It doesn’t take a math genius to see it’s been almost five months since I posted last. What in the heck have I been doing all that time? One hashtagged word….
Even though #Pitchwars officially ended in November, for many of us selected the war slogged on in the form of revisions and rewrites.
Between the time I was selected by my amazing (and probably now-sorry) mentor JR Yates, my manuscript went through–not one–but TWO major revisions.
- Announcement of #Pitchwars “winners” announced on August 25, 2016. It would be a few days before my mentor and I connected because of the Tweet-storm #Pitchwars causes.
- My mentor tells me if I want my manuscript to be a stronger, truer romance, I need to get rid of an entire subplot that made up about a third of my manuscript. (Freaking out on my part ensues.)
- I’m a marinate-r. I’ve tried to write in a lot of different ways, but the story has to marinate in my head for days and sometimes weeks before I can write. In #Pitchwars you don’t have weeks since the contest is only 2 months long.
- I got the first major rewrite completed by mid- to late October. OMG. I’ve never written that fast, and still the deadline looms, the first week of November.
- My mentor read through it again and the gist of her feedback was: MORE FEELINGS…and develop your characters more, more, more. God I felt so wrung out already. Where, from where was I going to dig MORE?
- I was NOT finished with my second re-write for the deadline, but so were a few other #Pitchwars contestants. I wasn’t alone.
- I was still able to post a pitch and excerpt from my book for the agent round.
The Hard Part
Part of #Pitchwars is once you’ve completed your revisions of your novel, you get to post a 300-word pitch and the first 250 words of your manuscript, and over a 10-day period agents are invited to go through the pitches. If an agent is interested, they’ll ask the author to send more material to them.
I received ZERO requests during this time period.
ZERO. And that hurt like a mofo. I cried under my covers the first day. It sucked.
And for a long time I debated….do I want to tell the world I got into this thing and then didn’t get a single, solid request? What might agents think? Would they see my shining goose egg and think twice about requesting material from me?
These are very real, crazy talk writers go through.
The Great Part
While I didn’t get any requests during the agent round of #Pitchwars, I did get “inducted” into an incredible group of writers, where I’m learning no matter what stage of the writing process we’re in, we deal with the crazy talk in our heads.
- Didn’t make the cut in #Pitchwars: My writing sucks. Should I quit now?
- Didn’t receive any requests from agents: My writing sucks. Should I quit now?
- I’m querying like every other writer out there, but only rejections are coming my way: My writing sucks. Should I quit now?
- I got a request from an agent to see more: My writing sucks. Maybe the agent mixed up and sent her request to me by mistake.
- I got an offer from an agent for representation: My writing sucks. Is the agent desperate or delusional?
- I have an agent: My writing sucks. How will my agent ever sell my novel to a publisher?
- I have a book deal: My writing sucks. Who in the eff will ever buy my book?
- I have a multiple book deal: My writing sucks. How will I ever come up with something for two more books????
The True Results
The true results of #Pitchwars isn’t about an agent or a book deal–although some of the 2016 PW contestants did in fact get both.
After hanging with these incredible writers for almost five months now, I can honestly say the reward was WAY BIGGER for me.
- I’ve connected with writers in way that I could’ve never connected before, and that’s awesome, because it gets super lonely as an author.
- I’ve found beta readers and critique partners. People I can bounce even the silliest ideas off of.
- I found my tribe of other neurotic romance writers and I love them all: Helen Hoang, Jen DeLuca, Alexa Martin, Gwynne Jackson, Tricia McKee. And if you ever get a chance to buy and read their books, DO IT. Because they’re spectacular writers.
While as writers, we might get discouraged and want to toss our computers into a body of water, but inevitably we come back to our words; to the stories that long to be told.
And it was the same for me.
I dusted off my disappointment and got back on the proverbial horse. In late January, my manuscript and query were revised, polished and ready to start pitching to agents. By the time of this posting, I’ve had several requests for more material, and two requests for full manuscripts.
The world of writing looks a lot like this: