Pitch Wars History

I’ve been having a lot of fun with Pitch Wars, despite the fierce competition and sometimes high anxiety. And I’ve met a lot of great people.

Well, I was looking over the blog and realized it had been quite some time since I last did some scribbles. And since I didn’t feel like figuring out another things I love post, I decided comics it is.

I’ve had a lot of interesting and entertaining conversations during Pitch Wars from some very interesting and entertaining people. So now, you’ll see the tweet that inspired it and some of the people involved, plus a sprinkle of my imagination. May I present to you:

Pitch Wars, A History – The 2012 Edition!

First off a big thanks to Brenda Drake for creating this whole event in the first place and making it oodles of fun. You should check out her blog. I always wondered if Pitch Wars grew into something larger than she expected. So I drew this, imagining if submissions were fun-colored coffee mugs. First the tweet.   pwtweet01

And now the comic.

Pitch Wars

Well, Brenda, at least if submissions were coffee mugs, you’d never run out of mugs while you and the other mentors read submissions. Thanks again for making Pitch Wars possible.

Next up, poor Miss Dahlia, brace yourself. The tweet that inspired it:


And the comic.


Okay people, for Dahlia’s health and the health of every person who might ever read a query letter, keep it under 150,000 words. In fact, it’s probably better to keep it less than 100,000 in most cases.

Pitch Wars

We all know Marieke loves Doctor Who—in fact, love might not be a strong enough word. How can we say superlove? I know in Japanese we could just say だいすきだいすき!But anyways, the tweet.


I’ve heard Marieke is also responsible for a lot of getting Pitch Wars together. Thanks for all your efforts Marieke. And watch out for ninjas…

Pitch Wars

Heidi shared a photo with us of her mullet days. If you were a kid in the ’80s I don’t know if you could really escape mullet hair. Anyways, that sparked a whole slew of tweeting, involving FizzyGrrl, Ramon, and several others. And yeah, I’m fairly certain, Heidi, that we could have been twinners with that shirt.


Make sure you check out Heidi’s post to see the original picture in all its mullet awesomeness.

Pitch Wars

Ramon, I don’t know what you look like and, well, since you used Goofy as an avatar, there you are. I know parachute pants were more early ’90s, but Ramon seems like a guy ahead of his time anyway. FizzyGrrl, would you have worn moon boots? I’m picturing you as the type that might still be wearing moon boots. Also I just wanted to point out my happening bangs. I remember a couple friends of mine could get theirs 6 inches high. It was an impressive display of hair product.

G’ah! Watch out!

Pitch Wars

Anyway, I know tension is high, especially now that submissions are closed. There’s a lot of people who’ve submitted, and while we all struggle to calculate our odds and wonder, remember to take a deep breath and tell yourself it’s all going to be okay. And don’t take the poor mentors’ words for more than they mean.

Pitch Wars

All right Pitch Wars peeps. Back to polishing our manuscripts, queries, and perhaps even working on second books in the series while we wait. No matter what happens, I hope we can all agree it’s been a fun ride so far and from what I’ve seen on Twitter, most of us have learned a lot. I have a much better query than I did and I got my novel to a much better place. That’s winning already right there. Yes, we all desperately want mentors, but for those of us who walk away without one, there are plenty of other opportunities out there and now we’re better prepared for them.

So let’s talk. How has your Pitch Wars experience been? What have you learned? Have you met any fantastic people? Any advice you would give to those who didn’t get a chance to enter Pitch Wars? Any advice you’d give to authors who are looking to enter other contests? Please let us all know in the comments below.

And because I feel like we need it one more time.

Pitch Wars

Social Marketing Your Book and Self (BKSP notes)

The first sin is social marketing is being boring.  Don’t be boring.  What I think they meant by this was don’t spam Twitter feeds pleading for people to look at your blog or book.  And don’t let an automated system do too much of the work, so that people realize it’s a robot and not you.  Finally, give them something worth following you for.

Social marketing is all about building your personal brand.  Thanks to the internet, you’re not just marketing your book, you’re also marketing yourself.  Since agents, editors and publishers alike will probably Google you, it’s best to control what’s being put out there about you on the web.  When posting on social media, post as though everyone who can read it has the power to fire you.  That may seem a little extreme, and a lot of people in the forum and on Twitter (of course we were tweeting this!) didn’t agree with it.  But as a writer you’re in a different place than the average Joe.  Average Joe can afford to rant about people and things and post crazy pictures, etc., etc., etc.  Average Joe isn’t trying to get a book published, and no one will probably ever Google him.

They suggested that you don’t try to master every social medium out there, but pick a couple and be really good at them.  Maybe it’s Facebook, Twittter, Linked In, blogging, etc.  Do you have a favorite author or even person that uses Twitter?  Read through their tweets and see how they interact with others.  You can do the same with agents and publishers and see how they interact with their writers.  This also goes for Facebook, blogs, etc.

Be personable not personal.  What does that mean?  Don’t rant about how much you hate your co-workers, or give TMI about the situation with your boyfriend, etc.  Think about what you’d like to read in a blog and the things you wouldn’t–then don’t write about the wouldn’t.  It’s all about controlling your online image.  While you’re Googling yourself, Google images too.  Are they the images you want yourself to be seen by?

Whatever stage you’re in with your writing career, have a place ready for potential fans to go.  Give them the kind of connection that makes them fans.  Know when others are having a conversation about you.  If someone says they like your book, say thank you!  But, remember someone out there will always hate you no matter what you do.  Repeat in your head the words “grace & dignity.”  Don’t respond to haters in an ugly way.  It reflects worse on you than them.  In most cases it’s probably best to be aware, but ignore.

Understand who your audience is for your book.  With social tools, especially Twitter, it’s not about building followers, it’s about building relationships.  But, social media should never take precedence over your writing.  Don’t get so involved in the promoting that you don’t make time for what you’re promoting in the first place.  You’re on the web for a reason.  If you need help controlling time-wasting on the web, they recommended 3 tools that shut down the parts of the internet that waste time:

You can follow these social media gurus on Twitter: Colleen Lindsay headed the panel with Dan Blank and Lauren Cerand.  They also recommended following a social media blogger named Cat Rambo.

I asked what hashtags they recommended for YA on Twitter.  They said #amwriting, #YAlitchat, and #fridayreads.