Pitch Wars is a nerve-racking time for many a writer. It’s hard to know what to do, what not to do, how often to do it, and what the general etiquette is surrounding conversation with the mentors. Twitter is an awesome place many of the mentors hang out. We’re there to answer questions, or just plain old chat with any/all hopefuls. That said, there are some definite do’s and don’ts when using the #PitchWars feed, so I thought I’d do a little post on using Twitter during the months leading up to, during, and post-Pitch Wars.
Do: Hop on and introduce yourself. The best way to start using the feed is just that: start using it. Everything can be found under #PitchWars, so jump into other conversations people are having, and don’t worry about interrupting. If they wanted the conversation to stay private, they’d have it via DM or email. This is a great way to make new friends, find CPs, and calm your nerves during the process.
Don’t: Jump into a conversation just to argue or stir the pot for your pleasure. Pot stirrers get side-eye.
Do: Ask questions of the mentors! It doesn’t even have to be a mentor in your category or genre, unless it’s specific to those things. The mentors who are on the hashtag are there because they’re willing to chat with you about your writing, your MS, something you’re unsure of, the industry, etc. And we're mentors because we've been around the block a time or two, so we have knowledge we're willing to share. Tap into it!
Don’t: Ask too specific of questions such as, “Are you interested in a time traveling troll who falls in love with a princess and then they have to fight the fairies for control of their land?” For many mentors, that crosses the boundary line they don’t want to cross. Instead ask, “Are you interested in fantasy?” or “Do you have an aversion to trolls?”
Do: Be positive and help fellow hopefuls! Don’t think of this as a Survivor type contest. Your positive energy and genuine concern of/help to fellow hopefuls will be noticed by the mentors. Alternately, your lack of positive energy/concern will also be noticed.
Don’t: Constantly bemoan the process, the mentors, Brenda, the industry, the agents listed, etc, etc, etc. Think of the mentors like your mom. We’re always watching, and we have eyes in the back of our heads.
Do: your homework! When the mentors are listed and the blog hop is upon us, don’t be afraid to chat with the mentors you’re considering. And it doesn’t have to be all shop talk! This is a great time to get to know the mentors you’re considering and see if you’d be a good fit, personality wise. Clicking with your mentor is a very important aspect, and, though I can only speak for myself, it’s also something this mentor takes into consideration when choosing a mentee.
Don’t: freak out if you never had conversations with your selected mentors and now fear you won’t get picked because of that. Mentors can tell your personality through many things; conversing on Twitter is only one.
Do: say thank you—to the mentors, and especially to Brenda and her assistants—and support those giving their time in whatever way you can. This is a lot of work, and work that isn’t always done without a price tag (both in terms of money and that all-valuable time). While a simple thank you is always appreciated and noticed, you can also help support the mentors giving their time by buying their books or checking them out from the library and spreading the word about them, and also by donating to help Brenda run Pitch Wars.
Don’t: whine about how much work you’re putting into getting your MS ready, wading through the 100+ mentor blog posts just to find the ones who accept your genre, etc. Believe me, we know how much work goes into it.
Do: keep following the mentors even if you didn’t get chosen. The urge to unfollow can be strong if you’re not selected, and I know it can be a little rough seeing someone else where you hoped to be, but the mentors are there and willing to chat with you even post-Pitch Wars if you should have questions on the process, the industry, etc. Don’t make a snap decision and do something that will only hurt you. Like my mom always said, “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.”
Twitter is an awesome and fun place to hang out before, during, and after Pitch Wars, so make the most of it! Swing by and say hi.