Pitch Wars 2017 Submission Window … is now closed!
Aug01

Pitch Wars 2017 Submission Window … is now closed!

Surprise! We’re opening the submission window early! It will remain open until the original closing of August 6 at 10PM EDT (New York time). For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine. The mentor also critiques his/her writer’s pitch to get it ready for the agent round. To do this, the mentors read all their applications and choose the writer they want to mentor for a little over two months to get them ready for the agent round. Writers can pick up to four (4) mentors to submit to. Want to have two bonus entries? Go to this page here and find out how you can submit to six (6) mentors instead of four. Last year we had over fifty mentees sign with agents and several of those resulted in book deals. This is our sixth year and Pitch Wars has reached almost 250 successes to date. We’re excited to see what happens in 2017. We hope to have many more successes this year! For a list of our mentors go here, for submission guidelines go here, and for a list of our agents this year, go here and here. And make sure to enter the scavenger hunt for a chance to win a mentorship with a chance to enter the agent showcase in November. Only those who enter Pitch Wars can participate in the scavenger hunt. After all the mentors make their mentee picks, we’re holding a drawing and picking three lucky writers to go through the mentoring process. This is a random draw. So anything goes! And anyone can win! That’s one writer each from the middle grade, young adult, and adult/new adult pool of submissions. More information on this post here. You have until August 23 at 10AM Eastern time to solve the puzzle and submit your entry. If you have any difficulties with this form, or if there’s a technical glitch, or if the site blows up, don’t panic! Just use the form under the Contact Me page/label at the top of the blog and let us know the issue. About your queries: It should have all parts of the query, as if you were sending to an agent. “Dear Mentor” works for the salutation and make sure to include your bio (if you have one) and category/genre/word count. About your first chapters: Upload the first chapter of your manuscript no matter how long it is. You can include short prologues (5 pages or less) or send the prologues later if the mentor asks for a full manuscript. If you don’t have chapters in...

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Pitch Wars 2017 Mentor Blog Hop!
Aug01

Pitch Wars 2017 Mentor Blog Hop!

Welcome to the mentors’ wishlist blog hop! From today until submission day, use the linkies below to hop to all the mentors’ websites/blogs to read their bios, wishlists, and what categories and genres they want to mentor. For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine. The mentee then revises their manuscript for two months under the guidance of their mentor. The mentor also critiques his/her writer’s pitch and query letter to get it ready for the agent round. To do this, the mentors read all their applications and choose the writer they want to mentor and to get ready for the agent round on November 1-7. Want to find out about the fabulous agents joining us this year? Go to Meet the Agents Part 1 and Meet the Agents Part 2 to find out. Need instructions? Go to this post here. Want to donate to support Pitch Wars and get extra applications? Go to this post here. Surprise! We have a great new hang out for our Pitch Wars community. It’s a forum to have discussions with mentors and other writers, a place to get your worked critiqued by your peers and sometimes mentors, and a place to seek critique partners. So here’s our gift to you for being so awesome, and we hope you find this space useful. Join us today! Cheers! http://pitchwars.proboards.com/ Also, we’ll be launching the new Pitch Wars website next week! Hope you’ll join us for the fun reveal! Pitch Wars Live! Some of our Pitch Wars mentors will be chatting live with with the wonderful Nikki Roberti starting July 17 with the final one on August 1. The fun will be happening on the hashtag #PitchWars, and if you miss one, we’ll post the recorded chats here, too.  Make sure to watch and get to know the mentors. Follow the #Pitchwars hashtag during the chats to ask questions for the mentors. Here’s the schedule: Want a chance to win a mentor? Participate in the Mentor Blog Hop Scavenger Hunt! We’re so excited to bring back this special game. After all the mentors make their mentee picks, we’re holding a drawing and picking three lucky writers to go through the mentoring process. Only those who enter Pitch Wars can enter the scavenger hunt. This is a random draw. So anything goes! And anyone can win! That’s one writer each from the middle grade, young adult, and adult/new adult pool of submissions. The winning writers will go through two months of revisions. If the winners are able...

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Help support Pitch Wars … donate and receive extra entries into the contest!
Aug01

Help support Pitch Wars … donate and receive extra entries into the contest!

