Before I start, failure is my term. It’s never been pushed on me by anyone in Pitchwars and I suspect I’ll get a few pokes from people saying oi, no after reading this. But it is how I feel. Let’s be honest, we push ourselves because we want to achieve. We want to get that agent, that book deal. Everyone tells you Pitchwas isn’t a guarantee, it’s not about the showcase or the agents, or the book deals. Deep down though, we all wish it was.
So, if you’re not one of the people who has agents battling for their manuscript; if it isn’t you going into auction at major houses; what’s in for you?
A List of What I Got out of Pitchwars and Am Thankful for
- The knowledge I can still do it. I came into Pitchwars after four years of not writing. Four years of pushing myself and struggling and never getting anywhere. And yet in April 2020 I started a writing a new project. In August 2020, I finished the first draft. And in September 2020 Ian selected it for Pitchwars.
- A much better book. Seriously. It’s a much, much better book now, even if it’s not getting any traction with agents or publishers. It’s deeper, it’s smoother, it’s better paced. It shows a mastery of using the blank line.
- Industry knowledge. It had been years since I’d queried, so getting support in not just my submission package but knowledge of agents, who was a good match for querying and so forth was a massive help. When I go back in again, that knowledge will help with the next book.
- A friend in Ian. We might not be discussing krakens and just how big to make giant spiders, but’s still good to know he’s there to reach out to.
- The 2020 Pitchwars cohort. These people are amazing. Some of them have achieved incredible things already, but everyone has always been kind, helpful and thoughtful at all stages.
- And understanding of pressure. Those are three tough months. For many of us, there was a huge amount to do in a very short space of time. Nothing teaches you like leaping in the deep end!
- Another book. Pitchwars was stressful, my book was serious and emotionally draining. So I wrote something light and fluffy. The experience definitely gave me the drive to write it.
- The knowledge that I don’t need to give up. I was that close at points this year, but being around a large number of people who have very varied experiences helped me to see where I fit in, what options I had open to me, and why the dismal failure of my pitchwars book shouldn’t be seen as the inevitable fate of anything I write.
Real talk, Pitchwars is tough. It’s heart-breaking to not get in. It’s gruelling to get in. It can be crushing if you’re not one of the ones who succeeds. And it’s very easy to dwell on the things that haven’t happened. But it has brought amazing results to a great many people, and even for those who haven’t got there yet, the sense of community, the combined experience, the shared pain is a massive boost to any writer.
If you’re thinking about entering this year, feel free to hit me for any information about my experience.