Today, I am thrilled to be bringing you a guest post from my friend, fellow Aussie, and author Tamara Watson. Tamara recently submitted her manuscript to Pitch Wars, in the hope of being one of the lucky authors chosen by a mentor. Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine. The competition occurs twice a year and is very competitive. In this blog post, Tamara, who is a busy mum of three beautiful girls, and a business owner, shares her experience of submitting to Pitch Wars. With everything she has on her plate, Tamara is truly a superwoman. She is a lovely lady, who I am proud to call my friend, and I would like to thank her for taking the time to share her experience with us.
Submitting to Pitch Wars –Tamara Watson
That one word in the writing world of Twitter, sends many feels through my body. And trust me, you will go through a wide range of emotions. But if you are on the fence about submitting your manuscript next year, I hope the little insight I give to you, while I nervously wait for my own request, will help you take that leap.
After completing my first ever manuscript, I thought I was ready to start querying. This, however, was a newbie mistake. So, after a few rejections, and then a few more, I took a step away from my work, to come back and look at it with fresh eyes. That’s when I realised more edits were needed. But after a year of revising and rewriting, I no longer knew what to do with it. That’s when I stumbled across Pitch Wars.
The online community is fantastic! Even though we all want our MS to be picked for the mentorship, I find that the friendships created during the whole submitting process, gives you so much more. If you look hard enough, there are chat groups, beta readers, critique partners, and a very supportive group of individuals.
This year was my second year entering Pitch Wars, and let me tell you a secret, it is just as nail-biting the second time around. But, I did find it easier to select mentors to submit to. Everyone is different in how they go about this, but for me, it’s simply a lot of reading.
When the list of mentors is announced, I like to read the profiles of the ones in my age category. This helps me get a feel of who I may click with the best. I create a long list just based on this alone. When the Wish list goes live, I read through those on my long list to see who fits my manuscript the best. This is now my shortlist.
I then follow these few on twitter and turn on notifications for them. This helps me see how they interact with the writing community, plus you can tell a lot more about someone’s personality from daily tweets, than a summary they wrote about themselves. For example, if a possible mentor posts lots of animal pics – that’s someone I want to work with, if someone posts racist or bullying tweets – they are crossed off the list. I also try to interact a little with mentors in order to feel the vibe. If we click, they get a star next to their name. But when it comes time to submit, if my list still has more than four possibilities, I go with my gut and hope for the best.
All of this means nothing if you haven’t prepared yourself, and your work. I cannot stress how much of a vital role the writing community plays in this process. This year, I had five people critique my first chapter, and then another two, after making changes. I can then apply this to the rest of my manuscript. I also had my query letter and synopsis looked over by someone. But be prepared to return the favour. I was lucky enough to find a few people who weren’t participating this year, and were happy to look over my work. But always offer. It is only polite after all!
Once you feel you are ready, save everything in a new folder marked PitchWars, so you can find it easier later. I would also recommend joining in on the live chats Sarah Nicolas host through her PubTalk live channel. These allow you to ask questions to different mentors.
After you have submitted, is the most challenging time, because you want to continually refresh your email, checking for any request. This is currently me! For your own sanity, only refresh in the morning when you wake, and in the evening before bed. Otherwise, you will drive yourself insane. I personally like to work on a different story altogether or take a break from writing for a few weeks. Once again, find what works for you. There is no harm in having a break and resetting the brain.
If you take anything away from all of this, I hope it is the value of the wonderful writing community. As a newer writer, I have found so many wonderful people and groups from this experience, and the online writing family. I met Hayley Walsh online, and it was one of the best things that have come of it. I know I have a friend to turn to if I am stressed, or happy, or just want to talk about random topics. Finding a place amongst a larger group of people who are on their own journey right alongside you is a great feeling.
I’m just a typical Australian, raising a young family, while running a business, and trying to do this writing thing. My Pitch Wars experience will be different from yours, but if I can give you a little insight, before taking the leap, then that’s all I can hope for. Just remember, if you don’t get in, it’s not the end of your journey.
This year alone, over four thousand people submitted a manuscript, but with only around one hundred and forty spots… well, you get the picture. If you’re looking to pass the time, develop an author website, write another story, or binge-watch a TV show. Whatever you choose, don’t ever give up.
I am a mother of three little ones living in a small town in Queensland, Australia. I was a late bloomer when it came to discovering my passion for reading and writing. As a left-handed person, I always had trouble reading letters, as they looked mirror image to me, but after finding one story I liked, the love of reading took over. It wasn’t until 2017 that I decided to give writing a try.
I wrote my first novel in just under a year, but with so many ideas in my mind, I turned to Wattpad in order to publish my work. Writing helped me escape to a world of my creation, just as reading had also done. The first short story I posted to Wattpad was called ‘Rouges Revenge’ followed shortly by ‘Thirst of the Heart’.
I mainly write Vampire/Werewolf fantasy for a YA audience, but am slowly branching out to the younger market. If you would like to check me out click the link to my website where links to my Wattpad page, social media platforms can be found.