policy

We do not condone harassment or bullying, and don’t want to see it associated with Pitch Wars. While we have no legal authority, we will do everything in our power to put a halt to it. The Pitch Wars leadership reserves the right to remove anybody from the competition for any reason, and while we would prefer not to do that, we will if that’s what it takes. If you feel like you’re being harassed and you want help, please reach out. You can contact the head of our anti-harassment team, Michael Mammay, via twitter @michaelmammay. His DMs are open. Or you can reach out to Brenda Drake and Heather Cashman via brendadrakecontests@gmail.com, or any Pitch Wars mentor and they will help you contact the right people. We are a supportive community and will do whatever we can to help. While there is sometimes debate on what is and isn’t harassment, we will err on the side of protecting the most vulnerable members of our community. If you feel that you are in immediate danger, we encourage you to contact the authorities. We will have a more detailed anti-harassment document coming soon.

Here’s the contest schedule:

July 19 – August 2:  Mentor Bio/Wishlist Blog Hop
August 2 (midnight EDT) – August 6 (10PM EDT): Writers submit applications to mentors for Pitch Wars
August 2 – August 23: Pitch Wars mentors review applications and choose a writer to mentor.
August 24: Pitch War mentees are announced.
August 24 – October 31: Mentors work with their team.
November 1 – 7: Agent Showcase

  • November 1: Adult and New Adult entries go up on my blog
  • November 2: MG entries go up on my blog
  • November 3: YA entries go up on my blog
  • November 7: Last day of Agent Showcase

We look forward to seeing you August 2!

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Author: Brenda Drake

New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2) available now, creator of #PitchWars, #PitchMadness, and #PitMad, fueled by coffee and Goldfish crackers (but not together), and represented by Peter Knapp with The Park Literary Group. @brendadrake

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74 Comments

  1. Wait, do we need a synopsis?

    Post a Reply
    • You may need one. It depends on the mentor. We’ll have guest post by Pintip Dunn tomorrow about writing synopses. You should check it out.

      Post a Reply
    • Do we need to have a completed novel before submitting the 1st chapter? Also I’m working on a short story collection, can I submit one of those?

      Post a Reply
      • Yes it has to be completed and polished. We don’t accept short stories in the contest. Sorry. ;(

        Post a Reply
  2. Thanks for all the info! One clarification regarding the stipulation to not query if I am fortunate enough to get picked. It states the exception includes conferences. I was planning to query at the Writer’s Digest Conference in October. Is that considered appropriate by these rules? Thanks!

    Post a Reply
  3. Hi there! My manuscript was developed from a short story I wrote that was chosen for a digital anthology in 2015. That short story is now the first chapter of my book (with some slight edits).

    What I’m wondering is: Can I enter Pitch Wars with this MS even though the first chapter was included in a digital anthology?

    Thanks so much!

    Post a Reply
  4. Are there mentors who accept MG graphic novel manuscripts or is this contest not a good fit for me as an author/illustrator?

    Thank you!

    Post a Reply
    • Yes there will be a few mentors, but they would only work on the story part. They wouldn’t be able to critique the illustrations other than if they like them or not.

      Post a Reply
  5. Does this need to be a completely polished manuscript? I have a first draft and plan to have a second before pitch wars starts.

    Post a Reply
  6. If I self published my book in the past and since pulled it (with ZERO sales 🙁 ) would it be ineligible for Pitchwars? Thank you.

    Post a Reply
    • There can’t be an ISBN number registered with the title. If you’ve revised it and changed the title, you could enter.

      Post a Reply
  7. Will their be a mentee blog hop like last year?

    Post a Reply
    • It’ll begin on July 19th! We’ll be having live chats as well. Hope to see you around, Milo!

      Post a Reply
      • I mean last year Pitch Wars applicants also had their own blog hop. Is that happening?

        Post a Reply
        • The mentee hopefuls already started the blog hop and you can join in. They’re on #pimpmybio

          Post a Reply
  8. does it have to be a novel? or can I submit 10pgs of a story I’m using for my short story collection?

    Post a Reply
  9. Will the Mentor Bios and Wishlists be posted on this page?
    Thanks for all the info! I am so pumped for Pitch Wars! I finished my first draft in December and have been polishing ever since!

    Post a Reply
  10. Hi Brenda – I know we are not supposed to actively query our Pitch Wars manuscript during the mentoring period. Can we actively query a different manuscript during that time? Or are we not supposed to be querying at all? Thanks so much!

    Post a Reply
    • You can still query a different manuscript during the mentoring period. But if you’re chosen, please let your mentor know and discuss it with him or her. 🙂

      Post a Reply
  11. I too will be going to the Writer’s Digest Conference and was planning to pitch to agents there. I was wondering if the no querying applied to just the submitted manuscript or both of my finished manuscripts. Thank you!

    Post a Reply
    • You can pitch the manuscript you’re entering into PW at the Writer’s Digest Conference. If you make it into PW, just discuss any requests with your mentor.

      Post a Reply
  12. Hi Brenda. Apologies if the answer to the question is obvious but new to Pitch Wars and the whole Twitter concept. My manuscript is a memoir. At what stage should I use the hashtag and ask mentors if they are accepting memoir? Many thanks, Lara

    Post a Reply
  13. No question here but just a thanks and cheer for putting together a great contest again this year. I submitted last year with no results, but back again with new and better manuscript. Excited, hopeful, and grateful.

