To Pitch? Or not to Pitch?
February and March 2020 started off the pitching season with some mindblowing events. Author Mentor Match, PitMad and RevPit are only the beginning...
But to take part in a pitch contest takes a form of courage not all writers feel comfortable with. After all, cold querying agents already brings a lot of stress, why would anyone want to take on more of that?
Simply because despite the chances to be rejected, pitching your work might deliver you more feedback than an agent's formletter could ever bring you.
Author Mentor Match 2020 was the first writing contest I ever took part in. Along with more than 1000 other people, I sent my pitch, my query letter and the first 3 chapters of my finished (and polished) manuscript, and crossed all fingers and toes. I was well aware of the fact that only 50 people could win the contest, and having 1000+ participants, it meant that there was only a 0.05% chance of being chosen. Against the 0.003% of landing an agent, this number alone was a good reason to give it a try. You pitch... and you wait. And this is where the actual game and fun begins. Where some people would never participate because of the stress and anxiety this brings, for me this was a wonderful opportunity to get my work and voice out there. I met some wonderful aspiring writers, connected with a brilliant author
and had a lot of fun with Twitter's #WritingCommunity. I even received personal feedback from one of the mentors, despite not being chosen.
This alone was worth the anxiety of waiting for 2 weeks without hearing a thing. Of course I felt bummed at some point. I saw so many mentors posting about having made their full requests... but my mailbox was still empty. But here's the thing: this doesn't mean you are a bad writer, or that your work isn't good enough for publishing. It could mean several things. It could mean that the mentors you pitched, simply weren't looking for your kind of work. It could also mean that your work might even have been good enough to go straight into the cold querying process. And this is where most wirters fail to see the gain in this process. They get stuck on the fact that they weren't chosen. I'd say this is a win. Because this tells you there is still work to do, and you haven't waisted a precious opportunity with your dream agent.
The same can be said for events like PitMad. I received several requests from publishers and agents, after I pitched my work. I was over the moon, because people were interested in my work. At this point I am eargerly awaiting the results. Does that scare me? Yes! Does that make me never want to participate in any "waiting competition" ever again? Hell no! But do ask yourself if you are capable of looking at these processes from the sunny side. If you can... well then I absolutely advise you to go for it. If you think you can't... I still think you should go for it, because the reward will be fantastic. It will even be a good exercize for when you start the cold querying process. Practice the waiting, enjoy the silence, and find friends that are surfing the waves with you.
Here's an overview of interesting (free) writing contests in 2020:
18/19 April 2020 | Revise & Resub
22/23 April 2020 | DVPit
4 June 2020 | PitMad
Summer 2020 | PitchWars
Year Round | NaNoWriMo