If you’re new to Pitch Wars or have questions about how it all works check out the Pitch Wars website. I always describe it as kind of like The Voice for writers, but here’s the official description:

Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for an agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents.

I was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2014 (shout out to my awesome mentors Monica B. Wagner & Lindsey Sprague) and it was such an amazing learning experience for me. They helped me get my query and MS into shape and offered invaluable insight and feedback at every step along the way. I’ve since signed with my dream agent (Kim Lionetti from BookEnds Literary Agency) and sold four books to Harlequin Teen/Inkyard Press (HarperCollins) including the book I submitted to Pitch Wars. My books are If I Fix You, The First to Know, Even If I Fall (a 2019 Junior Library Guild selection on sale January 8, 2019), and an untitled book scheduled for publication in 2020.

About Me

Abigail was born in Pennsylvania. When she was twelve, her family traded in snow storms for year round summers, and moved to Arizona. Abigail chronicled the entire cross-country road trip in a purple spiral bound notebook that she still has and has been writing ever since. She became a tetraplegic after breaking her neck in a car accident when she was seventeen but hasn’t let that stop her from bodysurfing in Mexico, writing and directing a high school production of Cinderella, and becoming a published author.

Learn more on the About page or visit the FAQ page.

What I’m Looking For

YA! I write Contemporary YA so please send me your Contemporary YA manuscripts! Specifically, I love stories with complicated family relationships, resilient protagonists, swoony romance, and real-life problems. I love a good romantic comedy or coming of age story. As a wheelchair user, I’d also love to see characters with disabilities in stories that are about something other than disability (see What I’m NOT Looking For section below for more on this). I’m also a fan of a good action adventure or survival story! Some of my favorite Contemporary YA authors include Kasie West, John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Huntley Fitzpatrick, and Jenny Han.

I also really love Sci-fi and Fantasy including Magical Realism, Paranormal, and Speculative Fiction! Some of my favorites include The Shiver series and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and pretty much everything Richelle Mead writes. Some recent titles that really impressed me were Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre and Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. I’d love to see a YA similar to The Martian by Andy Weir (one of my all-time favorite books). Ditto for a YA in the vein of All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai. And if you really want to make me happy, please send me something with DINOSAURS!

What I’m NOT Looking For

I’m generally not the ideal reader for stories that involve reincarnation, amnesia, politics, self-harm, suicide, rape, or horror/torture elements. I tend to prefer stories with a single or dual point of view at the most (unless it’s an epic fantasy like Wheel of Time etc.). I mentioned that I’d like to see stories featuring characters with disabilities but I’m not interested in stories that are only about disability. I’m also not the reader for stories where disabled characters are inspirational footnotes in the lives of able-bodied characters or where disabled characters kill themselves so that everyone else can ‘Live Boldly’ (and yes, I’m talking about Me Before You). I’m not opposed to stories featuring disabled characters that are written by able-bodied authors so long as you do your research (an example of NOT doing research: Me Before You).

What To Expect From Me As A Mentor

I’m prompt and thorough. I’ll tell you honestly if something isn’t working for me and I’ll make suggestions that you can take or not because this is YOUR book.  I’ll help you brainstorm solutions if you want or be a sounding board if you need. I will be your cheerleader and I’ll help you however I can. I will never impose my opinion on you but I will explain why I think something needs work/further attention. I’ll help you polish/fix/rewrite your query letter and help you with a synopsis (I LOVE writing synopses). I’ll be providing a ‘Big Picture’ letter based on my first read of your MS, then further edits, including line edits, as we go. I’ll plan on reading your MS several times and working with you until it’s as shiny as possible.

What I’m Looking For In A Mentee

I’m looking for someone with drive and dedication, who can take constructive criticism, and meet a deadline. I plan on giving 100% to my mentee and I want the same in return.

Still unsure if your MS is for me? Tweet me @Abigailswriting

Head back to the Pitch Wars post to see the complete list of mentors or click through the links below.


2018 Young Adult Mentors

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About Abigail

Abigail Johnson was born in Pennsylvania. When she was twelve, her family traded in snowstorms for year-round summers and moved to Arizona. Abigail chronicled the entire cross-country road trip in a purple spiral-bound notebook that she still has, and has been writing ever since. She became a tetraplegic after breaking her neck in a car accident when she was seventeen but hasn’t let that stop her from bodysurfing in Mexico, writing and directing a high-school production of Cinderella, and riding roller coasters every chance she gets. She is the author of several young adult novels including If I Fix You and Every Other Weekend. She is represented by Kim Lionetti at BookEnds Literary Agency.

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12 Comments

  1. Jessica Froberg August 13, 2018 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    You sound like an amazing mentor. Somebody is gunna be LUCKY to have you!

  2. Kimberlee Turley August 15, 2018 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    I got to meet Tricia Levenseller at the 2018 Whitney Awards. Loved her, and her book.

  3. Fatima Zahra August 17, 2018 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Are you interested in mysteries? :)

  4. Mary Rowley (@MRowleyWriter) August 17, 2018 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    You sounded great/interesting on a recent podcast of Writer Writer Pants on Fire. I’m interested in submitting to you, but not sure we’re a great fit. It’s a YA contemporary romantic mystery. I didn’t see mystery as one of your desired elements. How do you feel about mysteries?

  5. Gayla Crosby August 24, 2018 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Hi Abigail,

    I also enjoying hearing you on a podcast of Writer Writer Pants on Fire. I feel we have a lot in common. We like a lot of the same authors. I read over your books and they are what I like to read–stories about real people. I had to order If I Fix You. One of the first stories I wrote was about a girl mechanic. I’m new to the Pitch Wars scene and more than a little nervous that I’ll do it right. When I read your bio and checked out your books I decided to submit to you. My book is a YA contemporary romance. I saw where you like sports stories and would be interested in characters with disabilities. My protagonist plays basketball and has bipolar disorder. It doesn’t dominate the book Would you be interested?

    • Abigail Johnson August 25, 2018 at 9:58 am - Reply

      Hi Gayla!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the podcast! I had a lot fun chatting with Mindy (and you should definitely check out her books too if you haven’t). And yay for more stories with female mechanics! I’m absolutely interested in Contemporary YA featuring characters with disabilities, so I do hope you’ll submit to me :)

  6. Micaela Ivansson August 27, 2018 at 12:08 am - Reply

    Hello! my name is Micaela and I think you two will me very good mentors!
    I just submitted my manuscript to you on pitch wars!
    Hope you like it!
    /Micaela Ivansson

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