Abstaining from Pitch Wars

For the first time in three years, I decided to abstain from Pitch Wars this year.

I’m not sure why. Part of it was probably that I felt like I’ve been ignoring my own writing in favor of paying attention to other media and wallowing in distractions, and part of it was that I feel like I’ve gotten a little jaded about publishing and whether I really belong giving anyone advice about it. I mean, sure, there are plenty of beginners I know more than enough to help, but the only difference between me and my potential mentees the past few years was that I had an agent and they didn’t. Even after securing representation with agents for two different books and selling one of them, I just kinda started doubting my competence. I haven’t been actively writing much at all, and my publishing career hasn’t gone anywhere since I sold a book in 2013. What I did worked for me, but I don’t know if it would work for anyone else, and it wasn’t fiction anyway.

But honestly I do think I have good advice on improving manuscripts and providing perspective on agent searches. I just think maybe I’ve been using the cause to avoid working on my own projects. It’s time to get back to it.

I have Bad Fairy 2 to finish up; it’s been complete for a long time, but my test readers have all either finished or petered out on reading and dropped off the radar without explanation, and I’m still undecided on how to present the first half of the book since it still feels too much like a sequel in my opinion.

I have Ace of Arts to write. I got really jazzed about this book the other day, wanting to get back into it, but I had just returned from vacation and convinced myself I had some digital housecleaning to finish first. (I did that.) Maybe I should dive back in.

I have a short story I started but stopped writing after a page because I was kinda hating how it was going. I’ll want to start that over again and get it busted out.

I don’t think I have any short stories out for consideration right now. I had a couple rejections in June and then July was just a mess for me, so I didn’t bother addressing it. Need to get some short stories out there to be considered by magazines.

But it’s weird to not be in Pitch Wars. Part of me is glad I’m not, because as usual there have been some hiccups and some nastiness, though there’s also tons of excitement. I am kinda sad that I won’t have a mentee this year. I loved working with my mentees. Year 1 I mentored Whitney Fletcher, who got an agent immediately through the contest. I had alternates Ryan and Jessica; Ryan’s gotten close but his project never hit the right agent, and as far as I know he hasn’t tried writing something new, while Jessica got picked up by a small publisher without an agent. Year 2 I mentored Megan Paasch, with whom I don’t really chat much anymore, and we never found our match, but my alternate Natalka found representation for a book she wrote after Pitch Wars and that book sold also to a small publisher. And Year 3 my mentee was Lynn Forrest, whose book didn’t hit with an agent during the contest but seems to be getting a ton of full manuscript requests these days. I love having a relationship with another writer the way I do during Pitch Wars, and I’m sad I won’t have a Year 4 mentee to put in this list.

I hope whoever I would have picked does well. :/

It sounds weird, but the part I really enjoyed besides mentoring an individual was sending feedback to the people I didn’t pick. I was a bit overwhelmed the first year, but the second and third years I had a ball picking apart and analyzing query letters and initial chapters. And people were so cool about it, taking my feedback so professionally and in some cases having great discussions with me about their work. I miss that part of it too. But you can’t have that without the whole package, and I just couldn’t handle the package this year.

I don’t know if I’m done with Pitch Wars forever or if it’s just this year. Time will tell.

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