R you ready for #PitchWars? I am! But first, there R some things you need to know about me:
Can I get an aaarrR?
But enough with the pirate love. A year ago, I was where you are. Right now.
Sitting at my computer, staring at the screen with a stomach full of knots and butterflies. Scouring mentor bios for the ONE who would love my book like only I can love my book. The person who would nod and say, ‘Yeah. This is the manuscript.’
I get it. I’ve been there, right where you are.
Fast forward to 2016. I did not enter #PitchWars last year, but I would have if not for a twist of fate and a successful Twitter pitch in June. By mid August, I signed with my agent, Sue Miller of Donaghy Literary Group.
#PitchWars is about getting read–by mentors and agents who will hopefully get your writing career rolling. There are no guarantees, but as a mentee, you will be joining an incredible, vibrant writing community and that is worth its weight in words.
But, enough about that. Why should you pitch to me? What do I want to see in your manuscript? And more importantly, what do I NOT want to see?
Why me? No it’s not a lament. It’s an honest question that you need answered as you make your mentor decisions. By day, I am a middle & high school librarian, and I teach juniors and seniors how to be creative writers. I lecture on Celtic Mythology and publishing, specifically queries, pitches, and social media.
That said, as a librarian and teacher, I read lots of books in the YA genre and I am a practiced editor with a mighty red pen. One of my students told me that ‘no other teacher gives as much feedback as you do.’ That’s because I view every writing sample as an editing job and a learning experience. My kids deserve honest, constructive feedback. So do you.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in English/Secondary Education and a Master’s in Library Science (with an emphasis on Children’s Literature). I have written a YA Fantasy based on Celtic Myths, and a dark, edgy YA Contemporary. I have also completed an adult romantic suspense.
Personally, I love to travel and my trip to Italy, France, and Germany in 2012 was a life-changing experience. It was when I decided there was more out there for me, and I began to write with abandon.
Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time on the Gulf of Mexico… You should, too.
In a tiki bar, at sunset… Sigh.
I am a child of the 1980s and 1990s, and I still believe the X-Files are real. (I once dressed up as Scully for a Halloween party, but that’s another story…)
Bottom line—I’m not an editor that’s going to give you feedback and a shove out of the nest. I’m here. You can email me and ask questions. It’s OKAY. Editing is the work of writing. When we work together, your success as a writer is as important to me as if it were my own book.
What do I want to see?
YA Fantasy& Contemporary/Spec/Paranormal/Thriller/Action Adventure/Historical/Light Sci-Fi
I love fantasy, especially mythological retellings and well-researched historical pieces with strong female leads and characters that make me care. Strong world-building skills are a must, as is a knack for visual storytelling. (If you don’t know what I mean by visual storytelling, watch the opening abduction scene of the very first CRIMINAL MINDS episode on Netflix. It is BRILLIANTLY done. Another great one is the Paul Walker ending montage in the most recent FAST & THE FURIOUS, or Bella’s transformation montage in BREAKING DAWN PART 1). If your story is about a world that only exists in your head, I need enough information to ‘see’ what you see. Give me details. What catches your character’s eye? See the magical world through their lens and feed those great character development pieces back to the reader.
Wizards, witches, the Fae, the occasional vampire (but not in a leading role), and magic are high on my list. Let’s dance on the dark side of contemporary spec fiction, not only in setting but in human nature. Knights, castles, pirates, and strong female leads are also big pluses. My favorite books reflect my MSWL in fantasy: THE HUNGER GAMES, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES (love, love, love this book), ALL SOULS TRILOGY (adult), THRONE OF GLASS SERIES (YA), THE HISTORIAN (adult), HARRY POTTER (YA), THE FEVER SERIES (adult), DIVERGENT SERIES (YA). I want writing that drags me between the pages and characters who I can cheer for even when they get their hands dirty. I want survivors that are willing to risk everything for what they believe in and who they love.
Show me motivation. Show me love. Show me what your character is willing to risk, give up, or walk away from. Let them snark because we all need a little sarcasm in our lives. Again, strong female leads are important, but the guys can’t be pushovers either. Think like a teenager and write what is the truth for them. They suffer from heartbreak, depression, addiction, broken homes, homelessness, and indifference. Show me their successes and failures so that my students learn something about themselves when they read your books.
What I do not want to see: Age appropriate to YA, please. I’m going to say no to dystopian at this point (contemporary spec fiction is OKAY), even though my students still come in and relentlessly ask for it. (Did you hear that publishing gods?) Please do not send me manuscripts that you have not thoroughly edited for typos and the correct form of ‘your or there.’ (It’s a teacher thing) Show me you have done your homework. Romance within the story is A-OKAY.
And, finally, follow the #PitchWars submission guidelines. Send me your query letter and first ten pages. In a comment to this post, tell me why you submitted to me. Honestly. No butt kissing allowed. Why do you think we’d be a good match?
If we don’t connect, it’s nothing personal. You will find the right match. Trust in your words to lead the way.
And now for the link that will begin your journey: