Once again, Twitter is full of congratulations for those chosen to move on in a pitch contest. I did not enter, but I know people who did and GOOD FOR THEM IF THEY MADE IT OR NOT! These contests are fun, but a bit stressful. And can leave you feeling frazzled.
I have been in the masses waiting for announcements. I entered PitchMadness two years in a row, with two different manuscripts and didn’t get chosen, got very little feedback, but made some truly AMAZING friends. Seriously… these people!
A lot of people enter these contests, hoping to get their manuscript in the hands of the right person. Chances are low, but, hey, why not try?
Why not? There’s really no reason. The people who run these contests are simply fabulous! The work it must take, boggles my mind! They really are out there to help, to give writers another avenue to tread. Critique partners have been found, everyone swaps queries and pages of manuscripts! The support is fabulous. The offers of help make me smile! If you want to meet writers and be a part of an awesome group, Twitter is the place to be.
However, among the good, there is the blah.
When I entered the last PitchMadness, I was hoping for… something. At the end I felt fairly invisible and let down. I did NOT expect feedback from the mentors. I mean, do you know how many people enter? To send replies to everyone would be nuts! When I dutifully followed the mentors on Twitter, I thought they might follow back, but they didn’t. I felt invisible.
I knew my YA fantasy wasn’t on the top of anyone’s wish list, but I liked it. And there’s always hope. And perhaps there is a time in each writer’s life to participate in all the pitching craziness, and eventually that time passes and we step aside to let others partake of the fun.
Did I ever expect to be chosen and find an agent? I don’t think so. I did it for the experience, and with the hope that my querying days would be made a bit easier. However, I did continue to query.
A month or so after the end of PitchMadness, I had an offer to publish my ms that had just failed to interest anyone at PitMad. Then a month later, I had another offer. And as you read, possibly last Thursday or on my blog last Saturday, I signed to publish with the amazing Reuts Publishing. Through good old fashioned querying. (Well, technically they never saw my query, but that’s another story.)
So, I guess what this strange rambling gets down to is…
Really, that phrase that we want to set on fire sometimes is true. Hard work, no matter how frustrating, will get you where you want to go. A contest seems like an easy way out, but only works for a few.
So keep writing. Keep querying, whether agents or small presses. Don’t let contest results dictate where your life goes. Travel the path that works. One foot in front of the other, move forward. And when it gets difficult, come to us, your writer friends.
We’ll lift you up and carry you.