Pitch Wars 2021 Wishlist

I am mentoring again for Pitch Wars (in the Adult Category only) this year!

What is Pitch Wars?

Pitch Wars is a mentoring program started by Brenda Drake. Published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to spend three months revising their manuscript. It ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where agents see a pitch/first page and can request to read more. If you are not interested in applying to Pitch Wars, please feel free to ignore this post (but don’t leave me completely!). If you are thinking of applying, read on!

Who am I?

My name is Lyn and I write multicultural fiction (book club fiction, women’s fiction), suspense/thriller, and YA. I signed with my wonderful agent, Rachel Brooks of BookEnds Literary Agency in January of 2019, and she sold my debut to Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House, soon after. My debut, The Tiger Mom’s Tale just launched on July 6, 2021, and my second book, Red Thread of Fate is coming out on February 8, 2022 (only 5 more months!).

Other interesting (or not) facts about me: I’m a certified personal trainer and fitness and yoga instructor. I am also a purse designer with an Etsy shop. I live on a lake with my FDNY fireman husband, our nine-year-old son, and our three dogs, Lokie, Mochi, and Cash.  We started fostering dogs during the pandemic because we lost our first dachshund, my beloved Pinot last year (hint, hint: I love stories with dogs in them, but not if they die!) and Mochi and Cash are foster fails.

Why You Should Submit To Me

I mentored last year and my mentee got a lot of requests and signed with an agent right away. I also mentored someone else not through Pitch Wars and they also signed with an agent. If I believe in a manuscript, I will work with you to make it shine as much as it can and mentor you through the querying process and if you sign with an agent, through the submission process. Publishing is a VERY hard business, with more downs than ups (unless you are very, very lucky) and I want to help someone navigate it, the way authors ahead of me helped me. That said, I am not a magician and there is no guarantee that you will sign with an agent if you become my mentee. But you will come out of this with a very polished manuscript that you will be proud of.

What I’m Looking For

Contemporary Fiction (Literary, Commercial, UpMarket, Book Club), Suspense/Thrillers, Women’s Fiction, Rom-Coms, Contemporary Romance

Contemporary Fiction

It can be literary, commercial, upmarket, book club, etc. as long as it’s contemporary, I want to see it. I especially love “secrets and lies” stories, so if your book has any of that, I want to read it. I love books set in other countries or about underrepresented voices, culture, heritage, disability or any other groups not typically seen in novels. Travel, food, dogs are also big yeses for me. But above all else, I want a story with an amazing voice I can fall in love with. I especially love sarcastic voices, witty banter, and clever plot lines that haven’t been overdone.

Books I Love: Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu, Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, The People We Keep by Allie Larkin, Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto


This category is my new obsession. I’ve been binge reading suspense and thrillers. I also love domestic suspense in the vein of Liane Moriarty. For me, the storyline has to grip me right from the first page and make me want to keep turning to see what happens. I want the book to keep me guessing. And if it has a character driven plot, even better. Meaning it’s not just a suspense for suspense sake. I want to get to know the lives of the MCs, know what drives them and what makes them make the choices they do. Most of all, I want to be surprised, or at least say, I didn’t see that coming.

Books I Love: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier, The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth, We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

Women’s Fiction

It can be light or dark, with suspense or romantic elements, commercial or upmarket. I love humor in women’s
fiction, even with serious or deep topics. If I can laugh with the MC (and even cry), I’d want to see more. I’m only looking for contemporary women’s fiction (no historical). As long as the focus is on the main character’s emotional journey and how it changes them, I am open to it. I especially love sisters or mother/daughter stories, estranged families, family secrets and lies that impact someone’s life. And if someone dies in it, even better!

Books I love: Little Pieces of Me by Alison Hammer, The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, Once Upon a Sunset by Tif Marcelo

Rom-Coms and Contemporary Romance

I love a good rom-com and contemporary romance (no historical romance for me). I enjoy sarcastic wit and even cheesy humor if it’s done right. Heat level should be appropriate for the book and work into the story. I’m open to all relationships (not just female/male) and not just able-bodied, typical characters that we’ve seen before. I’d love to see something new, no matter how you identify. Surprise me. Open up my mind. Teach me something I’m not familiar with. I want to root for the main characters to get together, no matter what the obstacles they have. Again, voice is what matters to me. I want a voice that will pull me into the story and make me care what happens to them. The MC can be unlikeable, as long as I can get into their head and understand why. Anything with food, dogs, secrets, beaches, lake life, small towns, travel, yoga, fitness, and other countries shoots to the top of my interest pile.

Books I love: Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez, The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood, Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron, Simmer Down by Sarah Smith

What I’m NOT Looking For

I will not be taking Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, Memoirs, and Mysteries. While I love all these books, I don’t know enough about them to mentor them. But in any of the categories I listed above, if there is some element of SFF, Suspense, Mystery, that’s fine. Magical Realism like Alice Hoffman in any of the categories listed above is also fine.

