#PitchWars: The Day Before the Sub Window Opens…

It’s almost here! The day you’ve been waiting for…finally! You’ve nipped and tucked and tweaked your query. You’ve polished your opening chapter ’til it shines. You have your revised and polished full manuscript and a synopsis lying in wait, just in case. The sub window is opening in a matter of hours…now what!?

First, don’t panic!


No, Ron, we cannot! Or rather, there’s no need to, so let’s all take a deep breath and not let panic take over, shall we?

The submission window is set to open just after midnight on Wednesday, August 3rd. In past years, Brenda has sometimes cooked up a surprise, and the sub window has opened a little early. That may or may not happen this year. Brenda’s little elves aren’t telling. But whether it happens as the clock hits midnight or even earlier, there is no advantage to being the first to click send.

Let me repeat that: there is NO ADVANTAGE to being the first to click send.

So, take your time. The 2016 #PitchWars submission window will remain open until 10:00 PM EDT on Saturday, August 6th. That’s oodles of time to enter. Mentors will read every single submission: last, first and in between. When the window opens, you’ll see a blitz on the hashtag of excited mentee hopefuls rushing to enter. That’s totally fine. If you’re calm and ready at the start of the window, go for it…Or, do what I’d do. Get a good night’s sleep. Get your morning cup of coffee. Enter when you’re fresh.


Everything’s clearer after that first cup, am I right?

As you may already know from my mentor bio, I entered #PitchWars as a mentee hopeful in 2015. For those of who who are new to #PitchWars, let me tell you a little story about what happened when Brenda opened the submission window early last year. Here’s the short version:

First, there was a mad rush to enter.

Then, there were regrets and tears.

Yes, there was also much celebrating on the hashtag, but in the general excitement to click submit, some hopefuls selected the wrong mentors from the drop-down list. Some had copied the wrong text into the query field. One memorable regretful hopeful had misspelled his own name.


Friends, do not let this be you.

When you do open up the submission form — ANY TIME during the August 3rd – August 6th, 10PM EDT submission window — Take. Your. Time. There’s no prize for rushing. There’s only the cone of shame. And no one wants to wear that! Instead, do like your 3rd grade teacher told you, and check your work.

Here’s a little checklist I’ve put together for all of you PitchWarriors. When you open up the submission form, keep this post handy. Here we go:

  1. Have you selected the correct mentor names from the drop-down? Don’t do it from memory; cross-check the list on the sub form against the list you have prepared on your spreadsheet or in your notebook or on the back of your grocery list. Whatever works for you.
  2. Have you entered your name, genre, email address, title of your manuscript, category, and genre correctly? Are they spelled correctly? Is your manuscript title in ALL CAPS? Appearance counts; get it right.
  3. Have you entered the complete, correct text of your query letter into the submission field?
  4. Before you upload the first chapter of your completed manuscript, check the following things:
    1. Is it the CORRECT document? (Obviously, this is key.)
    2. Is it saved in Word .doc or .docx format?
    3. Is the file name as follows: Your Name_Manuscript Title (ex. John Green_THE FAULT IN OUR STARS)? It will make our jobs as mentors so much easier if you title your document using these guidelines, or a similarly easy-to-follow variation. Receiving 100+ submissions all titled “Chapter 1” is not helpful to our organization!
    4. Is your sample chapter in standard manuscript formatting? (12pt font, double-spaced)
  5. Yes? Okay. Upload that first chapter!

That’s it, PitchWarriors. Your five-step plan to a sweat-free submission experience.


Congrats, you kept your cool. You entered #PitchWars. You did it!

Still have questions? Look first at the official entry guidelines on Brenda Drake’s blog: http://www.brenda-drake.com/2016/07/pitch-wars-2016-details/ You may be surprised to find your question answered right there! Still have questions? Just #askmentor on the hashtag. Someone will respond, or we’ll get answers behind the scenes if we don’t know off-hand. We’re here for you.

Now, breathe. Celebrate! You wrote, revised, and entered your book into #PitchWars. You rule!




#PitchWars 2016: Mentor Bio + Wish List

Welcome, Pitch Warriors! You’ve found the wish list of the mighty YA co-mentoring duo, Rachel Lynn Solomon and Kit Frick. Which means, you’re in the right place if you want to work with the most kick-ass mentoring team on the planet. *Throw furtive glances at other awesome YA mentors.* *Get super soakers ready.*


Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rachel LS

Hi there! This is my third year as a Pitch Wars mentor, and I love this contest so, so much — I look forward to it all year! I’m also very excited to be co-mentoring with Kit, a majorly talented writer and editor. I’m the author of two upcoming contemporary YA novels from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse. My debut, Fingers Crossed, will be out in spring of 2018. You can add it on Goodreads here! I’m represented by the brilliant Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency.