    Post a Reply
  14. Can we submit things that have been gone over by a professional editor? I would assume the answer is yes but I want to make sure it’s okay if my (unpublished) manuscript has seen other eyes before the contest!

    Post a Reply
  15. Hi Brenda, I’m previously published under a pen name but I do have a manuscript ready that’s in a different genre than what I’m published in. I do not have an agent but would like one for this new manuscript. Am I eligible to enter?

    Post a Reply
    • Annette, you are eligible! It just has to be an unpublished manuscript and you cannot currently have an agent or get one during the contest. Good luck this year!

      Post a Reply
  16. If we get a mentor, but no agent interest, are we free to self-publish? Also how much of our entry is posted up on the blog? Just the first chapter/synopsis?

    Post a Reply
    • You retain all rights to your manuscript, so what you do after Pitch Wars is up to you. We post 300 total words. Pitch + First MS Words = 300 in any combination.

      Post a Reply
  17. Is it okay to use Open Office? I’m having problems getting Microsoft Word.

    Post a Reply
      • @Jon – try LibreOffice, which was a fork of OpenOffice a few years ago. Both OpenOffice and LibreOffice have the ability to produce Word .docx files. LibreOffice will tend to be better quality because that’s where most of the OpenOffice developers and development went.

        Post a Reply
  18. I was recently selected as one of ten finalists in a contest, but after doing more research I realized I don’t want to accept their offer of publication if I am selected. Do I need to withdraw from the contest in order to enter Pitchwars? Also, by “no personalized queries” do you mean you don’t want the query to contain a bio? Thank you!

    Post a Reply
    • You would have to withdraw if there is a possible offer of publication or getting an agent. No personalized queries means you don’t mention the mentors name when you query. Just open the query with “Dear Mentor.” You’re welcome!

      Post a Reply
  19. Hi, have stopped querying for my manuscript, but I do have some fulls/partials out there. What happens if get a mentor and then, after August 24th, get an offer of representation? Assume withdraw, but just double-checking.

    Post a Reply
  20. Hello, if none of the agents have interest in the final round, is it worth it to still query them?

    Post a Reply
  21. Hello! I am so excited for this contest, and I want to give you a BIG thank you for organizing such an amazing opportunity! I feel I may be overthinking here, but I am a fan of short, to the point chapters. I read the rules stating short chapter writers may send up to ten pages, but I also have a prologue that is somewhat pertinent to setting up the first chapter. Do you consider the prologue to be included in those ten pages? Or can it be sent in addition to the ten pages? Thank you again!

    Post a Reply
    • Does anyone know the answer to my question above? Time is getting close…

      Post a Reply
      • Hi, I would just enter it. No harm no foul. It’s not like they’ll disqualify you. Worst case scenario, they ignore the prologue. Thanks.

        Post a Reply
    • As long as the prologue is not longer than five pages, you can send it along with your ten pages. If it is longer than five, don’t send more than 15 pages (prologue/chapter included) for your sample.

      Post a Reply
  22. Hello! I submitted a manuscript to PW several years ago. I was chosen as an alternate. I have since completely rewritten the book. Can I submit (to different mentors), or do I need to submit a new novel? Thanks!

    Post a Reply
    • Yes, you can resubmit it, but not to the mentor who chose you as an alternate.

      Post a Reply
  23. I have an agent for an adult novel who does not represent MG novels. May I submit one of my MG manuscripts?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi! Just to clarify: If my MS is entered in RWA chapter contests where the final round is judged by editors/agents, but the prize is financial only, I’m okay to stay entered since those are skills-based contests, right? Or would I need to withdraw should I enter Pitch Wars?

      Post a Reply
      • (Blerg, sorry! I was trying to make a fresh post, not reply to yours with another question, Lynn. And I don’t see a way to delete …)

        Post a Reply
      • Sara, yest you can still enter even if you entered in your RWA chapter contest.

        Post a Reply
    • If your agent for the adult is okay with it, you can enter your middle grade. You’ll need to let your mentor know so that they can guide you on sending in any requests you get from agents in the showcase round.

      Post a Reply
  24. Do some mentors choose mentees even before August 6th? If so, I’m not sure how that’d be fair to those who submit around the end of the time frame.

    Post a Reply
    • No they don’t pick their mentee until August 24. They do request for more pages to help them decide, though.

      Post a Reply
  25. Maybe it’s the jet-lag, but I’m not able to find the submission form in any of the Pitch Wars web pages. Would it be possible to post a link to it?

    thanks

    – Greg

    Post a Reply
  26. Hey Brenda, I submitted my application, but one of my mentor choices emailed me saying that my doc wasn’t attached. I emailed it to her, but I’m worried that my other mentor choices won’t get it either. What should I do?

    Post a Reply
    • The mentors are sharing chapters with the other mentors in our Facebook group. If they don’t contact you, they got it from the other mentor. The mentors know to contact the writers for the chapter if it didn’t attach.

      Post a Reply
  27. Hi,

    I entered yesterday, but one of my mentors was listed as YA only (she’s actually accepting both YA and NA). I submitted to her anyway–will it have gone through, or been automatically deleted?

    Post a Reply
  28. I was recently invited by a prospective agent to “revise and resubmit.” If I’m selected to participate in Pitch Wars, I would need to wait until after the process was over to re-submit to her, correct?

    Post a Reply
    • If you get chosen, you’ll discuss this with your mentor and he/she/they will advise on how to handle this. And it would involve asking her to wait for you to revise in Pitch Wars. Most agents are thrilled to wait for the revised ms.

      Post a Reply

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