Sunday, September 7, 2014

My Pitchwars Inbox - By the Numbers

I thought I’d do a bit of a breakdown of my Pitchwars inbox, for those who like numbers and stuff. (I’m generally allergic to numbers, though I’ve always found query stats interesting, so I thought this might interest a few.)

I got 84 submissions. Of those, NONE were for the wrong age category. Well done, my applicants! A few were in genres I mentioned as not being my favorite, but I think I sounded fairly open minded in my wish-list, so I didn’t auto-reject for that. (That said, it wasn’t a huge surprise that I didn’t end up selecting any sci-fi or high fantasy. Next year I think I’ll sound less open-minded in my wish-list. I hate to rule out a whole genre when occasionally I love a book from it, but I also want to be honest about what I’m most drawn to.)

I asked for more pages from 17 people, and there were several I thought were quite strong but did not request pages from. (Mainly because I just didn’t feel the connection from the opening chapter, but I felt certain someone else would – which is sooo frustrating, I understand, because I heard it a lot while querying.)

I could have very happily worked with at least 8 of my submissions.

10 of the people who submitted to me were chosen as a mentee or alternate.

At least 4 that I thought were quite strong did not get chosen at all (but I cheer them on as they query, from one writer who was never chosen for contests to another!).

I’ve gotten 49 email thank you’s (and more on Twitter). This is not expected – don’t feel like you should thank me or other mentors if you haven’t already. But the graciousness of the responses was really overwhelming. Even if you’re a very evolved person, it’s difficult to not be chosen for something. It’s difficult to thank someone who didn’t choose you. But I have only one response, of those 49, that was not completely and utterly awesome.

(Though I really appreciated the gracious response, do note that you should not thank agents for their responses to queries. You can thank them if they’ve responded to requested materials, but otherwise they’ve just got enough to deal with in their inbox. And if you thank them, do not ask follow up questions. This did not happen to me – again, well done! – but some other mentors had people asking if they could give feedback on a revised query, etc. Do not do this with agents.)

I chose 2 MG contemporaries. One of the writers has been working on her book for three years. The other has written and queried four previous manuscripts. They are in this for the long haul. I will do another upcoming post introducing you to them and their marvelous manuscripts.

For now, thank you so much for gracing me with your submission. I was blown away by the quality, and feel like I understand more and more what agents mean when they say they loved something but just not enough, or that they didn’t love it but are sure someone else will, or that they didn’t quite connect though the writing was strong.

So many of you are so very close. I hope you all will stick with it. And if you haven’t gotten an agent by the time Pitchwars rolls around again next year – though I hope for your sake that you have – I hope you will share your work with me again.