Hi! If you’re reading this you’re probably considering competing in PitchWars 2014, so good for you and good luck!
In 2013, a few of us (meaning like almost 80 of us) did this totally unofficial blog-hop for mentee bios, which people seemed to enjoy–so of course we’re bringing it back this year. If you’d care to join, it’s fun and easy. Here are some answers to questions you might be asking.
1. Is this an official part of Pitch Wars? Will this improve my chances of being picked by a mentor?
The mentee blog hop is completely unofficial and will have absolutely no influence on your chances in the contest. It’s not required, and it’s not extra credit. It’s not a part of the contest, and will in no way influence your chances of winning. It’s just something we Internet users do because we enjoy it. So it’s totally your option if you’d like to participate.
Have I covered that? I just want it to be totally clear. Optional, unofficial, and just for fun.
2. Let’s say I want to participate in this OPTIONAL, UNOFFICIAL, JUST FOR FUN activity. How do I participate?
Step One is to write your mentee bio. The idea was inspired by Pitch Wars mentor bios, and most mentee bios follow a similar structure and formula (complete with overabundance of animated GIFs that your web host will just love. Remember when we used to pay our host per kilobyte?!) but feel free to be totally original. I seem to recall a mentee bio that was written in verse–sorry, author, if I’ve forgotten your name. This year my bio is in the form of responses to the Bachelor’s “Girl Questionnaire.”
One caveat: Your bio should be hosted somewhere on the web, so you can link to it. Please do not engrave it in cuneiform in some foreign nation, as none of us will be able to read it from our laptops, tablets, or smartphones. You can put it on your blog, your Tumblr, your Mumblr [is that even a thing?], Blogger, Livejournal, and so on.
Step Two is to share your mentee bio with the world. You can do this in a number of ways, but the best one is probably to share it on Twitter using the hashtag #PimpMyBio. Thanks to the wonderful Dannie Morin, who helped get #PimpMyBio off the ground in 2013, a list of all the mentee bios will be posted on August 19, after Pitch Wars submissions close.
Step Three is profit.
3. How do I get my mentee bio included in the list on August 19?
4. Do I have to wait until August 19 to share my mentee bio?
No, share it whenever you want. It’s probably courteous not to keep plugging it in the #PitchWars feed, because people there want to talk about the official contest and the mentors, but once or twice won’t hurt. Use your best Twitter etiquette (Twetiquette?)
5. Isn’t Dannie Morin a mentor? Doesn’t that mean participating will win me points with mentors?
Dannie is supporting #PimpMyBio in her role as author, Internet awesome person, and fan of new writers, not in her role as mentor. Once again, the mentor bio thing is a completely optional, fun activity that is not an official part of Pitch Wars and will not in any way influence your chances of winning.
**UPDATE**: Dannie added a comment to address this question in her own words. I’m quoting it here to encourage you to read it.
I will say though–and this is JUST for me, I speak for no one else–even though the hop is NOT official, it does help us as mentors. Reviewing my bio probably tells writers I’m sort of a weirdo and smartass and some people might not be looking for that in their mentor (though I cannot for the life of me fathom why!) Your bio, even though it is primarily just for fun, is a reflection of you. Don’t ever put anything on the internet that’s not! Once it’s online you can’t take it back, guys!
And I think this year, with you guys not being able to personalize queries, it’s may really help us make some tough decisions. Something in your bio may pique my interest or let me know we’re a fantastic match personality wise. Last year I definitely scoped out my top ten online to see what they were all about.
For me, a writer’s social media presence is important. Are you blowing up at people, being rude, sharing inappropriately personal details in a public forum? For me, that tells me we might not be a good match. Do you handle adversity well, have a great sense of humor, and take writing seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously? For me, that IS a good match. It might not be for another mentor, but it works for me.
6. Do I have to include animated GIFs?
Yes. Animated GIFs are mandatory. [Just kidding.]
7. What if I don’t have any online presence?
Seriously, are you even serious about being a published author? Go make a web site. Get thee to Tumblr.
8. Can you not take anything seriously? Even a simple FAQ?
9. Any other tips for writing my bio?
Sure! Don’t just write a bunch of facts about yourself, like where you were born. Think about how you can convey a sense of your personality. Have fun with it–unless your personality is “I’m not fun,” in which case approach it with stony seriousness. I know as novelists we may be very comfortable writing narrative fiction but very uncomfortable writing other things [synopsis, anyone?] so maybe imagine yourself as a character, and write a bio that reveals that character.
Also, before you post anything online for the world to read it, take the time to read three pieces from author and Pitch Wars mentor Rae Chang, “The Art of Killing Your Chances,” “The Science of Appearing Unrepresentable,” and “Don’t Be This Person.” You’ll find invaluable advice on how to behave, not only during Pitch Wars, but in general when navigating the series of complex tubes that make up the Internet.