Hello, potential future mentees! We’ve been waiting for you. Pull up a chair (or a bean bag or one of those chaise longues people like to faint on) and let’s get to know each other, shall we?

Who We Are

SONIA: I was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2013, and I’m forever grateful for the experience. I learned so much about pacing, plotting, dialogue, balancing showing and telling, and inserting emotion into prose. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to pay that forward, having been a mentor since 2015. Last year I co-mentored with Annette, who was one of my 2016 mentees and one of my favorite people on the planet, and it was so much fun we decided to do it again this year. My debut, HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME, is coming out in Fall 2019 with Page Street, and I’m rep’d by Rebecca Podos of Rees Literary Agency. I’ve published short stories in a variety of journals, and when I’m not writing, I like playing board games with my family, trying new breweries, or doing anything outdoors in the fall.

ANNETTE: In 2016, Sonia selected me to be one of her Pitch Wars mentees. In 2017, Sonia and I got Pitch Wars-married and co-mentored the most wonderful writer whom we still love and talk to every day. This is our second year co-mentoring and I couldn’t be happier. I’m Canadian-American, which means I am regularly editing all those extra u’s out of my words. I’ve published articles with websites such as HelloGiggles and am currently working with the fabulous Alloy Entertainment. I write contemporary YA and Women’s Fiction. I’m repped by Jess Dallow of Brower Literary Management. In addition to writing, I have a background in acting and working weird jobs.


What We Do

If selected as our mentee, you’ll get an initial edit letter from us. This may include sweeping changes or small tweaks (or both). We’re here to talk through any questions you may have as you revise. Once you’re finished with this draft, we’ll do at least one more read-through with you to do line-edits (and gush about your story). We’d also like to have a video chat with you as we prepare your pitch and partial for the Agent Showcase.

In addition to our overlapping craft and editing strengths, we come with our own Super Mentor Powers.

SONIA: Setting and humor are my favorite things. I love the kind of setting that feels like another character, where the entire atmosphere can be used to convey the mood of the story, and I especially enjoy settings that work against the main character in humorous ways.

ANNETTE: I specialize in voice and dialogue.My background in acting has given me a leg up here. I’ve also cracked that pacing nut and can help you turn your manuscript into a page-turner.  


Why You Want to Submit to Us

Since we’ve both been mentees before, we know what it feels like and what to expect. We will work hard to help you whip your manuscript into shape while still respecting the vision you have for your story. We promise to support and nourish your manuscript as well as you as a writer (and a human). We understand there will be moments during the process of revising your manuscript when you will want to laugh and cry and cry while laughing and laugh while crying, etc. Revising a manuscript can be painful. We’re here for that. We’ll keep our wits about us if you lose yours. We will mentor you in a way that is collaborative and encouraging, and you will leave our loving arms a better writer. Except don’t go too far, because we want to support you well after Pitch Wars is over.

What We Want in a Mentee

We’re looking for a mentee who can take criticism well and is ready to work. Having a sense of humor definitely helps. Most of all, we’re looking for a mentee with a manuscript that’s almost there but needs just a little bit of love.

What We Want in Our Inbox

We’re looking for YA Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction from 1900’s and up, and some Paranormal (witches and ghosts only).

Give us your strong female friendships, your feminists, and your HEA (or HFN) intersectional queer stories (we especially want to see more F/F stories). We want complicated families and the families you choose. We love sex positivity and big issues that are worked through with hilarity and heart. And if your MC has ever been described as ‘unlikeable’ there is a solid chance we’re going to love them.

If you can give us goosebumps with spooky settings and unreliable narrators, we want those too. We’ll fall for anything that can keep us guessing until the end. We especially love mysteries that subvert familiar tropes and classic settings with a modern voice.

We’d love a ghost story. Actual ghost is cool, but ambiguous ghost is cooler. Make us question whether or not the haunting is real or all in your MCs mind (think an updated YA version of THE TURN OF THE SCREW).

A mystery with a gothic atmosphere would be awesome! Same for suspense, that slow building sense of danger with a thick atmosphere is the best.

For thriller, anything with a fast pace that keeps our hearts racing would be excellent.

We like to feel all the feelings. We love wit, we love to laugh until our sides hurt, and we love the strange and the quirky. We want to care about your characters so much we have a book hangover from reading your words.

Top 5 Tropes

Enemies to Lovers
Friends to Lovers
Close Proximity/Bottle Episodes
Unlikely Friends
Fish Out of Water

Top 5 Settings

Spooky old houses
Small towns
Boarding schools

Top 5 Character Types

Sassy girls
Soft boys
Anyone who makes us laugh
Smartest person in the room
Someone who’s keeping a secret

Top 5 Book Comps

THE POET X by Elizabeth Acevedo
UNDEAD GIRL GANG by Lily Anderson

Top 5 Movie Comps


Top 5 Miscellaneous

Love Letters
Old trunks with secrets
Non-traditional structures (epistolary, non-chronological, verse)
Characters with cool jobs & hobbies (podcasts, all-girl bands, role-playing games, fire-eating, etc)


What We’re Not the Best Mentors For

Fantasy (we would be open for a contemporary fantasy involving witches, though we’d want it grounded in the real world)


Vampires, werewolves, zombies, angels, demons, mermaids, or shifters



Eating disorders

Sexual assault/rape

Anything related to medical stuff or diseases


What Will Happen If We Request 

We will be requesting a synopsis if the query and pages catch our eyes, but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be full of voice or contain every detail. We just want to see if your plot architecture holds up.

If you have any questions about specifics, feel free to @ us on Twitter: @SoniaHartl1, @MsAnnetteMC
Feel free to check out Annette’s website too! And the rest of the YA mentors here:


Pitch Wars 2018 Mentor Bio/Wishlist

Sonia Hartl