Pitch Wars Wishlist

Hello Fellow Writers!

I think it’s important to start this post off by telling you a little bit about me and my mentoring style. My name is Megan and I’ve worked as an assistant editor in NYC for almost two years. Just recently, my internship with Corvisiero Literary Agency was announced. Prior to that, I had two internships with indie fantasy publishing houses where I acted as a line and content editor. On top of that, I read way too many books for my health (jk, no such thing), talk about writing, and freelance edit YA & MG stories. My non-book related activities include: hiking, binge watching television shows on Netflix, playing with my dogs, and traveling whenever I can.

For my first time as a mentor, I am specifically looking for YOUNG ADULT stories. They’re my favorite audience category to read and have sent me weeping into my bed on several dozen occasions. Also, I just love the idea of books being written for children and teens and want to see as many of these wonderful stories as possible.

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What My Mentoring Style Is Like

I’d consider myself a cheerleader for the stories I love. I want to push writers so they can get the words on the page as close as possible to what’s in their heads. I’m a very open and communicative person so I encourage questions, ideas, and new routes you think will help your work as we go forth. Nothing makes me happier than everything clicking into place.

Before we begin edits, I’d like for you to tell me anything you’re concerned about or anything you’d specifically like me to pay attention to before diving in. I’d also like for you to tell me what you love most about your story.

Our first round of edits will be focused on the larger picture:

  • How’s your pacing?
  • Are there any obvious plot holes?
  • Do your characters and their motivations make sense?
  • Are you doing enough to convey your world to your audience?
  • Does your story have a full and completed arc?

All of these topics and more will be addressed in an edit letter after I read your manuscript. For me, this is often a few pages and consists of what I liked about your manuscript, what isn’t working, and suggestions on how to incorporate necessary changes. Once you receive this and go over it, I’d love to discuss where you stand, what’s going through your head, and of course any inquiries you may have. We will also work out a schedule to have these changes made.

The second round of edits will still include the bullet points above but will also be focused on line editing and proofreading. Here along with any big picture edits, you’ll get an annotated manuscript from me that will highlight:

  • Grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors
  • Sentences that aren’t adding to your story, are repetitive, or seem out of place.
  • Tense issues
  • Consistency of your writing style

The goal of this edit is get everything polished for the agent round. Of course you’re welcome to ask anything about publishing beforehand, but any lingering questions would be best at this time. My ultimate goal as a mentor is to make your manuscript shine while keeping in mind the message of your story and what you want readers to take away from your world.

What I’m Looking For

Onto the fun part: what manuscripts I’m interested in. As I mentioned above, I am ONLY taking YOUNG ADULT.  I will NOT take graphic novels, new adult, or memoirs. The genres I am eager to read are:

Science Fiction

  • Dystopian/Apocalyptic
  • Space Operas/Space Exploration
  • Futuristic Societies
  • Present Day but with a Twist
  • Steam Punk
  • Cyber Punk
  • Virtual Reality

Fantasy

  • Fairytale Retellings
  • Magical Realism
  • Contemporary Fantasy
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Dark or Magical Fantasies

Contemporary

  • Dark Contemporary or Contemporary with a Twist

Elements I Shout for in a Story

  • Diversity in terms of characters, setting, and culture
  • Gray Morality
  • Strong Women
  • Soft/geeky characters
  • Queer characters that have an arc larger than their sexuality
  • Anti-heroes
  • Strong friendships and sibling relationships
  • Complex family dynamics
  • Strong mental health rep
  • Slow burn relationships of any kind
  • Uncommon hobbies
  • Worlds I can sink my teeth into
  • Emotional gut punches/angst
  • Wholesome best friends, especially best friends to lovers
  • Badass group of friends who take on some role and often explore their relationships with one another

What I Don’t Want

  • Epic or High Fantasy
  • Stories that have animal abuse
  • Contemporaries centered entirely around romance
  • Paranormal, Supernatural, or Horror Stories (Note for paranormal/supernatural stories: I will take stories with magic or magical creatures. What I CANNOT take is anything involving exorcisms, hauntings, possessions, and similar paranormal elements.)
  • Historical Fiction (There is an exception to this – if your story takes place in a certain time period, but isn’t necessarily recreating real life events, I’ll take it. I just don’t think I’m the best fit for history retelling pieces).

