I’m very excited to serve as a mentor for Pitch Wars, an enormously successful mentoring program that pairs industry insiders (such as published authors, agented authors, and publishing 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 novels of any genre. 

That’s intentionally broad, I know. To give you an idea of what kinds of books I like, here are a few MG favorites:
A WISH IN THE DARK, by Christina Soontornvat (fantasy)
COO, by Kaela Noel (contemporary with a twist)
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, by Katherine Applegate (contemporary with a twist)
WHEN YOU REACH ME, by Rebecca Stead (historical sci-fi)
THE ONLY BLACK GIRLS IN TOWN, by Brandy Colbert (contemporary)
THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NOT CHANGE, by Rebecca Stead (contemporary)
THE BLACKBIRD GIRLS, by Anne Blankman (historical)
EVERLASTING NORA, by Marie Miranda Cruz (contemporary)
MY FATE ACCORDING TO THE BUTTERFLY, by Gail Villaneuva (contemporary)
MY LIFE AS AN ICE CREAM SANDWICH, by Ibi Zoboi (historical)
INTO THE TALL TALL GRASS, by Loriel Ryon (fantasy)
THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH, by Ali Benjamin (contemporary)
THE NEXT GREAT PAULIE FINK, by Ali Benjamin (contemporary)
SHOW ME A SIGN, by Ann Clare LeZotte (historical)

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.
  • 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. I also teach in the MFAC program at Hamline University and with Gotham Writers Workshop. Books—reading them, writing them, and teaching them—are my passion. 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.

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