Saturday, August 2, 2014

PICK ME! PICK ME! Pitch Wars Mentor Bio

G’Day from Down Under. You are reading this…and I am probably sleeping because  you are probably on the other side of the world to me.

The Pitch Wars process is like this school yard team picking contest where the mentors all start off going "pick me, pick me" and then you guys choose four of us you want to submit to and it's your turn to be all "pick me, pick me." 

So this is me, looking at you with pleading eyes, begging you not to leave me off your list if we're a fit. 

To start off with, a little about me! 

I'm an Aussie writer, published in some anthologies and with a couple of novels looking for a home, as well as a pile of WIPs waiting for me to finish them. My day job is in PR (so if I'm your mentor, and you get an agent, and you get published, I can totally help you with your book promo :D). 

I also intern for a publisher (so I totally see what editors are crushing on).

I used to be a marketing director for a publisher (see two points up).

My writing is across YA, NA and Adult, as well as in a variety of genres - including Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction and Contemporary (so if you write it...I might too).

My literary nickname is The Query Whisperer because when I work on queries, my peeps get requests (so if I help you hone your pitch, you could get tones of requests from agents. My Pitch Wars mentee got the 2nd highest number of requests, and my Pitch Madness teams kick a lot of butt). 

I love cats, superheroes, comics, gaming and my family. 

Onto what to expect from me if I am your mentor. 

I am brutally honest, but not mean about it. I will point out why I love, but I will also point out any character and plot issues to make sure that your MS will be the best that it can be. I will also help you with your pitch. I will also be there for you after the contest is done. 

What am I looking for?

Categories: YA and/or NA only. 

Genres: Anything goes. And I mean anything. 

I am open to any genre, and if you actually can't pin down a genre then I REALLY will want to see it. I love:

Dark books - thrillers, sci-fi, contemporaries. 

I love funny books - humour is a big deal for me. 

EDIT: You can see my tweets about more specific wish lists on my twitter feed and on my Pinterest Board

Here's some books/authors I adore to give you an idea of my book-loving diversity:

  • Curse Worker Series 
  • Lux Series
  • Across the Universe
  • Anything by Courtney Summers
  • Losing It
  • Before I Fall
  • Easy
  • The Falconer
  • Forget Me Not
  • Dark Inside
  • Sweet Evil

Some things I don't love:
  • Ridiculously high word counts. 
  • Confusing pitches. 
  • Weak openings

So come and surprise me! Looking forward to seeing you in my inbox...hopefully...if you chose me...
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  1. Siiiigh, if only I could submit a picture of my cat with the query.... But seriously, I know you mention specifically you like darker novels, and some of your list; curse workers, easy, etc, are pretty serious/dark in nature. Hoooowever, you also mention you like everything including funny, so i thought I'd ask how you feel about beachy, lighthearted contemp YA?
    ps, my cat looks like a clone of Henri, from the youtube series Le Chat Noir (worth a google if you haven't seen it :)

    1. Ahhh - beautiful. I would definitely be interested in seeing a beachy themed contemp. It'd be like Losing It, but at the beach and with less sex?

  2. Oh no! Poor pre coffee choice of words on my part. Beachy in the sense it's light hearted and yummy, the type you'd read at the beach while oogling the cute lifeguard. No actual beach or sex scenes but there's the rock and roll hall of fame aaaand an a main character who's introverted and quiet but totally unopposed to whipping off her shirt if the situation calls for it?

  3. The fact that you are wanting to look at books which can't pin down the genre makes me so happy :) I have a NA with equal elements of dark contemporary fantasy, suspense, and romance. it's a task in its self trying to figure out what to query under without looking completely mental. Any suggestions on how to list such a book for the big PitchWars query day?

    1. I'd recommend comping it with books outside the category - so YA or adult equivalents. So 'This book meets this book but with this element'

  4. I think my book has your name on it,

    Dark-Check (very dark, the protagonist is about turning Charlie Brown into Freeza)

    but I'm going to ask: Anti-religious overtones? My novel while praised by judges in contests for its controversial content/original plot, is still controversial and may rub someone the wrong way. Are you offended by any of that? If not, game on!

    1. Well, I am a Christian. If your book is anti-God/Jesus/Holy Spirit or Pro devil then it's not for me. If it's anti-religous establishment (criticising church leadings corruption) then I'm ok with that.

