This year, the lovely Erin Summerill and I (Rosalyn Eves) are co-mentoring for Pitch Wars. This is my second year as a mentor and Erin’s first, but we are so thrilled to be working together!
I’ll get to why we’re awesome in a minute. First, what we’re looking for:
Both of us are big fans of speculative fiction, particularly fantasy. We love it in all its iterations: historical, contemporary, other world. We’re looking for immersive world-building, vivid characters, and a good romance is always a plus. We’re even open to a futuristic fantasy that doesn’t reek of dystopia (like Susan Ee’s ANGELFALL or Vic James’ upcoming THE GILDED CAGE). Some fantasy authors we enjoy: Sarah Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White, Marie Rutkowski, Megan Whalen Turner, Maggie Stiefvater.
We’re also looking for clever fairy tale retellings or reimaginings (like Roshani Chokshi’s STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN, or Marissa Meyer’s CINDER series).
In terms of sci-fi, we like light sci-fi (more driven by characters than by technology), particularly where there is a good romance or a satirical touch. For example: Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman’s ILLUMINAE, Megan Spooner and Amie Kaufman’s THESE SHATTERED STARS, Lois Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series, etc.
We’re also suckers for a well-drawn historical novel (think Stacey Lee’s YA novels). If your novel makes us think of POLDARK or NORTH AND SOUTH (the BBC version), there’s a good chance we will like it.
We’ll also accept lighter contemporary novels with a healthy side of romance (Stephanie Perkins, Kasie West, Darcy Wood). We’ll consider more serious contemporary novels as well, provided that the voice is striking.
Regardless of genre, voice is KEY. We’re looking for characters we can root for and want to spend time with. Plot holes, we can work with. Manuscripts that don’t have a voice we connect with are a much harder sell.
More than anything else, we’re also looking for a mentee who is willing to work hard–who isn’t afraid of multiple revisions or revising extensive chunks of the manuscript. (When I was a mentee in 2014, I wound up cutting 27k words and adding 24k during Pitch Wars. More extensive revisions aren’t unheard of. This isn’t for the faint of heart.)
What we aren’t looking for:
No horror: we’re both wimps. We can handle some horrific scenes, but we won’t be taking straight-up horror novels.
We’re also not looking for novels that are especially dark, either in the issues they handle or the level of violence. Similarly, we’re not interested in graphic sex scenes. (Some sex and violence is fine, as long as it contributes to the plot).
In addition, we won’t take on a novel over 100K. With only two months to work on your manuscript (and both of us have deadlines and day jobs), we won’t have time to work through a longer work.
Finally, if you know either of us in real life, we strongly encourage you to submit to other mentors. There are lots of great mentors, and we’d rather not be put in the unenviable position of (possibly) rejecting a friend. It’s also harder for us to be objective about your work. (NB: this does not include people we’re friends with on social media!)
Why You Want to Work with Us
Erin has a terrific eye for what works and what doesn’t work in a book. She’s interned with a respected literary agent, and so she has a good sense for what sells and what will catch an agent’s attention. She’s also kind and terrifically funny and basically someone you want as a friend anyway.
Rosalyn is a professor in her day job: she spends a lot of time teaching students to write, which means she has lots of experience giving feedback. Last year, she mentored two manuscripts, both of which had multiple requests (here and here), and both of whom are now agented (though only one with the Pitch Wars manuscript).
We share the same agent, Josh Adams, and our debut novels (both fantasy!) are coming out shortly after Pitch Wars. Erin’s EVER THE HUNTED (HMH) comes out December 2016, and Rosalyn’s BLOOD ROSE REBELLION (Knopf/RH) comes out March 2017.