A little bit about me
My name is Annie Sullivan, and this is my first year mentoring Pitch Wars—and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve mentored writers in a variety of other contests though, and I love helping writers improve their work while staying true to their vision of the book. I think of mentees as so much more than that. They become friends, and I try to stay with them—encouraging them and offering advice—long after the contest is over.
I write Young Adult fantasy/fairytale retellings, and my debut novel A TOUCH OF GOLD (HareperCollins/Blink) comes out August 14th…which is today if you’re reading this the day the blogs go live! AHHHH!!!! It’s the story of the cursed daughter of King Midas who faces off against pirates, betrayers, and thieves on her quest to retrieve her father’s stolen gold. You can add it on Goodreads and purchase it on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, or at your favorite independent bookstore. You don’t get bonus points for tweeting about it/sharing it on social media, but it’s a great way to show you’re a good literary citizen 😉
My work is represented by Christa Heschke at McIntosh & Otis. I’ve been with Christa my whole career, although it’s not unusual for authors to switch agents. But I’ll say that she rejected me the first time I queried her but then offered to represent me when I submitted my next manuscript to her. That just goes to show that you never know what’s going to happen in this business!
Outside of being an author, I work in the marketing department of a technology publisher. I love fairytales, the Oxford comma, everything Jane Austen, and traveling. My wanderlust has taken me to every continent, where I’ve walked on the Great Wall of China, found four-leaf clovers in Ireland, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, and cage dived with great white sharks in South Africa.
My mentoring style
I want to be your cheerleader 100%, but I’m also going to make you work! Having gone through rounds of edits with both agents and editors, I’ve been exposed to a whole new level of editing. I want to help you get your manuscript in the best possible condition. I’ll start off with a major edit letter and some in-manuscript notes soon after my mentor has been selected. I work very quickly and want to give you as much time as possible to complete your edits. Then, we’ll do another smaller round before the agent round to tie up any lose ends and look for grammatical mistakes. But since I do proofreading in my day job, I’ve got you covered there!
I want this to be a collaborative process where we work together toward your vision of the book. I want you to feel free to ask me questions any time. There’s no stupid question. I want my mentor to feel free to bounce ideas off me. Maybe we need to hop on the phone (or just do it through email) to talk about a tricky scene or plot twist. That’s what I’m here for.
I love working with plot. I can plot in my sleep. But I also know the importance of having characters who stand out on the page. If you’re my mentor, we’re going to look at it all and make sure everything shines—I’m talking everything from a powerful first line to prose that draws the reader in!
I’ll also help you with your query letter and synopsis. I’ve written and helped so many writers write these, that I’m a pro at this! We’ll rework it several times to make sure it tells the story it needs to.
I’m also here to answer any questions my mentee has about the publishing industry. I’ve been in it for a while now, so I know a thing or two.
What I’m looking for
This year, I’m looking for Young Adult Fantasy, Fairytale Retellings, and some Sci-fi…and maybe even some Westerns. I love high-fantasy, low fantasy, fairytales I have and haven’t seen retold, and sci-fi that takes me on a fun adventure to new worlds. My debut is like a Disney movie on steroids, and I love books having to do with princesses and curses and enchanted forests!
If you’ve got a NEW take on a fairytale, I want to see it. If you’ve got an epic adventure where a strong female character (or a character who learns her strength through the course of the story) saves the day, I want to see it. If you’ve got a science fiction space opera where our heroes save their world, I want to see it. If you’ve got swashbuckling pirates going on an adventure, I want to see it!
I like PG-13 romance, cool plot twists, characters who have witty dialogue, strong villains who challenge the protagonists, fun side characters and sidekicks, and a couple I can root for (and who may or may not have been ripped apart by fate…or who are on opposite sides to begin with…or who are forced to team up with each other against their will…or who were once close and have now drifted apart.) I want to feel like I’m in your setting and that the rules of the world are consistent—especially when it comes to magic.
Overall, I’m a firm believer that character and plot can be fixed, but I need a spark of a great idea behind them to catch my attention—something that makes me stop and say, “That’s a cool idea/premise.”
An incomplete list of some my favorite books right now:
Frostblood by Elly Blake
Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
Any book by Meg Cabot
Starflight by Melissa Landers
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon
Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Defy by Sara B. Larson
The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Austenland by Shannon Hale
Not the best fit for me:
Because you have a limited number of mentor slots and there are so many fantastic mentors to choose from, here’s a list of what I’m not looking for this year:
- Nothing too dark or depressing. Sure you’re characters can get into trouble, but I really love a happy ending.
- No King Midas retellings. I love fairytales, but my debut novel is a King Midas retelling, and it would just feel weird working on someone else’s. Also, keep in mind that I’m also working on several different fairytale retellings at the moment, so I’m really looking for new takes–and if yours is too similar to something I’m currently writing, I won’t request it out of respect for both of us!
- Nothing over PG-13 romance wise.
- I’m not a big fan of swear words/cussing. The occasional one is fine, but if the manuscript is full of it, then it’s probably not for me.
- Anything contemporary—unless it’s a retelling set in a contemporary world or an instance where someone time travels away from the world to a fantasy world. I’ll look at those!
- No bigotry
Good luck! I look forward to your submissions! And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to learn more about me and my work:
Check out the other mentors’ wishlists via the main site:
Or by clicking here:
2018 Young Adult Mentors