    2. More about church corruption than being pro devil. But unfortunately, it being a fantasy the supernatural stuff does show up. It's probably not for you because it does have an anti-vibe to it (similar to His Dark Materials). That's why I asked. Thanks for your reply though!

  5. Thank you for doing this. I hope we're a fit.

  6. The Query Whisperer? I'm sold. Love that you mention you're a Christian, too. I have a YA contemp/sci-fi that's also a space opera... sort of like a cross between Alienated and Across the Universe :)

    1. Sounds awesome! Hope I get to read your pitch.

  7. So Query Whisperer, if a writer has no previous writing credits, how do you prefer they handle the bio paragraph of a query? Skip it? Share something personal like their job or hobbies? I asked on Twitter but received conflicting answers, so now I am taking the question to the mentors I am considering.

    1. The bio part can be very subjective. There can be ways to create credentials - such as blogging or taking up a role as an author's assistant. You can also talk about conferences you attended to improve your craft to show the agent that you are serious about your writing.

      If you don't have any of that, then you can talk about hobbies, but I'd only do it briefly unless there's a link to your MS. For example, if you write a story about a soldier and you've been in the army, that's worth going into a little more detail:

      Instead of: I am a PR executive and a former soldier.
      I would put: I am a former soldier who did tours of duty in....

      I recommend: No writing credits and no hobbies/work that link to MS then keep it to one sentence (but do look to see if any of your hobbies match with the agent's - DON'T MAKE STUFF UP)

      No writing credentials but have work/hobbies that link to MS/Writing then have a par.

      I do have some writing credentials, but I thought I'd share my query bio to give you a break down:

      I have short stories in anthologies with the Australian Literary Review and my story Karma was runner-up in the Australian Literary Review’s Young Adult short story competition (my writing creeds). I have a Bachelor of Communication and work as a senior specialist of public relations overseeing marketing and branding for an exporting/logistics company (shows I understand promoting myself). I blog at YAtopia, Aussie Owned & Read and Down Under Wonderings. I am also a regular pitch contest host along side Brenda Drake with Pitch Madness and Pitch Wars (both show I am invested in Publishing Community). In my spare time, I intern for Heather Howland at Entangled and volunteer for my city’s comic convention – Sugar Con (writing cred again, along with showing show my nerdy tendencies).

      Sometimes I will add my love of cats, beaches, coffee, and so on, if it fits with the Agent bio.

  8. I was eating up your info and then got to the comic convention! +++++

    1. I'm so excited about it! It's the only regional comic convention in Australia. I was like "sign me up!"

  9. Hi Sharon! I love how diverse your interest are. I also adore your cats (they are rather similar to my own). I'd love to submit to you, but on twitter you said "If I've seen your pitch around in a lot of other pitch contests I am less likely to be interested". So how much is "a lot"? I've been in a couple contests, including pitchmadness. You may remember the pitch - a medieval Veronica Mars with the lush, sexy feel of Anna Godbersen's THE LUXE. Are you interested? I'd be sad not to submit to you, but I really respect your goal of spreading the love and support around.

    1. Unfortunately, they are not actually my cats. I would love kitties like that, but I have two moggies at the moment. Though in the past I've had Himalyan Persians. So much fun.

      I do remember your pitch, and thought it sounded cool in other contests. Here's the deal:

      If I have championed you before, I am not going to pick you.

      If I have seen you in a lot of contests before, then I am less likely to pick you, but it's not an auto-no pick.

      I want to make sure I don't have a MS with contest fatigue.

      I can't remember how many contests I've seen that pitch in, so I wouldn't immediately discount it. It's then up to you from there if you want to pitch to me or if you think you have a better chance with someone else.

      I'm the only mentor I know who is thinking this way, so other mentors may be different.

      I hope that helped.

  10. Hi Sharon,
    How do you feel about non-linear story structures? Thanks!

    1. As long as I can still follow what's happening (I don't mind being a little confused along the way) then I'm happy.

  11. Hello fellow Aussie!

    You said you want all genres, so how would you feel about a YA epic fantasy? It is a little dark, and is based on biblical mythology. But you also said you don't like high word counts, and YA epic fantasy typically has a higher word count than other genres. (Mine is currently at 108,000, which I know is a little longer than the preferred 100,000 but I'm happy to slash.)



    1. Sounds awesome! 108K is ok. I can work with that.

  12. Hello, I submitted to you. I shall now cower in the loo....