#PitchWars Starts Today: What I’m Looking For + Why I’m Awesome and You Want to Pick Me

Submissions start today (11/26)! The cut off time to get your applications (query & first five pages of manuscript) in is 8AM EST on December 5.

Who the hell are you?

Hi! This is me:

The fiercely awesome lady on the right. Not the dude. That’s my good buddy.

I am all of the following things:

  • A professional copy editor, both in freelance fiction work and full-time at a marketing company
  • An author of genre fiction, currently mostly YA and fantasy
  • An unabashed fangirl of many, many things (including you! yes, YOU!)
  • A constructive straight-shooter when it comes to critiquing (as in: I’m gonna give you my honest opinion as nicely as possible)
  • A query letter-writing fiend who loves to help perfect others’ queries and has even run workshops with Brenda to this effect
  • A nerd
  • A Pisces
  • A Browncoat

Okay – what exactly are you looking for?

So glad you asked! I’m looking for adult and New Adult fiction. (I love YA and MG but must defer you to some of our other lovely judges for this one.) You want more specifics than that? Here we go:

  • Science fiction and fantasy: I love these genres – love them like Jayne Cobb up there loves fights and money – and that includes subgenres. Urban fantasy, steampunk, cyberpunk, anything-punk, spec fic, magical realism, superhero… Need I go on? I WANT IT. SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. Caveat: I’ve seen a lot of the farm-boy-discovers-only-he-can-take-down-evil-emperor in my day. Nothing wrong with it, but you’ll want to let me know how yours is unique. (Hint: It probably won’t be because of a wizened wizard mentor or a magic sword/amulet.)
  • Historical: People, I took upper-level history courses in college for fun. I think history is fascinating, so show me what you got! Rome, the Tudor era, the Czars, ancient China, feudal Japan, the Roaring 20s… *grabby hands* I want the details, the grit. Show me periods and sides of history that I haven’t seen before.
  • Mysteries and thrillers: I’ve probably read most widely in the amateur detective arena, but I’m open to ALL kinds of mysteries, from cozies to hard-boiled detective novels. Twisty-turny whodunnits that make me go, “Wait…what? OMG WAIT WHAT?!” (Preferably in a good way and not because of confusing writing.) As for thrillers, I like a good dose of political intrigue, spies, CIA-like organizations, corruption and explosions.
  • Contemporary fiction: I’m getting more and more interested in contemporary of late, but it’s got to be high-concept for me. And, to be honest, probably needs a good dose of humor. A book that follows a couple as their marriage deteriorates and they learn to hate each other while their teenager shots heroin into his eyeballs? That’s not really going to be for me. Humorous contemporary? Satire? Now you’re talking. I dearly love to laugh.
  • Genre mash-ups: Science fantasy? Horror/scifi? Historical mystery? Urban street gang thriller with steampunk elements? YES. YES. A THOUSAND TIMES YES.

What’s NOT for me:

  • Straight-up literary fiction. It’s beautiful stuff, and I respect the hell out of those who write it, but it’s not for me.
  • Heavy romance. I like romance just fine, but with this contest, I’m looking for books where romance is more of a subplot. I want something else driving the story.
  • Violence against children. Mostly I’m talking molestation and murder here. I know it happens in real life – I don’t want to read about it. If you have this in your manuscript, apply to me anyway, and then I end up choosing you and having to read scenes with violence against children? I’m gonna be upset. And I’m going to call you every 10 minutes on the nights I can’t sleep.
  • Portal fantasy. This is the ONE SF/F subgenre that I don’t get excited about. I’ve tried it time and time again, but aside from the Narnia books, I just can’t get into it. I hope to change my mind on this someday soon, but until then, I’m probably not the best option.

Elements near and dear to my heart that aren’t limited to any particular genre*:

  • Active, layered characters
  • Families – all kinds of families, including close-knit, dysfunctional or bound-together-by-life-and-not-by-blood families
  • Humor, especially sarcasm
  • Strong dialogue
  • Anti-heroes
  • Things blowing up, literally and metaphorically

(*Note: A book can have none of these elements and still end up catching my attention. These items just often help.)

I think that’s it, people. Read, ponder and then – PICK ME!

Send your applications to brendadrakecontests@gmail.com. Writers can apply for up to 3 coaches. The coaches’ categories are set. Coaches can only consider the categories they’ve signed up for. Writers cannot apply for a coach that is not in their category.

For additional information about this contest go HERE (link to your post announcing the contest)

  • This is open to finished manuscripts only.
  • You may only enter one manuscript.
  • Only the genres requested by each coach will be considered for the contest.


Subject line: Pitch Wars Application: Coach Name you want to apply for: Title (Example: Pitch Wars Application: Brenda Drake: GONE WITH THE WIND)

Name: Your Name

Genre: The genre of your manuscript

Word Count: The word count of your manuscript

Query letter hereΒ  (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.

First five pages of the manuscript here (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.

REMINDER: You can send an application for up to 3 coaches.

Check back soon for a complete list of the amazing agents participating in the contest. There’s over a dozen!

Today all the coaches are posting bios/wish lists on their blogs. So before choosing your top 3 picks, check all the coaches’ posts in your category before deciding which coach to submit. To jump from blog to blog, just click on our pictures below.
































8 thoughts on “#PitchWars Starts Today: What I’m Looking For + Why I’m Awesome and You Want to Pick Me

  1. Had me at Browncoat as well…
    I have two manuscripts in the works that fit into the genre’s you’re after, but neither is polished enough for an agent pitch. Had to check out Pitch Wars anyway just to get a look at all the epic awesomeness happening. I hope you’ll still be around next year because I am envious of your mentoring!
    P.S. You like Burn Notice too?! Ahh you’re the first person I’ve run into on the blogosphere who isn’t like, “What’s that? Who the heck is Jeffrey Donovan?”

    1. I’ve been a Jeffrey Donovan fan since he popped up on The Pretender (dating myself…don’t care) as Jared’s messed-up brother. I was so excited to see him get a series – and an awesome series at that.

      But I’ll be honest – Sam’s my favorite on that show. πŸ™‚

      1. (My hubby’s comment as I posted that first comment was, “Let’s be honest. Every Burn Notice fan keeps watching ’cause they want to hear what Sam’s gonna say next.”) Ha! πŸ™‚

  2. Hi there, I have an Adult historical fantasy MS that I am planning to enter in Pitch Wars. Reading your post, I felt like you would be an awesome match for me right up until I got to your comment about portal fantasy. In your mind does that include time travel type scenarios? (e.g. Outlander series) Thanks!

    1. Time travel I’m okay with. I mean, I’m a Doctor Who fan, so time travel can’t be right out for me. πŸ˜‰ So I would say send away! I look forward to checking it out!

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