|"Alone we can do so little; together, we can do so much." Helen Keller|
Our chapter of the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators had the honor of welcoming New York Times bestselling YA author Brenda Drake for our August ShopTalk meeting. Brenda is the founder of Pitch Wars, Pitch Madness, and #PitMad. In 2012 the idea came to her while watching an episode of "Cupcake Wars" on TV. On the Pitch Wars’ website, Brenda writes, “["Cupcake Wars" is] a show where bakers have an assistant help them prepare the best cupcakes possible for a round of judges. While watching all the yummy creations come together, I thought it would be great to have a publishing contest where agented/published authors, those who are a few steps ahead, could mentor authors’ full manuscripts and guide them through the publishing trenches.” But even before the "Cupcake Wars," Brenda started her first contest in 2010, described on the website as “Pitch Wars . . . a legacy,” which developed into the contest called “Pitch Madness.”
Today, Pitch Wars is a mentoring program for Middle Grade, Young Adults, New Adult or Adult manuscripts, described on the website:“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 for an agent showcase. Pitch Wars is open to completed and polished full-length fiction manuscripts only. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents.”
Pitch Wars has developed into a community of authors, editors, agents and more who come together to help each other by offering advice, with the eventual goal of publication. One of the authors in our SCBWI chapter found her critique partners in the community. After participating in the mentorship program, the idea for her second book came to her fast. And she says, the information you learn will stay with you.
How Can You Participate?
• Do your research. Study the Pitch Wars website. Begin on the page, “New? Start Here.” This page offers step-by-step instructions on how to get involved, how to find a mentor, to prepare your submission, submit and join social media. Also, the page provides the Pitch Wars schedule.
• Click on “About #PitMad,” which is a pitch party on Twitter where writers tweet a 280-character pitch for their completed polished and unpublished manuscripts. All genres are welcomed. Agents and editors make requests by liking/favoriting the tweeted pitch. Every unagented writer is welcome to pitch. All genres/categories are welcomed. #PitMad occurs quarterly and upcoming dates are posted.
• Go to the Pitch Wars Blog to learn more about the Pitch Madness contests.
Take a few moments and visit Brenda’s website, https://brendadrake.com, take the “Library Jumpers Mystik World Tour,” and check out her other books in a second series, “The Fated;” and her latest standalone book, dubbed “a fast-paced romantic adventure” by Kirkus Review, “Analiese Rising.” One peek at Amazon Reviewers for Thief of Lies, the first book in the Library Jumpers series tells it all: “This has to be one of my all-time favorite fantasy books!” and “Conceptually, this book (series) is brilliant.”
Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 150 articles for adults and children, and several short stories for children. She has recently become editor of the New Mexico SCBWI chapter newsletter and is working on several projects for children. Follow Linda on Facebook.