Donate today! (You don’t need a Paypal account to donate. Just go to the bottom and you can use a credit card.) Over the past six years, Pitch Wars has changed many lives. Countless authors have been matched with agents and even gone on to book deals and successful careers. We’re approaching 250 successes this year!! But most importantly, Pitch Wars has grown the writing community to connect author with author, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie as we go through all stages of revision and publishing. Behind the scenes, it takes a lot of work to coordinate the event each year. And as it continues to grow, so do the responsibilities required to make Pitch Wars possible. Like last year,  we will be accepting donations to go toward the administrative costs associated with running Pitch Wars. Everyone who enters Pitch Wars can submit four (4) free applications to the mentors of their choice. Those who donate $20 or more will receive two additional applications.* To claim your extra mentor applications, please keep your emailed receipt from Paypal as proof when uploading your entry during the submission window on August 2. All amounts are greatly appreciated. If you’re not entering Pitch Wars this year and the contest has benefited you in the past, please consider donating. Please note: Mentors volunteer their time and do not get any of the donations. Donations are for administration costs. If you’d like to support the mentors, please consider buying their books. *Please note: Pitch Wars is a contest where mentors choose mentees based on the entrants’ skills and is not based on chance. If mentors love an entry but don’t feel they’re quite the right fit, they might pass it on to another mentor. As Pitch Wars continues to grow and evolve, so will our processes each year to make sure the contest runs as smoothly as possible for all of you–because that is what Pitch Wars is all about. We are here to support our fellow authors at every stage of the process through mentoring, workshops, and community. Thank you for your continued support and involvement in Pitch Wars. We look forward to another successful season this year and for many more to come.   (You don’t need a Paypal account to donate. Just go to the bottom and you can use a credit card.) Save Save...

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Meet the Pitch Wars 2017 Agents! (Part 2)
Aug01

Meet the Pitch Wars 2017 Agents! (Part 2)

We have an amazing lineup of agents participating in Pitch Wars 2017! On November 1st , the Pitch Wars Agent Showcase will go live for all the mentees, chosen by mentors on August 24th. We will post three separate posts by age category (MG, YA, NA/A), listing the mentees’ pitch and the first words of their manuscript (pitch words + first page words = 300 words). The agents will search from November 1-7 through the posts, find their favorites, and request them. November 1 – 7: Agent Showcase November 1: Adult and New Adult entries November 2: MG entries November 3: YA entries November 7: Last day of Agent Showcase For those of you new to Pitch Wars, check out “Pitch Wars 2017 … all the details!”. And come back July 19th to find your perfect mentor at the Mentor Blog Hop, running July 19-August 2! PLEASE NOTE: This is the list of agents participating in the Agent Showcase in November. They are not mentors. So check out the agents below and see what they’re looking for most in a manuscript. They’re listed in alphabetical order by the agency they work for. This post includes  A-J, and Part 2 includes K-Z. So here they are . . . the second half of our Pitch Wars 2017 agents!   Janklow & Nesbit Associates Brooks Sherman Website | Twitter Represents: MG, YA, A After graduating from Vassar College with a B.A. in Drama, Brooks Sherman worked for several years in the entertainment industry (in both New York and Los Angeles) before joining the Peace Corps and spending two years stationed in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Upon returning to the United States, he set his sights on the publishing industry, starting in 2011 as an assistant at FinePrint Literary Management and working his way up to literary agent, moving to the Bent Agency in 2014, and joining Janklow & Nesbit in 2017. Brooks’s clients include #1 New York Times-bestselling and award-winning authors. For children’s books, he is on the lookout for middle-grade fiction of all genres (especially fantasy and contemporary), young adult fiction of all genres except paranormal romance, and character-driven picture books with an emphasis on humor. His interest in adult fiction runs the gamut from literary to speculative (particularly fantasy, horror, and psychological thriller). For nonfiction, he is seeking projects in the areas of humor, pop culture, politics, and narrative nonfiction. Across all categories, Brooks seeks projects that balance strong voice with gripping plot. Ones that make him laugh earn extra points! He is particularly drawn to stories that elevate marginalized voices and where contemporary social issues are either prominently centered or woven into the worldbuilding; he prefers nuanced narratives over “issue books,” in which characters confront such issues over...

