Monday, June 8, 2015

Ten Months Post #PitchWars

There are a lot of pitch competitions out there. From QueryKombat to NestPitch, Writer’s Voice to Pitmad, there are a whole heap to choose from. Most (all) include a lot of nail biting, sleepless nights, and second guessing from the entrant, as well as excessive eating, caffeine jitters, and for many, increased bladder control as they glue themselves to the pitch competition twitter feed, leaving only when one of the children (remember those?) ask for something.

So if these pitch competitions cause such anguish, why do them? Surely writers can save themselves from the jowls of the comp beastie by just not getting involved. Of course they could, but if they did, they’d sure be missing out, and I shall tell you why, using my own experience.

Ten months ago, or thereabouts, I entered PitchWars. Fairly new to the social aspect of the writing world, I hadn’t heard of it before. In fact, the only reason I found out about it is because someone tweeted me asking if I was going to enter. I found out more about it, thought it sounded fun, so I did enter.

From the moment I hit the send button, my brain computed that sleep was no longer essential, toilet breaks would be taken only when the threat of wetting myself presented itself, and eating packaged poison (junk food) would suffice for the duration of the competition. I have no idea how many gallons of chocolate milk I consumed throughout the entire ordeal (it was an ordeal), but I’m pretty sure a whole lot of cows got overworked.

Did I say it was an ordeal? I can’t just go throwing things like that around without explaining myself! I spent many a sleepless night trawling through the PitchWars feed, picking apart tweets, uploading gifs of cake, and stalking the mentors. (I became a world class stalker). As stressful as it could get at times, it was also a whole lot of fun. The entrants rallied together, cheered each other on, and sent virtual sugary goods to all those feeling a little down on themselves. When the day of the announcements came, everyone congratulated the chosen and commiserated with those who didn’t get through.

I did not get picked. My life did not end. Actually, this is the point in time where my writing career really began. Some of the people I met along the way became firm friends. I gained an editor and three critique partners. We all began working on each other’s manuscripts. Through team effort, I believe we became better writers. We may not have won the competition, but we were winners all the same, because we won each other. Sounds corny, I know, but believe me when I say that the people you surround yourself with become some of the greatest writing tools you will ever find.

Ten months post PitchWars, from that group of five people (myself included), three have now been signed, two blog here on YATopia, one soared to the top ten Amazon Kindle charts in multiple sub-genres, and another is querying. I can say with absolute certainty that I wouldn’t have gotten half as far as I had if I didn’t enter PitchWars. Through that one contest I gained true support, and because of that support, my book got shortlisted for an award a few days ago.

As daunting as pitch competitions can be, they are also a lot of fun. The writing community is a wonderful place, and by entering competitions, you can immerse yourself in that. I have been on both sides of a contest now, as an entrant and a slush reader, and I highly recommend taking a chance and entering. Focus not on the possibility of winning, but on the people you find along the way. And remember – these contests are not an answer to querying, just a different method that you can have a lot of fun with.

So go forth and write, enter, and have fun!
E.L. Wicker


  1. This is a fantastic blog post and so true!!!!! :)

  2. As one of those nail biting, twitter , email checking people waiting I totally relate...thanks for making me feel I'm not alone