For two years, I was fortunate enough to be chosen as a mentee in Pitch Wars. This year, I’ve been observing from the sidelines, and I wanted to share a few thoughts before the agent round begins tomorrow. This part of the contest is always the most stressful. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, because anything can happen. Whenever I entered pitch contests (and I’ve done a bunch), I wanted to be optimistic, but a part of me worried that the agents would pass my entry by. That I’d end up with “0 comments” and no requests.
As luck would have it, this did happen to me. Twice. Not with Pitch Wars, but with two other contests. And it stung. I’m not going to lie—it was hard to scroll through all the congratulatory tweets, and not feel the slightest bit jealous.
But, here’s the thing. No matter what happens during the agent round, you’re already a huge winner. The fact that you were chosen is a testament to your writing, since the odds for being picked were less than 10%! You were chosen because an experienced writer thought your work had merit. Not your mom, not your best friend, not your spouse. Someone who’d never met you, or who only knew you from your mentee bio, waded through dozens of entries and picked yours. They chose your manuscript, knowing they’d spend hours reading it, critiquing it, and helping you craft your pitch. This contest proves that “it only takes one yes.” If it happened with Pitch Wars, it can happen again with an agent or an editor.
Furthermore, your manuscript is now better, stronger, and more polished than it was back in August. You’ve probably grown as a writer, and your writing has improved, thanks to all the feedback you’ve gotten from your mentor. I’d call that a major win.
So, if you don’t get any requests during the agent round, it’s all right. Maybe your entry wasn’t what these agents were looking for at this particular time. That doesn’t mean that other agents won’t take an interest your manuscript. You can still get that elusive “yes” through the slush pile, via another contest, or with a conference pitch. Maybe not with this manuscript, but if you keep persevering, you’re bound to see results eventually.