If you’re unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, check out the Pitch Wars website for an explanation and a breakdown of the submission guidelines, dates, and other rules.
Quick summary: I am co-mentoring adult with Laura Elizabeth this year. Please see her blog post here. We’ll be taking contemporary romance and fantasy romance. Scroll down for more details.
Name: Mary Ann Marlowe
Why you should swipe right
♥ First and foremost, Laura and I are authors, just like you.
♥ I’ve entered many a contest starting in 2014, but I found an agent the old-fashioned way–through querying (twice now, actually). I was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2014, so I know what it’s like to be on the other side of this contest, checking out blogs, hoping to find a love connection, waiting nauseously for my edit letter, revising like a mad woman.
♥ I’ve been a Pitch Wars mentor every year since 2015. Laura has helped me read through my submissions in the past, and we share a hive mind. I was also a slush reader for Pitch Slam, a judge for Query Kombat in 2015, and a mentor for Pitch Madness in 2017. I have a ton of posts you can read about those experiences if you dig around my blog.
♥ In 6 years of Pitch Wars, I’ve worked with 10 mentees (hell yeah, wild cards!) all of whom are wicked talented. All their MS were romances. 7 were LGBT. 6 contemporary. 2 Romantic Suspense. 1 Fantasy. 1 Alternate earth speculative fiction. All were brilliant. Drop to the end of this blog if you want to check them out in more detail.
♥ I currently work as a computer programmer, but I started life as an academic, working toward a PhD in French Literature which means I spent a decade of my life analyzing literature. I’ve also worked as a copy editor for literary journals. I like to think I bring high-level structural and eagle-eyed detailed readings.
♥ You’ll get Laura Elizabeth on your team, and she’s the biggest cheerleader you could ever hope to have. Check out her blog to learn more about her.
♥ If we pick you, we’ll be ready to throw down for you.
Click here to learn more about Laura.
STEAMY KISSING BOOKS.
We’re on the look out for Adult books with SEXY ROMANCE. We love love and want YOU to make US fall in love.
Specifically: Contemporary Romance / Romantic Comedy OR Fantasy Romance
Must have: Chemistry and VOICE, VOICE, VOICE.
My personal kink (not an exhaustive list):
❤ Comedy (ie. Alexis Hall’s Boyfriend Material)
❤ Plots derived from lists (ie. Sophie Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret?)
❤ Enemies to lovers (ie. Casey McQuiston’s Red, White, and Royal Blue)
❤ Fake relationships (ie. Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient)
❤ Forced proximity (ie. Christina Lauren’s Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating)
❤ Dirty bad boys (ie. Emma Chase’s Tangled)
❤ Hot burning-down-the-page chemistry (ie. Suleikha Snyder’s Tikka Chance on Me)
❤ Witty banter (ie. Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game)
❤ Musicians (ie. Robinne Lee’s The Idea of You)
❤ Gamers (ie. Alexis Hall’s Looking for Group)
❤ Immersive fantasy (ie. Sarah J Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury)
❤ Alt world fantasy (ie. Rainbow Rowell, Carry On)
❤ Urban fantasy (ie. Ilona Andrews, Burn for Me)
I do tend to seek out LGBT books for my personal reads, but Laura and I are legitimately open to everything romance.
See Laura’s blog for her dirty secrets.
Swipe left if . . .
We’re not a good fit for historical, women’s fiction, or fantasy that isn’t predominately a romance. We’re also not looking for polyamory, inspirational, religious, or so-called “clean romance.”
NOTE: If your book doesn’t end with a happily ever after (HEA) or a happy for now (HFN), it isn’t a romance. No cliffhangers, no limbo land, no tragic endings–unless you’re willing to rework the ending to bring it to a satisfying romantic conclusion.
Please don’t send us books where sexual violence is a central plot point especially if it involves the main couple. Also, cheating once the game is afoot is a huge no-no in romance.
I personally do not want anything based in a recent true life tragedy, such as a terrorist event or school shooting, unless it happened so long ago anyone affected by it is no longer around to read it (in which case it would be historical . . . and also not right for us). For similar reasons, I’m not interested in pandemic-based romance.
If you’re unsure if what you got is up our alley, tweet us (@maryannmarlowe @lauraeliz529) or ask on our AMA page. (No pitching, but general questions about tropes, genres, etc. are fair game.)
To make a love connection
Above all, we want great writing. Make us feel like we can settle in for a page-turning ride. Make us laugh or make us cry. Just so long as you make us really care about your characters and root for their happy ever after.
We want books that are sex positive, diversity of sexual orientation positive, diversity of gender positive, diversity of race positive, diversity of religion positive, diversity of nationality positive, and disability positive. Black lives matter. Trans lives matter. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We’re happy to work with authors who fit any demographic and on books that fit any demographic. Just send us a respectful, compelling read.
If you’re writing outside your experience, we’ll expect you to do the requisite research or hire additional readers to make sure you’re as accurate as possible. And we might ask: Why are you the person who should be writing this?
If we get to the end of your chapter and start shaking our laptops to see if it knocks out more pages, we’ll probably request.
How we’ll connect
We’ll be sending you emails for the heavy stuff, but for quick communication, we might use messenger or Twitter DMs. We’ll probably be in communication in waves, since you’ll be heads down revising for a chunk of time. But you can always drop us a line and get feedback, hugs, or just blow off steam.
How we’ll romance you
We will read through your MS in the first round to help identify the overarching issues with plot, tension, character arc, chemistry, and your opening and closing. The first edit letter will show you where you can tighten or re-arrange or slash and burn. we’ll also mark up your MS with in-line notes (and smiley faces) so you can zero in on trouble spots (and know where things are working because that’s also important). (Laura is awesome for pointing out the positive.)
Be prepared to do some extra-novel work, too: outlining, outside reading on craft, beat sheets, etc. We’ll compare these to what you’ve written and look at ways these tools can bring out the most in your novel.
We’ll read at least once more to vet the revision and also to give you line edits. In addition, we’ll be helping you hone your pitch and query to get you completely ready to hook an agent.
This should be a partnership, but if we pick you, it means we loved your book, but there’s work to be done. That means you can expect critical feedback that might hurt like a mofo. Please don’t submit to us if you’re not open to criticism or if you don’t want to do the work. You could be asked to: add/cut a POV, change the title, change the MC’s name, delete entire chapters, rewrite the ending, rewrite the opening, rewrite the middle… Expect to work. Be open to big change.
Is it too soon to talk history?
You can spy on all of Team Twue Wuv agent showcase entries past if you want to see more.
- Me: Calamity
- Laura: Catch a Falling Star
- Kate The Month of Fireflies
- Jamie: Out of the Ashes
- Gwynne: All Songs Are Love Songs
- Amy: How to Reset a Broken Heart
- Aty: Coup de Grace
- Eliza: Fanboy
- Andy: Miss Martin’s National Pastry Competition
- Jordan: The Honest Lie
- Suzy: The Arcane Mage
Hit us up
You can always hit me (@maryannmarlowe) and Laura (@lauraeliz539) up on Twitter or the PW forum if you want to ask us anything. (Just remember – do not pre-pitch your book. General questions are fine.)
Pitch Wars 2021 Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists
Click here to view all Pitch Wars 2021 Mentors’ Wish Lists. To view the wish lists by genre, visit this link.