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Meet the Pitch Wars 2017 Agents! (Part 1)
Aug01

Meet the Pitch Wars 2017 Agents! (Part 1)

  We have an amazing lineup of agents participating in Pitch Wars 2017! On November 1st , the Pitch Wars Agent Showcase will go live for all the mentees, chosen by mentors on August 24th. We will post three separate posts by age category (MG, YA, NA/A), listing the mentees’ pitch and the first words of their manuscript (pitch words + first page words = 300 words). The agents will search from November 1-7 through the posts, find their favorites, and request them. November 1 – 7: Agent Showcase November 1: Adult and New Adult entries November 2: MG entries November 3: YA entries November 7: Last day of Agent Showcase For those of you new to Pitch Wars, check out “Pitch Wars 2017 … all the details!”. And come back July 19th to find your perfect mentor at the Mentor Blog Hop, running July 19-August 2! PLEASE NOTE: This is the list of agents participating in the Agent Showcase in November. They are not mentors. So check out the agents below and see what they’re looking for most in a manuscript. They’re listed in alphabetical order by the agency they work for. This post includes  A-J, and Part 2 includes K-Z. So here they are . . . the first half of our Pitch Wars 2017 agents!   Adams Literary Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram Tracy Adams Represent:  MG, YA Tracey Adams co-founded Adams Literary in 2004, after nearly a decade with literary agencies Writers House and McIntosh & Otis, where she was the head of the children’s department. Prior to becoming an agent, she worked in the marketing and editorial departments of Greenwillow Books and Margaret K. McElderry Books. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Tracey speaks frequently about her profession and the children’s book industry at conferences across the country. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Association of Author Representatives (AAR), and a founding member of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) chapter in Charlotte, NC. In her spare time, Tracey enjoys traveling, playing tennis, cheering for the Carolina Panthers, and test-marketing children’s books with her two daughters. Josh Adams Josh Adams, together with his wife Tracey, runs Adams Literary. A graduate of Dartmouth College and Columbia Business School—where he studied finance and accounting, and was awarded the Abe Shuchman Memorial Award in Marketing—Josh spent more than a decade in publishing and media before bringing his editorial and business backgrounds together as a literary agent. A media management specialist, he led teams of creative and business professionals in developing the editorial strategy and positioning of several national publications, and directed the marketing and brand strategy of many well-known...

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Pitch Wars … the uncomfortable truth by Mentor Liaison, Joy McCullough
Aug01

Pitch Wars … the uncomfortable truth by Mentor Liaison, Joy McCullough

This is my fifth year mentoring Ptichwars and I love so much about it. I love the community and the relationships built. I love the successes—the ones both immediately measurable and the less tangible ones. I love when it gets uncomfortable. It gets uncomfortable every year in a variety of ways. There are always things people ask us to change about the process to make it gentler on the applicants. Could mentors please not tweet about the subs they like? Could mentors please not request any fulls until the sub window closes? Could selected writers not celebrate on the hashtag? Are there things we could do to make everyone feel more comfortable (supposing, of course, that we could control everyone who participates in this contest, which has become gargantuan)? Maybe we could try. But part of our goal as Pitchwars mentors is to prepare you for the next step of your publishing journey—whether you get selected for mentoring or not. For many of you, that next step will be the querying trenches. They’re not called trenches for nothing. It’s cold and dank and you may get gangrene. (Okay, maybe not. But it can be seriously unpleasant.) (And real quick, before you scoff that I have a book deal and this is all really easy for me to say, let me establish my disappointment cred: I have received over 300 rejections as a novelist alone—more as a playwright—I queried five manuscripts before I got my first agent, kept writing, had five books go on submission to editors before manuscript number ten was the one that sold, with my second agent. I FEEL YOU.) So back to the query trenches… You’ll see an agent you just queried sign a really similar manuscript to yours. You’ll see an agent rant about a mistake you’re sure YOU made in your query. You’ll see an agent rave about loving a query and requesting the full and you’ll refresh and refresh and refresh and that request will never come. An agent will lead you on with emails as they read your full and eventually NOT offer. You’ll absolutely slay an R&R and ultimately NOT land the agent. It’s so hard. And getting an agent isn’t the end of the difficulties, either. Being on submission to editors is hell. Once you have a book deal, the whole publishing process can be extremely stressful and rife with comparisons. And then there are worries over reviews and sales and whether you’ll ever be able to write, much less sell, another book. (And real quick again, I know it’s super annoying when people further along the road bemoan the...

