Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pitch Wars: I want ALL the Reads!! Here's Why You Want Me Back.

Top Ten Reasons You Want ME as Your Pitch Wars Mentor

10. I edit for a living. That means you're getting feedback from someone who knows how to write AND revise AND how to help other writers do so to the point where they're willing to pay me. The mentoring I intend to provide will be the equivalent of a full manuscript global edit. Most people survive it. =)

9. I'm pretty good at helping people with pitches, too.

8. Published authors let me read and review their books. AND they don't hate me afterwards! You can see examples of my reviews here  or on GoodReads to get a good idea of how I noodle a book.

7. There may be Disney GIFs in your future.

I promise not to do this to your manuscript. 

6. When I'm not writing, I'm a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Disability Advocate, Licensed Professional Counselor with thirteen years' experience working exclusively with children, teens, and families, Masters-Level Clinical Social Worker and Addictions Specialist. If your book contains people with disabilities, addiction/drug abuse, mental illness, diversity issues, or teenagers, you're not only getting a mentor, but a professional in the field is vetting your story for authenticity.

5. Even if I don't pick you, I'll be sending you feedback. Promise. The feedback I got from my mentor picks last year are still saved in my favorite email file because they were SO helpful.

4. At the risk of sounding like an arrogant badass, my critiques are awesome to the power of sauce.

3. I've had my share of experience winning contests.

2. I got my agent via a blog contest! So not only do I know how to win contests, I know how to turn that win into a winning relationship.

1. As you maybe possibly can sorta tell, I'm a smidge competitive. I want to win ALL the requests for YOU. So prepare to get your ass kicked--in a good way. :) Send me your pitch already!

But WAIT! You Should Probably Read This First...

What I'm Looking For

Young Adult and New Adult fiction only.

Diversity done well: People with disabilities, mental illness, LGBT, or stories outside of the Western hemisphere really grab my attention.

In YA: Upper YA Contemporary (the grittier the better), Bildungsroman (aka Coming of Age--yes this is a real genre), Dystopian (but it's gotta be REALLY out of the box in the current market), Urban Fantasy, Romantic Sci-Fi, Adventure novels that appeal to either gender, Thrillers, or Spec Fic that's not too far out of the realm of possibility work for me.

In NA: Pretty much anything other than Contemporary Romance. Same rules as YA as far as genres otherwise. And to be clear, romantic elements in NA are AWESOME and tres welcome, but I'm not looking for another sexy college story. For me, that market is oversaturated. In Contemporary NA think C. Elizabeth Vescio, not Nyrae Dawn (though I LOVE the heck outta her!)

Favorite reads this year have included FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK by Matthew Quick, ELEANOR AND PARK and FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell, THE WASTED SERIES by C. Elizabeth Vescio, THE APOLLO ACADEMY by Kimberly P. Chase, BREAKING NOVA by Jessica Sorensen, OPENLY STRAIGHT by Bill Konigsberg, CONJURED by Sarah Beth Durst, ADDICTED TO YOU by Krista and Becca Ritchie, WILD CARDS by Simone Elkeles, MORE by T.M. Franklin, PROMISE ME SOMETHING by Sarah Kocek, CINDER by Marissa Meyer, DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor, THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass, SHADES OF EARTH by Beth Revis, UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi...

I seriously could keep going, but you get the idea.

What I'm NOT Looking For

Category-wise, I'm not interested in memoir, nonfiction, anything younger than YA, anything older than New Adult. No erotica. And yes, I've seen people pitching YA erotica. You know who you are. Don't get me started.

In either category, I'm NOT your gal for cozy mysteries, faith-based fiction, horror, historical (unless it's roaring 20s or 1980s OMG 80s historical would be BAD ASS!),  paranormal a la sparkly vampires, steampunk, straight contemporary romance, time travel, books in verse, westerns, or zombies. *shudder* I'm still trying to recover from THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH.

Books that include my personal triggers: NICU baby stories are not good for my soul.

Contemporary retellings or books dealing with Cystic Fibrosis. These are conflicts of interest with my own WIPs and it feels unethical and transference-y to me until I finish my own words on these topics.

People I crit for on Scribophile, my CPs, or via my editing business. You guys get to pick my brain already. But PM me if you need suggestions for other mentors, and feel free to name drop me if you'd like.

Finally, I am not the mentor for you if you don't want to get LOTS of feedback. If you're looking for someone to tell you that your book is perfect just the way it is, I'm not sure why you need a mentor to begin with.

Final tips if you're pitching to me

I do like comparisons to other works, particularly works I've enjoyed. (If you really want to get stalkerish about that, I do have a Goodreads account.) I don't like comparisons to television shows. I haven't had cable since high school, so chances are I haven't seen it. Unless it's The Bachelor. If your book compares to the The Bachelor SEND ME ALL THE WORDS!

Tell me why you're "querying" ME. You know your book and how it fits into these criteria better than I do.

Engage me on social media. But know that I'll be scoping you out, too.

Understand that I absolutely will request additional pages before deciding on my mentee. And possibly a dreaded synopsis. (You should have these things ready for agents anyway so stop glaring at me like that.)

Don't forget to check out Brenda Drake's site to read all about the PitchWars agents and the contest deets for December 2nd.

Oh and you can pitch these other guys, too...(but pitch me first, k? k...)


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  1. I'm not eligible here but I gotta say people, Dannie is AMAZING and she is made of win. Her critiques . . . wow . . . I want to use terms like insightful and thought-provoking and paradigm-shifting, but they seem woefully inadequate. You want her for your mentor. Trust me.

  2. Dannie is fabulous. Her critiques are always honest and insightful. And she knows A LOT about YA and NA. I love, love, love getting her crits. Whenever I see that she's critiqued for me, I drop everything and read it right freaking now--that's how awesome her advice always is.

    1. Heidi, you are so sweet! I'll be back to noodle your words soon!!

  3. Yes, please! Why is December 2nd so far away?

  4. Dannie is an awesome critique partner. She catches the fiddly little things we all miss, but more importantly, she has a keen eye for plot and character issues. Her critiques are always thorough, thought provoking and beyond helpful. She's a disgustingly good writer as well, which is important in a critique partner. You want to pitch Dannie as your Mentor. You really, really do.

  5. I have to give a major shout-out on behalf of Dannie - she's a critique partner of mine and DAMN she's good! Her eye for detail is amazing. For those entering Pitch Wars, I urge you to select her as a mentor - you will not regret it!!

  6. You need Dannie! Here's why:

    --She has a razor-sharp eye for details. She's hard to beat on that front.

    --She knows voice and character like the back of her hand, and she can (and will!) spot areas that need oomph...because dude, she is insanely awesome with both. Read her stuff. You will know this for truth.

    --Her critiques are amazingly thorough. She catches EVERYTHING, and she's got great insight into the YA/NA market. You'll receive crit with this in mind.

    This lady is a rockstar. YOU NEED HER.

  7. Actually, Anne, Karyn, and Jenn are the rockstars. I just write about rockstars and pretend they're me. LOVE YOU GALS!