A Pitch Wars 2016 Success Story with Suzanne Park and her mentors, Kellye Garrett and Sarah Henning
Dec06

A Pitch Wars 2016 Success Story with Suzanne Park and her mentors, Kellye Garrett and Sarah Henning

The best part of hosting pitch contests is being a part of a writer’s successes. Today we celebrate Suzanne Park and her Pitch Wars mentors, Kellye Garrett and Sarah Henning! Suzanne recently signed with Brent Taylor of Triada US Literary Agency, and we couldn’t be happier for her. So please join me in congratulating Suzanne, Kellye, and Sarah as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story.   Suzanne, what was it about Sarah and Kellye that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application?  Kellye and Sarah were looking for mysteries (with strong voice and humor), and their second choice was commercial women’s fiction. I thought they were a long shot honestly, especially if they got a lot of mystery queries. Kellye and Sarah, thank you for picking me! You can have my first born (heads up: she is a talkative six-year-old and allergic to shrimp). Sarah and Kellye, what was it about Suzanne’s novel MY NAME IS NOT JULIE that hooked you? We definitely loved the voice and the humor. Suzanne just has a very unique way of explaining life’s little we’ve-all-been-there moments that feels so fresh and unique. We also loved that it was Korean-American #ownvoices women’s fiction, which is not something you see every day—even though we should! Suzanne, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars?  Well, it was a little easier than giving birth. So Pitch Wars wasn’t the most grueling life milestone for me I guess? Naaah, Pitch Wars was fine. After I received my first edit letter I needed to accept that my book baby was going to be hacked apart, and then I mulled over my mentors’ revision requests for a few days to think strategically about how I’d tackle everything. Time management was key. Once I had a game plan I dove in and wrote like crazy. Sarah and Kellye, tell us about your experience mentoring Suzanne. Well, first off, Suzanne is HILARIOUS. Which made for some laugh-out-loud-at-your-day-job moments (sorry, boss). Secondly, she was a total champ. We gave her a LOT to chew on (we’re very picky) and she handled all of our changes with aplomb, including a huge switcheroo to some of her plot points. She was professional and self-motivated and a joy to nag. Suzanne after Pitch Wars, you signed with Brent Taylor of Triada US Literary Agency. Please, tell us about “The Call.” We love all the details about the offer, how they contacted you, how you responded, celebrations, emotions . . . How long did you have to wait and how did you distract yourself? Anything! We love hearing about all of it. I got...

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Holiday Post and Giveaway with Pitch Wars Mentor, Stephanie Scott
Dec06

Holiday Post and Giveaway with Pitch Wars Mentor, Stephanie Scott

  Today is a big day for me. For one, I’m on Brenda’s blog, and I will always jump at the chance to work with Brenda because she cares so much about helping writers. We’ve shared a hotel room in NYC and drinks in Las Vegas, and for as flashy as that sounds, Brenda is down-to-earth, sweet, and is seriously in constant thought about how to improve her contests to help more people. I’m so grateful to be part of Pitch Wars community. And secondly (I’m a writer, we make up words), today is a big day because it’s the release of my debut young adult book ALTERATIONS! It feels like a long time coming and at the same time, like it was only yesterday I was stumbling through editing a terrible first NaNoWriMo draft, wondering if I had any talent to pull off this writer dream. Today, I’m thankful for the journey, and I’m thankful for the writers I’ve met along the way. Six years ago, I took the National Novel Writing Month plunge. It wasn’t pretty, but I finished. I spent the following year untangling the mess of my hastily written non-masterpiece and joined a public library writing group. I shared my work for the first time. Again, not pretty, but I did it. I figured out a new story idea and plunged in with my new skills. Needing more direction, I went alone to a regional Romance Writers of America conference — I didn’t write romance, mind you, but RWA came highly recommended by industry pros. I ended up meeting a young adult author in the elevator and she promptly took me around to all of her writer friends at the conference, insisting I visit a local meeting. I did, and it didn’t take long to realize I did in fact write romance. My idea of romance books was tragically still stuck in the stone age of sexy pirate dude covers. I wasn’t thinking young adult could fit into capital-R-Romance, but it does, it can, and YA books with romances are all over the place. Four years ago I entered a bunch of blog contests including Brenda’s Pitch Madness, amazingly garnered manuscript requests, and promptly freaked out. My story needed more work. When you are vulnerable, those who help you are memorable. I’m amazed by how many writers from those early days I still keep in touch with, and even cooler, how many of them have published books or found jobs in publishing. I signed with an agent from one of those contests. Everything was happening FAST. But anyone who’s been in publishing long enough knows...

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