Hey guys! I am SO freaking excited to be a Pitch Wars mentor this year, and I can’t wait to see all your wonderful YA submissions! I participated as an alternate last year, and the contest helped me prep my submission materials and rack up quite a few agent requests. I signed with Jim McCarthy only 2 months later, and I definitely owe at least part of that success to Brenda Drake’s wonderful contest! YAY BRENDA! YAY PITCH WARS!
To start, here’s a little about me (aka why you should choose ME as your mentor!):
I’m a YA writer (represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich) and a freelance editor. With my help, many of my clients have found agents such as Louise Fury (2 clients!), Lucy Carson, Christa Heschke, Carolyn Forde, and Marlene Stringer, among others. I’m a voracious reader of YA, but I’m also well read in other age categories thanks to my BA and MA in Literature and my unhealthy obsession with buying every book I see. I’ve now interned for three literary agencies, so I know not only how to write/edit YA, but how YA agents think and what they’re looking for. In fact, I’m hoping to be one myself one day 🙂 Hmmm what else…oh yeah! My clients have great luck in contests! Just last month my clients made it to the finals of #QueryKombat AND are now agented! YAY!
But what can *I* do for YOU, you ask?
–As your mentor, I’ll use my writing, editing, and internship experience to help you make your manuscript the very best it can be. But warning! I’m a tough critiquer, and I’ll expect you to give revisions everything you’ve got!
–I’ll provide you with developmental feedback in the form of a reader report, AND a line by line critique once you’ve revised. That’s 2 critiques for the price of one!
–I’ll also help you develop a pitch and query that’ll knock the socks off all the agent judges. We’ll not only get to the heart of your book, we’ll leave them wanting much, MUCH more!
–Finally, we’ll work on your first chapter until it’s absolutely the best it can be. That means striking the perfect balance between voice and conflict, with an eye to your genre and teen audience. We’ll put special focus on the first 250 words, since that’s where most agents stop reading.
–I participated in Pitch Wars last year as an alternate, and I was lucky enough to be chosen by two mentors. I know the importance of making your first chapter really shine, but I also know that most alternates end up relying on their query to find an agent. That’s why I’ll put just as much time into helping my alts with the pitch/query as my mentee. By the end of our mentorship, I want my alternates to be ready to participate in the agent round AND query widely!
I’m going to be mentoring YOUNG ADULT MANUSCRIPTS ONLY. I’m interested in tightly plotted, character-driven stories with heart. I tend to enjoy things on the darker/issue-driven side, so hit me with your creeptastic settings, your emotionally bankrupt villains, and your doomed-from-the-start relationships. Just make sure any and all submissions have a clear hook. I like my books to be on the commercial side!
Didn’t write a dark YA? Don’t fret: I might still LOVE your manuscript.
Here’s what I’m looking for in particular:
–Dark, Literary Contemporary: I love books that make me feel, especially when they do so with beautiful prose. Just make sure they have a clear hook! (Examples: Thirteen Reasons Why, Paper Covers Rock, Sea of Tranquility, I’ll Give You the Sun, We Were Liars etc.)
–Historical/ Retellings. I just finished CODE NAME VERITY and it made me cry for days. I’m probably going to start crying just thinking about it. ::blows nose:: If you have a heart wrenching, gut twisting historical/retelling, send it to me! Just make sure it has a clear hook, ie a commercial element. (Examples: Code Name Verity, Sekret, The Book Thief–I like books about war!)
–Fantasy/Magical Realism. I love immersive worldbuilding and character-driven fantasies. (Examples: The Raven Boys, Scorpio Races, Sabriel, Shadow and Bone, etc. No dragons or elves, please.)
–Thriller/Horror. The book that landed me an agent was a YA Psychological Thriller in the vein of MISERY meets LIVING DEAD GIRL…cheerful, huh?!I I’d *love* to read another dark thriller. BUT! If you’re going to send me a Thriller, make sure it’s got an edge to it. I’m not interested in heists or fugitive-type stories, for instance. (Examples: Dangerous Girls, Anna Dressed in Blood, maybe a YA Gone Girl/Sharp Objects?)
…or any combination thereof! I love Historical Fantasies (like The Diviners), and I would DIE for a YA Night Circus. Oh, one last thing! Quiltbag and diverse YA are welcome! So, if you have any of the above categories AND your manuscript features a diverse cast, I WANTS IT, THE PRECIOUS.
HOWEVER, I am NOT the right mentor for:
Didactic or Inspirational Religious/Spiritual (see comments for more information)
Novels told in verse
Young YA that walks the MG/YA line
Hard Science Fiction
Just kidding–that stuff is great! I’m just not equipped to provide feedback on those categories, and you all deserve a mentor who knows your genre like the back of their hand!
Oh, one last thing: I love animals, especially dogs. If you have a dog death in your book, please don’t send it to me. I lost a dog a few years ago, and it still upsets me a lot. So just send those elsewhere, please. Thanks.
A little about you (aka who I’m hoping to work with!):
I’m hoping to find a mentee who is a hard worker dedicated to craft. I want someone who is passionate and excited, and who will put everything they’ve got into revisions, since I’ll be putting my heart into their critique. I love YA and I love good story telling, so hopefully I’ll find someone who is excited about them, too!
If this describes you, then we’ll make an UNSTOPPABLE team.
Okay, I think that covers it! If you have questions or you’re not sure if something is up my alley, feel free to tweet me. I’ll do my best to respond. Just make sure you also include the #PitchWars hashtag! If you have any questions regarding the technical aspects of submissions (we’re using a form this year!), head on over to brenda-drake.com
NOW SEND ME YOUR MANUSCRIPTS!
Now go check out the other Pitch Wars Mentors!