No, not that way, you dirty minds! Before the #Pitchwars submission window opens, I have a few thoughts that might help.

  1. Take your time-Make sure you’ve got your full ready, your synopsis set (At least have one. They’re good practice and can help you find plot holes/spaces that need more development. I do mine after finishing the rough draft, if that gives you any idea of how useful a tool it can be for revising!), and your query shows the character, stakes, and the primary plot thread clearly.
  2. Don’t wait until the very last minute-Seriously. Every year, there are people who miscalculate the time zones, and people who have tech issues, etc. Don’t wait until the last hours. It’s risky. (Submissions received then get just the same attention, though!)
  3. Make friends-Chat on the hashtag even while mentors pick, and after as well! Pitchwars, much like Nanowrimo, has a set time, but people can chatter whenever on it, and it’s all welcome.
  4. Realize it’s not personal- It’s hard to put your work out there. I’ve only actually gotten the confidence once to submit a short story (It was bought by the first place I sent it to, granted, but that anthology did terrible and I shouldn’t have wasted first print rights on it because I never actually got a single dime from it due to their “The check’s in the mail” line until I finally asked for it pulled.) It’s your manuscript, you’ve worked incredibly hard on it, and it’s scary to put it out there to be judged. But remember: We’re judging the manuscript, not you. It’s about voice, marketability, plot, pacing, characterization, how much we connect with it… I fully expect that there will be at least 5 MSs I could gladly pick, and it’ll come down to what the other mentors are picking and which KT and I feel strongest about.
  5. It’s all subjective-We don’t have any sort of rule book that says “Use this method to pick your mentee!” We have chats in the secret mentor group where newer mentors can ask “What did you do?” and get advice, and all mentors tend to talk about issues when we encounter them and aren’t sure what to do. But like agents, readers, editors,etc, everyone’s tastes are different, and there’s rarely one “right” answer. People follow their guts, and sometimes those guts are led by industry knowledge and experience, and sometimes they’re simply led by pleasure. There is no wrong answer here.

Watch the live chats, (I’m on the 8pm one tonight, you should say hi!), read the bios, check their twitter feed. Make your choices as best you can, and then take a breath and DO IT. I can’t wait to see what you’ve written.