My own road to publication has been rocky (you can read more about that here), and I find so much joy in working closely with other writers. I love passing on what I’ve learned so far, both about writing and the publishing world in general. This is a tough business, and I want to support my mentee through all the ups and downs. If you end up working with us, our relationship doesn’t end after the contest. We want to build lasting connections with other writers. That’s what this community is all about!

Speaking of community, that’s my favorite part of Pitch Wars. Many of my closest friends are mentors — though I’m ready to throw down if we want the same manuscript! And I’ve been so lucky that my past mentees have become more than mentees; we’re now critique partners and close friends. Both my 2014 mentees received multiple offers of rep just days after the contest ended, and one mentee’s Pitch Wars novel will be published by Penguin in early 2018!

Fun facts: I’m a tap dancer, a former NPR producer, and a Guinness World Record holder for the most natural redheads in one place! I’m a Seattle native, which basically makes me required to love rainy days (which I do). I’m slightly obsessed with my adorable 8-pound rescue dog, Wally. In high school, I fronted an all-girl punk rock band, but these days, I only sing karaoke. My go-to songs: “Surrender” by Cheap Trick and “Train in Vain” by The Clash. You can follow me on twitter @rlynn_solomon.

Kit Frick


Well, hello! This is my first year as a Pitch Wars mentor, and I am so thrilled to be co-mentoring with YA bad-ass Rachel Lynn Solomon! We met through this very contest last year: she was a mentor and I subbed to her as an entrant. I didn’t make it into the contest (*loud, pitying sobs*), but then I picked myself up and dove into revisions with my Pitch Wars manuscript. Even though I did not become a mentee, I did meet an awesome group of people through the 2015 contest–mentors, mentees, and fellow mentee hopefuls like myself. At first, I totally didn’t get what everyone was talking about on the hashtag last year about “the community.” I thought, “OK, maybe I’ll make a few new Twitter friends. It can’t be that big of a deal.” Wrong! When I finished revising my manuscript and was ready to query in December, I didn’t enter the trenches alone. Because of Pitch Wars, I had a whole group of new writer friends who were right there with me, and believe me it made the ups and downs of querying SO much easier!

In March, I signed with my agent, Erin Harris at Folio/Folio Jr, on the YA contemporary psychological suspense novel I’d entered into Pitch Wars. I’m currently writing my second YA psych thriller.

When I’m not writing, you can find me editing chapbooks for Black Lawrence Press and editing for private clients through Copper Lantern Studio. I hold an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University and have studied with book editors, copyeditors, and literary agents through NYU’s Center for Publishing. I also write poetry (I have two chapbooks published through Slope Editions and Rye House Press), love to cook (the slow cooker and microplane are currently my two favorite kitchen tools), get really into Eurogames (Seven Wonders and Dominion are my two current obsessions), and spend a lot of time snuggling with my two adorable cats. You can follow me on twitter @kitfrick.



We are looking for YA in the following genres: contemporary realistic, contemporary magical realism, contemporary suspense/mystery/psychological thrillers, and contemporary with speculative elements.

Here’s a sampling of things we love!

  • Anything that makes you wonder, “can I do this in YA?”
  • Complicated, flawed characters who make mistakes
  • Female characters who could be called unlikable
  • Characters with unique or unusual hobbies/interests
  • Artistic characters and art in general
  • Diverse main characters, diverse casts of characters, #ownvoices. Racial diversity, LGBTQ+ characters, characters with disabilities
  • Realistic high school relationships and sexual experiences
  • Romances with tons of delicious tension and chemistry
  • Toxic friendships
  • Unreliable narrators
  • Complex family dynamics
  • Books that play with structure/timeline in any way; any kind of nontraditional narrative structure. We LOVE nonlinear books!
  • Moral gray areas, books that take risks, books that aren’t afraid to mine the dark depths of the human soul. We love dark and gritty.
  • Twists and turns we didn’t see coming; sophisticated suspenses; thrillers that use emotion, character, and setting to create page-turning tension
  • Gorgeous writing that reels us in
  • A voice that grabs us and won’t let go
  • Transportive settings
  • Bittersweet endings

Obviously, your manuscript doesn’t need to contain every single element on the above list. That would probably be impossible! But this should give you a good sense of our YA interests–and what we’d love to find in our inbox!



