We are YA co-mentors M.K. England and Jamie Pacton. We’re Pitch Wars 2015 mentees turned mentors, and we’re here for your YA submissions! What’s Pitch Wars, you ask? Check out the shiny new Pitch Wars website and learn all about it.
(Make sure you visit Jamie’s site, too!)
We met in the Pitch Wars 2015 mentee facebook group, took a shine to each other, and now we’re awesome friends who support each other through the ups and downs of publishing. We both got so much out of being part of PW that we want to give back to the community and help future generations of mentees. This is our second year mentoring together, we read all the things, and we want YOU to send us your YA manuscript. Jamegan: two mentors for the price of one!
WHY you should submit to us:
Jamie is a college English teacher and is one of the kindest, most supportive coaches you could ever ask for. M.K. is a YA librarian and knows her stuff about the market and YA voice. We’ve both successfully queried agents and have been on submission to publishers. M.K. has a book coming out with a Big 5 publisher next fall. Jamie is awesome at character development, relationships, and spotting opportunities for more detail and worldbuilding. M.K.’s biggest strength is pacing, tension, and the more mechanical stuff: flow, sentence structure, information handling, etc. Together, we fuse into one SUPER MENTOR OF JUSTICE.
WHAT you should submit to us:
Give us: Your absolute best effort. Unstoppable voice, believable characters (who don’t have to be likeable), settings that feel real. ANY GENRE except those listed in the ‘No’ category below.
Yes Please: LGBTQ+ characters, sci-fi/fantasy with fresh twists, historical fantasy/alt history, contemporary fantasy, straight up contemporary with a strong sense of place, fresh retellings (mythology from your own culture, non-fairy tales, etc.), interesting structure, #OwnVoices, science/environmental themes, complex friendships.
Bonus Points: A queer “This Savage Song”; positive representation of poly relationships; anything that makes us laugh out loud; awesome feminist ladies.
No Thanks: Really intense horror, literary, sicklit, time travel, christian fiction, heavy issue books, anything super slow-paced and quiet or depressing. We’re not the best people to help shape works like these. We’re not wild about getting dystopian unless it has strong Sci-fi/Fantasy elements. We also have to pass on books set at conventions or that have fandom as a central element—Megan has seen a hundred of them on her librarian desk lately and has written one herself, so she’s a bit burned out on them.
Big Nopes: On-screen incest, rape, abuse– no problem if this is part of backstory and handled well, but we aren’t the best mentors for books that dig into these traumas. Bigoted or misogynistic narratives are never okay with us. Also, you don’t have to have LGBTQ+ characters, but we struggle with super heteronormative books where it feels like queer people don’t exist. Violence toward animals is also a pass.
HOW we work:
We start with an edit letter plus a phone call or google hangout meeting for big picture stuff first. Next up will be in-line comments for smaller stuff and style issues. We’ll do several passes through your query, pitch, and synopsis before the agent round to make sure you’re in the best possible shape to utterly rock it. Frequent communication via whatever method you prefer is on offer. If you’re ready to bust your butt, we’re ready to guide you and cheer you on. Revising is a collaboration, and we’re excited to work with you to bring your vision for your book to life!
WHO we are and what we like:
M.K. Writes: Both YA and Adult Space Opera, Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Contemp. And fanfic, because yes.
Jamie Writes: YA Fantasy, Alt History, Dark Fairy Tales. And funny MG books.
Comp Titles We Love: The Raven Cycle, Caraval, And I Darken, Carry On, Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, anything by Leigh Bardugo, Bitch Planet, Rat Queens, Saga, Little Brother, Wolf by Wolf, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Spaceship Next Door
Other Stuff We’re Into: Tabletop gaming, video games, Sherlock Holmes, Firefly, Star Wars, hiking, farming, dogs, the Wonder Woman movie, The Magicians, driving too fast on winding mountain roads, space.
More questions?: @Geektasticlib. @JamiePacton.
M.K. England is an author and YA librarian living in the mountainy parts of Virginia. When she’s not writing or librarianing, MK can be found drowning in fandom, going to conventions, rolling dice at the gaming table, climbing on things in the woods, or feeding her video game addiction. She loves Star Wars with a desperate, heedless passion. It’s best if you never speak of Sherlock Holmes in her presence. You’ll regret it. Her debut YA space opera, THE DISASTERS, will be out in Fall 2018 from HarperCollins Children’s. Find her online at www.mkengland.com and on twitter, tumblr, and instagram.
Jamie Pacton is a writer and English teacher living in Wisconsin. She grew up down the road from the National Storytelling Center in East Tennessee; and, as the bossy oldest of ten siblings, used to make her brothers and sisters act out her writing. These days, she spends her free moments wandering by Lake Michigan, checking out way too many books from her local library, chasing her children, and watching all the things on Netflix. She’s partial to history fun facts, adventure stories, The Magicians, Battlestar Galactica, Project Runway, and staying up way too late. Find her online at www.jamiepacton.com and on twitter.
Look *alive*, future mentees! There’s work to be done, lots to learn, and successes to be gained. We hope to see your submission in our inbox this August!
Check out the other YA mentors below: