I’m going to be a Mentor in this Summer’s Pitch Wars!

You read that heading right! After having an awesome experience as a mentee last year, now I get to be a mentor in Brenda Drake’s awesome Twitter contest this year! I am so stoked!

All I’m allowed to say right now is I’m going to be mentoring in the YA category, so I’m looking forward to this. If you’re a writer and you’re looking for an agent, you’re going to want to give this contest a look, trust me! General information can be found on Brenda’s website, with more specific information to come in the next couple months.

To keep up on things, follow Brenda on Twitter (@brendadrake), or me (because Lord knows I’ll be talking about it!) at @Brian_C_Palmer, or check the hashtag #PitchWars.

As two lovable knuckleheads once said…

This is gonna be cool

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I have an Agent!

I’ve been sitting on this news for what feels like forever, but I have finally signed with a literary agent! I am thrilled to announce that Laura Crockett with TriadaUS will be representing me, A SILENCE WORTH BREAKING, and hopefully  other projects down the road. There are several reasons why I chose her, but perhaps the biggest one is this tweet she sent out a couple weeks ago:

Writers dream of having people respond to their books like this, so when a prospective agent is the one having this type of response, it’s hard not to be drawn to that. We want someone who will champion our work, who “gets it,” and who loves it as much as we do. Laura is that person, and TriadaUS is absolutely the perfect fit  for me as a writer.

Big thanks go out to Holly Faur for mentoring SILENCE in this year’s Pitch Wars competition and helping me reach this point, Brenda Drake for putting on Pitch Wars, and Lynnette Labelle and Brighton Walsh for helping make sure Holly saw my submission in the first place.

And an even bigger thanks goes out to my wife, who made sure I never gave up on finding an agent (it’s been a long road!), and that I took some serious time to write this book last year when this idea really started to take root in my mind. Thanks baby!

I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Pitch Wars Post #9 – The Wrap-Up Edition! (Or, My Experiment in Finding out how Many Times I can Say Wow in One Post)

Wow.

That might be the only applicable word for describing the entire Pitch Wars experience.

Brenda Drake? The woman behind Pitch Wars? Wow.

Holly Faur? The mentor who swooped in and wanted to work with me on A Silence Worth Breaking? Wow.

The willingness of Lynnette Labelle and Brighton Walsh (I’m still not sorry my synopsis made you cry! :D) to scream from the mountaintops during the selection phase until Holly came along because they were so eager for my novel to find a “home?” Wow.

Each and every one of the finalists who were selected? Wow.

The things I have learned about the craft of writing and how they are already helping me write my next novel even better? Wow.

The support I have received from the entire Pitch Wars community–this year’s participants and mentors, as well as anyone who has participated and/or mentored in previous years–these past three months? Wow.

And finally, last week’s agent round? Wow.

As I write this, the agent round has been over for a week and it has been quite the emotional roller coaster for many of us. Some people didn’t receive any requests in the agent round, while two or three received over 20 requests of some sort from agents. TWENTY-PLUS REQUESTS! Holy smokes! Talk about doing something right, eh? I received six requests from agents–five fulls, and one partial, which has been upgraded to a full in the last couple days–and I am ecstatic! I believed I would get one request, but expected to top out at two, or three if everything went really well. So to have six bona fide agents express an interest in my story blows my mind.

Again, wow.

The passion these people have for writing? Wow.

Everyone’s willingness to cheer each other on through the highs and lows of writing, revising, killing our darlings, birthing new ones, banging our heads against the desk in frustration, or celebrating victories of any size for any reason? Wow.

The agents who proved so willing to give of their time to even give us and our work the time of day? Wow.

This has truly proven to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and regardless of whether or not I end up finding representation from any of these six agents, I know I will find representation somewhere, somehow, because Pitch Wars has made my novel so much better than it was when this all began.

Pitch Wars, as an experience, has exceeded my expectations and wildest dreams by a mile, and I will be one of its biggest proponents for the rest of my life.

Wow.

