I learned about Pitch Madness shortly before the submission deadline.
I have been rewriting and revising my first NaNoWriMo novel, The Fire Before, for years. And I do mean years. Since I wrote the first awful draft in 2011, I have torn that book to the ground, rewritten it, revised, and had others tear it apart again. And I really believe that it’s as ready as I can make it. This year, one of my goals was to grow some ovaries and start sending it out to agents and publishers. Pitch Madness seemed like a perfect opportunity to do that. If I made it through to the next round, I’d have experienced writers working with me to refine my pitch and my first 250 words in order to get them in front of the participating agents by mid-March. Really, it would have been stupid to not submit.
I spent the weekend before the submission date condensing my 90K-word novel into a 35-word pitch (!) and refining the novel’s first 250 words. I submitted my information to the contest as soon as the entry form went live, and then I spent the waiting period telling myself I was delusional to think I really had a shot. When I learned that the contest had over 1340 entries that would be winnowed down to 60 writers going to the next phase, I felt really delusional.
Today, the team leaders posted their draft picks.
They announced the first 30 writers over Twitter early this afternoon. I wasn’t one of them. Although I knew there was a chance I could be in the next round of 30, I was pretty sure it was over for me.
They announced the second group of 30 writers in the early evening, and I wasn’t in that group either.
I knew it. I tried very hard to cheer myself up and look ahead to the next Twitter pitching contest, but I still don’t deal well with rejection. (I made a really great life decision by trying to become a published writer, right?) I stuffed leftover cake in my face as a consolation.
And then Brenda Drake, the competition host, announced a surprise: They were going to add an extra 10 writers to the draft.
And then this happened:
— Samantha Joyce (@SamJoyceBooks) March 6, 2017
— Mary Ann Marlowe (@maryannmarlowe) March 6, 2017
And I think I had all the feelings at once. I stared at the Tweet to verify that my eyes were not lying to my brain, and then I gasped and shrieked and cried and laughed and hyperventilated and scared the living hell out of one of my cats and probably my long-suffering husband too.
Now, this doesn’t mean I’m going to get published. It doesn’t mean any agent is going to be interested in my novel, or that they’ll take it if they request anything from me. But what it does mean is that I took a risk and it paid off. Someone who doesn’t know me from Adam liked my pitch and my novel’s opening. I am meeting other writers and if all works out, I’ll get some great feedback on my book no matter what else happens.
It’s a really amazing feeling after an absolute emotional rollercoaster of a day.
In fact, one of Brenda’s tweets sums it up perfectly:
#PitchMadness “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Harriet Beecher Stowe
— Brenda Drake (@brendadrake) March 5, 2017