  • Favorite authors: Nina LaCour, E. Lockhart, Courtney Summers, Hilary T. Smith, Corey Ann Haydu, Amy Reed, Morgan Matson, Katie Cotugno, Emery Lord, Lauren Strasnick, Rachael Allen, Jenn Bennett, Abigail Haas, Jandy Nelson, Jennifer Mathieu, Aisha Saeed
  • All-time favorite books: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara, Hold Still by Nina LaCour, Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers, Forever by Judy Blume, Even When You Lie to Me by Jessica Alcott, One Day by David Nicholls, White Oleander by Janet Fitch, Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Favorite movies: Rushmore, Sixteen Candles, Before Sunrise, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Ghost World, Groundhog Day, You’ve Got Mail
  • Favorite TV shows: Gilmore Girls, The Fosters, Felicity, Party Down, Veronica Mars, Parks and Rec, Jane the Virgin


It’s probably not a shocker that my list has a lot of overlap with Rachel’s! So, I’m going to challenge myself to not repeat favorites TOO MUCH. But hint hint, I also love E. Lockhart, Courtney Summers, Prep, Before I Fall, Felicity, Before Sunrise–and about 15 other things on here. See, I already cheated!

  • Favorite authors: Stephanie Kuehn, Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Curtis Sittenfeld (I would read ANYTHING by these four rockstars)
  • All-time favorite books (in YA): Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn, Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, Made You Up by Francesca Zappia, Far From You by Tess Sharpe, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  • Favorite movies: Reality Bites, Zoolander, The Princess Bride, Romeo + Juliet, Father of the Bride, Back to the Future, Labyrinth, When Harry Met Sally, Can’t Hardly Wait
  • Favorite TV shows: My So-Called Life, Dawson’s Creek, Alias, The OC, The Americans, 30 Rock, Orange is the New Black, Brooklyn Nine-Nine


There are a few things that we definitely know aren’t right for us. You have a limited number of mentors to sub to, so if you’d describe your book in one of the following ways, it’s best to know upfront that it’s not going to be right for Team Rachel + Kit. Fortunately, you have a long and awesome list of YA mentors to choose from! We are not looking for:

  • Plots that revolve around sports as the book’s central focus. (We know of at least a few YA mentors that are dying for sports books, so send them their way!) Athlete MCs are great if sports are secondary to the main plot. We’d happily consider a book about dance, though, since dancers are both artists and athletes.
  • Light, humorous fare (which can of course be fantastic, but we wouldn’t be the best mentors for those projects)
  • Anything involving violence toward animals


If you work with us, here’s a sneak peek at what your next couple months will look like:


Kit and I will split up your edits, so definitely plan on two rounds of work! Round one will be big-picture notes and an edit letter, and round two will be line edits. As a mentor/editor, I’m tough but extremely encouraging! I never tell someone, “change this” or “I don’t like this.” Rather, I give suggestions, ask questions, and turn it into a discussion. You can expect novel-length emails, chats, Skype calls, telegrams, Morse code messages — whatever works best for you! We WILL push you because we know you can take your amazing book to the next level.


My agent likes to say — and I agree — that editing is a collaboration, not a dictatorship. That said, Rachel and I will absolutely push you to do the work necessary so that your manuscript is the best version of itself and ready for the agent round / querying. You’ll have a great team behind you, providing guided feedback and encouragement.

That’s it! If you submit to us, feel free to include a line about why you picked us. It can go at the end of the query. We’re SO excited to see all your awesome, gritty, risk-taking YA books in our inbox this year!

And don’t forget to check out the wish lists of the other amazing 2016 YA mentors. (I mean, don’t do that, they’re the competition!) But really do:



































































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#PitchWars {{Potential}} Mentee Bio

Kit Frick
That’s me, Kit Frick.

Hey there #PitchWars 2015 mentors & fellow mentee-hopefuls–I’m excited to get to know all of you!

I’ll kick things off with five super-basic facts:

1) I write contemporary realistic YA. The manuscript I’m entering into #PitchWars combines literary, character-driven prose with a tension-filled, dual-timeline narrative. I’m entering #PitchWars in hopes of working hard with an awesome mentor to whip my book into its best possible shape before it sees agent eyes. Yeah!

2) I’m originally from Pittsburgh, PA (go Pirates!) and currently live in Brooklyn, NY with my scholar-husband and two literary felines, Katie and Francie (from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn). More on them further down.

3) I’m also a poet! I have two chapbooks published with small presses, and I hold an MFA in creative writing from Syracuse University. The poetry I write is for adults, but I write YA with a poet’s attention to language and craft, so there’s a nice symbiosis there.


4) When I’m not writing, I’m editing poetry and short fiction for the indie publisher Black Lawrence Press, where I’m a Senior Editor and curate our nationally-distributed Chapbook Series. I also have a little old thing called a day job at NYU.

