Pitch Wars

2018 Mentor Wishlist

We are YA co-mentors M.K. England and Jamie Pacton! We were part of the Pitch Wars class of 2015 and have been mentoring together since 2016. What’s Pitch Wars, you ask? Check out the Pitch Wars website and learn all about it.

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 third year mentoring together, and we want YOU to send us your YA manuscript. Jamegan: two mentors for the price of one!

WHY you should submit to us:

Our basic credentials:

Megan writes queer SFF and contemporary under the name M.K. England and is represented by Barbara Poelle. She has two books coming out from HarperTeen. The first one is out on December 18th, 2018, a wild YA sci-fi adventure called THE DISASTERS. She’s also a YA librarian and has a good feel for the market and teen readers.

Jamie is represented by Kate Testerman and writes funny contemporary YA; dark, feminist YA fantasy; and middle grade adventure fantasy, all at the same time. She’s also a college English teacher and one of the kindest, most supportive people on Earth. (Jamie blushes here and says thanks for saying this MK!) Make sure you check out Jamie’s website, too!

Our strengths as a team:

The benefit of submitting to a co-mentor team is that you get two different perspectives on your work from two people with complementary areas of expertise! Jamie is awesome at character development, relationships, spotting logical errors, and finding opportunities for more detail and worldbuilding. M.K.’s biggest strengths are pacing, tension, dialogue, and the more mechanical stuff: flow, sentence structure, information handling, etc.

Yay teamwork!

HOW we work:

We start by asking some questions: What’s the unchangeable heart of your novel? Where are you coming from and what are you trying to say? What are your goals and influences? Your ultimate vision for this novel and your career as a whole?

Based on your answers, we craft a detailed edit letter, which we prefer to deliver via phone or google hangout/skype if you feel comfortable with that. It lets us have more of a discussion and shape our feedback to your vision. After that, we’re happy to kick outlines and revision plans back and forth with you until you feel like you have a direction you’re happy with. Then we set some deadlines. As you revise, you’re welcome to send it back to us in chunks or send it all at once if you prefer. We’ll read again and provide feedback for another round of revision if necessary, or move on to in-line comments and style issues if ready.

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, or we can sit back and let you work in peace, as you like.

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!

WHAT you should submit to us:

These are some general guidelines, but if in doubt, just send it to us!

Genres: Fantasy, sci-fi (all kinds), light historical, LGBTQIA contemporary/romance

Yes Please: Humor, adventure, shenanigans, heists, fast pace, characters that feel real, big mood, clever magic or technology, rich and unique worldbuilding, #goals-level friendships, well-handled mental health rep that isn’t The Point Of The Book, all things LGBTQIA, diversity of all kinds! If you make us laugh, you’ve won our hearts.

No Thanks: Intense horror, literary, sicklit, time travel, inspirational fiction, paranormal (except ghosts and witches!), heavy issue books, anything super slow-paced and quiet or depressing. We’re not the best people to help shape works like these. For fae books, think more The Cruel Prince than A Court of Thorns and Roses. We’re not wild about getting dystopian unless it has a fresh concept, an unheard voice, or strong Sci-fi/Fantasy elements. We also have to pass on books set at fan conventions—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. M.K. struggles with books that deal heavily with suicide or suicidal ideation, so we respectfully request that you not send them.

We tell you this not because these things are bad, but because we don’t want you to waste a mentor slot sending us something we definitely won’t select. Give yourself your best shot!


Big Nopes: On-screen incest, rape, abuse—if this is part of backstory and handled sensitively, then no problem, but we aren’t the best mentors for books that dig into these traumas. Bigoted or misogynistic narratives are never okay with us. Gratuitous violence toward animals is a pass.

WHO we are and what we like:

Some favorite books: Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Six of Crows, Children of Blood and Bone, The Raven Cycle, Warcross, Ship It, Strange the Dreamer, Illuminae, The City of Brass, Saga, Rat Queens, The Cruel Prince, Honor Among Thieves, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Last Namsara, Salt to the Sea

Some favorite TV shows: Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Bold Type, Voltron: Legendary Defender, Stargate SG-1, Parks & Rec, Firefly, The Good Place, The Magicians, Queer Eye, Grand Design, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica

Megan’s other loves: Gaming in all its many forms (including tabletop RPGs and board games), fandom and fanfic, vegetable gardening, conventions and conferences, hiking, dogs, audiobooks, podcasts, crafting, rainbows, science literacy, SPACE.  

Jamie’s other loves: Traveling, all kinds of art, old bookstores, museums of any kind, cities by the sea, boats, botanical gardens, dogs, Hawaiian plate lunches, coffee, libraries, her children, history (especially on the fun-fact side of things), board games, Battlestar Galactica, and weird old things that can be found at flea markets and estate sales.

More questions? We can’t respond to specific book pitches on twitter, but feel free to reach out with more general questions about anything you read here: @JamiePacton and @Geektasticlib.

We hope to see your manuscript in our inbox this year!

M.K. England is an author and YA librarian who grew up on the Space Coast of Florida and now calls the mountains of Virginia home. 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. THE DISASTERS is her debut novel. Follow her at www.mkengland.com. (Megan is queer and uses either she/her or they/them pronouns.)

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Jamie Pacton is an author, college English teacher, and mom to two neurodiverse boys. Now a Wisconsin resident, she grew up in the mountains of East Tennessee, just a few miles from the National Storytelling Center. The oldest of ten kids and granddaughter of a librarian (who was a tireless storyteller), Jamie spent her childhood cataloguing all the books in her house (and making her siblings check them out, much to their chagrin); and, writing plays and stories for her siblings to act out. She loves reading, studying history, visiting new cities, and talking to people about their creative projects. Her most abiding dreams include writing many more books, living by the ocean, and someday volunteering at a whale research center. Follow her at www.jamiepacton.com

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