Try Because You May Fail . . . a Guest Post by Brynne
Jul25

Try Because You May Fail . . . a Guest Post by Brynne

Try Because You May Fail by Brynne Twitter   Pitch Wars is coming up fast, and I know there are a lot of people out there who are nervous or unsure about entering. It’s the same fear that paralyzes so many writers. The one that keeps us up at night, telling us that we need to be perfect, that to try and to fail would be worse than not having tried at all. It’s the one that tells us that rejection means we’re not good enough and never will be. And it’s completely wrong. Many others before me have written about the incredible benefits of joining Pitch Wars, even if you don’t get a mentor. There’s an awesome writing community, amazing advice shared freely on Twitter, and an atmosphere full of inspiration and hope. All of that on its own makes joining Pitch Wars an invaluable experience, even if you don’t get in. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. Because I’m not here just to say that Pitch Wars is worth it even though you might not get in (it is). I’m saying that Pitch Wars, and other opportunities like it, are worth it especially because you might not get in. Don’t get me wrong. Being chosen would be incredible. There are countless success stories that prove that Pitch Wars can do astonishing things for a mentee’s writing career. But trying and not getting picked isn’t necessarily the loss you’d think it might be. I entered Pitch Wars last year hoping that I was at a stage in my writing where I was ready to be published. I knew there would always be more to learn, but my skills had reached a plateau and I thought my manuscript was about as good as I could make it. We can all laugh about it now, but I actually thought I knew something about plot structure and tension and keeping the reader hooked. Turns out I was wrong in the absolute best of ways. Let’s be clear about one thing before we go on: Pitch Wars has a limited number of spaces for mentees, and that means that most people won’t get in. Many won’t get in because a mentor simply subjectively liked something else better, or because their book was so good that mentors didn’t feel they could offer anything more, or because of a myriad of other factors that have no reflection whatsoever on the quality of their work and really amount to bad luck. You can always improve your skills, but not getting chosen for Pitch Wars absolutely does not mean that your writing...

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Guest Post: From Pitch Wars to Publication by May Bridges
Jun30

Guest Post: From Pitch Wars to Publication by May Bridges

From Pitch Wars to Publication by May Bridges It’s thrilling to see everyone gearing up for the 6th Pitch Wars! I remember all the buzz that built up the year I entered. It doesn’t seem like two years ago. So much has happened since then, from finding my agent, signing a book deal, and now publication. I can tell you that the two years since Pitch Wars didn’t go exactly as I might have planned. With expectations and excitement running at an all-time high all the way through the Pitch Wars contest, it’s hard to know what to expect when the dust settles. Does everyone that makes it get an agent? Is your writing career suddenly boost into overdrive and put on the fast track to publication? Well, maybe, but that isn’t how it goes for everyone, and I’d say it isn’t how it goes for most. Some end up agented almost before the contest ends. Some get tons of requests, some don’t. Of those that find an agent, their Pitch Wars book might be what gets them a book deal, and it might not. I’m sure some of you are scratching your heads, wondering if all of this is true, if it’s possible to go thought it and end up without an agent or a book deal, what is the big deal about Pitch Wars? The prize for many isn’t what you might think. The greatest benefit of Pitch Wars is the people. It’s the connections you make with other writers, and industry professionals. No matter how your journey goes post Pitch Wars, the people that went through that with you will be priceless. For my PW group, there were some that were agented almost before the contest ended and had book deals within weeks. But that wasn’t the end of PW for them. Our group is still a sounding board for them. We are critique partners for each other. We are a private group they can share new book ideas with, work through plot issues with, and test out new titles on. We talk to each other about our journeys with our agents and what being on submission is like. Each of us are in different places on our journey, we bring our own knowledge and experience to the group. It makes for a wealth of knowledge that you can tap into. It is a prize that is immeasurable in value. In my journey, I didn’t land my agent through Pitch Wars. I worked with my amazing Pitch Wars mentor, Jami Nord, to make sure my query letter was on point and I jumped into the slush...