Favorite Books

To give you a better sense of what I like to read and my tastes, here’s a by no means completed list of some older and newer YA books.

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness
  • Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
  • Nyxia Triad by Scott Reintgen
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  • This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab
  • Proxy by Alex London
  • When the Moons Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Forest of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
  • How to Make a Wish by Ashley Blake
  • Timekeeper by Tara Sim
  • Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glen Marsh
  • Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
  • Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova
  • Nothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell
  • You’ll Miss me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Favorite TV Shows

  • Stranger Things
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Avatar the Last Airbender
  • Breaking Bad
  • Dear White People
  • Cloak & Dagger
  • Jessica Jones
  • The Punisher
  • The 100
  • Sense8
  • This is Us
  • Shameless

I think that’s everything. Thank you so much for reading and I can’t wait to see the stories that appear in my inbox.

You should check out all of the other mentors HERE 😀

Xx

Megan

 

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Book Expo 2018: The Day Megan Told Her Anxiety to Shove It

Hello Readers & Writers,

I had the wonderful opportunity of attending Book Expo 2018 and wanted to share some of the fun with all of you. Upon attending, there were three goals I set for myself:

  1. Meet some bookish people and authors.
  2. Get books and swag.
  3. Network – aka me spending an hour making my business cards as perfect as they can be.

Prior to every convention, I make a schedule of things I want to do. This year, I had written it on post it notes and tucked them into a pouch where I had my Book Expo pass, business cards, a pen, and my phone. Yes, this was a very big pouch that hung from my neck, but it had everything I needed.

2Day one of Book Expo was me dressed in gothic af attire, scoping out where all the publishers were, and meeting so many bloggers. The perk about waiting in lines is talking to people not only helps pass the time, but you get to chat about books, work, favorite reads, and everything in between. You also find yourself running into these people throughout the day and they become your conference buddies. (Shout out to @CarolinaBookB on twitter for being an awesome friend.)

I also got to meet Kelly Barina – someone I had spoken to on twitter many times and just so happened to find on the same line as me for the Wildcard ARC drop. On top of that I chatted with Claribel Ortega – who is beyond approachable and sweet – about her debut (Ghost Squad coming 2019), how she was handling the crowds, and how pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and reaching out really helps you network in publishing. After that, I spoke with Meg LaTorre, another person I frequently interacted with on twitter and she was beyond wonderful in person. Seeing twitter people at events like this really reinforces the book community and those bonds you’ve already formulated online.

3Aside from being the first person on line for Wildcard by Marie Lu (still shocked tbh), going around to every publisher and passing out my business cards was a highlight for me. I’m a pretty shy person and I urged myself to push past my social anxiety to ask questions and make connections. Thankfully, everyone was beyond nice and willing to answer my questions as well as pass on my business cards to the right departments.

In case you didn’t know, I review Young Adult books, provide sensitivity reads, comp research, as well as freelance edit for YA and MG titles. I know – sometimes I wonder how I sleep too.

Bless the people who work for books and love them.

Also, bless the people who were okay with me going “Hi, I’m awkward, but I’m so happy to meet you.”

1Day two of Book Expo was equally as exciting. I was dressed less goth, but donned a gold crown in order to rep King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – the amount of compliments on the crown were beyond entertaining. I also got to meet Joan He whose book, Descendant of the Crane, is coming out in 2019 and Caitlin LaRue – another twitter friend. I spent a lot of time with Amanda Foody (author of Daughter of the Burning City and Ace of Shades) and Christine Herman (author of The Devouring Gray coming out 2019), authors who I beyond admire and am excited for any and all books they write. They’re my selfie buddies in the above photo :D.

Onto the giddy part of me. Here’s a list of amazing books I was able to get:

What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli

City of Ghosts by V.E. Schwab

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

The Priori of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Overall, Book Expo was a wonderful success and I hope to attend next year and have an even better time. To those considering the convention, I recommend going if you’re able to (note: there are a handful of volunteer opportunities prior to the event that give you free access to the show) and meeting some of your book buddies along the way.

Xx

Megan

Book Conventions: A How To Guide

Hi Readers & Writers,

With book convention season upon us, I thought I’d compile some tips and tricks to navigating conventions. I’ve both attended and worked behind the booth so hopefully this list will be able to help you out whether you’re a first time attendee or a frequent show goer.

