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Last-Minute Revision Tips for #Pitchwars

pitchwars wishlist --crime novels

Pitchwars adult mentor 2020

Pitchwars is a wonderful mentoring program, and if you’re applying, congratulations! If you’ve reached out to other hopefuls, or spoken to mentors, you’re on your way to developing your own community. The writing life is hard, and mutual support can go a long way in nurturing the storyteller in all of us.

With the submission dates fast approaching, here are a few last-minute revision tips to get that submission package in shape. (ICYMI: My Pitchwars Mentor wishlist here.)

These are things you can do on the last days in order to spit-polish your submission package, after you’ve got it beta-read by several trusted readers, followed good query-writing advice, and avoided the common query-writing pitfalls:

  1. For Pitchwars, specifically, the synopsis and the query letter are very important. Each mentor gets dozens, if not hundreds of submissions–it is important to stand out from the crowd. You need a premise that hooks, a first line in a synopsis or query that grabs the reader. The same rule applies for the writing sample, of course–hook with that first line and keep them reading.
  2. You want to make sure that your submission package is free of proofing errors. A typo is not a deal-breaker (not for me, at least, and for most mentors, I’m guessing), but you want to show you’re a professional. A clean, error-free package means you are willing to invest time and effort. In other competitions–for short stories or novels, you do not want typos to be the only difference between your work and that of a competitor.
  3. Change the font for the text you’re submitting. Then, read it aloud and read it backwards (last paragraph first).
  4. Give yourself a break before submitting: make sure you have your package ready to go a few days before the deadline. Leave it aside for a day or two. Time away from it will give you an objective viewpoint, and errors will tend to jump out. As well, if you take your time with the submission process itself, you’re less likely to make errors.
  5. Make a last check of the wishlists of the mentors you’re submitting to: you might catch something you missed out earlier, and tweak your submission package accordingly. You do not have to customize queries to mentors, however, as it all goes into one submission form.
  6. Most importantly, remember to have fun.  (Build community. That way you gain a lot in terms of support, beta-readers, cheerleaders.)

All the best to all Pitchwars hopefuls! Remember not to stress about this, because pitchwars is just one of many paths to publication. Writing is a career, and while receiving a mentorship will be helpful, not receiving one is not the end of the world.

Are you applying to Pitchwars? Any other writing mentor program? As a writer, what would you expect from a mentor? What sort of support have you received from the writing community?


Are you part of nay online or offline book groups? Founded any? What is the experience like? Do you think online book groups are similar to those offline?My debut literary crime novel,”You Beneath Your Skin,” published by the fab team at Simon and Schuster IN is optioned to be a TV series by Endemol Shine.

It is available in India here.

Worldwide, here.

Reviews are appreciated–please get in touch if you’d like a review copy.

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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8 Comments

  • jlennidorner says:

    I’m not applying to pitchwars, but I think it’s an awesome program. And getting a mentor is really cool. I guess what I’d most hope for is a mentor who could impart knowledge I don’t already have. (For example, I took a course about social media for writers, and I had three times as many followers as the teacher. It was awkward. I DO NOT know everything, and I love to learn– but to learn, you have to find someone who knows something you don’t and get them to share that with you.)

    I am excited for the upcoming YA scavenger book hunt (YASH). I’m not in it, but I do think it’s fun. And I’m excited for the Pass or Pages query contest at Operation Awesome with the YA category this October. I’m on the team. Operation Awesome was supporting me long before I joined the team, they were my original “writing community” online.

    I hope you’ve been staying healthy and thriving as best as you can this year.

    – J

  • Billybuc says:

    I have been mentoring for a couple years now and I love the process/experience. Best wishes to you!

  • That’s very cool you are a mentor. You’ll probably learn just as much from the experience.

  • Shalzmojo says:

    All the best with your pitch Damyanti! 🙂

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      I’m a mentor, Shalini, so I’ll be reading the pitches.:)

  • Umm..for #2 “for most mertors” I think you meant mentors 🙂

    Proofreading is a good idea! Hahaha

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks for pointing it out!

      I should try not to write blog posts after 17-hour-days lol

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