#PitchWars: The Day Before the Sub Window Opens…

It’s almost here! The day you’ve been waiting for…finally! You’ve nipped and tucked and tweaked your query. You’ve polished your opening chapter ’til it shines. You have your revised and polished full manuscript and a synopsis lying in wait, just in case. The sub window is opening in a matter of hours…now what!?

First, don’t panic!


No, Ron, we cannot! Or rather, there’s no need to, so let’s all take a deep breath and not let panic take over, shall we?

The submission window is set to open just after midnight on Wednesday, August 3rd. In past years, Brenda has sometimes cooked up a surprise, and the sub window has opened a little early. That may or may not happen this year. Brenda’s little elves aren’t telling. But whether it happens as the clock hits midnight or even earlier, there is no advantage to being the first to click send.

Let me repeat that: there is NO ADVANTAGE to being the first to click send.

So, take your time. The 2016 #PitchWars submission window will remain open until 10:00 PM EDT on Saturday, August 6th. That’s oodles of time to enter. Mentors will read every single submission: last, first and in between. When the window opens, you’ll see a blitz on the hashtag of excited mentee hopefuls rushing to enter. That’s totally fine. If you’re calm and ready at the start of the window, go for it…Or, do what I’d do. Get a good night’s sleep. Get your morning cup of coffee. Enter when you’re fresh.


Everything’s clearer after that first cup, am I right?

As you may already know from my mentor bio, I entered #PitchWars as a mentee hopeful in 2015. For those of who who are new to #PitchWars, let me tell you a little story about what happened when Brenda opened the submission window early last year. Here’s the short version:

First, there was a mad rush to enter.

Then, there were regrets and tears.

Yes, there was also much celebrating on the hashtag, but in the general excitement to click submit, some hopefuls selected the wrong mentors from the drop-down list. Some had copied the wrong text into the query field. One memorable regretful hopeful had misspelled his own name.


Friends, do not let this be you.

When you do open up the submission form — ANY TIME during the August 3rd – August 6th, 10PM EDT submission window — Take. Your. Time. There’s no prize for rushing. There’s only the cone of shame. And no one wants to wear that! Instead, do like your 3rd grade teacher told you, and check your work.

Here’s a little checklist I’ve put together for all of you PitchWarriors. When you open up the submission form, keep this post handy. Here we go:

  1. Have you selected the correct mentor names from the drop-down? Don’t do it from memory; cross-check the list on the sub form against the list you have prepared on your spreadsheet or in your notebook or on the back of your grocery list. Whatever works for you.
  2. Have you entered your name, genre, email address, title of your manuscript, category, and genre correctly? Are they spelled correctly? Is your manuscript title in ALL CAPS? Appearance counts; get it right.
  3. Have you entered the complete, correct text of your query letter into the submission field?
  4. Before you upload the first chapter of your completed manuscript, check the following things:
    1. Is it the CORRECT document? (Obviously, this is key.)
    2. Is it saved in Word .doc or .docx format?
    3. Is the file name as follows: Your Name_Manuscript Title (ex. John Green_THE FAULT IN OUR STARS)? It will make our jobs as mentors so much easier if you title your document using these guidelines, or a similarly easy-to-follow variation. Receiving 100+ submissions all titled “Chapter 1” is not helpful to our organization!
    4. Is your sample chapter in standard manuscript formatting? (12pt font, double-spaced)
  5. Yes? Okay. Upload that first chapter!

That’s it, PitchWarriors. Your five-step plan to a sweat-free submission experience.


Congrats, you kept your cool. You entered #PitchWars. You did it!

Still have questions? Look first at the official entry guidelines on Brenda Drake’s blog: http://www.brenda-drake.com/2016/07/pitch-wars-2016-details/ You may be surprised to find your question answered right there! Still have questions? Just #askmentor on the hashtag. Someone will respond, or we’ll get answers behind the scenes if we don’t know off-hand. We’re here for you.

Now, breathe. Celebrate! You wrote, revised, and entered your book into #PitchWars. You rule!