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Source: Twenty20.com 

1. Dress Comfortably. There are going to be a lot of people around and the last thing you want is to overheat in the first hour. I always opt for good ole quality cotton and dresses (with pockets) because bless pockets.

2. WATER IS YOUR BEST FRIEND. This circles back to point one, but aside from overheating, you’re going to do a lot of running around. You’d be surprised how quickly dehydration sets in.

3. Try to Arrive Early. For conventions like Book Con, there’s going to be a line alongside a bag check. Take the time you need to eat, park if you’re driving, and prepare yourself for the day.

4. Plan What You Want to See in Advance!! Trust me – this will save you so much time. I would also recommend highlighting what you absolutely don’t want to miss. Chances of doing everything on your list are low between crowds and wait time.

5. Learn the Layout. Spend a few minutes locating all the booths and author signings you’re interested in. This will ground you and save time later.

6. Budget, Budget, Budget. Food and drinks are always overpriced in convention halls. Be prepared for that. But also, be prepared for all of the glorious things you’re going to want to buy.

7. Be Prepared to Wait, A Lot. Between panels and ARC drops, sometimes you’ll need to line up an hour, maybe two in advance. Factor that into your schedule and what you need to either be standing or sitting for long periods.

8. Pack Light Initially. This will save your shoulders and back as you continue to collect swag and books.

Warning: grabbing everything you can may and likely will happen.

9. TAKE BREAKS. Make sure you take time to sit, recharge, and mentally/physically recompose yourself. You’re going to get tired quicker than you normally would.

At book con day two last year, I had a migraine. You can imagine how that went.

10. Make Friends! You’re going to be surrounded by book people. Most of them are super friendly and it’ll be easy to strike up conversations while waiting in line.

11. Respect Boundaries. This applies to convention goers, authors, and booth workers. Ask before taking photos or engaging in any physical contact (hand shakes, hugs, etc.). Every person has a different comfort level.

12. Have Your Badge Visible At All times! You’ll need this to enter the convention hall, but also for book drops and events. In Book Con specifically, they scan your badge before giving you whatever it is you’re lined up for.

13. Pushing Gets You Nowhere. I know there are a lot of cool things at conventions, but you don’t want to be that person.

14. Thank the Workers! It gets hectic and they’re working several days in a row to keep the show together.

Last year there was a wonderful Harper Collins woman who cleared a very crowded aisle and I thanked her once I got to the front of the line. Her smile was heartwarming.

15. If You Want to Network, I Highly Recommend Business Cards. They’re an easy way to have all your important information in one place and pass on after talking with someone.

Protip: Keep some business cards tucked behind your name tag if you’re wearing a lanyard.

16. Know the Rules. Author signings require a separate ticket from general admission (at least for Book Con). You will register for these before the con itself and they will not cost you anything – unless it’s a special entertainment guest. Every person, I believe, gets two signings per day.

17. Check Twitter. A lot of pub houses will tweet about contests, book drops, and author signings during shows. Turn on notifications so you can stay up to date.

18. Have fun! Get those books and swag and take tons of pictures.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them below.

Xx

Megan

Blog Bound 2018

Hello Readers and Writers,

I have a super exciting announcement and that is: I’m going to be a panelist at Blog Bound!!!! For those of you who don’t know what Blog Bound is, it’s a free event in New York City created by bloggers for the blogging/writing community. From 5:00pm – 8:00pm at the Jefferson Market Library, you can chat with others in the industry as well as attend a few awesome panels that will be happening during these hours. For more details on the event, click here

blogbound 2018 twitter with link

So what panel will I be on at Blog Bound? Well, me, along with several others, will be discussing how to get past reading and creative slumps from 5:15pm – 6:00pm. Seeing as this is my first ever panel, I am both terrified and excited to dive in and speak about my experiences and tactics to overcome such a frustrating aspect of the creative world. I am crossing my fingers and toes it goes well, though I expect good things with such supportive people around me.

If you happen to be in New York City at that time, I’d love to see you there!

Xx

Megan

My Comic Con 2017 Roundup!

This year was my first ever Comic Con and honestly I was blown away. There was so much to see on the convention floor, between the costumes, vendors, and activities hosted for people to participate in. I couldn’t even anticipate the crowd, but the energy bouncing off everyone was addicting.

