First thing you need to know about me: I love Pitch Wars. This is my third year mentoring and I got my agent, the amazing Sarah Younger, with the manuscript I entered in the contest in 2014. Being part of the mentee class also got me an amazing group of support (shoutout, 2014 PW TOT!). Becoming a mentor in 2015 got me my critique partners and best friends – all mentors that year. My 2015 mentee got an agent within two weeks of the agent showcase. My 2016 mentee won an RWA Golden Heart with her PW manuscript and is set to publish another soon with the Big 5. Both my parents were English teachers, my father was a copy editor for a major newspaper in the summertime, and I live for Correct English Grammar. (Please know that I will spend at least two weeks in terror that there is a typo or error in this post.)
I owe every step I’ve made along my publishing journey to Pitch Wars. I write both adult and YA. My debut, LYING BENEATH THE OAKS, is a Southern romantic suspense for adults and it comes out in January 2019 from Bella Rosa Books (preorder links are up on my Goodreads page and this website). It never would have happened without Pitch Wars. My road was long, longer than most, and I’d be happy to share that story with anyone who is interested, whether or not you submit to me. For what it’s worth, not only have I worked with my editor on my soon-to-be-published novel, but I’ve also done two full R&Rs for Big 5 editors, so I do have some idea of what they’re looking for.
I work full-time as a lawyer and I have two boys who play all the sports in the world. Even so, I’ve written nine manuscripts in the last five years. I’ve written many of them in parking lots behind the wheel of my Ford Explorer, waiting for soccer practice or cross country or swimming to be over. I’m a champion multi-tasker. Let’s do this!
I am looking for your ADULT manuscript! Across all genres, I'm drawn to romantic plots and subplots and smart characters. I love flirting through intelligence. Here’s a breakdown of what I’m most likely to choose.
You’ll note I didn’t specify #ownvoices or LGBT, even though I want those. I didn’t specify it because in this day and age diversity should go without saying. If your book isn’t an accurate reflection of the society it purports to show us, that’s a problem, and it will likely impact your selection not just by me but by any mentor and ultimately by publishing. I won’t pick a manuscript that is problematic. I’ve recommended sensitivity reads in the past and I’ll do it again. Be aware of the market and your place in it.
As to New Adult, I will consider any manuscript that falls within the above categories where the protagonist is at least 21 years old and is dealing with adult issues, not coming of age questions. If chosen, I’d treat the manuscript as adult and would help you make that clear in revisions.
I’ve said this before: If your story doesn’t fit into any of the categories above, that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy; it’s just not for me. There are better mentors for it. Send it to them.
I will pass on the following BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW THESE MARKETS:
Here’s how it will work if I get to work with you! My plan is to help you with the following:
I’ll write you a long edit letter at the get-go that explains what larger changes I see (structure, plot changes, character deletion/addition, pacing, beginning in the right place). Once you do that, you’ll send it back to me and I will do in-line edits on more of a sentence/paragraph level (adding tension and punch to your language, work on dialogue, dialogue tags, character consistency and development). If we have time, I’ll read it a third time and help you copy edit. I will never try to correct your voice. I’ll be available as much as I can to help you as you revise and am easily reached by email. While we wait for the showcase, I’ll be happy to help you come up with a query strategy for your new revised query.
One caveat, and it’s huge. If you believe that your novel is perfect, and you’re entering Pitch Wars with an idea of bypassing the mentoring and going straight to the agent round without changing a word, this isn’t going to work. If your novel is that amazing, query now. This contest is for writers who want to be mentored, and that means subjecting your writing and your story to criticism that might be hard to hear. If you’re ready for an honest and improving critique, SEND IT TO ME! I will be gentle, I promise.
I can’t wait to get started! Please don’t hesitate to @ me on Twitter if you have questions.
Here is a link back to the PitchWars blog:
At the bottom of this post is a link to all the other Adult mentors’ wish lists. Happy hunting!
LYING BENEATH THE OAKS, coming Jan. 15, 2019. Buy it by clicking below!