I feel SOOOO excited at the prospect of another Pitch Wars happening soon—now really! I have to say that because realistically, excitement is the brilliance of the thing. Through most of the year, we struggle through writing, which ranges from absolute solitude to some connection with other authors, but then Pitch Wars time comes, and like-minded people are thrown together to laugh, conspire, and cheer over good writing!
I. Love. It. So. Much.
In other words, you all are in the most awesome place. Welcome 🙂
What did you do to prepare for Pitch Wars?
This is a hard one. I was actually incredibly unprepared for Pitch Wars. I’d submitted a different manuscript the year before, and when I wasn’t selected, I promised myself I would finish a new book in time for the 2016 submission window. However, in June, I had some serious self-doubt and decided I wouldn’t submit after all. So I didn’t stay on track with my writing goals.
When I saw the blog hop posts, and so many of them aligned with my manuscript, I freaked and realized I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. In roughly two weeks, I wrote 25,000 words and completely revised what I did have. In other words, if you’re planning not to submit because of any (fill-in-the-blank) doubt, don’t self-reject. Work hard these next few weeks, and submit the best you have when the deadline comes!
What didn’t you do that you wish you had?
Talked to more hopefuls leading up to the submission window. I suppose this speaks to my answer above as I didn’t have much time for anything other than writing and revising. However, some of my Pitch Wars friends had already gotten to know each other before being selected. Not that it was a competition of who knew each other longest, but these people are honestly so lose-your-mind fantastic that I wish I knew them forever! Although it kind of feels like I have 🙂
How/Why did you decide to enter Pitch Wars?
For years, I’d received a lot of interest from agents but no actual offers. I felt that to move beyond that plateau, I needed a great mentor. I got that in Molly Lee for sure!
What was something that surprised you about Pitch Wars?
The family that I’ve gained. I feel such support from everyone involved in Pitch Wars, and so many of the other 2016 alumni are genuine friends, even beyond writing. People say the community is the most important aspect, and it’s hard to believe that when you want to get selected so badly. But in all honesty, the people are truly the best attribute.
What was your favorite part of Pitch Wars?
I suppose, maybe, the way it’s made me feel. My Pitch Wars experiences have inspired confidence yet humbled me at the same time. They’ve given me strength to close out the world and listen to my own voice while also building an amazing community of supportive voices. I’ve laughed and cried with the friends I’ve made, and their dedication to continue writing and pursuing this crazy dream of ours despite unthinkable rejection and personal challenges has given me as much pride and inspiration as the huge book deals that have already been announced from our class.
Pitch Wars makes you feel the best (and at times, the worst) of this business. I’m so grateful for all of it.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about Pitch Wars?
Two things. It is what you make of it, and it’s not a free pass to publication.
What would you say to someone thinking about entering Pitch Wars?
Take the application process very seriously. Research your mentors carefully. Read their blog hop wish lists and their tweets. While some mentors noted an explicit desire for some aspect of my book, they might have also noted that they love lyrical prose, which my writing is not. So really work to ensure your mentor selections are the best fits for your work.
And when in doubt, tweet the mentors to ask. I tweeted so many questions to make sure that I selected appropriately. NEVER tweet explicitly asking, “Would you be interested in my book about x?”. But more general questions are fine: “Do you like sports?” for instance.
What is one gif that represents your Pitch Wars experience?
An alumnus of the Pitch Wars 2016 class, Tamara Girardi is an Assistant Professor of English at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College. She writes young adult fantasy and contemporary novels, her most recent of which, GRIDIRON GIRL, about a girl who competes against her boyfriend to be the starting quarterback of the football team, is under consideration by publishers. While she awaits good news, she’s hard at work on her next novel. She signed with her agent, Melissa Nasson of Rubin Pfeffer Content through Pitch Wars. Her wonderful mentor is the incomparable Molly Lee, who writes amazing romantic adventure stories you won’t want to miss. You can find Tamara on Twitter @TamaraGirardi and Molly @mollyelee.