Pitch Wars LIVE #3: Adult/New Adult Mentors
Jul19

Pitch Wars LIVE #3: Adult/New Adult Mentors

Pitch Wars LIVE had an epic group of super wise Adult/New Adult mentors on tonight. We talked romance, anti-heroes, and even Harry Potter houses. Didn’t get to catch it live? Check out the recorded episode below. Be sure to reference the schedule for upcoming shows in your manuscript’s age category. All episodes can be found on a playlist on the Pitch Wars Youtube Page here. And join us tomorrow for the second round of Young...

Read More
Pitch Wars LIVE #2: MG Mentors
Jul18

Pitch Wars LIVE #2: MG Mentors

Pitch Wars LIVE had another amazing show tonight featuring some Middle Grade mentors who were 1) awesome and 2) someone brought their own  unicorn. We talked about everything from what age separates Middle Grade from Upper Middle Grade and discussed how to grab us in your queries.  Didn’t get to catch it live? Check out the recorded episode below. Be sure to reference the schedule for upcoming shows in your manuscript’s age category. All episodes can be found on a playlist on the Pitch Wars Youtube Page here. And join us tomorrow for the first round of Adult/NA mentors!...

Read More
Pitch Wars LIVE Show #1: YA Mentors
Jul17

Pitch Wars LIVE Show #1: YA Mentors

Pitch Wars LIVE kicked off tonight with an amazing show featuring Young Adult mentors who all have diverse tastes and backgrounds. We talked about everything from pet peeves to queries and even our favorite/least favorite tropes.  Didn’t get to catch it live? Check out the recorded episode below. Be sure to reference the schedule for upcoming shows in your manuscript’s age category. All episodes can be found on a playlist on the Pitch Wars Youtube Page here. And join us tomorrow for the first round of Middle Grade mentors!...

Read More
RAINBIRDS by Pitch Wars mentor, Clarissa Goenawan … cover reveal!
Jul14

RAINBIRDS by Pitch Wars mentor, Clarissa Goenawan … cover reveal!

Releasing March 6, 2018   About the book … Intertwining elements of suspense and magical realism, award-winning literary debut RAINBIRDS opens with a murder and shines a spotlight on life in fictional small-town Japan. Ren Ishida is nearly done with graduate school when he receives news of his sister, Keiko’s, sudden death. She was viciously stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, failing to understand why she chose to abandon their family and leave Tokyo for this small town in the first place. But Ren soon finds himself picking up right where Keiko left off, accepting both her teaching position at a cram school and the bizarre arrangement of free lodging at the wealthy Mr. Katou’s mansion, in exchange for reading aloud each morning to Katou’s depressed, mute wife. As Ren gets to know the figures in the town, from the mysterious Katou to fellow teachers and a rebellious, alluring student named Rio, he replays memories of his childhood with Keiko and finds his dreams haunted by a young girl with pigtails who is desperately trying to tell him something. Struggling to fill the void that Keiko has left behind, Ren realizes that perhaps people don’t change, and if they don’t, he can decipher the identity of his sister’s killer. Preordering is a great help to authors. When you preorder a book, it tells bookstores people want this book, which makes them typically stock more copies of the book, which of course means more people see it and buy it. So preorder yours today! Preorder Links … AMAZON HARDCOVER | AMAZON KINDLE |  BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKSAMILLION | BOOK DEPOSITORY  INDIEBOUND | KOBO | GOOGLE PLAY | HUDSON BOOKSELLERS | PENGUINRANDOMHOUSE About the author … Twitter | Website Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. She studied novel-writing with Curtis Brown Creative and was formerly a mentee on the WoMentoring Project. Her first novel, Rainbirds, won the 2015 Bath Novel Award for best unpublished novelists across the globe and since then has been acquired by 10 international publishers. She loves rainy days, pretty books and hot green tea. Look for RAINBIRDS releasing March, 2018 from Soho Press. Save Save Save...

Read More
Pitch Wars 2016 Success Interview with Steven Carman and his mentor Stefanie Wass
Jul14

Pitch Wars 2016 Success Interview with Steven Carman and his mentor Stefanie Wass

Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests around here is hearing about successes. Today we celebrate Steven Carman and his Pitch Wars mentor Stefanie Wass! Steven recently signed with Gina Panettieri of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC, and we’re so over-the-moon excited for him. So please join me in congratulating Steven and Stefanie as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story. Steven, what was it about Stefanie that made you choose to send her a Pitch Wars application? I pitched THE WINDUP to Stefanie because her wish list included “heartfelt, realistic, coming-of-age middle grade.” And I was like, okay, she could be a good fit for my book. When I read the glowing praise her previous Mentee heaped on her in a Pitch Wars Success story, I was sold. At that point, I hoped that Stefanie liked baseball—or at least that my story’s baseball angle wouldn’t be a deal breaker. Stefanie, what was it about Steven’s THE WINDUP that hooked you? The Windup was full of heart, and action, and tension from the get-go.  From the opening scene, it felt like I was in good hands. All of the elements were there—a main character I could root for, a compelling conflict, and a setting I knew kids would love. (Baseball fields galore!) Steven, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Stefanie sent me an editorial letter and a marked-up manuscript right away. I was blown away at the time and thought she put into a stranger’s project—especially considering she wasn’t earning a dime for her efforts. Her comments resonated with me and I was eager to get to work on the revisions. Stefanie went above and beyond, and ended up reading multiple rounds of revisions—offering encouragement and valuable feedback at each pass. No doubt, she helped me become a better writer and helped make THE WINDUP a winner. Stefanie, tell us about your experience mentoring Steven. It was a wonderful experience! Steve was open to my suggestions and ready to dig in and work hard.  When he didn’t end up with any agent offers immediately following Pitch Wars, he remained positive, stayed in touch with me, and kept the faith. Steven, after Pitch Wars, you signed with Gina Panettieri of Talcott Notch Literary. 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. Gina Panettieri kindly expedited her review of THE WINDUP after I informed her that I received an offer from another agent. When I received Gina’s...

Read More
BLOOD WATER PAINT by Pitch Wars mentor and team member, Joy McCullough … cover reveal!
Jul14

BLOOD WATER PAINT by Pitch Wars mentor and team member, Joy McCullough … cover reveal!

This week was the cover reveal for BLOOD WATER PAINT by our very own Pitch Wars’ Mentor Liaison and middle grade mentor, Joy McCullough, and we just had to share it with you. It’s so beautiful! Joy is an amazing supporter of writers and a great den mother to our mentors. I just preordered this and can’t wait to read it! Preordering is a great help to authors. When you preorder a book, it tells bookstores people want this book, which makes them typically stock more copies of the book, which of course means more people see it and buy it. So preorder yours today!   Pre-order your copy of Blood Water Paint! And add it to your Goodreads shelf! About the book … Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father’s paint. She chose paint. By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost. He will not consume my every thought. I am a painter. I will paint. Joy McCullough’s bold novel in verse is a portrait of an artist as a young woman, filled with the soaring highs of creative inspiration and the devastating setbacks of a system built to break her. McCullough weaves Artemisia’s heartbreaking story with the stories of the ancient heroines, Susanna and Judith, who become not only the subjects of two of Artemisia’s most famous paintings but sources of strength as she battles to paint a woman’s timeless truth in the face of unspeakable and all-too-familiar violence. I will show you what a woman can do. About the author … Website | Twitter Joy McCullough writes middle grade and young adult fiction, and her debut novel, BLOOD WATER PAINT, will be published in 2018 by Dutton Young Readers. She lives in the Seattle area, where she’s also a playwright and homeschooling mom. She’s the Pitchwars mentor liaison and is going into her fifth year as an MG...

Read More
Pitch Wars 2016 Success Interview with Jennifer Camiccia and her mentor Kristin B. Wright
Jul13

Pitch Wars 2016 Success Interview with Jennifer Camiccia and her mentor Kristin B. Wright

Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests around here is hearing about successes. Today we celebrate Jennifer Camiccia and her Pitch Wars mentor Kristin B. Wright! Jennifer recently signed with Stacey Glick of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret, LLC, and we’re so over-the-moon excited for her. So please join me in congratulating Jennifer and Kristin as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story. Jennifer, what was it about Kristin that made you choose to send her a Pitch Wars application? I researched all the mentors representing YA contemporary, and Kristin definitely moved to the top of my list once I read her favorite books and movies. Since her taste was so similar to mine, I hoped she would connect with my book. And she did! Kristin, what was it about Jennifer’s BIRDY’S SONG that hooked you? I read the first chapter of BIRDY’S SONG in a Chipotle, delicious burrito in hand. Her story starts with a terrifying car ride that ends in tragedy, and I was so gripped I forgot to eat my burrito. I don’t remember her query, which is why I always tell people that the query, while important, isn’t as important as pages that hook from the first lines. I could not put it down. She rose to the top five contenders before I left that Chipotle. Jennifer, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Kristin sent me an extremely detailed letter with suggestions on making my story stronger. I took a day or two to mull it over, and then I went to work. I wrote every day for a month before sending back my manuscript for line edits. It was exhausting but, ultimately, extremely satisfying. My characters were more vivid, the pace quicker, and the ending more dramatic. Kristin, tell us about your experience mentoring Jennifer. She was a dream. I sent her a super scary letter that suggested a title change, losing a character or two, changing the ending completely, and a dozen other things that probably made her wish she’d never heard my name, but she took it like a champ. Her writing was so beautiful and assured, and I knew she could do it. And she did. I remember reading her revised ending and actually cheering. Jennifer, after Pitch Wars, you signed with Stacey Glick of Dystel & Goderich. 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. Stacey sent an email to say how much she was enjoying my...

