A Pitch Wars Success Story with Alex Reda and her mentor, Marty Mayberry
Jun28

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Alex Reda and her mentor, Marty Mayberry

  Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests around here is hearing about successes. Today we celebrate Alex Reda and her Pitch Wars mentor Marty Mayberry! Alexrecently signed with Natascha Morris of BookEnds Literary Agency, and we’re so over-the-moon excited for her. So please join me in congratulating Alex and Marty as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story. Alex, what was it about Marty that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? 2016 wasn’t my first time in the Pitch Wars rodeo. I didn’t get in two years ago, but I’ve made some awesome friends along the way, and they all recommended Marty. Once I read her amazing bio (and stalked her on Twitter, like any good potential mentee), I knew we’d work great together. Her professionalism sang to me, and she had this very clear-cut way of saying what she expected from a mentee and what her strengths were (spoiler alert: she’s a super hero). I resonated with that, plus the fact that she seemed so passionate about writing and helping others. Subbing my manuscript to her was one of the best decisions of my life. Marty, what was it about Alex’s LOVE, LIES, AND THE OTHER TEAM DIES that hooked you? I was honored by how many authors trusted me with their words during the Pitch Wars sub window. Truly, I could’ve mentored any of them. I read through each entry, sorted them into folders, then stepped back and thought about all of them. Many had excellent hooks. Others had writing that pulled me into their stories from page one. It was a tough decision. Alex’s book is about a young woman who wins the chance to participate in a gaming competition with her best friends. Their biggest rival is a group of teens headed up by the boy she met and partly fell for at a conference. Add in a potentially haunted house venue, and I was in love. What great conflict! From chapter one, I was rooting not just for the main character to win the competition, but also wind up with the boy. When people say that this business is subjective, they’re right. There was something about Alex’s story I couldn’t let go of. I knew within a week that hers was the book I wanted to mentor. Alex, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Marty was super prompt and sent me an edit letter right away. When I read it and didn’t instantly want to shrivel up and cry, I knew we were on our way to success. Marty was always very patient with me, guided me through all the edits,...

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Day 37 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Shanna Rogers and Katherine Fleet
Jun28

Day 37 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Shanna Rogers and Katherine Fleet

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page and that you’ll get to know some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors. We appreciate our mentors for giving up their time to do the critiques. If you have something encouraging to add, feel free to comment below. Please keep all comments tasteful. We will delete any inappropriate or hurtful ones. First up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Shanna Rogers … Twitter | Website When she wasn’t reading as a kid, Shanna was acting out something she read in a book: starting a babysitters’ club, spying, searching the house for a secret passage, and convincing a neighbor she had an identical twin (she doesn’t). She’s still twelve at heart, so writing middle grade was a natural choice. After receiving her B.A. in journalism, Shanna spent several years acting in Los Angeles before becoming a teacher. You can catch her in the background of dozens of shows, including as a dead body on The Closer (Kyra Sedgwick massaged her feet!) and sporting a spray tan on old episodes of The O.C. She once beat Woody Harrelson in a thumb war. Shanna is represented by Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. You can find Shanna on Twitter at @ShannaRogers29 and on her website…as soon as she stops writing long enough to make one. Shanna’s Query Critique . . . Dear (agent), I’m submitting to you because I enjoyed attending your class at (conference). [Include age for YA] Maddy’s a good girl [I’d find a more interesting way to describe her. If you want to keep the flow with the liar part that follows, you could replace “good girl” with something more specific. Star student? Great juggler?] , but she’s an even better lier [liar]. When she lies her way into the only interesting building in her small town, a Lab [don’t capitalize unless this is its official title], for a high school dare, things go sour [Vague. What specifically goes wrong?] and her almost-boyfriend’s dad, who works there, has to step in to stop her from accidentally stealing a new man-made virus. [How could she “accidentally” steal the virus?] The good news is Maddy doesn’t get in trouble. The bad news is her crushes [crush’s] dad gets...

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Day 37 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentor, Sharon M. Johnston
Jun28

Day 37 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentor, Sharon M. Johnston

  Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page and that you’ll get to know some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors. We appreciate our mentors for giving up their time to do the critiques. If you have something encouraging to add, feel free to comment below. Please keep all comments tasteful. We will delete any inappropriate or hurtful ones. First up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Sharon M. Johnston …   Sharon M. Johnston is an author from sunny Queensland, Australia. She writes YA and NA fiction across a range of genres. In her spare time, she makes bookmarks and jewelry, and enjoys time with her family and fur babies. Website/blog: http://sharonmjohnston.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/S_M_Johnston Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorsmjohnston/< Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sharonmjohnston/   Sharon’s recent release … An Open Heart Novel, Book 2 Healing a battered heart will risk her last link to humanity. Mishca needs to save her sisters, but only Ryder can save her. The truth about Mishca’s past shattered her heart. She deals with the pain by focusing on a new mission: saving her newfound family from their creator. With her sisters scheduled for termination, Mishca and her friends set out on a journey up the North Queensland Coast to save them before someone else dies. Ryder understands the need driving Mischa. It’s in her DNA. But he’s not giving up on the chance they can still be together. She’s the only one to have seen him levitate. The only one to watch the sparks dance across his skin. The only one he trusts enough to know what is in his heart. And now, he might be the only one who can stop Mishca from losing her humanity. Driven apart by secrets, will they come together in time? Don’t miss Book 1, DIVIDED, available now. Sharon’s First Page Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: YA GENRE: Contemporary ONE I can’t believe I packed my car charger. In the big suitcase. In the trunk. [I would prefer to see an opening line with a bit more oomph. Something that grabs me and pulls me into the story more.] What was I thinking? My phone blinks at me. Low battery. Connect to power. As if the message isn’t already clear, which trust me, it is, the backlight...

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