With such an amazing line-up of mentors this year, you're probably wondering why you should submit to us.
In our day jobs, we both teach writing. Jen is a book coach for Author Accelerator, and has worked with many clients who have gone on to publish with Big 5 publishers. Anna works as a writing tutor for international students at the University of Alabama Birmingham and teaches community English classes for adults. We have a combined 10 years of experience.
We were a mentor/mentee team in 2016 (and Jen was a mentee in 2014!) so we really understand what it is to be on the mentor and mentee side of things.
Also? We both have books coming out in 2020: The Language of Cherries (Jen) and I Kissed Alice (Anna). We’ve really been there through the whole publishing rigamarole: Upwards of 200 agent rejections. Querying after an agent break-up. Revise & Resubmit offers (some of which did not pan out). Calls and offers and contracts; rejections from book editors and failures at acquisition meetings, and then ultimately SELLING OUR BOOKS. Our paths to publication were not easy, and we’re prepared to help with empathy, advice, and support on every level.
And last but not least, Jen is a huge Clemson fan, and Anna is a huge Alabama fan, so no matter what happens, you’ll always have a winner in your foxhole (even if Jen and Anna don’t speak the entire month of January because LET’S FACE IT, it will be another Clemson/Alabama National Championship showdown)(just kidding but really)(ROLL TIDE) (GO TIGERS).
Anna's recent obsessions:
The Golden Compass Trilogy. Hustler. Lizzo.
Jen's recent obsessions:
Downton Abbey. Daisy Jones & the Six. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Anna's all-time faves:
The Raven Cycle. The Careful Undressing of Love. Blood Water Paint.
Jen's all-time faves:
Like Water for Chocolate. Practical Magic. Friday Night Lights..
Number one on our wishlist this year is historical, any time period. We don’t care if it’s Victorian England, flappers and moonshiners, or 1960s counterculture. We want it all. Take note that we were both kids in the 90s, so if you’ve got a bunch of grunge kids in flannel following Nirvana around, send us that, too. Think The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley, Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, Blood Water Paint by J.C. McCullough (guess who writes verse? JEN WRITES VERSE), and Among the Red Stars by Gwen Katz.
This is a contemporary story with fantastic elements that are normal to the characters in the story. Remember that there is a difference between fabulism and magical realism, and it’s your job as the writer to a) understand those differences, and b) execute them without appropriating culture.
Magical realism is not simply the fantastical in a mostly-realistic setting. Because it was popularized by Latin American authors, there is a Latinx cultural undercurrent, often seen in the setting and in the story’s magic system. It’s easier to describe Magical Realism by what it isn’t rather than what it is (but if your story is more fantasy than contemporary, it ain’t it). Think: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina, The Astonishing Color of After by X.R. Pan, The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu, American Street by Ibi Zoboi or anything by Anna-Marie McLemore.
Fabulism is fantastical in a mostly-realistic setting. Where magical realism may focus on how the feel of magic shimmers around the mundane, fabulism reads more like a fable. Magic is real, and it’s beautiful. Think: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby or anything by A.S. King.
Be mindful that this is a fantasy set in a familiar world. We are not looking for high fantasy. If your story contains elves or dragons, for example, it’s probably awesome but it’s not for us. We are thinking more along the lines of The Raven Cycle or All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater, or anything by Haruki Murakami or Alice Hoffman.
*Note: We are accepting NA submissions, but there is an excellent chance we will ask you to age it down to YA.
Please do be aware, we may expect you to obtain sensitivity readers and heed their advice as part of your revision process.
We can't wait to read all of your amazing submissions! If you have questions, find us on Twitter!
That's a negative, ghost rider. The daily news cycle is all the horror we can take these days.
While we certainly can appreciate this genre, we are not the right mentors for it and will not consider it.
Nopity Nope Nope Nope.
There are some wonderful books out there that tackle this issue, but we are not the mentors for this.
Last but not least, if you are a fascist sympathizer, don't waste our time.