Hello Pitch War hopefuls and welcome to my corner of the Internet!
I am beyond thrilled to be mentoring again this year and am eager to meet my third mentee. I’ve learned a lot since I was a mentee in Pitch Wars 2014 (which resulted in seven offers of representation within two weeks of the agent round) and I can’t wait to pay it forward.
Now, I’m represented by the fabulous Laura Bradford of the Bradford Literary Agency!I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with you and your amazing book!
I apologize in advance that most of the below is very similar to what I’ve written in past years for my wish list, but there are SOME changes so be sure to read! (And also my secret word for the scavenger hunt is hidden below)
I’ll be mentoring Young Adult! The book that landed me my agents was a young adult contemporary, but I’m also an avid reader of science fiction, speculative fiction, historical and light fantasy. Truth be told, I started out writing Sci Fi and I do have one WIP I hope to revive one day. But the aforementioned genres are ones I’ll accept. Here are some books I love in these genres….
Under the Never Sky series
Some Girls Are
Broken Beyond the Meadow
The Fault in Our Stars
The Truth About Alice
The Princess Bride
The Hate U Give
What I’m looking for in a manuscript:
I especially love comedy and humor woven into the characters and plot. While I enjoy something that gives you the feels and a few tears here and there, I really really need something funny to balance it out.
Books that deal with social issues such as religion, prejudices, poverty, drug use, bullying, eating disorders, etc.
Lots and lots of dialogue and action! (I’m a playwright first, so…I’m addicted)
Characters that I want to be friends with in real life. The ones that are so real you know they have individual likes and dislikes and hobbies and flaws—I want to feel like I could share a plate of chili cheese fries with them and talk about egging the neighbors down the street.
Anything to do with natural disasters (I used to work at an organization that dealt with the aftermath so I feel like I could add a lot to something like that).
Where the relationships are deeper between all characters and the main focus isn’t a love interest
A Thriller with a great great thrill! Maybe a teenage Gone Girl?
Maybe a sci fi about genetics! I took biology for four years so I’m a sucker for that stuff.
Or a Sci Fi that’s like FIREFLY. Goodness… I loved that show.
Would love to see some plus sized characters who aren’t looking to lose weight (or if they are, some kind of unique twist to it).
Smart girls who have interesting hobbies and expertise.
Kick butt heroines who are reminiscent of Veronica Mars.
I’d love to read an authentic story about an Italian-American MC because I too am Italian, but I’d love any story deeply rooted in culture in a beautiful way (especially #ownvoices).
Plot twist I’ll never see coming
What I probably am not the best fit for (though I’m sure your book is awesome):
I’m going to say this first because without fail, I get a few people asking me about this and a few people send this to me anyway “just in case”: NO Ghosts. They give me the heebie jeebies. You’re probably an amazing writer because it will definitely give me nightmares. I will not accept any ghosts. Do not even ask. Even Casper gave me nightmares as a child. I know I have issues.
Heavy romances (I’m all for kisses and light sexual content, but anything heavy duty in this genre isn’t for me)
HUGE World-buildy Fantasy (love to read them, but I probably won’t be great helping out).
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 a couple years ago and the death surrounding it wasn’t something I’ve gotten over. No bleeding from eyes. That bothers me)
Alien Invasions. While I LOVE sci fi, I don’t enjoy the alien invasion story line. If your story has aliens—I could deal. But if they are invading traditional Earth like in THE FIFTH WAVE, I’m not going to want to read it. (Aliens give me the heebie jeebies too). So if there’s aliens, I want them to be in a different kind of futuristic setting…and preferably not eating my brain or possessing humans.
Rape. I feel bad knocking this one off my list this year because I love these stories when done well and believe they can be so powerful, but I recently came off a huge revision dealing with similar issues and I don’t have the emotional capacity to do another at the moment. However, if your book is about combating rape culture in a way never before tackled by literature…let’s talk.
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 (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 (please note that due to the toddler, I may have to take calls or video chats later in the evening (like after 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. EST or I can do earlier in the day if you don’t mind the baby hanging out with us). 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…who is still my mentor today!).
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…
My background consists of a lot of hodge-podgey things, but mainly I have worked as a published journalist and marketer for around 15 years. When I had my daughter, I left my day job at an international relief non-profit where I predominately wrote marketing copy and 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).
Now, I’m a new stay at home mom who is embracing life as a full-time writer! I live and breathe all things novel writing and freelance writing.
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 (now titled TRUTH, LIES, AND CHILI CHEESE FRIES)– 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!
I collect mugs like a freak. I love inspirational mugs, funny mugs, writer mugs, and location mugs. Yup. Mugs. I love them for mochas, tea, and ice cream…and sometimes wine.
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 Faires (I go every year…dressed up. They nearly hired me once to be a hag playing the ocarina…).
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.
I love dressing up in homemade costumes for Halloween or Ren Faires or even Chick Fila Days or whatever.
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 on her third 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. But I also know how to go through the agent interviewing process and how to find the right fit for 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. But I’m also the query queen (I have a side gig doing edits just for queries) and I have a history of helping people get high request rates.
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 2014 here. I look forward to reading all your cool books and getting to know you. Good luck, everyone! May the pitch be with you!
Make sure you check out others in the Mentor Blog Hop HERE, and visit my other fellow mentors in the blog hop below!