After what felt like a never-ending forever, all of a sudden Pitch Wars is approaching at a rapid pace. (Are you nervous? As a first time mentor, I sure am.) We are only a week or so out from the Mentor Blog Hop, and less than a month from when the submission window opens.
There’s a lot of advice going around right now about preparing for Pitch Wars, how to up you chances of being chosen, how to pick the right mentors to submit to, etc etc. But there are probably a few people who haven’t decide whether they’re even going to enter this year. Maybe they’ve got reasons for telling themselves they shouldn’t, not now, not this year.
So let’s look at a few reasons why someone might be hesitant to enter:
REASON: My manuscript isn’t good enough.
Is it? Is it really not good enough? Self-rejection is one of the hardest parts of being a creative to overcome, and one of the biggest obstacles to success. (Personally, I say take opportunities when they’re available, whether that’s an online contest, a new agent to query, an invitation to resubmit after revisions, etc etc. Persistence, as is repeated over and over in this industry, is key.)
It’s important to remember that Pitch Wars isn’t about perfect manuscripts. Mentors aren’t making offers on your manuscript, their goal is to help you improve it. And honestly, even the agents and editors who do make the offers rarely do so on “perfect” books. After an offer and after a sale, it’s very likely that you will make revisions on your manuscript, maybe drastic ones. So don’t assume what you’ve got in your hands right now isn’t “good enough.” There are thresholds at which a mentor/agent/editor will say “I can work with this” but you’ll never know if you’ve reached those thresholds if you don’t get your book in front of folks.
REASON: Rejection sucks.
No argument here. But it’s an inevitable part of the writing world, and it will never go away. You might as well get used to it.
I’m not trying to be flip. Putting your work out for critique never stops being nerve-wracking, but it does get better if you begin to accept that criticism and rejection are part of the process. I feel lucky to have attended art school (which is basically four years of putting your hard work in front of your instructors, friends, and fellow students and having them tear it apart) because resistance to rejection builds up like a callus. IF YOU LET IT. But if you avoid it, the few times you do put yourself and your work out there are going to hurt, and keep hurting.
And one more thought on rejection: Okay, you got rejected. What have you really lost? Not much. You’re back where you were before, at worst. But at best, you get what you want. Isn’t that an acceptable risk?
REASON: Ahh—interacting with people online! It’s scary!
Okay, maybe you’re an introvert, or just aren’t very active online. That’s okay. As far as I know, there’s no minimal amount of interaction required if you’re chosen to be a mentee. While there are a number of active online mentee groups on Facebook, etc, no one is going to twist your arm to participate. If you want to quietly work with your mentor to make your manuscript the best it can be, and that’s it, that’s fine!
REASON: Eh, it’s a lot of work and I don’t think I’ll have the time.
Now this is an acceptable reason not to enter. Pitch Wars IS a lot of work, and does take a certain level of commitment if you and your manuscript are going to benefit from it. If this year isn’t the year you’ll be able to make that commitment, cool. 2018 is right around the corner. (In fact, it could get here a little faster, for a multitude of reasons, haha.)
REASON: I’ve read this whole blog post and thought it over and asked other people for input and I STILL can’t decide if I’m going to enter.
In this case, leave it to Fate. Flip a coin. (Hey, it worked for Two-Face!)
Got any other reasons you’re telling yourself not to enter? Need to be talked into it? Pitch Wars is a community; hit up the hashtags (#PitchWars or #AskMentor) and I’m sure you’ll find someone willing to help. 😉