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Welcome PitchWars 2021 Hopefuls!

If you’re here, you’ve already take the first step. You’ve taken the plunge into Pitch Wars, an event designed to mentor upcoming authors as you work to prepare a pitch, query a book, and sign with an agent. I know it’s all very daunting and overwhelming, but by being here, you’re choosing to invest in your writing, your book, and yourself, to seek guidance from agented/published authors and industry professionals, and spend three months reworking your book for the agent showcase in February.

If you need a moment to take a break, you’re welcome to do so here. If not, let’s get right into it!

For a plain text version of this wishlist, click here.

About Me

My name is Emery (pronouns e/em/eir), and I’m the author of MEET CUTE DIARY (QuillTree '21) and CAFÉ CON LYCHEE (QuillTree '22). I’ve been in the book community since 2015, and I’ve written 16 novels, countless short stories, and several scripts across genres and age demographics (though I’m only seeking Young Adult for PitchWars!). Beyond writing, I worked as a trade book reviewer for two years, interned with two literary magazines, and got a degree in creative writing


Why Work With Me

I’m a firm believer that every book is trying to be something. My number one rule of edits is to always acknowledge what the book is trying to be, not what I may want from it. I want to work with you to identify exactly what your goals are, both for your story and your long-term career, and help you achieve those in a way you can be proud of, not in a way that matches my own experiences.
I also want to help you build, not just craft skills, but that knowledge of how to navigate the industry, brace yourself for the hardships, and find that emotional support that’ll help you survive the upcoming querying process.


I believe in open communication and not shying away from what needs to be addressed. If you dislike a critique, let’s work out where the disconnect is happening. Once we’re working together, I can meet you however you like (text, dms, video chats, phone calls, etc.) and since I’m almost always on my phone, I usually respond quickly. I also expect that you’ll commit yourself as much as possible to doing what’s best for your book (otherwise, why would you be here?)
While I can be a hardass, I’m also a lover of fun and chaos. I’ll likely send you outlandish memes that remind me of your book, potentially draw corny fan art, or send you playlists and aesthetics. I’m a big fan of finding new and creative ways to look at stories, crossing genres, inspirations, etc. At the end of the day, I think one of the hardest yet most important things to do as a writer is find a balance between the work of writing and the joyful play that makes us want to write, and I am fully committed to helping you do just that.

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This year, I'll be mentoring YA in the following genres ONLY

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Science Fiction


Alt. Historical


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Graphic Novels


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(I will NOT accept these subgenres)

Space Opera

High Fantasy

Nuanced Disabled Protagonists

(especially neurodiverse protagonists) who challenge stereotypes of what disability looks like, are not magincally cured, and whose character arcs do not solely center overcoming internalized ableism.

Queer Characters of Color

from racial and cultural backgrounds that the author understands intimately and can portray in an authentic manner.

A Short Wordcount

complete at 65k words or fewer

In addition, I will be giving priority to books that belong to (at least) one of these three categories:

Some of my Favorite:


  • Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

  • More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

  • The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon

  • Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

  • Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

  • The Prince & The Dressmaker by Jen Wang

  • I Think Our Son is Gay by Okura

Animated Series

  • Bungou Stray Dogs

  • Dr. Stone

  • Yuri!!! On Ice

  • Demon Slayer

  • My Next Life as a Villainess

  • Jujutsu Kaisen

  • My Hero Academia

  • Given

  • HunterxHunter

  • Zombieland Saga

  • Heaven Offcial's Blessing

  • Miraculous Ladybug

Live Action Series

  • The Untamed

  • Word of Honor

  • Alice in Borderland

  • The Good Place

  • Gameboys

  • Pose

  • One Day At A Time


  • Into the Spiderverse

  • Clueless

  • Pan's Labyrinth

  • To All The Boys I loved Before

  • The Half of It

  • Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs

  • Wreck It Ralph

  • Kiki's Delivery Service


  • Enemies to Lovers (or any variation of enemies/friends/lovers)

  • Second chance romance

  • Found family

  • Forced Proximity

  • Fake dating/fake marriage

  • Asshole/sunshine pairing

  • Unreliable narrator

  • Hurt/Comfort

  • Morally gray characters

Please Do Not

  • Submit any projects outside of the age demographic/genres listed above.

