Hello! I’m back! Did you miss me?
*waits* *everyone discusses whether I had been gone or not*
Anyway. I want to talk about #nestpitch a contest for writers who are seeking agents. Submissions happened last week. When I returned from vacation (which was fabulous, by the way, thanks for asking), the slush reading had already begun! So I jumped in, trying to figure out where to go to read and what to do when I find one I like. Pretty much hanging on by my little toes, hoping I wouldn’t let my team (#TeamEggselent) down!
I am a slushie in the middle of reading about 160 pitches and first 300 words, searching for ideas that call to me, for characters and description and emotion that draws me in. And I have found quite a few! And have started stalking some of them on Twitter.
But we can only choose so many. This week my team will get our act together and request more pages (I know, some teams have already done that). And do MORE reading to decide on our top four or five. Then critiquing! My favorite.
I have lurked on the other side of these contests as a entrant. I have chewed my fingernails off as I worried about who was reading my words and WOULD ANYONE LIKE THEM? I was never chosen for any contest I entered. Nope. And it did hurt… only A LOT. But I moved on.
Being on this side is odd. I often think of all the people out there waiting for news… a tweet, a hint, ANYTHING. I feel you, my fellow writers!
As I read through all the entries, I can’t help but be struck with one big thought.
THIS IS ALL SO SUBJECTIVE! There’s no formula to use to figure out which ones are the best, which ones will be chosen by an agent. It’s just me and the words.
I have read all of the words. I have picked my top 20. One of my teammates has done the same. Half of my picks match hers and the other half, well, does not. I read all her picks and there is nothing wrong with them. Nothing.
They just don’t speak to me.
And that is the story of a writer’s life.
That simple phrase is why we don’t have an agent or a book deal. Finding the right person or publisher drives us to write, to send out queries, to deal with rejections. It makes us dig through the cupboards for chocolate, doubt every word we type, and, at times, curl up in a corner and weep (not that I have any experience with that… maybe… okay yes).
I keep looking at all the entries. Staring at them. Reading and rereading. Why doesn’t this one pique my interest? There’s nothing wrong with it.
Sometimes the pitch doesn’t do it, but the writing does. Sometimes the pitch captures my attention, and I want more of the writing to see where the story goes. Sometimes it’s the prologue that makes me want more.
I’m a YA girl, and, SHOCKER, most of my picks are YA. I’m a weird, fantasy, horror girl. So the romance and contemporary doesn’t speak to me as much as if there are demons or magic.
That’s okay. This is art. We’re all who we are. We can’t be anything else.
All those rejections I got. Oh well. It wasn’t their thing.
But you roll your eyes… “Easy for you to say! You signed with a fabulous publisher!”
True. But someday my book will be out in the world and some people probably won’t like it, won’t pick it up off the shelf.
And that’s okay.
Because it’s not about the people who don’t like it. It’s about the people who do.
All the nestpitchers out there, if you get page requests or not. Hold your head up high and continue the search for where your words fit. Your ms might have been someone’s favorite, but the team decided to go a different way. I have a few that if they are not chosen, I will probably find the authors and tell them that their ms was in my top picks. Not that it matters, maybe, but I’d want to know.
Through all the trails, all the waiting, all the searching for an agent… remember, you wrote the words for a reason. Out of a need. Out of love. Look for the people who will love it too. They’re out there.