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Writing the perfect Synopsis by Pintip Dunn … and release day plus giveaway for GIRL ON THE VERGE!
Jun27

Writing the perfect Synopsis by Pintip Dunn … and release day plus giveaway for GIRL ON THE VERGE!

  We’re so thrilled to have Pintip Dunn stop by today on her GIRL ON THE VERGE release day to talk about writing the perfect synopsis. She presented this at our Pitch Wars Roadshow at the RT Booklovers convention in Atlanta, and I begged her to do it for us before Pitch Wars 2017 submission window opened. But I wanted to talk a little bit about her book before we jump into the guest post. It’s an #ownvoices book and it is so good you guys. Grab your copy today! You will not be disappointed. And there’s more! Go to the end of this post for the release giveaway and to read an excerpt from GIRL OF THE VERGE. So here’s something about this fabulous book … GIRL ON THE VERGE Buy links Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Kobo   iTunes   Book Depository   Books-A-Million Book Descrption From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths. In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own. When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how it much intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong… LINK TO WEBSITE’S BOOK PAGE: http://www.pintipdunn.com/gotv/   Writing the Perfect Synopsis by Pintip Dunn Show of (virtual) hands… Who loves writing synopses? Who hates them? Ha. Unfortunately, synopses are a necessary evil. You may need to provide one to Pitch Wars mentors, agents, and/or editors. In fact, I just had to write one last week, in order to pitch a new book to my editor. So, the sooner you become comfortable with them, the better. I hope you’ll find the following tips helpful in writing a synopsis. As always, take whatever advice resonates with you and throw out the rest. Remember, this is MY perspective on how to write a synopsis. You...

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PITCHWARS: SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I? by mentor, Michael Mammay
Jun15

PITCHWARS: SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I? by mentor, Michael Mammay

PITCHWARS: SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I? That’s the question, right? Should I, or shouldn’t I? Simple. Binary. Sometimes it’s easy. Like if the question is ‘Should I eat that last taco?’ Yes. Obviously. Do I want to go see the next movie that’s a reboot of a TV show with you? Absolutely not. But what about Pitch Wars? There it can get a little more complicated. Today I’m going to share a few of my thoughts that might help you work through your decision making period. I’m not going to spend time here telling you about all the great things Pitch Wars does. There are dozens of blog posts, tweets, book acknowledgements, and roving bands of barbarian writers who already lay out all the benefits. It’s good. Today I’m going to focus on if it’s right for YOU. Let’s start with the basics. Do you have a completed manuscript that you’ve edited and polished, and hopefully had a couple qualified people critique? Because that’s the prerequisite. Without that, you don’t need the rest of this post. But if you do, or if you can get there by the end of July, read on. Let me start by reading your mind. I’m going to take all the reasons you have in your head for not doing it, and talk through them. <cue eerie mind-reading music> 1. But my book isn’t good enough (I’m not good enough.) Do. Not. Self. Reject. If I could put that on repeat a dozen times, I would, but I feel like that would make for a boring post. Look…maybe your book *isn’t* good enough yet. But maybe it is. You are not a good judge of that. Here’s a conversation I had with a critique partner of mine last week. I had just sent her the sequel to my book that got me my agent. Nobody had read it yet but me. Her: This is great. Me: OMG! Her: What? You knew that when you sent it to me. Me: I really didn’t. I had no idea. Her: You’re an idiot. Okay. I’m paraphrasing. But the sentiment is real. And the thing is, we’re all idiots to some extent when it comes to our own writing. All. Of. Us. You can’t see the mistakes in your writing the way other people can. But you can’t see the magic, either. You’re too close. I felt so much relief when that reader (and a couple others) told me that it didn’t suck. Because I didn’t know. I was too close. Do. Not. Self. Reject. 2. It’s too embarrassing. I know you said don’t self reject, but if...

