I’ve struggled for the past week to come up with an idea for my post today. It may just be a post-Christmas break, non-blogging hangover – but I’ve had trouble coming up with inspiration. Then as I was going through my Twitter feed this morning I saw it:
#PITMAD IS THIS WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8!
My heart did a little pitter-pat thinking about this awesome event Brenda Drake puts on a couple of times a year. But then reality set in. While I would love to pitch my new YA manuscript, it is not ready. It still needs another round of edits, and more feedback from my beta readers and critique partners (CPs), before I can even think about that next step.
So here is the question for you: are you going to pitch? Should you? Are you sure? Because if you do, and you get a request, you MUST be ready to send off that manuscript ASAP. You can’t wait a week to finish edits. Or a month to get feedback from CPs. Oh no, that pretty baby of yours needs to be sparkling, and ready to go, before you pitch.
This statement holds true for most contests. Michelle Hauck and I have our competition, Sun versus Snow, coming up on January 18, and the same requirement applies to our contest. Your manuscript must be DONE!
What signifies done? In my opinion (and I’m sure some will disagree – and that’s cool) you need to have both feedback from beta readers and critique partners. Those writer friends (see how I said “writer” – not Mom or Dad or best friend – unless one of those is indeed a seasoned writer) are going to give you the nod when they think your work is ready to go. They are going to make sure your theme is clear, your characters consistent, and your plot, compelling. Then, and only then, should you think about pitching or querying.
Now you may be asking, but what if I don’t have a network of writer friends to help me? Then check out these great places where you can connect with other writers who also need a set of eyes on their work:
If you do have a completed and polished manuscript, and you plan to pitch on Wednesday, I wish you the best of luck. Remember to pack a punch into those 140 characters. Focusing on your MC and the conflict always seems to do the job. And remember to include category and genre too!