Hello talented people interested in Pitch Wars! First off, congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely finished a book and are preparing to travel down the crazy road of publishing. Give yourself a pat on the back, because that is one incredible feat, my friend.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Jennifer Blackwood. I’m represented by the fabulous Courtney Miller-Callihan of Greenburger Associates. This is my second year I’m participating as a mentor in the amazing contest Brenda Drake has organized! Click here for more information about Pitch Wars. Interested in becoming my mentee? Here are a few facts about me:
I’m a language arts teacher by day and an author by night.
I write Contemporary Romance and NA Contemporary Romance. My first two books, Unethical and Foolproof, are out with Entangled Embrace. I have four books coming out in 2016 (2 Brazen and 2 more NA Romances) plus one novella.
I have years of experience as a CP and beta reader for multiple authors and focus on big picture, as well as small details.
Last year, I was an editorial intern for Entangled. I read submissions for the Embrace and Teen line, so I’ve had experience on the other side of publishing and have a good feel for what publishers are looking for in terms of quality and content.
What to expect if you’re my mentee:
-A lot of hard work. I’m putting in a lot of work by reading you manuscript and critiquing/making suggestions to make your book shine. Expect a lot of one-on-one attention, lots of emails, and a mentor (me) who will stick with you until you find an agent. Depending on the state of the manuscript, there may be a lot of changes that need to be made. I want someone who is willing to put in the effort to make their manuscript shine.
-A positive attitude. A good attitude goes a long way in this business. Since I’ll be working closely with my mentee for a few months, I’d like to be paired with someone who I know I’ll get along with. You can get a good sense of my personalty on Twitter. So let’s interact and get to know each other! And if you have a love for Supernatural, DQ Blizzards, or anything salted caramel, I think we’ll get along just fine.
-An open mind. I like to give feedback. Sometimes this feedback requires you to tweak parts of your manuscript (or take entire sections out). I’ll be looking at your overall plot structure, characterization, and also smaller issues, such as grammar. I’m here to help you get your book into great shape before it’s put in front of editors, so please keep an open mind about any critiques.
Okay, now for the good stuff! This year I am mentoring YA and NA entries.
My wish list: YA: -I am only taking contemporary. Although I love to read YA fantasy, paranormal, dystopian, etc. I do not feel like I’d be the best candidate to help you with your manuscript.
-Romance- I love, love, love YA romance. Anything that makes me swoon, laugh, stay up way past my bedtime is right up my alley. Some YA romance writers I love: Katie McGarry, Sarah Dessen, Miranda Kenneally, Stephanie Perkins.
-Sports- I love books about sports, especially if it has an interesting twist like females kicking ass in a male dominated sport (Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally, anyone?)
-Mystery- I am DYING to read a book similar to Veronica Mars. I have a soft spot for witty/snarky characters, especially when the hero and heroine have a love/hate relationship. If you have something that, please send my way.
-Diversity- Some of my favorite books this year have been Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Openly Straight, and One Man Guy. Is your book like any of these? SEND THIS TO ME RIGHT NOW. I need this in my life.
What I’d like to see in general: -Parents who are seen as caring and invested in kid’s well-being (I’m tired of seeing parents painted as “the bad guy”). I’d LOVE to see a Rory/Lorelai type relationship.
-Strong heroines that are worried about more than image/social status and appearance. -Nice guys, ones who treat women with respect.
-Smart, purposeful prose that will keep me flipping the page.
NA: For New Adult, I am only taking romance. The above wishlist for YA can also apply to NA as well. I am really enjoying older NA (characters out of college, out in the real world working their first jobs). If the book is set in college, there needs to be a hook that is fresh.
I AM DYING FOR A STUDY ABROAD NOVEL. Something along the lines of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Kristen Rae’s Wish You Were Italian, Lia Riley’s Upside Down, and AJ Pine’s If Only. I asked for this last year, and no one sent me one. So I’m putting a shout out for it again!! If you have something like this, send it my way. I will die of happiness.
Tropes I love:
*Enemies to lovers
*Older brother’s best friend
*Second chance love
Not on my wish list:
Anything involving rape (I can’t handle the subject, and you want someone who will be able to help you out with your MS)
Anything extremely sad (moments of sadness are fine, but if your book makes me cry 90% of the book, I’m not your gal)
Go check out the other awesome mentors on the blog hop!
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