5) Five authors doing things I really admire in contemporary YA (because I’ve decided all things on this mentee bio post will be done in fives): E. Lockhart, Lauren Oliver, Tess Sharpe, Courtney Summers, and Gayle Forman. Yikes, that was hard to limit to five! And yes, they are all kick-ass women. Sorry, dudes. Maybe I’ll do another list for you later.

Here’s to all the YA ladies.

Now, on to the fun stuff! Here’s a bit about me in the form of my favorite personality quiz:



(Which you can take right here if you so desire. Thanks, Clickhole.)

1) What’s your signature look?

a) Bright and flashy.

b) Muted and professional.

c) A rippling shadow below the surface.

Where’s the option for seahorse-print pj shorts and my Spin Doctors Pocket Full of Kryptonite 20th Anniversary tour t-shirt?

Doctors of Spin

Because that’s definitely my Grown-Up and Career-Oriented signature look when I #amwriting at home. Oh, and don’t forget the light dusting of cat hair. What’s that thing about dressing for the job you want?

Oh right. Nailed it.

So, okay, I’m gonna go with option b) Muted and professional on that one. Obv.

2) In the workplace, you:

a) Seek out new responsibilities with gusto!

b) Wait to be assigned tasks.

c) Weave silently through the inky blackness.

Let’s talk about my favorite day job ever, the one I was born to rock: video store clerk extraordinaire at the (now-defunct) Phar-Mor drug store chain in suburban Pittsburgh, PA the summer after I graduated high school.


We’re talking no customers, mainly VHS tapes in the dawn of the DVD era, and unlimited access to all the My So-Called Life a girl could watch in a four-hour shift. In fairness, I did do my fair share of shelf-dusting, tape-rewinding, and flirting with the cute pharmacist-in-training. Books I read cover-to-cover while keeping an eagle eye on the store: Girl, Interrupted; The Princess Bride; and The Virgin Suicides.

Did I answer the question? Let me put it this way: did anyone notice when the video store went quietly out of business at the end of the summer? Pretty sure it’s c) Weave silently through the inky blackness for the win.

3) When you’ve got a new crush, you:

a) Make the first move. Somebody’s got to!

b) Wait for your crush to say something. You don’t want to embarrass yourself.

c) Conceal yourself behind a sunken freighter and wait.

I’ve been in a happy state of perma-crush with my husby for the past six+ years, but when I was a wee lass, I made some serious first moves. My best was with the cute lifeguard the summer I worked on the boardwalk on the Jersey Shore. (That’s a whole other story involving ear piercing and creepy bosses–shudder.) Anyway, Cute Lifeguard and I had chatted a couple times but things weren’t going anywhere, so I called the post to find out where he was stationed on my day off and rolled up to his guard station during his shift to ask him out. He was like Oscar-winning-Sally Field-level surprised.


Score! Obviously, we are now married and living happily ever…nope, not even close. But it was fun while it lasted for six sweet weeks down the shore. Hmm…maybe there’s a YA novel in that…

You tell ’em, Blair.

Okay, right, so a) Make the first move. Somebody’s got to! is the clear winner there. Easy one.

4) You’ve been waiting at the DMV for more than an hour and they haven’t called your number yet; you:

a) Storm up and get their attention. They’ve obviously made a mistake.

b) Hang tight. They’ll get to you eventually.

c) Live undisturbed for decades in a secluded cove untouched by man or time.

So this one, time thirteen years ago, a Verizon customer service specialist made me cry over a double-billing error that was So Their Fault. To this day, I will never switch back to Verizon from AT&T.


Confrontation? Hard pass. I will hands down c) Live undisturbed for decades in a secluded cove untouched by man or time before tussling with anyone from Verizon, ever again.

5) On an average Friday night, you’re:

a) Steaming up the dance floor until your friends drag you home.

b) Cuddling up to Netflix with a bottle of wine.

c) Brushing against the underside of a Portuguese fishing trawler.

All right, I’m going to go all metaphorical on this one. Laptop? Check. Take-out volcano roll, green river roll, and spicy miso soup? Check. Total emersion in WIP, all senses muted to the outside world? Check. Two friendly, only slightly frightening sea monster companions? Check.

katie sea monster
Katie, AKA sea monster number one.
Francie–further proof that I swim among monsters of the sea.

Clearly, it’s a shining metaphoric win for c) Brushing against the underside of a Portuguese fishing trawler on that one.

The final tally: one for introvert, one for extrovert, and a whopping three for SEA MONSTER!

On that note, I’ll be not-so-patiently waiting over on twitter @kitfrick until September 2nd. In the mean time, looking forward to getting to know many of you fellow #PitchWarriors in the weeks to come!

Thanks for stopping by! (And you can get to know more awesome mentee-hopefuls right here!)

Kit out.