About Us/Pitch Wars
Hi! We’re Adrienne and Kelly, and this is our first year as Pitch Wars mentors. 2019 has been a big year for both of us -- our YA debuts were announced on the same day! -- and we can’t wait to carry that energy into mentoring another writer.
If you don’t know, Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors choose one writer whose manuscript we will help revise. The program ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where agents can read a pitch/first page and can request to read more.
So why should you submit to work with us? First things first, we have a range of experience for this gig. We met via Twitter after Adrienne read Kelly’s self-pubbed YA and said, “Hey, I write about queer girls, too!” Since then we’ve been sending each other our works-in-progress for years. We have both written multiple full-length projects, some of which have seen the light of day, some of which languish in the darkest corners of our psyches. We’ve both been through the traditional editing process. Kelly knows the advantages of trad pub compared with self pub (and vice versa). Adrienne knows how to write IP projects. One of us is plugged into the scene in NYC; the other writes from 800 miles away.
But aside from our experience, you might enjoy working with us if you’re gritty, authentic, and a little goofy. If you could gush about the creative process for hours. If you like whiskey. If you sometimes feel a little out of your element on book Twitter (we’re anxious types, y’all; it happens). If your toughest critic is yourself. If you’re an optimist at heart.
What We’re Looking For
The short of it:
GIVE US YOUR QUEER YA
The long of it:
We would love…
-contemporary YA with an LGBTQ-identifying protagonist written by an author who identifies as LGBTQ, as both of us do!
-but we are accepting fantasy, too! Adrienne’s 2021 debut is about queer witches, so yes, hit us up
-dynamic characters who have DEPTH. If your main character (MC) gets sent to the principal’s office for alleged cheating, we should be able to imagine, based on their personality, how they would handle the situation
-classic tropes with a queer twist! We will not rest until every trope that heteros have enjoyed for years is present in LGBTQ literature!!! Bring on the fake dating, enemies to lovers, prince(ss) and the pauper, and “oh no there’s only one bed what will happen?!”
-LGBTQ characters grappling with intersectionality! Give us your depressed gays, your lesbian Mormons, your first-gen trans kids!
-Bisexual main characters get a “HELL YEAH,” especially since Adrienne identifies as bi and we would both love to see more explicitly bi MCs in YA lit
-We love when there’s a central love story, but we also love stories where the MC *happens to be LGBTQ* but their romance isn’t the main plot. Either way works!
-strong peer, sibling, or parent relationships are a plus
-As our rallying chant states, “We’re here, we’re queer, we’ve got anxiety up to our ears.” In other words: mental health themes are welcome ;)
-rich, evocative settings. Where is “home” for your MC? How does it influence them?
-a note on gender: We are both cis. This means that while we will definitely advocate for your trans/NB character, please know going into this that we don’t have firsthand experience with questioning our own gender identity, so we’ll have some blind spots around that. If you would still like to work with us, we are honored that you would trust us with your work
Please note: We ARE accepting New Adult stories. We figure if you’re brave enough to submit your NA to a program that’s not explicitly for the NA category, then damn, we wanna meet you.
Our Mentoring Style:
-Encouragement. Encouragement. Encouragement
-But also tough love. You gotta buckle down and do the work
-We’re not line edits kinda gals. We’d rather talk to you about the bigger picture: your characters, what drives them, how they grow, and how all of that fits with your plot
-Kelly used to be a teacher. Adrienne is a songwriter. We are so here for your emotional breakdowns and creative blocks, but we’re going to push you to keep going
-We usually talk to each other via text or email, but jumping on the phone is fine, too
Some Books We Loooove:
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante
Wild Beauty by Anna Marie McLemore
Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist
The Weight of the Stars by K. Acrum
Browse the Other YA Mentors’ Wish Lists: