Tuesday, July 19, 2016

It's Pitch Wars time again! =D

Hellooooo!! *waves enthusiastically* I’m so super excited to be doing Pitch Wars again. This will be my 5th time. Whoa! Time flies. Anyway. I seriously love pitch wars. Thanks to this contest, I’ve met two of my CPs. And met so many lovely people. Like in the pic below you can see Susan Gray Foster (my current CP and mentee from 2014, who now is repped by Caitlin Blasdell).

I really wanted to do the contest again, even though I’ve been getting busier. When I do this contest, I like to pour my heart into it. I read every submission carefully and then make enough time to work with my mentee so their MS is polished and shiny for the agents’ round.

So. I realized that the only way of doing this was to 1) co-mentor with someone awesome, and 2) narrow down my list considerably, and get less applications than other years. That’s why I’m only taking YA fantasy this year. Unlike last year, I’m not taking any NA. Sorry, guys!

Anyway! This year, I'm co-mentoring with the FABULOUS Kerbie Addis-Owens!
I'm super excited about that. I met her via Pitch Wars, too. I think she's so smart and talented, and her writing reflects that. 
Here's her bio in her own words: 

"I’m an intern at a NYC literary agency, where I go through slush and provide manuscript feedback. I have a bachelor’s in English and a minor in Latin (dead languages make me feel alive) and am currently in the master’s program at Texas Woman’s University to become a librarian. I’ve been in Pitch Wars (twice!) so I know all about revising on a deadline and the emotional rollercoaster it can be. I’ve helped many writers on their publishing journey through numerous edits, revisions, and crying sessions filled with hot cocoa and cartoons."

Back to the wish list: Like I said, we're not taking contemporary YA, or paranormal YA, or dystopian YA, or YA thrillers, etc, etc. Just YA fantasy (not over 110k words, though).

Let me specify:
We don’t care if it’s historical fantasy YA, or high fantasy YA, or any kind of YA fantasy, but we want some romance. :) It doesn’t have to be the main plot, but there has to be some romantic tension for me to get hooked.

There’s only one kind of YA fantasy we don’t want: boy YA fantasy, like ERAGON.


If you are not sure whether to submit to us, then I think it would be a good idea if you could check out the PW pages of my previous mentees. There are a couple published books from my previous Pitch Wars teams, too. :) Like this one, and this one. Here are a few other entries: this onethis one, and this oneAnd if you still want to take a look at more mss that I’ve picked to see my tastes, you can poke around on my blog and see The Writer’s Voice entries. Some of them, like STITCHING SNOW and RESURRECTING SUNSHINE are published, too. Pay attention to the voice of all those entries. If you like them, then we probably have a similar taste.

I think this step in choosing a mentor is REALLY important. Years ago, when I was querying, I read all the Baker’s Dozen entries (remember that contest on Authoress’ blog?). And I wrote down which entries I liked, and the ones I didn’t like so much. Then I paid attention to the agents who requested those entries. And then I queried them all. Most of the agents who had requested the entries at The Baker’s Dozen that I had liked, requested my ms, too. And ALL of the agents who had requested the entries that I didn’t like so much? You guessed it. They rejected my ms. Really. I think this is, like, the most important step deciding who you should submit to.

About me: I’ve been a freelance editor for over five years, and I love to edit (not copy edit, though—for some reason, I’m not so good with typos!). I got my first agent in 2010 for a YA fantasy that didn’t sell. Then, after regrouping, I auditioned at Paper Lantern Lit (the imprint founded by NYT best-selling author Lauren Oliver and editor Lexa Hiller), and got a NA deal for a packaged book (the Frosh trilogy). It was a three-book deal, so I’ve been at that for a while now. Now, I’m writing a YA fantasy in my free time. I’ve betaed or edited a lot of books (already published and upcoming), like MEMORY OF LIGHT by Francisco Stork, CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber, UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee, and many others—if you want to learn more, you might want to take a look at the editorial services page of this blog. You’ll find testimonials there, too. I'm repped by Lauren MacLeod.

My editing style is like this: I’ll point out the things that aren’t working for me and tell you why. For example, I might comment that I think the pace is slow, or the characters seem two-dimensional, or there’s a plot hole, etc. I’ll put my finger on what exactly isn’t working for me and tell you why. Then, I’ll give you a few suggestions, examples of how you might want to fix it. Then, I'll leave it up to you. If you want to fix something differently, be my guest. The key to it all is communication. Then, the second round of edits (the line-edits) will be made by Kerbie, who has a lot of experience since she works for a very awesome agent. :) 

Okay, something else you should know: last year Susan and I got like 120+ entries. (I forget the exact number, though.) About half of those were YA—the rest NA. And I’d say we got like 10 YA fantasies. So, if this year is like 2015, then we’ll get just a few entries, and in that case, I’ll try and give feedback to all the submissions. But if we get more entries than the 10-20 entries we're expecting, then I think we won’t have time to give feedback. BUT! The good news is... Kerbie says she'll have time to give overall feedback on every entry, no matter how many we get. Isn't she amazing?? 

Oh, before I forget! The letter for that BLOG HOP SCAVENGER HUNT that Brenda is doing? It's on Kerbie's blog

Let me know if you have general questions on the comments section of this post. You can tweet to us too. I won’t have much access to internet from 7/19 to 7/23, though.  

Good luck!

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  1. Best of luck with mentoring. Sad you don't want Eragon like fiction.

    1. Thanks for the good vibes! Good luck to you too! =D

  2. Aw I just realized your co-mentor is your mentee from last year! - Can I take credit for that since I sent you her entry? *smiles smuggly* lol. Looks like it turned out well for you guys :)

    Good luck ladies!

    1. Of course! lol! Good luck to you too! *hugs*

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  4. I can't believe I almost missed you two. I didn't read your wish list at first because of the romantic book covers listed on the side bar. I passed you by thinking,nah...they don't like fantasy. Thank goodness for a small hint on twitter. Can't wait for August third! :)

  5. Hi Mónica! Can we submit to you and Kerbie if we've used your editing services before? Thanks. :-)

  6. Hey, Kelly! You can submit as long as it's a different MS. =D