Read More
Pitch Wars Webinars: The Four T’s of Writing Classic Middle Grade
Jul12

Pitch Wars Webinars: The Four T’s of Writing Classic Middle Grade

WEBINARS Pitch Wars Webinars Presents… The Four T’s of Writing Classic Middle Grade Writing Middle Grade literature is a privilege and a responsibility. It can also be extremely intimidating to try and follow in the steps of Kate DiCamillo or Katherine Applegate. But if you think you want to make the jump to writing for this age group, or aren’t sure whether you’re writing MG or YA, or maybe just want to be inspired again before you begin working on your next MG novel, then this class is for you. We will help you understand the four fundamental elements of great MG literature. Truth, Tenderness, Transformation, and Timelessness. Come prepared to understand how MG literature works with developmental milestones, how to address tough topics for this age group, and secrets to writing the kind of book that begs to be reread long after childhood. The lecture portion of this class will last about 50 minutes, with 10-20 minutes of Q&A afterwards. The Details . . . Date: Thursday, August 3 Time: 9:00 pm ET Cost: $20 to attend the workshop Instructions: Register using the form below and upload your receipt. Please note: There is a 50 person limit for the webinar About Cindy Baldwin . . . Twitter | Website  Cindy Baldwin is a children’s book writer and poet. She has a weakness for really, really dark chocolate and the sort of books that make you want to stay up all night reading. Her debut middle grade novel, WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW, will come out in the summer of 2018 from HarperCollins Children’s. About Amanda Rawson Hill . . . Twitter | Website  Amanda Rawson Hill is a conversationalist, homeschooler, chemistry graduate, and Disneyland enthusiast. Her debut middle grade novel, THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC, will be published by Boyds Mills Press in Fall 2018.  [vfb id=23] (You don’t need a Paypal account to donate. Just go to the bottom and you can use a credit card.) About Pitch Wars Webinars… The Pitch Wars webinar series was developed to help writers at every stage of their careers. Mentors and industry experts will host webinars focused on pitching, publishing, developing craft, and more. Pitch Wars is a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions to shine it up for agents. The mentors work with their mentees for two months before an agent round. Learn...

Read More
Day 44 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Amelinda Berube, Alicia Clancy, and Juliana Brandt
Jul11

Day 44 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Amelinda Berube, Alicia Clancy, and Juliana Brandt

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 Amelinda Berube Twitter | Instagram | Website Amelinda Bérubé is the author of UNDER THE ICY LAKE, a YA ghost story coming from Sourcebooks Fire in 2018. She’s spent the last ten years as a writer and editor with the Canadian public service, prior to which her career path meandered through academics, carpentry, and administrivia. Amelinda is a passionate fan of YA, SFF, and all things spooky and is delighted to be on the other side of the contest curtain for the first time!   UNDER THE ICY LAKE by Amelinda Berube A former dancer’s grip on sanity starts to slip when she begins to think a dark entity is stalking her and craves her life. Coming 2018 from Sourcebooks Fire. Goodreads     Amelinda’s Query Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Romance Thanks to Brenda, Heather and the PitchWars team for a chance to share some thoughts on a query! My suggestions are in [square brackets] below. To the courageous author: As with any critique, my comments and ideas are yours to take or leave or adapt as you see fit. Query writing can be exhausting and horrible (I lost count of my own query swaps somewhere past 20) but try to keep an open mind and a willingness to play with it. You got this! Dear Agent, (One personalized sentence) [I’d recommend adding any personalization with the “housekeeping” at the bottom. I’ve seen multiple agents saying personalization isn’t actually that important to them, so I’d get right to the part that they’re most interested in, namely the story, and include this less critical info further down. The one exception might be if you’re responding to a specific MSWL tweet or a contest request, but you can often flag that in the subject line anyway. It can feel really weird and counterintuitive to just jump into your pitch...

