If you’re reading this, there’s a fairly good chance it’s because you’re a Pitch Wars hopeful doing some recon on potential mentors. I know the drill—I’ve done recon on many an agent and editor over the years. I totally get the excitement of wanting to find the perfect match for your work, who gets your story and loves it the absolute most, who can be critical while also being kind, who knows how to help make a manuscript even stronger, and who also might get you a little bit, too. No pressure or anything, right? *deep breath*
But seriously, I am so excited to say that this is my very first year as a Pitch Wars mentor, and I’m SO looking forward to reading your pitches and ultimately working with one of you! Brenda Drake and the team over at the Pitch Wars headquarters—(I want to believe this is a thing, complete with a Bat Cave—let me have this, please!)—have created such a wonderful opportunity for writers to get their manuscripts in fighting shape and into the hands of agents, and I’m so thrilled I get to be a part of the Pitch Wars family this year. So! Without further ado…my Pitch Wars bio and wishlist!
My name is Akemi Dawn Bowman, and I am the author of STARFISH (out 9/26/17 with Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster). I am originally from Las Vegas, but have been living in the UK for the past seven years. I’m obsessed with Star Wars, I’ve played every single Pokémon game since Red and Blue first came out (and once knew the corresponding names and numbers for all original 151 Pokémon), and I’ve recently been introduced to graphic novels which are slowly taking over my bookshelf. I’m represented by Penny Moore at Empire Literary.
For YA fantasy/sci-fi, I’m looking for a standout plot with characters who stick with you long after you’ve put the book down. I’m a STAR WARS fan, so a diverse space opera is definitely something that would be right up my street, especially if it’s packed with twists and turns. I also love stories where people have special powers—the more unique, the better. I love an ensemble cast that’s done right with each character fully fleshed out (See: SIX OF CROWS), but I still tend to prefer single POV over dual POV. I’m drawn to weird and wonderful fantasy lands with lush world-building, and of course I rarely say “no” to kick-ass heroines with something to prove. I also love monster-like creatures woven into familiar worlds, a la PAN’S LABYRINTH, but be gentle with me on the gore—I’m squeamish and I scare easily!
For YA contemporary, I’m always a sucker for a good love story—the nerdier, the better. I really enjoy geeky banter, and stories that revolve more around the falling in love rather than the being in love. I’m also drawn to messy family dynamics, stories with a strong emotional core, and books that make me laugh out loud. If you have something like MEAN GIRLS but where all the students are in band/theater/choir/etc., or FANGIRL but where the main character is obsessed with comics or video games… *raises hand* Basically, I’m looking for diverse stories that will make me laugh, cry, and dream about first love all over again.
Ideally, I would like to do a first round of edits where I send my overall thoughts and any big changes I think should be made. I’m happy to go back and forth discussing these revisions and talking through ideas with the mentee if they’d like. If time allows, I’d then like to do another round or two for line edits/clean-up to make sure the manuscript is as strong as possible before the agent round.
I want to point out here that your story will always be your story, and you’re not required to change anything you’re not comfortable with. That being said, I want to work with someone who isn’t afraid to chop scenes/alter the plot/change characters/or whatever it might take to make a story stronger. I’m not looking for a perfect manuscript, but I am looking for something with massive potential that I feel I’d be able to really help shine. If you’re not interested in putting a lot of hours into revisions or would only be happy making minimal changes to your story, I won’t be the right mentor for you. I’m ready and willing to put a lot of time and work into helping my future mentee, and it would probably be a wasted opportunity if I was paired up with someone who didn’t want to do the same.
All this being said, my notes usually start off with screaming, exclamation points, and ALL CAPS, before getting into the constructive criticism parts, so it’s not all doom and gloom! I’m also happy to schedule a Skype call to discuss edits, or any other questions the mentee might have. I want to be as useful as I possibly can!
Yay! I’m so looking forward to all the Pitch Wars excitement waiting around the corner. Good luck to everyone, and to my future mentee—I can’t wait to meet you!
PS. You can check out what the other Pitch Wars mentors are looking for below!