Gimme your high-concept
Plain and simple, if you can explain your book in one sentence, no matter the genre, I wanna see it. Being able to understand your story so quickly, and get me excited about it, is a really appealing thing for me.
Here's an example, using my CP's book: a kid-friendly parody of the television show Breaking Bad, where an honor student grows in popularity by hawking essays under a pen name.
And another example, using my own: the untold story of how seventeen-year-old Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s.
I hope you'll say, "yes, please!"
And here's a quick article defining 'high concept' by Rachelle Gardner.
HERE's WHAT Else I'm AFTER...
The genres I tend to pick up are fantasies and historicals, though I'm open to all genres if the concept/setting has me itching to read on. Like... books that drop me in a new place, a new time, or a new world. That's not to say that contemporary novels can't fit this mold as well. If you have a setting/situation that's atypical (think how Pitch Perfect immersed people in its acappella world), chances are you'll have me sitting up a bit straighter.
I also adore retellings. There's just something so interesting about taking the familiar and giving it your own unique spin. Marissa Meyer killed this in her science fiction series, The Lunar Chronicles. I was also completely captivated by Megan Shepherd's historical fantasy series, The Madman's Daughter.
Other elements I'm drawn to (in no particular order):
Probably not the best fit for...
Generally speaking, I don't typically pick up books that include nightmare-inducing horror, non-human-like aliens, half-humans (think: centaurs. I'm okay with fae, mermaids), zero romance, or strong themes of suicide, rape, or school shootings. So, if your book aligns with those elements, I may not be best for you. BUT I betcha there's a mentor out there who is thinking, "Jenni, you're a fool." And, they're probably right.
WHY PITCH TO ME?
I'm a rather passionate, tireless person, who is surrounded by words (and a 6-month-old, two-year-old, needy goldendoodle, supportive husband, and carbs). I'm a copywriter for an advertising agency. I'm a freelance editor. I blog for Kick-Butt Kid Lit. I've got a book I'm super proud of coming out from Tor/Macmillan. And I also have a little something new I'm anxiously waiting to talk about...
Besides that, I've been through the ropes of pitching and querying, heartbreak, fist pumps, finding an agent (twice), heartbreak, fist pumps, revising, being on sub, the good fortune of having my dreams become a reality, and working with an amazingly talented big 5 editor. And, I'm really excited to help my mentee on his/her journey to publication.
To get a better idea of my editing style, check out my 500-word critiques on voice and setting. You can also get to know me a little better through this interview, which includes my plan of attack for my mentee's manuscript. And just so you know, if you work with me, you're stuck with me. My Pitch Wars family grows larger every year and I wouldn't have it any other way.
eally important announcement: When submitting, please donate. I won't see a penny of it (nor should I; I'm contributing my time/energy to an awesome cause: your career). Likewise, Brenda and her admins won't profit from your donation. Your hard-earned money will go toward offsetting the high financial and time-related costs of running this one-of-a-kind contest.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll consider pitching to me. Just like for the mentees, there's A LOT of stiff competition out there for the mentors, as you'll see in the bios below. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or chat with me @jennilwalsh.