I’m so excited to be a part of Pitch Wars again this year as a Middle Grade mentor. Yay, Middle Grade! This is my THIRD YEAR. Whew.
I hope you’ll find these next few weeks both fun and helpful. I will do my best to give you honest feedback, lots of encouragement, and useful advice to get your manuscript ready to present to agents.
What I’m Looking For:
I love to read anything with great characters and a voice that leaps off the page. While I like a wide variety, It’s probably contemporary that suits me to a –
I’ll read anything that has rich world building and a protagonists I can cheer. Humorous, bitter-sweet, coming of age -you name it, just give me a good, UNIQUE story! Upper middle-grade is probably more of my wheel-house than lower, or younger middle-grade.
What I Don’t Want:
While I like funny, I don’t love slapstick humor. And ghosts stories are great, but I’m probably not the best mentor for bloody, horror types of entries.
Some of My Favorite Books:
Fish In A Tree
Counting By 7’s
The One and Only Ivan
After Tupac and D Foster
Lockwood and Co.
I’m a Southern children’s book author represented by Susan Hawk at The Bent Agency. My mid-grade novel, Last In a Long Line of Rebels, was released on September 29, 2015, thanks to Nancy Paulsen Books, (Penguin). I am also a co-founder of the Middle Grade Mafia, (along with fellow MG pitch wars mentor -Kevin A. Springer) and frequent contributor to The Huffington Post. I am currently revising my 2nd novel with Nancy Paulsen Books.
Growing up in a small town in Tennessee surrounded by my crazy family and neighbors, I learned early on that not every child had a pet skunk, a dad that ran a bar in the front yard, or a neighbor that was so large his house had to be torn down to get him out. Think I like southern literature and/or crazy characters? Yes!
I want this experience to prepare your manuscript and YOU for work with an agent, so I try to mimic what that relationship is really like.
First, I’ll do a complete read-through, then send you an Editorial Letter. This is where I’ll tell you what I think about each character, the setting, plot, pacing, sub-plots, etc. and give advice on areas where I think you can improve things. I’ll spend a lot of time thinking about your first chapter as this is what we’ll be showing agents.
After you have a chance to revise and send the manuscript back to me, I’ll do another read-through and make notes throughout. It might be a smiley face where something makes me laugh, places where the voice seems inconsistent, or scenes that don’t move the plot forward. I’ll do my best to give you line edits if time allows.
Once you get that and revise, I’ll look at it again and we’ll concentrate on any lingering problem areas or scenes.
Finally, we’ll take a look at your query and make sure that’s good to go!
One last word about revisions. At the end of the day, this is YOUR manuscript, so I will try to persuade you if I feel strongly about something, but you have the final say. However, I don’t want to mentor someone who feels that their manuscript is perfect as is and is reluctant to change things. I think this is also important when working with agents and editors. They are more likely to want to work with people that listen.
I can tell you this. If we work together, I will be your biggest champion!
Whatever mentor you choose, I wish you the very best.
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