Monday, November 26, 2012

My Pitch Wars Profile

Welcome to Pitch Wars! If you missed the post with all the details, definitely check that out. It includes important dates as well as submission information (which I haven't repeated here because this post is already too long). Also, you should know that YOU CAN SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATIONS ANYTIME BETWEEN NOW AND 8:00 A.M. EST ON WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, so hop around and check out all the mentors’ profiles, then get those applications in! (You can find the other mentors’ profiles through the widget at the bottom of this post.)

What I’m Looking For

I’m looking for all things middle grade, so if you’re shopping an MG manuscript, I want to hear about it. But here are a few more thoughts on the kinds of things I really love:

--The most important characteristic of any manuscript is voice, but I think it’s especially important in this category. It’s got to sound authentic or kids will see right through it, so voice is the number-one thing I’m looking for.

--I tend to gravitate toward more emotional MG reads. Favorite recent releases include Katherine Applegate’s THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, Sheila Turnage’s THREE TIMES LUCKY, and R.J. Palacio’s WONDER. They span a lot of genres, but the one thing they all have is HEART.

Why You Should Send Me Your Application

I’m sure most of you have already decided which mentors you want to submit to, but if you’re still up in the air, allow me to try to sway you:)

--When I’m reading a manuscript, I focus on the total package: character arcs and storylines, transitions and pacing, even grammar and punctuation. I plan to provide my teammate with general and chapter notes as well as make a bunch of comments in the text itself. That said, your manuscript is your manuscript, so in the end, it’s totally your call. I just want to help you see your story from a new perspective.

--My team won the inaugural round of “The Writer’s Voice” in May (which means my teammates’ entries received the most agent requests), so I know how to get an entry query- and contest-ready.

--Not only did my team win, but my MG teammates’ entries did particularly well. All three of my MG teammates received three agent requests (out of eight possible), so I know how to spot the kinds of manuscripts MG agents are looking for.

If You’re Looking for a YA Mentor

There are some awesome, awesome mentors looking for YA, so you YA writers are going to have a tough time narrowing down your lists. I do know a few of them personally, so if you’re having a tough time deciding, you might consider these great ladies:

--Elizabeth Briggs is one of my agent sisters and an all-around great writer. Not only is she represented by the best agent on the planet, but she interns for a pretty great agent, too (Jill Corcoran of Herman Agency, Inc.). She also reads A TON of books, so she has a great feel for what’s marketable.

--Monica B.W. was one of my fellow coaches in “The Writer’s Voice,” and since then, she’s become one of my very good writing friends. One of her teammates, R.C. Lewis, went on to sign with Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Literary Agency, who then sold her manuscript--the manuscript Monica plucked out of the slush pile--to Disney/Hyperion for six figures. So Monica definitely knows how to pick ’em.

--Cupid was also one of my fellow coaches in “The Writer’s Voice,” and I was really impressed with her coaching skills. She took one of the entries the rest of us overlooked and turned it into the most-requested entry in the whole competition, so Cupid knows how to polish an entry to really make it shine.

That's it from me. Leave any questions you might have in the comments, then get those applications in anytime between now and 8:00 a.m. EST on Wednesday, December 5!

The Mentors

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Mandy P.S. said...

Krista, I have a silly question. This contest says you should send in the first five pages, and a lot of agents say that sort of thing too, but I was wondering, how do you determine the first five pages? What is the standard font size? Because I usually type in Times New Roman ten (much to the consternation of every teacher I've ever had). And I don't want to be *that* person when I query one day, who submits way too much and causes the agent to not want to read my story. So should I base it off size twelve or is ten ok?


Elaine said...

Great post and bio, Krista! Any writer would be lucky to have you as a mentor. I loved WONDER and THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, and THREE TIMES LUCKY is working its way up in my nightstand queue, so I know you have great taste! :)

Cupid said...

Ah Krista! You are awesome beyond the definition of awesome. :)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Mandy, I usually go to page five in my manuscript, then look for a good stopping point, either a little more or a little less than five pages on the nose. If you tend to write in ten-point font, you could look for the 1,250-word mark in your manuscript and do the same thing. It's not like anyone's counting:)

Thanks, Elaine! Are you planning to submit any applications?

Thanks, Cupid. *blushes*

Emily said...

Great bio, Krista! I now know one coach to whom I'm going to apply. *Crosses fingers*

Arianna said...

This is so exciting!!!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Emily, if that coach is me, I look forward to reading your application!

Couldn't have said it better myself, Arianna:)

Annie McMahon said...

What a wonderful contest! Thanks for organizing this. Your blog looks familiar. I visited it a lot in my search for an agent. You have great interviews in here. Each time I searched for agent interviews, your blog showed up in the top results.

You're looking for MG, and you mentioned something about authentic voice. I would love to have your feedback on my story! I sent you my submission. :)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Annie, thank you for your application! I look forward to reviewing it. And I'm glad you've found the blog helpful:)

Ki-Wing Merlin said...

hi Krista,
I just wanted to say I appreciated this post describing your taste and your critiquing approach. I agree with Elaine above that any writer would be lucky to work with you. I hope you received many amazing applications with voice and heart.

As a frequent lurker, I also need to say thank you for this blog. I've learned so much from your posts and from the community you've built here.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thank you for your kind comment, Ki-Wing. I'm so glad you've found the blog helpful. (And thanks for your endorsement!)