Pitch Wars!

I’m very excited to serve as a first-time mentor for Pitch Wars, an enormously successful mentoring program that pairs industry insiders (such as published authors, agented authors, and industry professionals) with unagented writers. The event begins with a submission period in September and ends with an Agent Showcase in February. During the intervening months, the mentor (me) works with the mentee (you—fingers crossed!) to polish and revise a completed manuscript.

Are you on the hunt for a Pitch Wars mentor? If you write MG, consider me!

What I Want:

  • MIDDLE GRADE ONLY.
  • Contemporary/coming-of-age. The kind of book that rips your heart to pieces and stitches it together again, like THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH by Ali Benjamin, NEST by Esther Ehrlich, THE LINE TENDER by Kate Allen, or THE BENEFITS OF BEING AN OCTOPUS by Ann Braden.
  • Contemporary with a twist. A book that speaks directly to the heart, with a dose of something special/unusual/quirky, like THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate; books by Amy Sarig King; books by Laurel Snyder; ZINNIA AND THE BEES by Danielle Davis.
  • Absurdity. If you have something clever and difficult to define, I’d like to see it. Something like SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL by Louis Sachar.
  • Anything with time travel, especially if it stays within the confines of the real world. My favorite time travel books are WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead and A TIME TRAVELER’S THEORY OF RELATIVITY by Nicole Valentine, which won’t be released until October, but I promise it’s really good. I also love THE TIME MACHINE by H.G. Wells. I love time travel. Send me your time travel.
  • Character-driven science fiction. I prefer novels that take place on Earth (or in an Earth-like setting). Something like THE WILD ROBOT by Peter Brown would be amazing. I’m willing to travel to other planets if you have a great character(s). 
  • Scary and/or atmospheric books, especially with ghosts or Gothic elements. If your book is comparable to HOODOO or THE OWLS HAVE COME TO TAKE US AWAY, both by Ronald L. Smith; WAIT TILL HELEN COMES by Mary Downing Hahn; or DOLL BONES by Holly Black, we might make a great match.
  • Historical fiction. I love historical fiction! Such as: THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, THE HIRED GIRL by Amy Schlitz, and THE BOY WHO DARED by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. I’d especially love to see historical fiction written from marginalized perspectives, specifically #ownvoices. Speaking of which …
  • #OwnVoices manuscripts that fall into any of the above criteria. I would love to see manuscripts from marginalized perspectives, particularly from varied socioeconomic backgrounds.

What I Don’t Want:

  • Anything that isn’t middle-grade.
  • Novels in verse. Although they are wonderful, I am not the right editor for them.
  • Fantasy. Although I read (and write!) fantasy, I’m not accepting any fantasy manuscripts.
  • Non-fiction. I love non-fiction with a fiery passion, but I’m not accepting it.
  • Graphic novels. Same as above.

How I Mentor:

I dive into your manuscript from every corner —big picture to sentence level. My goal is to cheer you and challenge you. I’m honest, constructive, accessible, and approachable. In addition to being an author, I have many years of experience in editing and book publicity, and I’ve taught creative writing and contemporary children’s literature for several years in the graduate-level fiction and publishing programs at Rosemont College. Books are my life. I’m passionate about writing, but I’m also passionate about the industry itself, despite its faults and frustrations. With me as your mentor, you get an editor, reader, writer, and publicist, all rolled into one Filipino Jane of All Trades.

My ideal mentee:

  • Has a polished manuscript that fits one of the above criteria, especially if you’re an #OwnVoices author.
  • Genuinely wants and appreciates feedback. 
  • Is a good human: kind, respectful and supportive of other writers, enthusiastic, with a good sense of humor.
  • Open to working through email and hard copies. Yes, I said hard copies. Sorry for making you spit out your coffee, but I’m a retro kinda girl. I write all my first drafts in notebooks, for heaven’s sake. But don’t worry, I know how to use email. (And we will definitely use our email.) If you’re selected as my mentee, I will ask you to email your manuscript. Then I will print said MS and make notes in the margins with a pen (OMG soooo nineties!) Then I will ship it to you. You’ll still receive a detailed editorial letter via email, and all of our communication will be via email as well, unless you want to have an occasional Skype. But when I first encounter a manuscript, I prefer to read it on paper. Sorry, trees.

Thank you for considering me. I can’t wait to read your manuscript. May the odds be ever in your favor!