Here we are, friends!
I've been part of this rodeo from Day 1. Back in 2012, as we wondered if the end of days was approaching, I entered Pitch Wars with a book I loved but knew needed that extra push. Out of the slush I was picked. Over the course of several weeks, my mentor and I worked to make my novel and pitch stronger than ever.
Now? That book is published. And ever since that first year, I've returned to mentor.
This year, I'm back with a partner in crime -- the fantastic Katrina Emmel, who was actually one of my alternates back in 2014! We work fabulously together, and we're ready to have you join #TheSquad.
I'm a college writing professor, gymnastics coach/judge/enthusiast, and an editorial literary assistant for PS Literary. I also hold an MFA from Stony Brook University. I'm represented by Tina Wexler of ICM Partners, and my debut novel, LESSONS IN FALLING, released this February. Along with YA, I've also published numerous essays and short stories.
Why I love Pitch Wars and keep coming back for more:
The rush when the sub window opens. The flutters in your belly when you fall in love with a manuscript. The turning of the wheels when you come up with ideas for how to make it even stronger. The thrill of the agent round. And most importantly, the relationships with fellow writers that turn to lasting friendships. No matter where we're at in the journey, we're all in this together.
You want us to mentor you because...
We have first hand insight into all aspects of the publishing industry, from the very first query to having a book on shelf. We’ve been through the ups and downs and we’ll be here to support and guide you after the agent round concludes. We both work in writing and publishing, and what's better than two sets of eyes?
What you can expect from #TheSquad:
-Track Changes from both of us on your manuscript.
-An in-depth edit letter highlighting your novel's strengths and areas for revision.
-Help with your pitch, query letter, and synopsis.
-Brainstorming and support!
What I'm looking for:
Contemporary young adult and new adult that encompasses any of the following (bonus if it's more than one!)
-All of the athletes
-Vividly rendered settings (I just returned from the Southwest -- swoon)
-Diversity in all forms
-Awesome voice -- even the mundane moments are awesome
-Multiple POVs/time shifts/unusual structures
-Romance (doesn't need to be the main plot)
-Crackling wit and humor
-Dark and controversial (so long as it doesn't make Katrina cry too hard)
-Unpredictable outcomes (I’m tough to surprise. I challenge you to do it!)
Not for me:
-Classical musician plots (I used to lie about my assigned twenty minutes of practicing the violin every day. Sorry!)
-Grandparents revealing deep-dark family secrets
-Stereotypes (the dumb football player, the popular cheerleader)
-Conflict that centers around a misunderstanding that could have easily been avoided/cleared up, unless it’s done for comedic effect
-Secrets without stakes
Faves include: Kill the Boy Band (humor), I’ll Give You the Sun (multi-POV/time shifts/awesome writing/characters coming through darkness), A Matter of Heart + Lessons in Gravity + The Outer Banks Sports Academy series (sportsing + characters making tough decisions), Tiny Pretty Things (Pretty Little Liars vibes in an authentically-rendered dance world), Damage Done (SO DARK/SO TWISTED), old-school Sarah Dessen a la Keeping the Moon, Dreamland, Just Listen, This Lullaby
We'll make a great team if you...
-Are enthusiastic about revisions.
-Have an open mind in regards to changes.
-Have a sense of humor (work hard, play hard!).
-Are serious about your writing journey; perhaps you’ve queried before, or you’re ready to jump in. You’re so close that you can taste it. You just need that push.
-Have the ability to take feedback and run with it.
When I'm not reading/writing/wasting time on the Internet, I enjoy...
Gymnastics, teaching, running/fitness, yoga, country concerts, road trips, The Office, college basketball, hiking, taking artsy photos of the ocean, tacos.
Want to learn more?
Head over to Katrina's blog to see what she's dying to read!
Let's be friends!
Lost? Confused? Scared? Curious? Hit me up on Twitter: @DianaMarieGal or on Instagram: @dianagallagherbooks, where you'll see me attempt to use filters for dramatic effect.
Aaaaand if you're made it this far, the magical scavenger hunt word/punctuation you're looking for is:
We can't wait to read your words!
Back in 2009, as an assignment for a summer writing workshop, I wrote a chapter about a girl who couldn't pass her road test. I had no idea where the story would go. Today, it's a published novel.
There was quite a bit I didn't know back then. The publishing process, for example, was an entirely a mystery, and all I knew was that I wanted to be a part of it.
Even so, research can't prepare you for everything. I had no idea how hard it would be to write something new after the novel was under contract, or how much editing goes into the manuscript after it's sold (spoiler: a lot). There was so much I couldn't have anticipated, either. You name it, it's probably happened in this winding publishing journey of mine.
There have also been the gratifying milestones, such as receiving the advance copies and seeing that the book, well, looked like a book and no longer like a Word document. Like an awesome book trailer and Publishers Weekly calling the book "satisfying." Like my friends and family members, near and far, who have been nothing but supportive.
And here we are today. Here's the story of a girl finding her way in the world.