What I'm Listening to: Broken Bones by Kaleo
What’s up my pitches?
It’s almost here! The sweating palms, the turning stomach, the ‘went to class, naked’ dreams. Pitch Wars is upon us and the excitement and stress can be overwhelming, let me tell you. I know for a fact if you’re entering Pitch Wars this year, you’re about to develop a love/hate relationship with your inbox, and your Twitter refresh rate will only be exceeded by your galloping pulse.
Let’s talk about some DOs and DON’Ts for self-care and contest etiquette, shall we?
DO WALK AWAY –– Go to a movie, the grocery store, a date with your S.O. or if you’re flying solo, take yourself out. LEAVE YOUR PHONE AT HOME!
Once you’ve hit the submit button, you need to get away from your inbox and the Pitch Wars feed everyday for a bit. You can absolutely drive yourself crazy checking in every ten minutes. Trust me, I know. You’re not going to die if you don’t turn around a mentor request in sixty seconds, and they’re not going to think less of you if it takes a couple of hours to get a request out. They know you have a life.
DON’T BRAG ABOUT REQUESTS OR BEING CHOSEN –– Be a good sport here. Twitter and the Facebook group are NOT the place to get into how giddy you are to have gotten requests from all six of the mentors you subbed to. NOT COOL!
Of course you’re excited and proud of yourself, but using it to make others feel like shit makes you a troll who’s not going to get picked because you couldn’t be an adult about it. I guarantee, no matter how well you write, if you’re an asshole, you’re not going to get a mentor. And don’t think for a second that the one asshole comment you made will slip by. Mentors are stalking you just as hard as you are stalking them.
DO CELEBRATE QUIETLY –– Behind closed doors it’s fine to discuss your requests with the writers your closest with. Your Critique Partner, your betas, the people you’ve developed relationships with beyond the contest. In fact, I encourage you to discuss these things privately.
DM, PM, Skype, Text, Email, whatever floats your boat, but keep it private and always weigh the feelings of those you’re considering talking with. How would you feel if your CP got six requests, you got zero and they never shut up about it? Being there for each other means considering their feelings, too.
Do unto…and if you get selected, same goes.
DON’T CALL OUT MENTORS –– There is only one way to react to a pass from a mentor, agent, or publisher. Even one you disagree with.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my manuscript. I understand sometimes the stars don’t align on these things, but I truly appreciate the time commitment you made to review my work.
All my best,
Feel free to use that.
In particular, the Pitch Wars Mentors are VOLUNTEERS. They are donating their time and wisdom out of the goodness of their hearts, time that they are taking away from their family, their own writing and their obligations
You disagree with their take on your writing? You keep that shit to yourself, you hear? And publicly dissing the mentors, or Brenda and her team? I’ve got no qualms about throwing a beatin’. Written, verbal or otherwise.
DO SALIVATE OVER EVIL TEASERS — It’s fun trying to figure out which tweets might be about your writing. I’m still a little twitchy wondering which teasers last year were about me. Several mentors mentioned reading a book that was “dirty AF”…yeah, still think that was mine. And one mentor actually saved her tweets and told us at the end which tweets were about our particular book. RAAAAADDDDD!
DON’T SALIVATE OVER EVIL TEASERS ALL DAY LONG, EVERY F*CKING DAY –– Seriously. Once again, if you don’t get some distance, you will drive yourself insane. You’ll stop sleeping, pull your hair out, mutter to yourself until your pets think you’re crazy, maybe even take up day-drinking. (Okay, so maybe I did that last one more than I should have).
Practice moderation, folks. Not just with the day-drinking, but with the email-checking, the twitter-stalking, and the like.
DO LEAN ON YOUR FRIENDS
–– It’s perfectly okay to feel like your going to lose your shit. That’s what your tribe is for. Talk to them, discuss your worries and doubts with them privately. I guarantee they have them as well. It’s a comfort be able to share this experience with your team, and if they’ve been there for you on a bad day, make sure your there to repay the kindness.
DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP –– Don’t turn a scab into a scar by picking at it. If you don’t get any requests or you don’t get in to Pitch Wars this year, take the feedback you get, dust off your bruised ego, and get the f*ck back to work.
Warning: Shitty sports cliche ahead––A fighter that never gets their ass kicked, never learns to appreciate the win.
It’s not failure, it’s fuel. It’s not failure, it’s fuel. It’s not failure, it’s fuel.
Use it, learn from it, and come up ready to kick ass next time.