#Pitch Wars: One Mentor’s POV

Hey, gang. If you’ve been following all the excitement, you’ll know the big #pitchwars announcement is fast approaching. Brenda Drake will post the mentor/mentee teams tomorrow. Whoop! I can’t wait. I’m dying to talk to my mentee about how much I love his/her book.

In the meantime, since I know a lot of you like stats, here are mine:

Subs (query and first chapter) received: 200
Fantasy: 42
Contemporary romance: 23
Thriller: 23
Speculative: 2
Urban fantasy: 14
Women’s fiction: 30
Paranormal romance: 5
Mystery: 15
Romantic suspense: 11
Contemporary: 7
Sci-fi: 8
Erotic romance: 2
Suspense: 6
Horror: 2
Other: 10

Requested fulls: 20
Contemporary romance: 4
Women’s fiction: 3
Romantic comedy: 1
Fantasy: 3
Romantic suspense: 1
Thriller: 2
Urban fantasy: 3
Paranormal romance: 1
Mystery: 1
Romantic thriller: 1

Not getting a request for more pages from me is NOT an indication of the quality of the writing. Realistically, I could only go through so many pages in such a short time frame. And, in case you’re wondering, I didn’t read all 20 requested manuscripts. With some of them, I read until the author lost me. If I was still reading by page 50, I’d jump around to see if the middle sagged or the end fell apart. I only read one MS from beginning to end and that’s the MS I chose. I seriously couldn’t put it down. I had to force myself to exit the document and consider other manuscripts, but none could compare. That doesn’t mean the writing was any better than the others. This particular manuscript was simply a perfect fit for me.

Imagine you go to a bookstore and only have enough money to buy ONE book. How do you choose? You pick the one that calls to you. This is the same thing. If I could have chosen more than one, I would have. In fact, I’d love to edit the other 19 manuscripts (and some of the manuscripts that I didn’t request too).

If I didn’t pick you, and if none of the other mentors picked you, don’t give up. This doesn’t mean your writing sucks or that you shouldn’t move forward with your career. Keep entering contests, find critique partners and beta readers, query agents, or self-publish. This is YOUR journey. Not getting picked for one contest doesn’t mean anything. We’re not rejecting you or your book. We just picked another one. Period. Someone tweeted yesterday that this experience is like when you call a friend to go out for coffee. You’re not rejecting all your other friends because you didn’t invite them. You’re choosing to go out with this one particular friend at that moment for whatever reason.

There wasn’t one sub that made me think, “This sucks.” Some of the entries were further along in certain aspects of the craft, but I encounter that all the time with my clients. I don’t expect every manuscript I edit to be error-free or perfect. In fact, I enjoy teaching my clients the part of the craft that they have not yet learned.

But even great writing didn’t guarantee a request from me. I had to connect with the story and the characters. That was number one. If I don’t like the premise, I’m not the right person to edit your work. However, whenever possible, I fought hard to find homes for stories I believed in, even if they weren’t for me. Five of the manuscripts I requested will have homes—six, if you count my mentee’s manuscript.

I’m not going to wish you good luck with Pitch Wars. Instead, I want to wish you good luck on your writing career. Keep your chin up and follow YOUR path.

I would love to stay in touch with all the #pitchwars peeps. Like my page on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, comment on my blog, and hang out at #labellespeeps (Labelle’s Peeps). “See” you there!

Lynnette Labelle

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2 Responses to #Pitch Wars: One Mentor’s POV

  1. Ava Quinn says:

    Great information. Thanks for the break down and letting us in on your process! Good luck with your mentee. I’ll have to catch you on #labellespeeps since I’m not on Facebook. 🙂

  2. Lynnette Labelle says:

    Ava: I know people get excited about this contest and it can be a big blow when they don’t get in. I hope posts like this help them understand this isn’t the same as getting a rejection from an agent or publisher. We can only pick ONE. We’ll see you on #labellespeeps. 🙂

    Lynnette Labelle
    2015 Daphne du Maurier Finalist

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