Happy to report that my poetry book, Recalibrating Gravity, a memoir in verse, won When Words Count Pitch Week 28th. Today I received my gold medal from When Words Count and a lovely note from Steve Eisner, the founder of the WWC Pitch Week Competition. I was the first poet to win gold! To read more about it click here: Announcing Pitch Week XXVIII Winner: Mary Keating! | When Words Count Retreat
We had a great group of competitors and according to Steve were “the finest group of competitors” of Pitch Week ever. I was honoured to be a part of this group and hope to see all the manuscripts in print next year. Woodhall Press plans to publish my book next Summer.
You may be wondering, what is this competition and how do I join in?
Here’s the link to apply: Pitch Week | When Words Count Retreat.
The competition is a novel way to secure a traditional publishing contract while learning how to best package your book and market it. The seminar is divided into two weeks. Once you are chosen to be a contestant, you will send your manuscript off to their editor. I worked with Peggy Moran, who helped me polish my poetry. Next, Steve schedules an introductory meeting, where you get to meet the other contestants and learn how the competition works. You also learn what to expect from the two full weeks you will spend workshopping (Meet the Judges Week [MTJ]) and presenting (Pitch Week [PW]). This introductory meeting usually happens about two weeks before MTJ.
MTJ is an exciting time where you not only collaborate with the other contestants and two coaches to choose the best passages to read from your book but work one-on-one with the three Judges chosen from the publishing arena along with your coaches. Usually one judge is a publicist, one an agent, and one a publisher.
I was lucky to work with publicist, Steve Rohr, agent Marilyn Atlas, and publishing house, Woodhall Press. During that time, they will guide you in developing your book cover, obtaining blurbs from writers and famous people, how to best present why you are the right person to have written your book, how to best package your book, and how to market it.
Once MTJ week is over, you will send in your final manuscript. Over the next six weeks or so, you will finalize your cover, marketing plan, packaging, and presentations. Once PW arrives, you will have a few more times to workshop with your coaches and contestants.
The rest of the week you spend presenting to the judges en banc. The last day, you read to a wider audience who will vote on which two books they would most likely choose to buy. The winner of that voting gets the People’s Choice Award. (My book won that award as well.)
That same evening, Steve will torture you with a blow-by-blow accounting of how each contestant did in each category. If your race is as close as mine, you will need to be close to a phone just in case 911 is needed as your heart beats with ever increasing intensity.
A few days after the contest, you will all meet with the publisher, and if you are lucky, they will publish your book. The winner is guaranteed a publishing contract and gets the best publishing terms. But win or lose, the experience is invaluable.
There is a cost to the program. You can find out about the going rates when you apply. You can also work with their book cover artist. I believe they give contestants special rates. Asha Hossain created two amazing covers for me, and I still wish I could use both.
My next steps now are to review my publishing contract, finalize my manuscript, and begin working with the fabulous Woodhall Press in preparation of publishing my book the Summer of 2024. I’m so very excited to bring my poetry to the world. The cover of the lovely card Steve Eisner sent me says it all.