Sunday, November 8, 2020

In Which I Cannot Believe I'm Saying This But I Got Into Pitch Wars!

 This was a week where dreams came true. 

When the week started, I was an anxious mess. I made a deal with God that if I could only have one good thing this week, to please take my four Pitch Wars requests in exchange for the election turning out all right. Ridiculous, but I could not fathom how very bad things would get for more and more vulnerable people if we had four more years of this awfulness. I was desperate.

And then things started looking okay. We all waited for it to be official. And even before the tension fully broke, Pitch Wars announcements were coming. I found myself suddenly, horribly caring about them again. I told myself it would be okay either way, that I have awesome CPs and a list of editors who expressed interest during #DVpit (and an agent I was about to finally query when I didn't get in--hopefully they'll still be excited to see my book when it's in the showcase!). But my anxiety had been practicing all week. Emotional DMs with friends in the same boat were my lifeline.

And then new messages appeared. The list was up. I turned my phone over. Got on my laptop. I clicked the link. I scrolled down, and down, and down--quickly through the middle grade and adult lists, and then slower, and slower, and slower through young adult. I was just dropping my shoulders and about to tell my family, already sitting down to dinner behind me, that I wasn't getting in, when my name appeared--next to the very first mentor team that had gone onto my sub list, the ones I automatically knew I would be beyond thrilled to work with, the ones I thought might really get my book. Sheena Boekweg and Alechia Dow both have published thrilling, fat-positive YA SFF books and have been my inspiration for hopefully getting to do the same someday. And now I get to work with them on my book!

After checking for friends' names (and being both ecstatic and devastated!) I hopped back on Twitter, where Sheena shared this gorgeous picture (I LOVE THIS BLOODY STATUE) and some of the nicest things anyone's said about my writing. I was too thrilled to sleep, so I got to celebrate with Alechia when she woke up over in Germany! I am so, so honored that they have chosen me and my book to give their time and expertise to, and I'm so looking forward to digging back into WE SHALL BE MONSTERS aka #MurderStatue and making it the best possible version of itself before sharing it with agents. 

Please click on the cover images to check out my mentors' exceptional books:

Cover image of GLITCH KINGDOM

And you can read more about the Pitch Wars program here. This year there were more than 4200 applicants and just about 120 writers got in. I have been on the other side of that math before--I got one partial my first year trying, when the very kind Tobie Easton read a bit of a truly awful fairy tale mashup and gave me a very encouraging phone call, and a few fulls the next year with DAUGHTER OF NO TEMPLE, which got lots of love over at Author Mentor Match thanks to the fabulous Emma Theriault (her beautiful book comes out in MERE DAYS YOU NEED IT GO BUY IT NOW), and lots of requests out in the querying trenches, but no offer. I'm hoping I've grown enough as a writer now that with a little more help and a lot more work, I can finally level up and make that leap. But I know how it feels to hope and not find your name on that list (I didn't even talk about applying to Pitch Wars this year ahead of time, beyond a couple DMs/Slacks, because it does hurt to hope and be let down!). If that's you this year, DO keep writing. Work with CPs, send that book out, write another. Read lots and lots of recent books in your genre and category, read a couple craft books if they jive for you, and keep going. DO NOT give up, please! I don't know how it happened, but recently I could feel my brain finally digesting the lessons it had been chewing over for years. Finally my writing was coming out how I wanted it. And I'm definitely still learning! And very, very lucky.

That math can mean you don't get in, don't even get a request, with a truly excellent book. Math and I aren't always the best of friends. I gave math the side eye a couple times this week. But people smarter than I with big maps kept me calm, just like the friends with bigger hearts and greater patience in my DMs. And somehow, things turned out pretty great! Which is a peculiar feeling lately!

Both dreams are going to require a LOT of work to make them truly come alive. But I'm ready to work on both, and see what more good things we can finally hope for.

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