If you’re new to Pitch Wars or have questions about how it all works check out the Pitch Wars website. 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, If I Fix You. My other books are The First to Know, Even If I Fall (a 2019 Junior Library Guild selection), and Every Other Weekend which will be published on January 7, 2020. Last year was my first as a mentor (shout out to my phenomenal mentee Rebecca Rode who is now represented by Kelly Peterson from Rees Literary Agency) and I cannot wait team up with another author this year.

About Me

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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’m very open to 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 titles (in no particular order) include:

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
How the Light Gets In by Katy Upperman
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
A List of Cages by Robin Roe
Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
The Program by Suzanne Young
Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I also really love Sci-fi and Fantasy (last year I chose to mentor an alternate history pirate fantasy) including Magical Realism, Speculative Fiction, and Retellings! Some of my favorites (in no particular order) include:

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Memoirs of Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan
Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Starters by Lissa Price
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Martian by Andy Weir
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
The Shiver series by Maggie Stiefvater
The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

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. Paranormal/Urban Fantasy in the vein of Twilight/Buffy–I love them but right now books like that will likely be a hard sell for me unless the story and characters are completely engrossing. I’m also not accepting New Adult. I tend to prefer stories with a single or dual point of view at the most. 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. I’m not opposed to stories featuring disabled characters that are written by able-bodied authors so long as you do your research.

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 your 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 who is prompt and reliable, 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.

Questions? Tweet me @Abigailswriting

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

Pitch Wars 2019 Young Adult Mentors' Wish Lists

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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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