Welcome to my 2019 Pitch Wars Wishlist! If you aren’t familiar with Pitch Wars, it’s a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to mentor. Mentors read the entire manuscript and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch and query for an agent showcase in February 2020. I’m thrilled to be mentoring YA again this year. (Click here for a link to a text-only version of my wishlist.)
I write YA of many genres, most recently focusing on contemporary. I’ve been a part of the Pitch Wars community since I was chosen as a mentee in 2012. I was a solo mentor in 2017 and a co-mentor with Samantha Joyce in 2018. I was sad that Sam couldn’t mentor with me this year, but I applied to mentor solo again because this community changed my writing life, and I want to continue to pass that forward to more writers. For me, Pitch Wars is more about a long-term support system than a single manuscript or milestone.
I have a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in professional writing and a master’s in English education and educational technology from the University of Florida. I’ve been a freelance editor for nine years, and I’ve worked in desktop publishing for over four years. I’m currently an editor at The Editor Garden, based in Jacksonville, Florida. I’ve also critiqued fiction independently and as a group leader through the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators since 2013. My work is represented by Danielle Burby at Nelson Literary Agency.
Music is a major part of my life. I’ve driven hundreds of miles to see Andrew McMahon and Muse in concert. Also, I don’t let the muggles get me down; I’m a proud Gryffindor, and Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite. (#HPforever)
I would read Holly Black’s grocery list, and I would love to read something with a fresh concept akin to White Cat. Sonia Hartl’s Have a Little Faith in Me is the most amazing YA I’ve read in 2019, and if you could comp it for your manuscript, please submit to me!
I cried when Shadowhunters ended–I’m a fan of the books and the show. (Don’t @ me.) And don’t get me started on the season four finale of The Magicians. (But can we please get an album of Hale Appleman singing every song, ever?)
I believe in positive reinforcement, so I will definitely tell you all the things I love about your manuscript! But I also believe in honest feedback in the areas where I think your work can grow and improve. I know how scary it can be to have your work critiqued—it gets easier, but I still have serious nerves every time I send my work to readers. I’m always grateful to anyone who trusts me with their words.
My goal is help you achieve your vision for the best version of your manuscript. That might mean a lot of work on your end, but I will help you through it. I’m always available for questions through email, DM, etc., and I’m up for calls or video conferences if you are!
I’ll start with an initial, overarching edit letter, addressing any aspects of the manuscript that might need work. We’ll work together to develop a plan for revision, and we’ll set a timeline for sending back the next completed draft.
For the second round of revision, I’ll address any lingering concerns with document notes and a second edit letter. We’ll also work though the pitch, query letter, and synopsis so you’ll be ready to submit to agents, and I’m open to sharing my industry experience to help you move forward on your writing path.
Now, without further ado, the reason you’re here!
I want contemporary YA of all flavors, including lighter, heartwarming stories, like Sonia Hartl’s Have a Little Faith in Me, and serious ones with darker themes. In this area, I love mystery, suspense, and thriller elements, like Dana Mele’s People Like Us or Kara Thomas’s The Cheerleaders.
I also savor YA with a literary voice, like Laurie Halse Anderson’s work. Brainy STEM girls are my jam, like Dimple from Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi, and so are girls with passion and ambition, like Bri from Angie Thomas’s On the Come Up.
In fantasy, I’m open to urban or contemporary fantasy, stories with magical elements, and paranormal. The main thing I’m looking for here is a fresh, unique character and/or concept. I loved Christine Lynn Herman’s The Devouring Gray, I’ve read all of Cassandra Clare’s books, and I adore Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince. Truly, if you can comp your manuscript to any of Holly’s books, particularly White Cat, please send it my way!
Here I’m mainly looking for light or soft science fiction, with a particular interest in near future, like Marie Lu’s Warcross. I’d enjoy time travel with a fresh take, and I’d love to see a unique alternate history. If you’d classify your sci-fi as a space opera, with plenty of drama and a romantic element, I’d be glad to take a look!
I love swoon-worthy love stories, and I enjoy a strong romantic element in all genres.
I love stories where the setting is another character in the story, and if your writing evokes the feeling of a Wes Anderson movie in any genre, please submit to me!
We live in a diverse world, and teen readers need to see that in the books they read. I’m looking for diversity of all types in all genres.
Again, families in the real world are complicated and complex. I love to see this reflected in all genres.
This list is purely based on my personal taste and experience, for various reasons. There are lots of other great mentors who are accepting these types of manuscripts!
Horror (or any manuscript with excessive gore)
Sports as Central Plot Elements
Heavy or Military Sci-fi
Heavy or Epic Fantasy
Novels in Verse
I think that about covers it. Thank you for checking out my wishlist. I can’t wait to read your words!
*If you know me personally or if we’ve previously worked together professionally or as critique partners, beta readers, or writing group members, please do not submit to me for Pitch Wars. I want to be completely fair when making my decision, and there many other amazing mentors who would love your submission!
**I am NOT accepting New Adult (NA) this year.