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A Pitch Wars 2016 Success Interview with Carrie Ann DiRisio and her mentor, Rebecca Yarros
Aug01

A Pitch Wars 2016 Success Interview with Carrie Ann DiRisio and her mentor, Rebecca Yarros

  Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests around here is hearing about successes. Today we celebrate Carrie Ann DiRisio and her Pitch Wars mentor Rebecca Yarros! Carrie Ann recently signed with Melissa Edwards of Stonesong Literary Agency, and she already landed a book deal with Sky Pony Press. So please join me in congratulating Carrie Ann and Rebecca as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story. Carrie Ann, what was it about Rebecca that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? Rebecca’s honesty, sincerity, and dedication to her craft really impressed me. Plus, not only does she write swoonworthy heroes, she has great taste in music! Rebecca, what was it about Carrie Ann’s BROODING YA HERO that hooked you? Carrie’s voice hooked me from the start. Within the first page, I knew she was going to be my pick. The concept was great, of course, and I really felt that in just those few pages, Carrie gave her heroine the feel and depth of such a real person, a girl I’d love to be friends with. Carrie Ann, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? It was awesome and intense. I worked harder and faster in those edits than ever before. Rebecca helped me hone my voice and taught me a ton about plot structure. I’m still learning when I re-read her notes or recall those late night talks! Rebecca, tell us about your experience mentoring Carrie Ann. Carrie definitely had a vision for how she wanted her manuscript. It was fun to see her passion and commitment to her work! We had tons of late night skype calls (with wine of course), and she never ceased to amaze me with her dedication to her story and craft. Carrie Ann, after Pitch Wars, you signed with Melissa Edwards of Stonesong 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. After Pitch Wars, I queried Melissa Edwards of Stonesong Literary Agency. I knew we were going to be a great fit, because she has an honesty and a focus to her that, I, as someone who works in business in my day job, really appreciated. Also, I will always consider san pellegrino limonata to be my lucky drink, cause that was what I was nervously sipping when she called! I celebrated by going out to my favorite diner with friends, where we ate mac&cheese and I babbled incoherently. After her agent experience,...

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A Pitch Wars 2016 Success Interview with Sarah Van Goethem and her mentor, Jenni L. Walsh
Aug01

A Pitch Wars 2016 Success Interview with Sarah Van Goethem and her mentor, Jenni L. Walsh

Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests around here is hearing about successes. Today we celebrate Sarah Van Goethem and her Pitch Wars mentor Jenni L. Walsh! Sarah recently signed with Dorian Maffie of Kimberly Cameron and Associates, and we’re so over-the-moon excited for her. So please join me in congratulating Sarah and Jenni as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story.   Sarah, what was it about Jenni that made you choose to send her a Pitch Wars application? The minute I read Jenni’s wish list I knew my MS was a great fit as she listed that she was most drawn to historical and fantasy. As well, her own book, BECOMING BONNIE is set in the late 1920’s and mine is a time travel to the mid 1930’s. I thought she would have fabulous advice and have a great grasp on the era. Plus, I did mention her book right? Who doesn’t love a high-concept like that? Who wouldn’t choose to submit to Jenni? Jenni, what was it about Sarah’s manuscript that hooked you? First, it was the concept: THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE meets THE NOTEBOOK. I knew I had to read it, but I had my fingers so, so crossed the execution would live up to the hype I created in my mind. It did. Sarah is an extraordinary writer. Now, this is a bit of a unique success story because the MS Sarah and I worked on together during Pitch Wars wasn’t the one to get her an agent (even though she got an astounding 18 requests during the Agent Round); it was the MS that followed. But, I remember telling Sarah, “This industry can be wonky, but your talent will get you an agent, whether it’s this book (referring to our Pitch Wars MS) or the next.” I knew it was simply a matter of timing. Sarah, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Jenni initially sent me an edit letter that encompassed plot details, things to watch for (filter words), areas to cut, and what to expand on. I will say here, that I was entirely new at this. Unlike some people who had a handful of ms’s under their belt, this was my first one. And I had no idea how to edit or do it well. Jenni sent the ms back with more ideas, and I knew I would have to work harder. Eventually we got to line edits. Jenni, tell us about your experience mentoring Sarah. Like I said, Sarah’s an extraordinary writer. She strings words together with a beautiful cadence that sucks ya into the pages. That sound writing ability is definitely...

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