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Pitch Wars Pep Talk

Some words to the lovely PitchWars Mentees of 2016:

You are all amazing, you know that? Every single one of you. In two months you’ve revamped an entire manuscript. You’ve listened to your mentor(s), you’ve learned, you’ve fine toned your craft, you’ve made friends.

You’ve won.

There is nothing quite like the thrill of an agent round. I find myself so excited to be able to continue participating from the other side, because it is a thrill. I liken the agent search to falling in love and getting married. Querying authors are searching for love, and when it comes through, it’s the best thing in the world.

And much like love, you are looking for one. Your agent might be out there, looking through the pitches as you read this. Or your agent might not be participating, waiting for your query to arrive in their slush. It’s about luck and timing and the two need to line up.

You have no control over this luck. The only thing you have control over is your craft and how you handle the ups and downs of this business. And if you don’t get any requests? That’s life in publishing. We all face rejection, every single one of us. It’s how we handle this rejection that separates us.

Last year I made it through in my first agent contest! I was thrilled, more so because it was a first chapter mentor contest. I had high hopes for the agent round, and knew there were a few agents participating I couldn’t wait to query.

I got no requests. None. Everyone else on my team got requests, most of the other authors on other teams got requests. I got none.

It sucked. But I took comfort in knowing I had been chosen, in knowing I had a shined up first chapter. I turned around and sent off my first ten queries on the project. And within that first ten included my agent.

But at the time, I didn’t know this. I didn’t know that I was on the right path. I entered more contests, made it to agent rounds, got requests! And still, they turned into rejections. Because I had already found my one. I needed time (and a revision) to know the match had been made.

And many times over this past year, I have looked back to that day where I got that email, had that call. Because it is one of those grand moments in an author’s career.

So take deep breaths, mentees. Some of you will get that call soon. Some of you will need more time for the stars to align. Enjoy the ride. Work on your craft. You are all on a different path. Cheer on your friends, take comfort in them as well. You are in the middle of your story, you just don’t know the ending yet.

And no matter what, keep moving forward.

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