There are quite a few of us most probably using matchsticks to keep our eyes open. None more so than Nestpitch organizer Nik who has been neglecting sleep and food to vet entries prior to sending them on to the teams.
I’ve been though the slush pile twice – actually I’ve been through it many times, but I went back over it to tag the ones I really love, which – sorry, I’m not going to talk about it. Actually there are two that are screaming at me.
As I see the entries rolling in, I want to pick all of them, because like many of the slushies and mentors, I’ve been on the other side of a pitch comp.
Last year I entered a pitch contest. It was on a whim – I’d never heard of it before, but one of the lovely girls I speak to on Twitter asked me if I was going to enter. I had a quick look and it seemed like fun. It was a totally new concept to me. So I researched hard and entered. I didn’t get picked, BUT (and you’ve probably heard this a million times) despite not getting chosen, I took a lot away from it. New friends, new opportunities and critique partners and my editor, all of who I love and love and love.
Funny, I didn’t see one of those things as an opportunity at the time, just another way to faff about with my second love – which is anything computer related for those of you who don’t know. But an opportunity it did turn out to be. I won’t go into it, but suffice to say, things are good in my little corner of the world.
Of course, it’s not just what others can do for you, but what you can do for others. Whether it be critiquing or beta reading, or lending some words of support, it will all be gratefully received.
I went in with my eyes wide open. I knew the probability of being picked was…well, not good. My book was about vampires – hugely unpopular with agents, even now. I did choose mentors that seemed to like that sort of thing, but there’s no point in mentors picking a book when they know the agent’s aren’t interested.
When I submitted, I did so thinking that my book was ready. And here we have the biggest thing that I took from that entry into a pitch competition. The critique partners I mentioned earlier tore my manuscript into teeny tiny pieces – they shredded it (in a nice way). By the time we’d put it back together again, it had vastly improved. On the day of its release, it began its steady climb up the kindle charts and I sold way more copies than I ever expected. Readers sure do still love vampires.
If I could go back and change some things, I would. I think we all feel that way about our writing. My CP’s have talked me down from pulling it from the kindle store altogether, because despite the numbers, when that rock of self-doubt settles on your chest, everything becomes dark. See – critique partners are full of amazing skills!
I won’t plow on and on about the things that you can gain from submitting, because you may have heard it before. Obviously an agent is the coveted prize, but the tweets sitting above you and below you on the nestpitch feed – those people are nuggets of gold. They can help you with your pitch or prose, anything really! On days or nights when you find yourself staring through the computer screen, bucket of chicken in one hand, jumbo bottle of fizz in the other, crumbs all over your tear stained face, you can rest assured that you have friends that will ease your worries.
And now, in a total fest of cheesiness, have a song!