Pitch Wars Success Story with Yael Mermelstein and her mentor Jessica Vitalis
Jan25

Pitch Wars Success Story with Yael Mermelstein and her mentor Jessica Vitalis

  When our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal, it’s one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Yael Mermelstein and her mentor, Jessica Vitalis. Yael signed with Saba Sulaiman of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Yael and Jessica on their Pitch Wars Success! Yael, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Jessica? How do I choose thee, let me count the ways. Her ‘favorites’ reading list echoed my own, she planned on being highly editorial and I knew I needed/wanted that, she was already an experienced Pitch Wars mentor, and I really connected with her personality when I watched the mentors video chat. Jessica, what about Yael’s application made you choose her? That’s a great question! When I first reviewed Yael’s application, I couldn’t figure out what an award-winning author with several published books could possibly want from me. After skimming her application, I set it aside, assuming she was way overqualified. But as I read through my submissions, I kept returning to her material. Her writing was literary and gorgeous, but at the same time fun and quirky. Plus, I was drawn to the themes in her story. I emailed Yael and asked for her manuscript along with a synopsis and soon realized that Yael’s already incredibly writing would be a great match for my plotting skills. Her warm, down-to-earth personality sealed the deal. Yael, tell us about the revision period for Pitch Wars? Yael, tell us about what it’s like to feel like you’re wasting time because you’re breathing? Jessica is a perfectionist (in a good way), which is why she’s had so much success guiding her mentees in this contest. I knew she expected quite a big rewrite on the second half of my book as we had corresponded prior to her selecting me as her mentee. But I don’t think I fully grasped the enormity of the commitment. Being rather ‘type A’ myself, there was no way I was going to let her down and so regardless of all of my other commitments—family, work and otherwise, I was going to whip this MS into shape. Under Jessica’s expert tutelage, I did that. I can’t vouch for how well those other compartments in my life managed during this time period though! Jessica, tell us about your experience with mentoring Yael. How was mentoring your other team members? Working with Yael was intense. I asked her to rewrite an enormous portion of her manuscript, including the entire second half. Despite her other commitments...

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