Pitch Wars Advice Blog Hop: Keeping Hope Alive

The best advice I’ve ever received about the publishing industry is:

“Keep your expectations low, but your hopes high.”

Have I always embodied this advice? HAH. Nope. But do I do the best I can? Absolutely.

The truth about this industry is that it’s hard. Some days, you’ll cry and ask yourself why you’re even trying to become a published author. (Who has two thumbs and has done this multiple times over the years? *This girl*) But as long as your answer remains, “because I love to write and I have a story to tell,” you should sustain that beacon of hope and keep pressing forward.

I am not your typical “Pitch Wars success story.” In fact, I think many would say I’m the opposite. I submitted my first “real” book (one I actually plotted out and edited) to Pitch Wars in 2017. I received a few requests, but ultimately I was not chosen as a mentee.

Did that super suck and was I extremely sad about the results? You bet. But did I give up on writing and life as I knew it? Nope!

In fact, because of Pitch Wars, I gained three pretty amazing things after finding out I was not selected:

  1. I found my first *real* CP from a CP match event after PW (shout out to the fabulous historical romance author, Felicia Grossman!)
  2. I met some local YA Pitch Wars authors in my community. The first of which were Rachel Lynn Solomon and Rachel Griffin. And you know what? Two years later, I’m able to call them close personal friends. (It is still wild to me how the people you meet online can become your IRL friends!)
  3. I discovered another writing mentorship opportunity, Author Mentor Match. I became a mentee of this program under the guidance of amazing YA authors Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka. Through this program I found a fabulous community that has helped me level up my writing in so many ways.

Because of those things, I consider myself a “Pitch Wars Success Story,” just not in the way you’d typically picture it.

I’d love to follow this “success” story up with a “and I also have an agent/book deal/etc!” post, but to keep it real, I can’t. Instead, here are my “Honest Querying Statistics” posts (Number 1 and Number 2.) I’ve queried two books since submitting to Pitch Wars and I haven’t landed an agent… *yet.*

The most important takeaway of the above paragraph is the YET. That word points to the little flame of hope I keep alive inside myself each and every day. Currently, it’s in the form of the next book I’m working on, and let me tell you, I’m very excited about querying it as soon as it’s ready.

So, no matter what happens to you this Pitch Wars season, I hope you keep looking to the future and keep on writing. Whether you become a “Pitch Wars success” in the traditional way, or if you end up being a “Pitch Wars success” in my way, keep that spark of writerly hope alive inside you no matter what.

Because if you can do that, someday—with enough hard work, lots of stubbornness, and a dash of luck—you will land that agent, score that book deal, or achieve that writing dream.

Good luck and I wish you all the best as you wait for the mentee results!

Tara Tsai

Last (but not least!) if you have any follow-up questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments below, through my website’s “Contact Me” page or reach out on twitter @TaraTsaiWrites. Thank you so much for reading!

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