Pitch Wars 2017
Choose me as your YA mentor, pretty please with lots of unicorns on top!
Hello, hello! I am bouncing around with excitement, because it has been my dream for so long to be a Pitch Wars YA mentor. I’m looking forward to finding a YA novel that knocks my metaphorical socks off, and to making that book really, really shine.
So, ya ready?
Let’s face it: querying is hard! And I’ve been in your shoes, stressing over my query letter and polishing my manuscript. I started submitting my YA novel, If Birds Fly Back, in September 2015 and, after some rejections, had five offers by the end of the month. Right after Christmas, I accepted deals with HarperTeen US (home of Victoria Aveyard! Kasie West! Patrick Ness!) and Macmillan UK (Stephanie Perkins! Jennifer E. Smith! Marissa Meyer!), and my book immediately went to auction in Spain and Germany; it was later picked up in China, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Before my book deal, I was as an editorial assistant at Faber Children’s in London, working on bestsellers such as Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands, Laure Eve’s The Graces, and John Corey Whaley’s Highly Illogical Behavior. As a side job to writing, I currently copyedit books for publishers such as Hachette. What this means is: I have oodles and oodles of experience with the editorial process, and I’ll channel it all into my mentee’s manuscript.
I love editing as much as writing! I’ll do a round of structural edits as well as another round of line edits with my mentee. I really enjoy talking through character development, plot holes, and… well, just anything story-related! Queries are also my specialty. I am a querying Jedi. I’ll whip my mentee’s query into shape!
I’m very active in the YA community! Since I live in London, I have the opportunity to interact with some wonderful, big-name authors. Some of my critique partners also include Tanaz Bhathena (A Girl Like That), Kayla Olson (The Sandcastle Empire), and Anna Priemaza (Kat and Meg Conquer the World). My critiques are detail-oriented, thorough, and supportive.
I love animals. That’s almost completely irrelevant to why you should submit to me. But I just thought you should know.
Voice, voice, voice. This is most important to me. If I get to know your main character(s) immediately, then definitely send me your manuscript. Smart characters who make me laugh out loud are right up my alley.
Unexpected and/or beautiful settings. I love unconventional locations and weird places that take my breath away. Richly built worlds hook me. Extra points if your book takes place somewhere I’ve never read about: give me your Antarctic expeditions, your romps through Slovenia, your mysteries set entirely on a submarine. Real or imagined, I’ll take it.
A dash of magical realism, a la Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap or Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun. If that magical realism includes animals, even better. (Okay, maybe my love for animals is relevant!)
Slow-burning romance. Yes. All kinds of yes. I like it cute, and I also like it steamy.
Gorgeous writing. I want to feel like I’m living in your words. I want your language to climb into my heart. I’m especially a sucker for literary contemporary (Jeff Zentner, Rainbow Rowell, etc.).
Female friendships. Please, please, please send me books with girls who rock—and who rock together.
Science! My first book deals with astrophysics, my second with marine biology. I’m a nerd. Send me nerd stuff. Especially send me manuscripts with girls in STEM.
Diversity. I want to see manuscripts that authentically represent all aspects of the real world.
FEELINGS. Basically, if your book makes me laugh, cry, gasp, or squeal, I’ll love it. I want something that I can fangirl over.
I’d also really like to see books that cover and/or include: anxiety, religion in the rural South, feminism, NASCAR culture, Game of Thrones references.
The following is probably not what I’m looking for:
Paranormal (werewolves, vampire, etc.)
Narratives with lots of violence
I wrote a book called If Birds Fly Back, which is about missing people and astrophysics and kissing and one completely transformative summer. Although I grew up in North Carolina, I split my time between the UK and the US, hoping to gain an accent like Madonna’s. I have two polydactyl cats (Google it!) who are my writing companions, but I don’t let them type on my keyboard. Somewhere in my parents’ attic are all three of my degree certificates: one from UNC-Chapel Hill, one from Oxford, and another from City, University of London.
You can find me on Twitter at @carliesorosiak and as carliesorosiak on Instagram. I don’t take myself too seriously.
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