 

Pitch Wars Post #5 – Finished at Last (Or, My Love Letter to Pitch Wars and Everyone Associated with it)

As I begin typing this, my excerpt and first 250 words are winding their way through cyberspace and headed for my mentor’s inbox. I can’t believe how simultaneously short and long the past eight weeks have been, and how much better my novel is now than it was (and I had already felt it was the best work  I had ever done when Pitch Wars began in mid-August). I am so excited, and not just for the agent round.

I have found a great little writing community via Pitch Wars, and that is priceless. I have had the privilege of working with an out-of-this-world mentor, Holly Faur, and cannot say enough good things about her insights, creative streak, and ability to show me how to see portions of my novel from perspectives I didn’t even know existed. I have a novel that is absolutely ready to go out for querying next week. In short, Pitch Wars has been everything I hoped it would be, and then some. 

This is not the end–there is still the agent round next week, and extra agent research to do because there’s no guarantee any of the agents in Pitch Wars will be interested in my work–but as of right now, I am happy with how things are going, and content with how things have worked out. If nothing comes of the agent round, I can honestly say I will not feel upset about it because Pitch Wars is not an all-or-nothing proposition. I have Holly to thank for that, all my fellow mentees, all the mentors I’ve connected with, and especially Brenda Drake, who concocted this wild idea several years ago and has turned Pitch Wars into quite the big deal. You all have helped me–and are helping me–in so many ways that I’ve lost track. Thanks a bazillion!

Onward and upward!

Pitch Wars Post #4 – Fifty Words or Bust!

Good grief is it difficult to write a catchy pitch! I mean I thought I had it mostly figured out early on in Pitch Wars, but once it actually came time to nail down those 50 or so words, I discovered how wrong I was.

How wrong? Put it to you this way, if you’ve ever seen Wonder Boys and recall the scene where Michael Douglas’s pot-addled writer is sitting down for his latest writing session on his 2,611-page neverending opus of a story, and he comments on how the ending “kept getting further away. But the ending was there, I knew it. I could almost see it,” then you have some sense of where I’ve been for the past week or two (minus the pot). The content needed for the pitch has been there, mostly, I just haven’t been able to string it together quite right for whatever reason. Hopefully that’s all about to change though.

At the time of this writing, I have emailed my mentor, Holly, a new suggested pitch that I believe finally hits the mark, but since she’s a few hours ahead of me she won’t see it until the morning. If she likes this, then I’ll be done several days ahead of the deadline (all materials need to be turned in by this Saturday), and I can work on trying to encourage and assist the other mentees who are still working on their pitches, first pages, etc. I’ve been able to help a little, and others have been able to help me out, so this whole things has been a fantastic blessing. I’d like to be able to help more as some of my fellow finalists come down to the wire with this deadline.

I need to figure out a way to fall asleep with my fingers crossed…

Pitch Wars Post #3 – The Second Revision is Complete!

It’s hard not to get excited when you complete a revision and send it off to your mentor, but I’m excited. We’ll see what Holly thinks once she’s had a chance to give it a read. Fingers crossed!

So in the meantime, I’m going to start working on the pitch itself. We’re allowed 300 words between the pitch and however many words from the first page of our novel we can fit in (40-word pitch + the first 260 words of your novel, for example, and any other combination you can think of), so I’ll be working to tighten up that first page as much as possible, while allowing myself enough leftover words to create an effective pitch. This should be fun!

There also remains work to be done (probably) on the query and synopsis, and I continue to come up with a list of agents outside of PW to query once November 6 rolls around and the Agent Round has ended, so I am not finished yet, not by a long shot.

The pitch needs to be done and sent off to Holly by October 31st so she can submit it to Pitch Wars by November 1st.

*Cracks knuckles and pops neck*

Let’s do this.

P.S. – On a different note, NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. I’m toying with the idea of entering so I can work on my next novel idea while all of this agent round/querying stuff is going on. I’m told agents are always asking, “What else have you got?” so if I manage to get the attention of some agents in the coming weeks and months, I hope to have something else to tell them about. I’m either thinking ahead and being smart about this, or I’m certifiably insane, especially considering all the work I’ve put it into Pitch Wars-related things the past couple months, not to mention the amount of sleep I’ve lost. 🙂