Hello, Pitch Wars hopefuls!
We’re still busy reading subs and making requests, but we wanted to give you a little insight into our inbox.
- General fantasy 62
- Contemporary fantasy 9
- Urban fantasy 7
- Steampunk 3
- Fairytale retelling 2
- High fantasy 2
- Dark fantasy 1
- Portal fantasy 1
3 Wrong age category (MG)
2 Wrong age category (Adult)
0 Wrong genre (Good job on this one, guys!)
= 145 Submissions!
As new mentors, we were so thrilled so many of you chose to share your stories with us!
Common Questions Answered
From cruising/stalking the Pitch Wars hashtag (though admittedly neither one of us has been on there much—at all—since we started reading subs in earnest), here are answers to some of the questions we saw floating around.
I’m hardly on Twitter / I don’t have a following / “Wait, what’s Twitter?” Will this hurt my chances of getting a request and/or chosen as a mentee?
Not one bit! We’re looking at your story and writing, not at how good you are at social media. (Though it’s a plus for agents and editors!)
Quelle horreur! I found a typo in my query/synopsis/opening pages! Will that count against me?
A few mistakes here or there won’t break the bank. Unless your entry is riddled with typos and/or grammatical errors, you’re totally fine. (I honestly don’t think in all 145 entries we saw one where this was even an issue.) We’re simply looking for a conscious effort on your part to present your best work.
My query/synopsis is kind of awful. Writing these things is so hard! Will you auto-reject me if my query isn’t perfect?
Nope! We both know how hard it is to write queries and synopses. If we got the basic gist of your plot, you’re a-okay. Part of Pitch Wars is helping you with your pitch anyway. So if it needs work, don’t fret!
Did you read all the pages?
Melissa: I read every single query. After that (regardless of how I felt about the concept), I jumped down to the pages. I read at least the first page of every entry, as I knew pretty quickly if a voice/writing style was a good match for me. I honestly didn’t always read the synopsis. If I liked the pages, I then went up to the synopsis to make sure there was a decent plot trajectory planned for the book. Though, I will say that plot and structure are a lot easier to change in four months than voice, so if the synopsis was a bit shaky, that didn’t suddenly turn likeable pages into a no.
Lindsey: I read every query and then immediately jumped into the pages. If I liked the concept, I gave it a few pages, and skimmed the synopsis. If I was on the fence about the concept, I gave it the first page. If I didn’t like the concept at all, I gave it the first couple of paragraphs. It might seem harsh, but there were a lot of entries! We had to be honest and go with our gut reactions to each entry, otherwise, we wouldn’t eat nor sleep until the deadline!
What type of trends did you see in your inbox?
We saw a whole lot of death for some reason! Deceased parents and siblings, ghost characters, characters haunted by ghosts, dead characters (though zombies only made one appearance), characters navigating the afterlife. A couple demons. There’s nothing wrong with any of the above—just an interesting observation. We also got a handful of mermaids, dragons, a few fae, and even a unicorn! And on the sci-fi side, we saw a lot of space pilots and their trusty ships.
Was there anything that turned a sub into an auto-reject?
Luckily for us, y’all were really good about only sending us genres we wanted, so we didn’t have to reject anyone simply for not following guidelines. The entries that didn’t fall into our age category (and there weren’t many) weren’t considered. The main reason we auto-rejected a sub was if it had a wildly out-of-touch word count. Anything below 50k got a raised eyebrow. On the high end, we considered anything up to 120k, and made a few exceptions for ones in the 130k range. If it was over 140k, we didn’t read the pages. Agents rarely consider debuts over 100k. To take on something as long as 140k, we’d need to essentially cut out a full-length novel’s worth of words. That’s just too much to tackle during the short four months we have available during Pitch Wars.
Were there a lot of subs in your maybe pile?
So. Many. Maybes. Some had writing that still needed a bitmore polishing, but the concept was amazing. Or vice versa. Or ones where Melissa loved a sub and Lindsey was on the fence. Or vice versa. Or ones that sounded a little too similar to projects one of us was already working on. There are so many we wish we could take on. Just narrowing down ones for requests was/is a struggle.
Now we will portray our emotional journey of reviewing everyone’s submissions…entirely through The Good Place gifs.
Upon seeing all our submissions…
Upon getting through the first fifty…
Upon getting through one hundred…
Upon deciding on whose to request…
Upon realizing we can only pick one…
But enough about us! Let’s talk about your Pitch Wars experience.
I know you’ve heard it a million times before, but not getting into Pitch Wars isn’t a reflection on you as a writer. So many factors go into not selecting something, and often times it’s solely a personal preference thing that you have no control over. Melissa realized she’s really selective about mermaid stories. Lindsey isn’t wild about fae. But neither one of us realized this until we were reading subs. Would we outright say no to either one of those? No. But it might take a little more to win us over. That has nothing to do with your book and everything to do with what we like to read.
All you can do is write the best book you can, put it out there, make writer friends, get more eyes on your work, improve, and get it out there again. Publishing is a marathon and not a sprint, as they say.
We hope this was helpful!
Keep writing, guys, no matter what!
*Dives back into the inbox*
– Melissa & Lindsey