I have very little experience with the pitch "war" format (where writers are chosen & mentored based on stories entered), but I've had some great experiences with the pitch party.
What's a pitch party?
There are specific days where authors are invited to pitch their completed, ready-to-submit manuscripts using certain hashtags, depending on the party & the theme. Off the top of my head, there's #PitMad, #DVPit, #SFFPit.
You'll use that hashtag, plus your age range (#YA, #NA, #A) & genre (there are a lot!).
Who Is Watching These Parties?
Agents & publishers, generally small press, will look at these pitches & "heart" the ones they like. No one other than industry professionals are allowed to do this. If you like someone else's pitch, you can reply to the poster, or in some cases, retweet. Depends on who's running the party.
If you get a heart, that means they want you to query. Again: MAKE SURE YOUR MANUSCRIPT IS READY. It's important to do due diligence, & look up these agents & publishers.
Do You See Results?
The last time I participated, I received more than one heart. One agent wanted me to revise & resubmit the first three chapters I sent (twice! That's almost unheard of). Two more requested full manuscripts.
I eventually went with another small press, but participating in these pitch parties forces you to be able to boil your plot down into a convincing "bite."
I highly encourage writers who are ready to query to give one a try. I also highly encourage all writers to practice their pitches. It really comes in handy!
Formerly from Detroit, Mary Lynne Gibbs now lives on the Kentucky farmland with her husband, kids, and a menagerie of animals. From the day she saw her poetry published in the local children's museum newsletter in fifth grade, she knew she wanted to be a writer. She writes primarily for teens, and fantasy is her first love. Her works include The Dragon's Curse, The Maiden's Courage, Jericho Rising, and Jericho's Redemption. When she isn't writing, she loves reading and crafting. She's a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, & Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers.
You can visit her at www.marylynnegibbs.net