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PREPARING FOR PITCH WARS: What Should You Be Doing In June by mentor Michael Mammay
Jun06

PREPARING FOR PITCH WARS: What Should You Be Doing In June by mentor Michael Mammay

PREPARING FOR PITCH WARS What Should You Be Doing In June You may have heard, Pitch Wars is coming up. Sure, it’s still a couple months away, but obsession season starts in like four weeks. What’s obsession season? That’s where we spend all kinds of time talking about it on the #pitchwars hashtag and dreaming of success instead of actually writing. Or maybe that was just me. I was thinking about what I could write this year leading up to the contest, and I was originally going to start the series in July. But then I remembered I don’t have a job right now, and my manuscript is off with readers, so I don’t have anything to do. So hey, what if there are people who are already thinking about it? What can we do for people who want to start preparing NOW. So, here’s what I did for you. I polled people who successfully got into Pitch Wars over the last three years, and asked them a series of questions. The majority of the answers came from the class of 2016, because they’re still kind of new and probably think it’s a good idea to do what I say. They’ll learn. But I digress. Here’s what our successful entrants had to say about what they’d being doing in June:   1. Prepare your materials and trade pages with Critique Partners. This is by far the number one answer. I got 70 responses to the poll, and this came up in some form in about 60 of them. Trade your query, trade your first chapter, trade whatever you can get somebody else to read. More eyes on your manuscript can only help. With that said, I’m going to include some of the different takes on that answer: Ashley D. MacKenzie said: [Get] critique from trusted critique partners — even if you haven’t actually finished the MS by June. I was about 3/4 finished in June both years I got in, but waited until I was this close to done (in July) before sending it out for last-call feedback. Do it earlier, even if you aren’t finished. Laura Creedle, the author of THE LOVE LETTERS of ABELARD and LILY (Coming December 26th) said: Having multiple beta readers before I did pitch wars helped immensely. I still had a lot of work do do with my mentor, but not an insurmountable pile of revisions. There’s only so much you can do in a month. Rachel Griffin said: I’d get involved early. Swap queries and first chapters with other hopefuls, follow the hashtag, and ask questions when you have them. The community...

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Holiday Post and Giveaway with Pitch Wars Mentor, Shari Schwarz
Dec20

Holiday Post and Giveaway with Pitch Wars Mentor, Shari Schwarz

  An tribute to that *one* book. For my oldest, it was Henry and Mudge when he was four and learning to read on his own. For my next two boys, it was Percy Jackson when they were in fifth grade (after years of struggling to read). For my youngest, it was a wordless book he could use as a teether when he was six months old. Before that, he cried every single time I tried to read him a book. (Now he LOVES books!) For the seventy-something year old man I met for the first time last night, it was my book. He told me it was the first time he’s ever been excited enough to read a book from cover to cover. Each of us has that one book that changed our lives. That one book that brought meaning into the dark or confusing parts of our experiences. For you, I hope you find that one book this year. Or maybe you’ve already found it. If so, I hope you find another… And another… Each *one* book that connects us to ourselves and others in deeper ways than we thought possible, brings hope and truth that grow and shape us. I’m thankful for the amazing books I’ve read this year and look forward to the next ones to come! I’m giving away a signed copy of my survival adventure, TREASURE AT LURE LAKE as well as a $10 Amazon Gift Card so that you can find your *one* book this year! (US/Canada only)   Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads Shari Schwarz lives in Ft. Collins, Colorado near the Rocky Mountains with her husband and their four boys. TREASURE AT LURE LAKE is her debut which reflects her love for a good survival adventure story. When she’s not reading or writing, Shari can be found freelance editing, weight-lifting, gardening or watching her boys play football, basketball, speed stacking, or wrestling. She frequently dreams of exploring Oregon Coast beaches or plotting out her next children’s book.   In TREASURE AT LURE LAKE twelve-year-old Bryce’s best-laid plans for a backpacking trip with his grandpa seem about to fall through all because his big brother, Jack, is threatening to boycott the trip. Then, while sulking in his grandpa’s barn, Bryce stumbles upon a treasure map. He doesn’t mean to steal it or unearth a painful family secret that will explain the root of the brothers’ conflict as they embark on an exciting and dangerous adventure. Ages 8-12 “…this book is jam-packed with adventure with lots of appeal for reluctant readers.” -Jenn Bishop, author of The Distance to Home “…both [brothers] must make some...

