I’m so excited to be back as a Pitch Wars YA Mentor this year! Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to spend three months revising their manuscript. It ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where agents can read a pitch and request to read more.
This will be my second year as a mentor. In 2017, I was a mentee. Pitch Wars has given me so much, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to this community.
I’m going to start with what I know you’re all most eager to find out.
What I’m looking for:
This year, I will be looking for…Contemporary and Contemporary Fantasy!
Contemporary: Please send me all your voice-driven and quirky contemporary subs! Make me laugh, cry, or swoon (or all of the above!). I adore lighter and funny stories. I also like stories that touch on darker/tougher themes.
Contemporary Fantasy: I would love to see contemporary fantasy submissions in my inbox! I’m only accepting fantasy set in our world.
In either case, I’m a sucker for romance. It’s not necessary, but a dash of romance is always nice. However, I prefer a slow-burn to insta-love.
I’m open to college-aged characters in YA (think AMERICAN PANDA by Gloria Chao).
You can check my list of favourite books to get a better idea of what I enjoy. Again, I’m accepting anything that falls under contemporary! As long as the story takes place in our world, I’m open to it!
I’d also love to see submissions by marginalized authors 🙂
Some others things I’d love to see include (but are not limited to):
- LGBT+ characters
- Give me your trope-driven, slow-burning and complicated relationships
- Family/sibling relationships
- Strong friendships
- Friendship breakups
- Enemies to lovers
- Friends to lovers
- Flawed/Unlikeable characters
- An ensemble cast
- Unlikely allies
- Anti-heroes and villains
- Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
- You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon
- Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
- American Panda by Gloria Chao
- North Pole series by Julie Hammerle
- The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
- The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
- Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
- Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo
I’m not the right person for:
- Excessive gore
- Anything with animal cruelty
- Rape as a plot device
- Anything that isn’t YA
Still here? Awesome!
So. Why should you pick me as a mentor? I’ve been working in the publishing industry for the past few years. I’ve worked as a literary intern at several literary agencies as well as an editorial intern. Working in the slush pile has taught me what it takes for a manuscript to stand out. I’ve also been an editorial assistant and got to work with some amazing authors on their books 🙂 Also, I was a mentee in 2017, so I’ve been where you are and can offer any advice you may need as a mentee.
What else? I have a master’s in English Literature and am currently doing my PhD. My non-writing interests include photography, film, and travelling. I have two adorable dogs named Lady and Sia. I’m either a Hufflepuff or a Ravenclaw (tests give me one or the other and I can’t decide). I speak English, French, and Farsi.
Some of my favourite TV shows: Gilmore Girls, Friends, Brooklyn 99, Veronica Mars, The Office, Sherlock, Modern Family, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Scrubs.
My Mentoring Style:
I like to highlight a writer’s strengths (so we can build on them) and weaknesses (so we can work on them). I’m always honest in my feedback; I will let you know when I think something isn’t working, but I will also leave comments on the things I love ❤ .
There’s going to be two rounds of edits. First, I’ll give you an editorial letter that will address big picture issues. For the second round, I’ll go through your manuscript again to provide line edits. Once we get closer to the agent round, we’ll strengthen your query, synopsis, and pitch.
There’s never just one solution to a problem; so when I notice something isn’t working, I’ll offer several possible solutions. We can also bounce ideas back and forth to come up with something together. I’ll always explain why I think a certain change is necessary. Because this is your book, I will never force you to make any changes. But if you’re reluctant to make any changes at all, I may not be the mentor for you.
In terms of communication, I’m pretty flexible so it’ll be whatever you’re most comfortable with: email, texts, video chat, DMs, etc. It’ll really be up to you. I want my mentee to feel comfortable to approach me with questions or tell me when they disagree.
And that’s it! If you have any questions, feel free to ask below, or you can reach me on twitter @HodaAgharazi . I also have a thread on the Pitch Wars forum, if you’re more comfortable there – click here.
Also, check out the other YA mentors below!
Pitch Wars 2019 Young Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists
- Aiden Thomas (Accepts NA)
- Kelsey Rodkey and Rachel Lynn Solomon
- Nancy Werlin
- Olivia Hinebaugh
- Abigail Johnson
- Rebecca Schaeffer
- Rebecca Coffindaffer (Accepts NA)
- Laurie Dennison
- Sam Taylor
- ST Sterlings (Accepts NA)
- Brenda Drake and Kyle T. Cowan (Accepts NA)
- Carrie Allen and Sabrina Lotfi
- J. Elle
- Andrea Contos (Accepts NA)
- Raquel Vasquez Gilliland and Sandra Proudman (Accepts NA)
- Ayana Gray (Accepts NA)
- Susan Lee and Auriane Desombre
- Julia Ember (Accepts NA)
- SA Patel
- Kat Dunn (Accepts NA)
- Sonia Hartl and Annette Christie
- Jesse Q. Sutanto
- Ray Stoeve
- Aty S. Behsam and Kylie Schachte
- Cole Nagamatsu
- Rachel Griffin
- Adalyn Grace
- Adrienne Tooley and Kelly Quindlen (Accepts NA)
- Ciannon Smart and Deborah Falaye
- Kristin Lambert, Sasha Peyton Smith
- Kimberly Gabriel and Dawn Ius
- Lyndsay Ely
- Jamie Howard
- Jenna Lincoln (Accepts NA)
- Jen Marie Hawkins and Anna Birch (Accepts NA)
- Judy I. Lin
- Leila Siddiqui
- Zach Hines (Accepts NA)
- Hoda Agharazi
- Michaela Greer (Accepts NA)
- Liz Lawson and Jeff Bishop (Accepts NA)
- Lindsey Frydman (Accepts NA)
- Chelsea Hensley (Accepts NA)
- Isabel Ibañez