Since it's come down to the final few on my Pitch Wars submissions, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the process of rejections in Pitch Wars.
While it is incredibly hard for the writer to receive, it's also a heart breaking process for the mentor to go through too.
Let's look at why...
It just isn't ready
Sometimes, a submission comes through that just isn't ready to move on. This could be a technical reason, a standard industry reason, or because the writing or concept just simply isn't strong enough.
Pages don't match concept
There's something really special about coming across a kick ass concept in your inbox. You sit up a little straighter, read a little faster, and you get the "oh this is cool" feeling. However, when you get to the pages, something falls flat. This can be for a myriad of reasons - you don't connect with the voice, the characterisation is flat, the pace slow. As a mentor, I try to give my reasons on each rejection, in order to help point the writer in the right direction.
It's not your personal taste
Now this one sucks for writers. No really, it does. Because it's the subjective side of the business that a writer can't do anything about. Well, that's not true, you can study the wish lists and match your book up as best you can. However, you can't guarantee you have it right because you can't mind read your mentor's head. So, sometimes we come across the submission with a good concept and good writing but it's just not our style. And that means it becomes a pass.
It's good, great even, but you like something else more
Again, one of those subjective passes that bite. There were around 20 submissions I really liked. Great premises, lovely pages, but...I found others that connected with me more. This could be for all sorts of reasons. Perhaps I was just in the mood to read a thriller that day. Maybe someone's bold attempt with a sci-fi surprised me. Or it might just be that I felt I could offer more to the Gothic writer. Who knows? What I do know is that these books are high quality, I pass them to the Up For Grabs folder, and hope that another mentor will see the merit and click a little stronger with it than I did.
Another mentor wants it
This is so hard. Another mentor wants the submission and so do you. And yet you can't both have it. So who gets it? Well, there are a lot of elements involved here. Firstly, who is most skilled to help this author? Which mentor has worked more closely in this genre? Does the writer display in their query which mentor would be their preferred choice?
Not only that, other things need brought into consideration too. Both mentors need to look at their alternates and decided how strongly they feel about those applicants. Are they willing to lose one? Can they trade one for the other desired submission? This isn't an easy decision, as not only does this involve personal preference, but it also relates back to those questions above. Who can help these submissions the best?
Not to forget, an equally important part of the decision is which mentor is the most passionate about the submission (but in a lot of cases, this is equal).
At the end of the day, mentors have to be responsible enough to concede to another mentor if it is in the writer's benefit, or the benefit of the alternates. As hard as it is, them's the breaks.
So those are my main reasons for passes. Some are harder than others. Giving up a submission I really like is next to impossible. And it's not always the best written submissions I love. Sometimes there's an indefinable X Factor that just grabs me and makes me feel at home, intrigued and curious. Sometimes it's an amazing concept with writing that can be shined with work. But the rejections are hard, hard, hard. I've had to turn down some gorgeous writing, some stunning concepts, and some fabulous authors...all because I can only pick three.
So forgive me, my fellow writers, if I had to pass on yours. Please know your talent has not gone unnoticed.