Thursday, August 4, 2016

3 How to Win Pitch Wars (Whether You Get In Or Not)

Last week we wrapped up our Red Light/Green Light contest--congratulations to Lindsey Myhr, who won a full request from Kelly Peterson of Corvisiero Literary Agency! If you were one of the top 5 entries, please remember that Kelly would LOVE to see your queries along with a 50 page sample of your work. Her query info is available here.

This week, I'd like to talk about another contest, which we do not host, but which is a Really Big Deal--that's right, Pitch Wars. On Tuesday night, the Pitch Wars submission window opened, and the contest won't close to submissions until Saturday night. For the next three weeks, hopefuls will be agonizing over whether or not they made it in.

Last year, I participated in Pitch Wars myself, and had a fantastic experience. While I didn't make it in as a mentee, I still feel like I gained a great deal from entering. I came away with...
  • a fantastic community of writers to learn from and interact with

  • a number of suggestions as to how to improve my manuscript

  • stronger faith in my work, as a number of people had lovely things to say, in addition to offering constructive criticism

  • a small handful of absolutely invaluable critique partners

While any one of these things would have made my participation in Pitch Wars worthwhile, I cannot emphasize enough how important to your writing process good critique partners are. I never would have met mine without Pitch Wars, and that's why despite the fact that I wasn't chosen as a mentee, I still think of myself as having won the contest.

You see, a great CP is...

  • an editor

  • a sounding board for ideas

  • a staunch promoter of your work

  • a shoulder to cry on (even if the shoulder and the crying both happen virtually!)

  • someone to celebrate successes with

  • a friend to keep you grounded when the ups and downs of writing life get overwhelming

Once you find a critique partner you want to hang onto for life, chances are they will have more input in your writing than even your agent. They'll be the ones who read initial drafts, who will be honest about what is and isn't working, and who will offer countless hours of emotional support.

Have I convinced you yet that you need to find some fantastic CPs? 

One way to go about finding critique partners is simply by asking on Twitter (the writing community's favorite social media platform) if anyone is interested in swapping queries/first chapters. You can search the #amwriting and #PitchWars hashtags for those writing work similar to your own. All this can be a bit hit or miss, though. I myself swapped opening chapters with probably two dozen other writers before settling on my current small group of CPs.

In an attempt to help you streamline the process of finding CPs, we here at Adventures in Young Adult Publishing are going to host a Critique Partner Match Up on August 25th.

That's right--it'll happen the same day as the Pitch Wars mentees are announced. From August 18th through 21st, we'll be open to receive queries and 250 word writing samples via email from those who are interested in finding a CP to help them out with Pitch Wars revisions should they make it into the contest, or to assist with preparing for querying should they not make it in. (Because you're not giving up if you don't get into Pitch Wars!)

Watch this spot for further details regarding the Critique Partner Match Up. Next week (August 11th), we'll talk about what to look for in a critique partner, and how to be a great CP yourself. On the 18th, we'll post submission details for the Match Up, and you'll be invited to start emailing in your entries.

That's all for now, and may the Pitch Wars odds be ever in your favor!


  1. This is a great source of help and information. Thank you so much for hosting the critique partner match up!

  2. I'm so excited for this! What a wonderful way to continue building this incredible community

  3. I have a critique group and their help is invaluable! I strongly suggest a CP.


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