As we’re nearing the end of #PitchWars, I thought I’d give you all a little peek into my inbox. It’s easy to be on the other side and start to feel defeated or unsure or nervous or unworthy. But I want you to know that you have absolutely no reason to feel that way. First of all: you wrote a book. That in and of itself is an accomplishment most of the world will never realize. Second of all: you wrote a damn good book. The quality of the subs are talked about every year, and every year it’s true. However, the quality I received this year has topped all of them. I didn’t have a single entry that I put into my “not ready” pile, reserved for those submissions that are basically just a rough draft delivered to the mentors.
You guys brought your A game. …which really makes my job hard.
I received a total of 73 submissions. I requested additional pages on 25 of them. That’s right, I wanted to read more of a third of my subs. So then the ones that I didn’t request more of must’ve been bad, right? First of all, shut up with that talk. (Don’t make me turn this car around!) Second of all, nope. Not even a little bit. It usually meant one of a few things: a) it wasn’t my genre; b) it wasn’t my category (the first two took up 15% of my subs); c) I knew immediately the premise wasn’t for me; or d) I didn’t connect with the voice.
Now D is a tricky one, because on many of the ones I requested, I didn’t connect immediately to the voice, but I wanted to read more just to be sure. I was super liberal in my requests, because I wanted to make sure I gave every single submission that could possibly be The One a fighting chance.
While I’ve been plowing my way through 25 submissions to read, I’ve had a total of ten of them on The Spreadsheet at one point or another. I’ve read something like eleventy billion pages, though I only read until I realized the sub wasn’t for me. Sometimes that was 7%. Sometimes it was 82%. Sometimes I stopped because another mentor listed the sub as their final pick, and if I don’t have to fight someone for their one true love, I don’t want to. (So far, I’ve counted 11 of my submissions on The Spreadsheet.) My criteria for The One is pretty simple: I want something that gives me the feels. As of now, I have two that are in the running, with one I keep coming back to. (Is it yours is it yours?!)
As for the ones I’ve passed on, I’ve taken notes on all of them, and if I have time to send to 25 people, I’ll compile my feedback and send it on for those I’ve requested more from.
The mentors have to have our picks to The Queen in four days. During that time, I also have a new release (whoop whoop!), my kid’s birthday, my kid’s birthday party (four boys all by myself, lord help me), and 8 submissions I’d still like to read (some of which I haven’t made requests on). So I probably shouldn’t be posting blog posts about Pitch Wars, huh?
While I go dive into some awesomeness on my e-reader, I wanted to leave you with a couple things: The Power of Perseverance is a post I wrote last year during Pitch Wars, and it’s still very much applicable today. I’ve posted it about 652 times on the hashtag, but on the off chance you’ve missed it, take a gander at it. If you’re feeling like a fish out of water, like you don’t belong in this vast literary world, So You Feel Like a Fraud, Huh? is a good one. We’ve all been there (yes, even those bestsellers you envy). And Every Step is Worth Celebrating is important for every writer. Even if that step is writing a book, celebrate it. If it’s submitting to PW, celebrate it. You did something awesome. Now go have some wine.