Read More
Day 44 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Amanda Rawson Hill, Cindy Baldwin, & Sarah Nicolas
Jul11

Day 44 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Amanda Rawson Hill, Cindy Baldwin, & Sarah Nicolas

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 Mentors Amanda Rawson Hill and Cindy Baldwin … Website | Twitter Cindy Baldwin is a Carolina girl who moved to the opposite coast and is now gamely doing her part in keeping Portland weird. As a middle schooler, she kept a book under her bathroom sink to read over and over while fixing her hair or brushing her teeth, and she dreams of someday writing just that kind of book. Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin . . . Add it to Goodreads HarperCollins has acquired Where the Watermelons Grow, a debut by Cindy Baldwin. In this middle-grade novel, 12-year-old Della will do anything to cure her mother’s schizophrenia and keep her family together – even if it means asking for help from the eccentric Bee Lady, and making up from her worst-ever fight with her best friend. Publication is slated for summer 2018. Website | Twitter Amanda Rawson Hill grew up in Southwest Wyoming with a library right outside her back gate (which accounts a lot for how she turned out.) After graduating high school, she attended Brigham Young University where she recieved both her MRS degree and her bachelors degree in chemistry. Today, Amanda lives in the central valley of California with her husband and three children. She loves to homeschool, garden, knit, play the piano, sing, and embarrass her family when she dances.   Amanda and Cindy’s Query Critique . . . Cindy is in red. Amanda is in blue. AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Fantasy When unrepentantly single programmer Hammond falls in love with a woman named June July August, he learns that Summer is a place where magic still lingers. I’m torn on the efficacy of this logline. I don’t really feel like it is doing the work you need it to and that it’s creating confustion later on in your query. June enjoys sketching while naked, loves waffles, and was...

Read More
Day 43 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Gabrielle Byrne and Lisa Amowitz
Jul10

Day 43 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Gabrielle Byrne and Lisa Amowitz

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 Gabrielle Kirouac Byrne … Gabrielle lives in the rainy wilds of the Pacific Northwest, where she writes fantasy for middle graders. Gabby studied opera in Philadelphia, medieval studies in New York, literature in Scotland, and marine biology in the Pacific Northwest, but writing stories is the common thread that ties all her interests together. She has a degree in literature and another in environmental studies. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her fishing spineless critters out of the Salish sea with her husband and two daughters. She is represented by Catherine Drayton at Inkwell Management. Gabby blogs at www.thewingedpen.com  She tweets at @GKByrne, and posts on instagram at gabriellek.byrne Gabrielle’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Contemporary Romance Dear Agent, NADIA AHMADI is a successful CEO of a not-for-profit organisation in New York. His Royal Highness PRINCE CARLOS is the crown prince of Aragon. While on an official visit to New York, Carlos notices Nadia giving a speech at the United Nations headquarters. He’s struck by her self-assuredness and passion. He asks to meet her again, with Nadia assuming it’s related to her organisation. The two of them meet up again and Nadia’s shocked to learn the prince is more interested in her than a business meeting. Nadia’s quick to judge Carlos as a rich billionaire who doesn’t care about anyone but himself, but she soon realizes there’s more to this prince then she first though. Carlos finds Nadia’s honesty refreshing and wants to get to know her more. Carlos persuades Nadia to give him a chance and their mutual attraction soon leads them spending the limited time they have before Carlos must leave the United States getting to know each other. When Nadia is given the opportunity to travel to London for work, Carlos arranges to meet up with her. But with paparazzi following their every move will a relationship with a prince jeopardise her organisation, something she’s...

Read More
Day 43 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Michella Domenici and Lisa Amowitz
Jul10

Day 43 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Michella Domenici and Lisa Amowitz

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 Michella Domenici Website | Twitter Michella Domenici was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She studies English and History at Fordham University. When she’s not reading, she’s drinking tea and searching for mermaids. She works at the Brooklyn Public Library, and is represented by Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency. Michella’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: Young adult GENRE: Contemporary Dear [agent’s first name], Tito Pablo and his husband Craig were the only family seventeen year-old Sim Francisco has ever known ever since Sim’s birth parents died in a car crash more than ten years ago. Pablo unexpectedly dies on All Saint’s Day, and soon after, Sim begins to hear his uncle’s voice in his head, suddenly speak fluent Filipino without realizing it, and see and relive Pablo’s former life as a teenager in the Philippines in his dreams. Sim believes that Pablo is asking him for help with…something. Or someone. The latter proves true when, while unboxing a bunch of mementos his uncle has left for him, Sim finds a printout of what appears to be a part of an email love letter that Pablo sent. Pablo’s husband, Craig, finds out that the letter is definitely not for him. Afraid that he will lose his family for a second time because of what the letter implies, Sim enlists his friends Harper and Nina to hack into cyberspace to locate the rest of the letter, properly translate it, find its recipient, and hopefully clear Pablo’s name. Sim’s search leads him to Angelo “Santi” Santiago, who is also seventeen years old and living in Manila. All Santi wants is to move out—of the house, even out of the country to go to college abroad—in order to escape his mother, who doesn’t approve of his “lifestyle,” and his father, who doesn’t seem to care for him at all. Good thing...

Read More