Pitch Wars Success Story with Jenny Rosen and her mentor, Kim Graff
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 Jenny Rosen and her mentor, Kim Graff. Jenny got an audiobook deal with Hachette Audio since being a mentee in Pitch Wars, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Jenny and Kim on their Pitch Wars Success!
Jenny, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Kim?
Kim’s love for dark and gritty storylines, complex characters, conflicted family dynamics, and unreliable narrators was right up my alley. I submitted to her immediately after I discovered her PW Mentor profile because I had a feeling that we’d work really well together if I was lucky enough to be her mentee.
Kim, what about Jenny’s application made you choose her?
I’m super into political thrillers and microtension is really important to me — Jenny’s PW manuscript really hit the sweet spot on both for me. There was great tension and voice, and it was a political YA thriller which you don’t see enough of these days.
Jenny, tell us about how your relationship has continued after Pitch Wars?
Kim was incredibly supportive after Pitch Wars and encouraged me to continue querying. She read over a number of my revisions and recommended agents that I could submit to. When I ultimately decided to put querying THE RUNAWAYS on hold, she told me to focus my efforts on my second project (CHEATER, FAKER, TROUBLEMAKER) because she saw more mainstream commercial potential. Her belief in my writing ability propelled me forward in the years following Pitch Wars and is one of the reasons why I still keep pushing myself to improve.
Kim, tell us about your experience during and after Pitch Wars with Jenny.
Jenny was great. She hit deadlines like a champ, and was always open to feedback which is REALLY important in Pitch Wars. Really. Important. If you can manage the deadlines of Pitch Wars, it can be really difficult — and no matter what was happening, Jenny managed with stars.
Jenny, after Pitch Wars you got an audio book deal with Hachette Audio. Can you tell us about how that happened, the details about the offer? How did Hachette contact you? How did you respond? How did you celebrate? Anything! We love knowing it all.
I’ve been a member of the Wattpad community since 2011, and after my YA Thriller THE RUNAWAYS, received over 2 million views, I was asked to be apart of the Wattpad Stars Program in 2014, which provides potential publication, film, and television opportunities to Wattpad’s most popular writers. That same year, I began writing CHEATER, FAKER, TROUBLEMAKER (YA Contemporary) just to try my hand at a new genre.
The story has since received over 9.9 million hits, and in April this year, my talent manager at Wattpad, I-Yana Tucker, told me she wanted to submit my story for a potential audiobook partnership Wattpad was looking into at the start of the year. My developmental editor for CFTM, Kristen Maglonzo and I edited the first book down into two parts (the first part is now published as an audiobook), and submitted.
About a month later, Hachette sent over a contract to my talent manager and we negotiated signing over the audio rights. It was a scary and exciting process because it was an audio-first deal which I hadn’t seen before, but I’m very glad to see the final product.
Hachette and Wattpad were very open and collaborative throughout the entire audiobook publication process. My script editor at Hachette, Michelle Knudsen carefully walked me through revisions and helped me streamline the script while maintaining the integrity of the characters.
I was also heavily involved in the audition and selection process for the narrators. We ended up choosing the very talented Christine Lakin and Aaron Landon, who are both experienced Hollywood voice and television actors to play my main characters. They did a great job with the performance and it’s been amazing watching the entire project come together.
CHEATER, FAKER, TROUBLEMAKER was one of the first two audiobooks released by Hachette in this partnership so it’s been a very exciting month! I hope you guys will enjoy the listen!
How do you feel Pitch Wars helped in your success?
Pitch Wars was the reason I started taking writing seriously. Prior to stumbling across Pitch Wars, I hadn’t written a proper manuscript, written a query letter, or considered taking professional steps towards publication. The intense revision process and one to one mentoring was what I needed to be able to truly understand the process and help turn a hobby into a potential career.
Now for some fun! The following questions are for you both to answer:
What fictional academy/university/school would you most want to attend? (ie Starfleet Academy, Hogwarts, Jedi Academy, Camp Half-Breed, Battle School in Space, Beauxbatons, etc)?
Jenny: Jedi Academy all the way. I’ve wanted a lightsaber since I was eight. I’m twenty-eight now…nothing’s changed :).
Kim: Huh, I don’t know. I don’t want to go back to school lol
What fictional food/beverage would you most want to try?
Kim: I keep thinking of HP food, but since I’ve been to HP Universal all that food is actually real now so I’m not sure again 😀
Whose work inspired you to start writing?
Jenny: Maya Angelou
Kim: Stephan King was my favorite growing up, but it wasn’t until I read Nova Ren Suma that I realized this — this — is what I want to do with the rest of my life.
Any last words you’d like to share or tell us that wasn’t covered in the questions above?
Kim: Jenny is an example of untraditional publishing and the interesting — and increasing importance — of places like Wattpad that can allow someone to really be creative without restraints. If you check out Jenny’s Wattpad profile, you’ll see how dedicated she is to writing — how much she’s done too. These things don’t happen overnight, and I think Jenny’s work ethic and dedication to her craft is very admirable. If you want to be like Jenny, stay dedicated and keep working — even if it’s an untraditional path. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your success story. We couldn’t be happier about it – CONGRATULATIONS!
Jenny Rosen is a UCLA English graduate and a Featured Author on Wattpad where her novels have amassed over 14 million hits and gained a following of over 24,000 readers. She began uploading her works on Wattpad in 2011, and since joining the community has signed onto the Wattpad Stars Program which led to the audiobook publication of her debut YA novel CHEATER, FAKER, TROUBLEMAKER by Hachette Book Group in 2017.
Her works have been featured as apart of various marketing campaigns for major brands like Cadbury Chocolates, Soundcloud, Android, major network television shows on E!, TNT, and USA Network in addition to being used to promote film releases from Lionsgate Studios. She was a featured panelist at the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Wattpad London Convention in 2016. Her novel THE RUNAWAYS was short-listed in Hot Key Books & Wattpad’s Young Writers Prize finals. CHEATER, FAKER, TROUBLEMAKER was selected as a winner of the 2016 Watty Awards out of over 100,000 entrants. One of her earliest online short story publications, VIGILANTE GREEN, was featured by The Huffington Post in 2013.
Kim is the founder of The Write Service. She has worked in the publishing industry for almost a decade now. She has worked at three different literary agencies, a university press, and as a book blogger and editor. Kim has been doing freelance editorial work since 2011 and is a University of Denver Publishing Institute graduate.
She is also a YA & MG author represented by Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency.
For Kim’s full bio go here!