I arrived about an hour early, reading a book in typical fashion as I waited for the doors to open. I was let in ten minutes prior to the show opening and of course made my way to the Macmillan booth in order to get Renegades by Melissa Myer. I was successful and that became the first book of the day that I acquired!

The rest of the day was spent navigating through the book booths, waiting for ARCs to drop, trying not to spend a ton of money on Pop Figures, and taking pictures with tons of A+ cosplayers. Some notable costumes were:

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  1. Rick and Morty, but not just dressed like them. Rather, two people had crafted papier-mâché heads.
  2. The Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter. Seriously, these costumes were gorgeous and so on point.
  3. A scarily accurate costume of Twisty the Clown from American Horror Story. The weirdest thing about the photo I took with this person was their chipper voice underneath.
  4. An amazingly well done Demogorgan from Strangers Things! I squealed at happiness about this. In tandem, there were also tons of Elevens with eggos!
  5. Really elaborate Wonder Woman Costumes. I mean, how can you not go for this option?
  6. Anime characters galore – Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, Pokémon. The list goes on and on. I have to mention the fact people were screaming randomly throughout the hall I think as a promotion for Dragon Ball Z.

Now, onto the books! I walked away from Comic Con with about fifteen books and a good set of swag. I probably should have picked up more swag, but my shoulders were going to break from what I already had. Some books I took with me and need to read immediately are:

  1. Renegades as I already mentioned. I was super shocked to get this one as I thought I would not make it in time once the venue opened.
  2. Children of Blood and Bone. I found out last minute they were giving fLi4XBWp_400x400these away and rushed over to the booth. I now hold this amazing book in my hands and I cannot wait to read it.
  3. Reign of the Fallen. LGBT characters, fantasy, and a stunning cover. SIGN. ME. UP.
  4. Dread Nation. I didn’t know these were going to be at Comic Con, but you bet I freaked the heck out once I lined up for Epic Reads and it was one of the options.
  5. Beasts Made of Night. I’ve heard such interesting things about the book and I was lucky to meet the author and have him sign my copy! There was so much joy on Tochi’s face to be at a con promoting his debut novel. It warmed my heart.
  6. Defy the Worlds. Nearly screamed about this one. It was a total surprise to find ARCs of the second book by Claudia Gray. If you love AI, space travel, and A+ sci-fi, pick up the first book and then get this one too.

So what you can take away from this post is I geeked out and now have to hibernate for the winter in order to finish my TBR pile, which will likely never happen. Oh well, at least I’m trying to be optimistic about it!

Xx

Megan

Bibliobattle

13718620_10210148785456544_4101750430694966557_nI’m sure you are wondering after reading the title of this post, what does Megan mean by Bibliobattle? Are people fighting against each other with books? Is this an all out war to obtain one book? The answer, my fellow bloggers, is yes.

Okay, I’ll put the joke aside for now and say that a Bibliobattle is an event where book lovers pick a book and pitch it to an audience within a five minute time limit. You can say anything you want. The only catch is you can’t use props or technological projections of any sort. It’s up to your voice and in my case, a piece of paper to help me not forget everything I want to say. Your goal is to convince an audience that they want to read the book you are speaking about.

This is a Japanese tradition but has made its way to New York thanks to the Kinokuniya Book Store. I participated in the first one ever a few weeks ago advocating for an audience to read The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It fell into the genre required for the event, Young Adult, and has been one of the most inspirational books in my life time. I spoke about a few big issues the book covers: friendship, self-discovery, trauma, depression, love. Narrowing everything down to five minutes was a difficult task, but one I think I did fairly well on for my first ever book pitch.

I will admit I was quite nervous standing in front of a crowd and speaking. I have always had this difficulty, but once I fell into the rhythm of my pitch and knowing that I could answer nearly any question about the book, I was immediately relaxed. My confidence revealed itself because if there is one thing I love in the world, it’s a good story. I highly advise anyone who loves books to give this event a shot. You can find other books to read and even win some prizes like… more books!

To be honest, I don’t see a better selling point that is better than being surrounded by other bibliophiles. Sometimes, we need a spot to geek out about what we love and what we are involved with often. If anyone would like to see how the battle went down, I am including a link to the entire battle here.

Keep reading, everyone!

Xx Megan