Hi all! I’m Maxym Martineau and I was a 2016 Pitch Wars mentee, courtesy of the talented Layla Reyne (seriously, consider subbing to her if she fits your genre/category). I’m honored to be a part of #menteeshelpingmentees, and I can’t wait to see what ends up in my inbox! But before that happens, a bunch of us decided it’d be pretty cool to do some blog posts leading up to the big day. Hopefully they’ll help you glean some information about us and Pitch Wars!
What did you do to prepare for Pitch Wars?
I joined a Pitch Wars hopefuls group on Facebook and starting lurking. Seriously. I was madly trying to finish my manuscript, so I didn’t do a lot of communicating with others right up front. Hindsight, I wish I had spoken up sooner. I ended up meeting my fabulous CP in that group, and had we touched base sooner, we would have been able to fully dig into each other’s’ projects. Fortunately we did get some critiquing done beforehand, and I think that made all the difference.
What didn’t you do that you wish you had?
I mean, aside from finding my CP sooner? Nothing, I guess. I tried out for PW in 2015 and didn’t get in, so I was already familiar with the process.
How did you choose which mentors to send to?
So I’m a bit of a perfectionist. When Brenda released the profiles of all the mentors, I copied all potentials into a document for ease. Then, I sifted through each bio, highlighting passages that resonated with me and my writing before narrowing down all the potentials. This is an extremely hard process, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are so many talented people that you want to work with, but sometimes, you have to make hard decisions.
HOWEVER, let me share one teensy bit of advice: If you can, swing for extra entries (assuming Brenda is allowing them this year). I was able to narrow down my selection to eight or 10 potentials, but that was still more than the allotted amount. Narrowing down is hard enough, and the last thing I wanted was to unintentionally NOT sub to a mentor that would have loved to work with me. Fortunately, it worked out, but it very well could have gone down differently. You never know.
How/Why did you decide to enter Pitch Wars?
In 2015, I made a bunch of contacts in the community that I didn’t have before—regardless of the fact that I didn’t make the contest. I decided that I wanted more of that, and so I tried in 2016 with a new MS. I’m sure you’ll see this crop up a bunch of times, but the community is unreal. People will bend over backwards to see you succeed, and all of the mentors are amazing. Plus, the opportunity to meet your CP could be right around the corner. Publishing is not for the faint of heart. Do what you can to establish a strong support system ahead of time. Pitch Wars is a great place for that.
What was something that surprised you about Pitch Wars?
Hmmm … This one is tough. I don’t think anything really surprised me. I expected to put in a ton of work, and I did. So if you’re thinking this is the kind of contest where you can move a few commas and call it a day, then you’re in for a real surprise. Embrace the process. These people are mentors for a reason. And while you don’t have to apply every piece of feedback (there’s merit in learning when to accept and decline ideas), it’s worth a consideration.
What was your favorite part of Pitch Wars?
Here it goes: THE COMMUNITY! Oh and my mentor is straight amazing. And so is my CP. Both of these brilliant ladies came to me because of this contest, and I count both of them as friends. I still lean on them. I still talk to them. I still vent and cry and celebrate with them. There are other friends I’ve made, too, and some of us have even formed groups outside to stay in touch. It’s phenomenal.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about Pitch Wars?
All right, I’m going to get real here for a second. Getting into Pitch Wars does not mean you will get an agent. I didn’t. And I’m not the only one. There were a number of people who had offers almost immediately. Some even had deals closed before the rest of us had any feedback on our full requests. And in that same respect, I still lurked in the Pitch Wars hopeful group and watched as people who didn’t get into the contest celebrate with requests.
My point is, no path to publishing is the same. And I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but as one of the people who sat and watched others get offers in record time, I understand. It does not mean that you aren’t good enough. I ran into marketing issues with my MS, and I realized that perhaps my project simply wasn’t meant for the industry right now. And that’s okay. Because “winning” Pitch Wars isn’t about the agent round—it’s about the community. I’ve since written a new project and entered other contests, and I know that if I keep at it, I’ll find my agent. You can, too. No matter the outcome.
What would you say to someone thinking about entering Pitch Wars?
First, go read Michael Mammay’s post. It basically covers this in every facet, and he does a brilliant job at addressing the question from multiple angles. Personally, I would say do it. If you’re ready. If you’ve got a project and you want the help, the community, then it doesn’t hurt to try.
What is the one gif that represents your Pitch Wars experience?
I love gifs! But … but only one? We’ll probably see a lot of Dean. So I’ll go with another favorite of mine!
Have any more questions about Pitch Wars? Stay tuned on the blog for more information from the #menteeshelpingmentees gang, and head over to Brenda Drake’s site for all the details. Good luck!