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Holiday Post and Giveaway with Pitch Wars Mentor, Samantha Joyce
Dec19

Holiday Post and Giveaway with Pitch Wars Mentor, Samantha Joyce

2016 has been a rollercoaster of a year, but I’m going to take some time to focus on the ups instead of the downs. My debut novel, FLIRTING WITH FAME, came out in February. My second book (the stand-alone companion novel, DEALING IN DECEPTION) was released in November. I never thought I’d see a year where I would release one book, much less two. For so long, this crazy dream of being a published author seemed like an impossible achievement. But thanks to contests like Pitch Wars and the amazing writers I’ve met through it, I got to live my dream twice this year.   I loved so much of the process – seeing my cover for the first time, getting my first pass pages, finding my book on Amazon…but my absolute favorite part of the entire thing was the people I met throughout. I was lucky enough to land my dream agent. I had an editor who loved my book as much as I did. Those would have been enough. But then I learned about the amazingly supportive writing community. Other writers actually want to support you and help you out when they can. I come from a theater background, where competition is both fierce and necessary. Not many people cheer for each other when they all want the same part. But writers are a different breed all together. They want to see their peers succeed. They want to read each other’s books. They want to post ALL the good news. I feel so blessed to be a part of such a community. And I love supporting them right back. Please look through all the holiday posts and support both Brenda and all the authors here. <3 And finally, I got to connect with reviewers and readers. I don’t think there is anything like that moment a reader reaches out to tell you that your book changed things for them. When someone says, “Thank you for writing this.” all the years of sweat and hard work and tears feel validated. Those moments, in particular, are what I’ll carry with me into 2016 as I throw myself into new projects. I used to wonder if it was worth working so hard for this impossible dream, but now that I’ve caught a small glimpse of the other side, I know: IT IS. Happy Holidays, everyone! Here’s to a very good 2017! About DEALING IN DECEPTION: As an actress-for-hire, Veronica Wilde has made a living out of pretending to be other people. It’s the one thing at which she’s always excelled: taking on someone else’s personality and running with it. So...

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Holiday Giveaway by Pitch Wars Mentor, Karen Fortunati
Dec16

Holiday Giveaway by Pitch Wars Mentor, Karen Fortunati

  GIVEAWAY: The Weight of Zero (Delacorte/Penguin Random House) by Karen Fortunati Seventeen-year-old Catherine Pulaski knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disease, has almost triumphed once, propelling Catherine to her first suicide attempt. With Zero only temporarily restrained by the latest med du jour, time is running out. In an old ballet shoebox, Catherine stockpiles medications, preparing to take her own life. But Zero’s return is delayed due to unexpected and meaningful relationships that lessen Catherine’s sense of isolation. These relationships along with the care of a gifted psychiatrist alter Catherine’s perception of her diagnosis as a death sentence. This is a story of loss and grief and hope and how the many shapes of love – maternal, romantic and platonic – impact a young woman’s struggle with mental illness. Recognition:  A SUMMER/FALL 2016 INDIES INTRODUCE SELECTION | FEATURED IN SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE | ONE OF  APPLE’S  25 BEST BOOKS OF OCTOBER  | THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY’S 50 BEST BOOKS FOR TEENS 2016 Available:  AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | INDIEBOUND   Twitter | Website Karen is a former attorney, whose personal experiences witnessing the impact of depression and suicide inspired her to write this story of hope for those who struggle with mental illness. She lives in Connecticut with her family and rescue dogs and in addition to writing, works part time as a museum educator.  Her next book, THE ARC OF A BULLET, comes out in 2018.   a Rafflecopter...

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