I will most likely pass on books with on the page pet deaths. If  it is referred to or is something that happened, it’s fine-I just don’t want to read about it as it’s happening. Other than that, I’m pretty open to any tropes, themes, and topics.  They can be heavy or light, funny or sad. As long as the voice and concept draw me in and make me want to read it.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments here or on twitter.

My Critique Style

I am here to help a mentee get the most polished manuscript they can, and will always be honest if I think something’s not working. That being said, I would never force my opinion on someone. Ultimately, this is your book and story and I can only offer my advice and why I feel something needs to be changed.

However, I am looking for a mentee who is open to new ideas and perspectives. My ideal mentee would be someone who is willing and eager to work hard, to dig deep and listen to my critiques with an open mind. You need a very thick skin in the publishing business, and the sooner you can start building that skin, the better. Which means I don’t tend to sugarcoat my critiques (but I am never cruel or mean!). If you can’t take constructive criticism without being offended, we probably wouldn’t be a good fit.

I also would like to point out again that I’m not a magician. A lot of people have the mistaken idea that if they get into Pitch Wars, it guarantees that they will sign with an agent and get a publishing deal. This is not always true. I can only work with you to get the most polished manuscript you can, but I cannot guarantee that you will sign with an agent and get a deal. So if that is the only thing you want out of Pitch Wars, I’m not the right mentor for you.

But if you are entering Pitch Wars to find someone to help improve your book, an ally who will support you, cheer for you and keep in touch with you after Pitch Wars is over, then I may be a good mentor for you. And if you sign with an agent? Then, heck yes, I will be there to scream with you and cheer. And if you don’t right away? I will still be there to support you and urge you to continue working on your craft. Because a lot of what makes someone succeed in this business is sheer stubbornness not to give up and hard work.

If you want to learn more about me, I’ll be taking over Pitch Wars’ Instagram account on Tuesday Sept 14 all day, posting sneak peeks of a day in the life of a mentor and answering any questions you have about publishing and Pitch Wars.

Good Luck!

Good luck to everyone entering Pitch Wars, not just those submitting to me. Remember, it doesn’t mean you’re not a good writer if you are not chosen. Pitch Wars is a great way to make connections in the writing community. You can find critique partners and connect with writers who are further along in their publishing journey. They can help advise and answer questions. FYI: I didn’t get picked the year I submitted and I signed with an agent. Pitch Wars is not the only way to get an agent.

Above all else, this should be fun. GOOD LUCK!


To see the other Adult Mentors’ wishlists, check out the links below.

Pitch Wars 2021 Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists

  1. Anna Kaling (Accepts NA)
  2. Ian Barnes (Accepts NA)
  3. Jackson Ford
  4. Jake Nicholls (Accepts NA)
  5. Jesse Q. Sutanto and Grace Shim
  6. Charish Reid and Denise Williams
  7. Saara El-Arifi (Accepts NA)
  8. Rosie Danan and Ruby Barrett (Accepts NA)
  9. Carolyne Topdjian
  10. Falon Ballard and Brooke Abrams
  11. Mary Keliikoa (Accepts NA)
  12. E.A. Aymar
  13. Amanda Elliot (Accepts NA)
  14. Kelly Siskind
  15. Vaishnavi Patel and Sarah Mughal (Accepts NA)
  16. Mary Ann Marlowe and Laura Elizabeth (Accepts NA)
  17. Mia P. Manansala (Accepts NA)
  18. Peggy Rothschild (Accepts NA)
  19. Natalka Burian
  20. Courtney Kae and Jenny L. Howe (Accepts NA)
  21. Rochelle Karina (Accepts NA)
  22. Swati Hegde (Accepts NA)
  23. Nanci Schwartz and LL Montez
  24. Paris Wynters
  25. Hudson Lin
  26. Sarah Remy (Accepts NA)
  27. AM Kvita (Accepts NA)
  28. Heather Van Fleet and Jessica Calla (Accepts NA)
  29. Melissa Colasanti (Accepts NA)
  30. J.A. Crawford (Accepts NA)
  31. Michella S. Domenici
  32. Yvette Yun and Marith Zoli (Accepts NA)
  33. Sari Coritz and Rosalie M Lin (Accepts NA)
  34. Stephenie Magister and Noreen (Accepts NA)
  35. Regina Black and Nikki Payne (Accepts NA)
  36. Farah Heron and Namrata Patel
  37. Alicia Thompson and Amy Lea (Accepts NA)
  38. Lyn Liao Butler
  39. Preslaysa Williams (Accepts NA)
  40. Keena Roberts and Molly Steen (Accepts NA)
  41. Alexandria Bellefleur (Accepts NA)
  42. Samantha Rajaram
  43. Ashley Winstead
  44. Clay Harmon (Accepts NA)
  45. Rob Hart
  46. Cole Nagamatsu and Sequoia Nagamatsu
  47. N.E. Davenport (Accepts NA)
  48. Katherine Lim
  49. Alexia Gordon
  50. Cynthia Pelayo (Accepts NA)

Click here to view all Pitch Wars 2021 Mentors’ Wish Lists. To view the wish lists by genre, visit this link.

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