The Good, The Bad, and The Pitch Slam

There are a couple good reasons for not entering an online pitch contest, and a couple bad reasons, but it can be hard to tell the difference between the two. So I figured I'd break it down for those who are on the fence or, using an even better metaphor, standing between platforms nine and ten and wondering whether to run at the wall or not.

It might help to know this: Pitch Slam is NOT a solid brick wall.

You might not get chosen as a finalist, but you WILL enter the magical world of the Pitch Slam community--where we cheer each other up and cheer each other on. Just like in the wizarding world, there will be opportunities to learn, improve, and hone your craft. If your entry isn't chosen to receive feedback, DO NOT DESPAIR. The #PitchSlam hashtag on Twitter and our super awesome Pitch Slam Writers FB group will be full of fellow entrants ready to trade critiques with you. Our heads of house, head girls/boys, and prefects will also be there, offering advice and insights, and above all ENCOURAGEMENT.

This is not a trick. Promise. Running at the brick wall is worth the risk of it not leading exactly where you hoped to go.

Bad Reasons for Not Entering:

  • You're worried you won't get picked as a finalist. There are four teams with 9 and 3/4 entries each (the 3/4 will be explained later - promise), and hundreds of entries are anticipated.
           Suggestion: Don't do the math (it's one of the vilest of four-letter-words). And don't enter because you want to win a finalist spot, enter because you want to win a spot in the amazing online writing community. Trust me. YOU WANT THIS PRIZE. I can trace every request and every R&R I've ever had back to help received from people I met through this community. 

  • You have a complete, polished manuscript but you're worried it's not good enough.
          Every single one of our prospective entrants feels this way. Every single finalist from previous Pitch Slams felt that way. Including those who've gone on to find their agents! This contest exists because of brave authors who took a chance. Whatever grief your story has given you, YOU LOVE IT. And it deserves that chance as much as YOU do. 

  • There's another contest coming up that looks more interesting.
           FALSE. Pitch Slam is the best. THE END.

  • You're not familiar with Harry Potter.
          This isn't a trivia contest, it's a writing contest. The Harry Potter theme is just for fun, as is the Which House Would Your MC be Sorted Into question. Please don't stress over this. We love authors AND readers of all genres, and it's okay if Harry Potter isn't your cup of tea.

  • You've decided to enter Nightmare on Query Street instead.
          Good news! You can enter BOTH! Simply note on your entry that you've submitted to both contests. If you send in your pitch and first 250 to the Pitch Slam feedback rounds, you WILL be considered for a Pitch Slam finalist spot, even if you are not selected to receive feedback via our lottery system. 

  • You don't understand how the contest works despite reading the blog posts about it.
           Ask questions. PLEASE ask questions. Not only do we have the answers, it makes us feel SUPER clever and important when authors come to us for clarification and advice. That said, PLEASE read the blog posts about the contest before coming up with your list of questions. Here's a fabulous list of links the Slytherin Head of House, Jamie Corrigan put together: Pitch Slam Links

Good Reasons for Not Entering:

  • Your manuscript is not complete. No. Just no. Some of our PitchSlam professors will be making FULL requests, and our finalists need to be prepared for that.
  • You JUST finished drafting, gave it a quick skim and figured, Meh. Good enough. PLEASE, PLEASE NO. Polishing your first page to a shine when you know the rest is basically still at first draft quality is inherently dishonest. We'll be holding Pitch Slam again in the spring. Please feel free to join us then!
  • Your manuscript has already been self-published.
  • Your manuscript was secretly written by aliens and you're passing it off as your own.
  • For mental health reasons, you are choosing not to enter online pitch contests because of the increased risk of high anxiety spikes and/or depressive episodes. We try to keep Pitch Slam fun, instructive, and encouraging, but any contest comes with an element of stress. Be good to yourself. And know that you are welcome to join us on the #PitchSlam Twitter hashtag even if you don't feel up to entering.

We look forward to reading your entries. SOON. Keep an eye on the #PitchSlam Twitter hashtag for announcements (we have a couple surprises in store!)

1 comment:

  1. The FALSE comment was too funny! Good thing no one's home to wonder why I'm laughing at my screen with no video. Thanks for the laughs! Oh. And the great contest opportunity, of course :)