Hello Pitch Warriors! And thank you for visiting my little corner of the Internet. It wasn’t too long ago that I was sitting where you were, scoping out potential mentors. Last year’s Pitch Wars changed my life in a powerful way. Not only did I connect with awesome writers via the Twitter party, but I got to meet my awesome mentor and eventually got my agent due to my strong draft after the Pitch Wars mentee showcase–after sorting through seven offers!
This year, I really want to pay it forward and share the Pitch Wars love with my own mentee. So here’s what you might want to know about me…
Wait– you probably want to know what I’m mentoring first, right?
I’ll be mentoring Young Adult! The book that landed me my agents was a young adult contemporary and all my current projects are young adult contemporaries (some with thriller aspects). However, I’m also an avid reader of science fiction, speculative fiction, historical and other types.
What I’m looking for in a manuscript:
It makes me both laugh and cry (I love a good funny book, but also one that gives ya the feels)
Books that deal with social issues such as religion, prejudices, poverty, drug use, bullying, eating disorders, etc.
Characters that I want to be friends with in real life
Where the relationships are deeper between all characters and the main focus isn’t a love interest
Lots and lots of dialogue and action! (I’m a playwright first, so…I’m addicted)
A book that makes me want to be a better person at the end
What I probably am not the best fit for (though I’m sure your book is awesome):
Heavy romances (I’m all for kisses and light sexual content, but anything heavy duty in this genre isn’t for me)
Fantasy (and all sub genres)
Overly cursing books (the occasional use doesn’t bother me, but if it’s every other word, I’m probably not the best fit)
Anything to do with pandemic diseases (I know…weird trigger. But I worked with the organization battling Ebola last year)
Overuse of the mean girl trope. I love a good mean girl, but make her believable and super deep (ie. SOME GIRLS ARE) and not a cartoon villain.
Ghosts. They give me the heebie jeebies.
What I’m looking for in a mentee:
Someone willing to work and is open-minded for notes. Pitch Wars can be a lot of work at times (last year, I had to delete two characters and absorb their roles into other characters. A lot of work, but it totally made my book stronger).
Someone who is friendly and wants a genuine mentory relationship. I’m totally willing to email and Skype with you when I can, and I definitely want to be able to give advice whenever you need it– even after the contest when agents come knocking on your door (I would have been lost without my mentor!).
Someone who truly believes in their story.
Someone who isn’t afraid to communicate (do you disagree with me? That’s totally okay! Just tell me!)
Someone who is ready to work (oh wait…did I mention that already? It was worth repeating…)
A little about who I am…
I’m a young adult author represented by Suzie Townsend and Jess Dall0w of New Leaf Literary. My background consists of a lot of hodge-podgey things, but I mainly have worked as a published journalist and marketer for more than 10 years. I currently work at an international relief non-profit where I predominately write marketing copy now, but used to also travel to disaster zones to cover our work there (so if your book involves natural disasters or disaster relief, I have a lot of background in that). Before that, I worked in social media at another non-profit, was an editorial temp for a national magazine in New York City, and interned at a newswire in Washington, D.C. where I filmed documentaries as well as wrote articles– one article of which landed on the front page of three Texas newspapers (but it was super boring and political).
Playwriting was one of my first passions before a professor begged me to throw away my Julliard application because he said I’d starve to death and should pursue journalism first. Before that happened, I had short plays performed around the country from coast to coast including a handful at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. when I was 18. My monologue “Baby, Baby” — which partly inspired my Pitch Wars novel THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO-SHOES– was performed in a studio off broadway in New York City.
I also worked as a writing tutor for three years at the university level, ultimately leading me to be invited to present at the International Writing Center Conference in 2011 where I shared my teaching pedagogies regarding body language while tutoring and how to balance indirect vs. direct methods of mentorship. We also studied grammar mechanics like nobody’s business, so I have a very strange relationship with commas and dangling modifiers. But I will happily comb over your MS for these kinds of grammary things if you want.
But as a general human being/geek, I looooooove:
The TV Show Firefly. You have no idea the depth of my love for that Sci Fi Western!
My favorite book and movie is The Princess Bride.
Other books that changed my life: The Giver, Omon Ra, and The Bell Jar (one of these is not like the others)
I’m a HUGE Superman fan. The 90s TV series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” inspired me to be a journalist.
Renaissance Fairs (I go every year…dressed up. They nearly hired me once).
I used to play the ocarina…and it had a Triforce on it (I WAS LIKE 12…to 19…hence why they nearly hired me in previous bullet point)
My favorite playwright is Neil Simon.
My favorite play is Chapter Two and The Odd Couple (both original & female version)– both by Neil Simon.
My favorite musicals are Les Mis (way way before the movie ever came out) and Pulitzer Prize winning Next to Normal. Oddly enough, despite my love of humor, these two are DEPRESSING.
My favorite board game is Settlers of Catan.
AND I once dressed up like the Tardis from Doctor Who for Halloween.
So, in summary, why I’d be a good mentor:
As a former Pitch Wars mentee, I know what this process is like and can totally sympathize. Also, I had a great mentor so I have a bar I personally want to live up to.
As an author with an agent, I have been through different layers and rounds of revisions, and I am happy to do an in depth look at your book with you.
As a journalist, I specialize in brevity and as a marketer I write catchy pitches for a living. I’ll be able to help you tighten up your language in the manuscript as well as polish a dynamic pitch for the showcase.
As a playwright, I specialize in dialogue and stage direction– meaning, I’ll be able to help you make sure your dialogue is authentic and flows, as well as help make sure your actions are described in a way that your reader can accurately visualize them.
As a former professional writing tutor, I have studied the mentor-mentee relationship on an academic level, so I will try my best to help you in the way that suits your needs the most. Also, I know grammar really well and am more than happy to also help you copy edit.
So that’s me in a nutshell. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or tweet me here: @Nikki_Roberti. I try to follow back people with “writer” or “author” in their description. For more info, you can read my PitchWars Mentee bio from last year here. I look forward to reading all your cool books and getting to know you. Good luck, everyone! May the pitch be with you! And visit my other fellow mentors in the blog hop below!
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