  • Submit any of the following to me:

    • Issue books/books in which the main plot of the story focuses on marginalized pain or rehabilitating bigoted characters

    • Books with gratuitous on page sex or rape scenes

    • Books in which binary gender is centered first and foremost ("what if all men disappeared", "only women get pregnant", or similar concepts erasing trans and nonbinary people)

  • DM me on social media to ask questions (email is fine!)

  • Ask me if I want to see your specific project/pitch me your project before the submission period.

  • Email me to ask general questions available on the PitchWars website (things like submission dates or what needs to be submitted)

  • Count yourself out if your book doesn't fall exactly into my preferences! As long as it fits the required age demographic/genres, feel free to submit. The rest are just guidelines to help you narrow down your choices.

Please Do

  • Read this wishlist over thoroughly before deciding to submit to me.

  • Include trigger warnings in your query (or make clear that trigger warnings are available upon request).

  • Email me with any questions at Emery(dot)L(dot)PitchWars(at)gmail(dot)com.

  • Feel free to ask any questions during the ask mentor chats.

  • Contact me if there is anything on this wishlist that you're unsure of or if you're not sure applies to an element of your book.

Disclaimer: As an author, I have countless projects ongoing at any time, including many that are yet unannounced. I will never intentionally co-opt ideas or any other element of a hopeful mentee's work. Any similarities between my own projects and something submitted to me are purely coincidental. If I request a full manuscript of a work similar to a current WIP of mine, I will disclose the concept to ensure the overlap is negligible and that the author in question feels comfortable working on such a project with me.

Pitch Wars 2021 Young Adult Mentors' Wish Lists

  1. Mary E. Roach (Accepts NA)

  2. Amelia Diane Coombs (Accepts NA)

  3. Diana Urban

  4. Susan Bishop Crispell (Accepts NA)

  5. TJ Ohler (Accepts NA)

  6. Laurie Dennison (Accepts NA)

  7. Justine Pucella Winans (Accepts NA)

  8. Zoulfa Katouh and Molly X Chang (Accepts NA)

  9. Sonora Reyes (Accepts NA)

  10. Abigail Johnson

  11. Rosiee Thor and Emily Grey

  12. Carlyn Greenwald (Accepts NA)

  13. M.T. Khan (Accepts NA)

  14. Sarvenaz Taghavian

  15. Emery Lee

  16. Margie Fuston (Accepts NA)

  17. Aashna Avachat (Accepts NA)

  18. Allison Saft (Accepts NA)

  19. Fiona McLaren

  20. Jessica Lewis

  21. Brianna Bourne (Accepts NA)

  22. Jamie McHenry

  23. Meg Long and Rochelle Hassan (Accepts NA)

  24. Laura Weymouth (Accepts NA)

  25. Natalie Crown and Angelica Monai (Accepts NA)

  26. Skyla Arndt and Alex Brown (Accepts NA)

  27. Charity Alyse and Cimone Watson (Accepts NA)

  28. Emily Thiede and Lauren Blackwood (Accepts NA)

  29. Anna Sortino and Annika J. Cosgrove (Accepts NA)

  30. Jenny Perinovic and Kyrie McCauley (Accepts NA)

  31. Carrie S. Allen and Sabrina Lotfi

  32. Jamie Howard and Meredith Tate (Accepts NA)

  33. KL Burd (Accepts NA)

  34. Jennifer Yu (Accepts NA)

  35. Hoda Agharazi and Lyssa Mia Smith (Accepts NA)

  36. Em X. Liu and Grace D. Li (Accepts NA)

  37. Carly Heath (Accepts NA)

  38. Kiana Krystle (Accepts NA)

  39. Sarah Underwood and Kat Dunn (Accepts NA)

  40. Joel Brigham (Accepts NA)

  41. Dante Medema and Liz Lawson (Accepts NA)

  42. Aty S. Behsam and Maedeh B. Saaina (Accepts NA)

  43. Kylie Schachte (Accepts NA)

  44. Gabi Burton (Accepts NA)

  45. Aaron Cole and Tamara Cole (Accepts NA)

  46. Hannah V. Sawyerr and Olivia Liu (Accepts NA)

  47. Bethany Mangle (Accepts NA)

  48. Lane Clarke (Accepts NA)

  49. Sunya Mara (Accepts NA)

  50. Karen Bao (Accepts NA)

Click here to view all Pitch Wars 2021 Mentors' Wish Lists. To view the wish lists by genre, visit this link.

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