How do I give you advice about Pitch Wars?
The short story is: I did Pitch Wars and then I got agented, then I sold the book I used in Pitch Wars, and this book, SURRENDER YOUR SONS, is finally going to be in people’s homes, hands, shelves, and miiiiinds on September 15, 2020!
The long story is: this isn’t going to be your favorite blog post because after I did Pitch Wars, it took another 2 years to get an agent, and another year after that to sell SURRENDER YOUR SONS. A lot of you are going to do Pitch Wars, get many requests (or just a handful of requests), and then sign with an agent. YAY! You’ve earned it! Another set of you—no less worthy—will have a winding road experience closer to mine. I got about 17 or so requests, and while all my cohorts got signed up—some even SOLD right away—those requests slowly didn’t pan out.
It really, truly sucked.
But that book? Needed more time.
I needed more time as a human being.
I learned about this business while I was waiting and revising. I met fabulous friends and advice givers in fellow authors, bloggers, agents, well-wishers. People genuinely wanted to see me succeed and were sorry they weren’t the ones to help me do it. But I’m happy I took it in stride as best as I could because now that my book is coming out, those same people remain genuinely pumped for me!
The same will happen for you. Just remember that Pitch Wars—and your mentor—are only one stop along this road. Treat everyone well. Be excited for other people, even if they’re currently doing better than you, but ESPECIALLY if you’re currently doing better than them. It’s not a race. This is a lifetime career you’re all trying to build.
When SURRENDER YOUR SONS finally hits stores, it’ll be 4 years since my Pitch Wars, but it was worth it. It’s a story of perseverance and determination! SURRENDER YOUR SONS is a YA mystery set on an island—like LOST but very, very queer. A gay teen named Connor finds his summer vacation interrupted by a group of masked men who abduct him and deliver him to a conversion therapy camp on a desolate Pacific island. Connor’s religious zealot family arranged this for him, but he has no intention of staying. He teams up with the other kidnapped LGBTQ+ teens to uncover the camp’s dark secrets and take the whole place down.
I’ve spent 6 years with this story—writing, revising, shelving, un-shelving, revising, and revising again! Year after year, rejection after rejection, I held a funeral for this book…so many times. SURRENDER YOUR SONS was supposed to go away forever and be a thing I remembered bittersweetly as I flourished with other books. Now, Connor is going to live. There won’t be any more funerals.
What’s obvious is that SYS has taught me the first and only lesson publishing has to teach—that I cannot control any of this. I can’t predict it. I can’t will it. I can only write it, release it, and weather it. In the end, despite 110 combined agent and editor rejections (one of which was from my own agent for the very book he went on to sell!), this book will exist and whatever happens from there, happens.
And so will you with your books.
Thank you for reading, and good luck out there! We want you to win.
For me and SYS, my newsletter will be kicking off next month, informing people of updates, teasers, news bits, morsels, rumblings, crumblings, as well as my comings and goings at book events. Bloop me on Twitter: @TheAdamSass or IG: itsadamsass and say hi!