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Quick Tips for Navigating the Pitch Wars Mentor Wishlists

The Pitch Wars mentor wishlists are set to go live one week from today on August 14! Are you ready?

Wishlist time is exciting, but it can also be a bit intimidating when you know you only have 2 weeks to narrow down that huge list to pick the four mentors you're going to submit to. It's a lot at first glance, but as a 2016 mentee, I'm here to tell you that navigating the Pitch Wars Mentor wishlists doesn't have to be overwhelming. Actually, it's a lot like researching literary agents, and the end goal is to find the best matches for you and your work!

Here are a few tips to help you make sense of the wishlists:

  • The first thing I did in 2016 was to print out every wishlist that matched the category (in my case, YA) and genre (fantasy) of the manuscript I was subbing. There's absolutely no sense reading through the wishlists of mentors who aren't mentoring in your category because a submission to an MG mentor for a YA manuscript would be a waste.

  • Take a highlighter to your printed wishlists and look at the 'What I'm hoping to see in my inbox' sections. Highlight every keyword that applies to your manuscript, and pay close attention to subgenres. I'm going to use fantasy as an example here because it's rife with subgenres, but just because a mentor says they want fantasy, that doesn't automatically mean they want it in all its forms. Sure, there will be some mentors who do, but there will also be those who'll break it down into subgenres. So if a mentor says they want contemporary fantasy, but not historical fantasy-----that's an important distinction!

  • Make sure your book doesn't tick any in the boxes on the mentor's 'do not want' list. If you submit your 'talking shark book' to a mentor who specifically asked for 'no talking shark books', then you're not doing the best by your work. You want to find the person who is going to fall head-over-heels for your hilarious talking sharks!

  • Another thing to keep in mind is mentor strengths. The submission process isn't just about finding someone you can see yourself getting along with (which is key!), but it's about finding people who have strengths where you need them most. For example, do you feel like you're lacking in the plot or characterization department? Then by all means comb through the wishlists with that in mind! A lot of mentors will list their strong suits when it comes to critique, as well as how they critique (read: blunt vs. cheerleader), which can be super helpful!

  • In the end, use the wishlist blog hop as an opportunity to reach out to mentors. If you have a question after reading through their wishlist, just ask it! Hardly any of us bite...;)

Good luck to all!

Kim and I can't wait to read your words (assuming we're a good match for you, of course☺)!

More About Pitch Wars:

Pitch Wars is a free mentoring program where more established writers and publishing pros mentor emerging writers for four months to help them revise their manuscript for an Agent Round. During the Agent Round, agents will be able to read a sample of the manuscript and request to read more. Pitch Wars has had over 300 success stories since Brenda Drake started the program in 2012. Recent Pitch Wars novels include Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, Zoje Stage’s Baby Teeth and Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient.

So if you're an unagented writer with a finished manuscript that's ready query (or are querying), please look into submitting to Pitch Wars. The Mentor Wishlist Blog Hop starts August 14 and the submission window is August 27 - 29, 2018.

For even more information:

And, as always,


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