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PitchWars Wishlist

PITCHWARS WISHLIST

Welcome, welcome to Kat and Daphne’s wishlist, a.k.a. #TeamVillian’s wishlist! We are looking for YA fantasy manuscripts for PitchWars 2020, so if that’s what you’ve got, keep reading!

If you have any questions, the fastest way to reach us is on Twitter – @KatAliceDunn and @daphlt

Can’t wait to see all your brilliant submissions!

WHAT IS PITCHWARS?

Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where 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 can read a pitch/first page and can request to read more.

Who We Are

Kat is a fantasy author, whose YA debut DANGEROUS REMEDY came out in 2020. She was a PitchWars YA mentor in 2019.

After two degrees and jobs as a bookseller, nursing assistant and translator for NHK, she settled down to a career as a writer and editor, working in YA and children’s publishing, mental health and government web content.

She’s been editing day in day out for the last 8 years at work, in her master’s programme and working on her own manuscripts with her agent and editor. She wants to share with a mentee everything she’s learnt to make your manuscript shine, and navigate the highs and lows of publishing.

She grew up in London, and has lived in France, Japan and Australia. Back in London now, she lives with too many house plants and a mission to write as many sapphic books as she can fit into her life. Find her on twitter and instagram @KatAliceDunn.

Daphne is the founder and owner of Illumicrate, the UK’s first YA and crossover book subscription box. She’s also Marketing Director for inclusive children’s publisher Knights Of, an event chair, and a 2020 Kitchies judge. Previously, she was an award-winning book blogger from 2011-2018 and a judge for the YA Book Prize and The Gollancz and Rivers of London BAME award. 

While she’s not an author, she’s had plenty of first and second-hand experience in all aspects of publishing. Her day to day job of reading manuscripts for Illumicrate and sitting on judging panels has given her great insight into what makes a story work. She’s looking forward to working with a mentee to pass on everything she knows and shedding some light into the publishing process.

She’s a Chinese-Filipino born and raised in Manila and currently living in London. She can usually be found fangirling over first editions & fictional princes, and recommending books on social media @daphlt @illumicrate.

Our Wishlist

Here are some of the things we would LOVE to see in your YA fantasy manuscript:

  • Enemies to lovers
  • Myth retellings
  • Non-Western inspired fantasy worlds – please please please!
  • Bi love triangles
  • Unlikable/villainous/morally grey female characters
  • Gothic vibes
  • Villain redemption arcs
  • Romance with ANGST
  • Dark academia
  • Anti-villains
  • ‘oh crap we have to get married for plot reasons but we HATE each other’
  • Where the setting is part of the plot/reveal
  • Necromancy and flirting with the dead/undead boundaries
  • Found families
  • School settings (teach them magic, or war, or how to be an assassin)
  • Relationships that straddle the friends/enemies axis
  • Himbos
  • Deals with the devil
  • College age (18+)
  • Epistolary/different format books
  • Mistaken/hidden identity

Things we aren’t the right mentor team for

  • Contemporary or pure sci-fi or historical. We are only looking for fantasy this year, although if you have a fantasy with some sci-fi elements that’s ok
  • Pure romance plots. We love a good OTP or romantic subplot in SFF, but if you’re interested in romance specifically as a genre, we’re not experienced enough in that sort of story telling to help.
  • Circuses.
  • Paranormal
  • Dystopia
  • Magical realism
  • Pirates
  • Mermaids
  • Witches
  • Fae
  • Horror – gothic/creepy mood is fine, but not full on out of my skin scary horror please
  • Stories set predominantly in the woods/outdoors/nature settings
  • Fantasy quests – unless you are a marginalised writer who hasn’t had the opportunity to explore this trope

Favourite Books

  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
  • The Poppy War by R.F Kuang
  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
  • Vicious & Vengeful by VE Schwab
  • Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir 
  • The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
  • This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
  • Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart
  • These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
  • Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
  • The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams
  • The Princess and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Favourite Media

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • The Untamed
  • Crimson Peak
  • Sailormoon (especially the Seiya/Usagi arc)
  • Fandom!Draco
  • Fushigi Yuugi
  • The Mummy
  • The Company of Wolves
  • Lore Olympus
  • The Princess Bride
  • Ten Things I Hate About You
  • Mulan (the original animated one)

 

Who We’re Looking For

Someone ready to work hard. We’re not trying to scare you, but doing heavy edits is extremely hard work!

Books are big, unwieldy beasts and doing ambitious work on them is not for the faint hearted – especially on a tight deadline. We’ll be here to offer heaps of support, both practical and emotional, but ultimately you’re going to be the one doing the work so please make sure you’re really ready to make a commitment. 

We’re particularly interested in working with writers from outside of North America (especially marginalised writers from the UK – we need to do something about that awful 1% statistic). But please don’t feel like you have to disclose anything you’re not comfortable talking about when submitting. Of course, we’re still definitely open to writers from North America as well.

Content Warnings

We’re happy to accept books with ‘dark’ or ‘heavy’ themes, but please put a content warning in your submission for sexual abuse, assault or rape. 

How we work

We want to spend the majority of our time looking at big picture changes. This means really digging into your characters and plot and pulling them apart to understand how they all work together. Depending on what we agree together, this could involve a complete rewrite, or major structural changes if that’s what the book needs. 

We will send you a formal edit letter outlining what we think isn’t working, and probably with some suggestions for what you could do differently. We can then talk this through over Skype, email or DMs, whatever you prefer. Suggestions will only ever be that – suggestions. We may find it easier to explain what we think isn’t working by illustrating with an example of something that we think *could* work – that doesn’t mean we are right, or that that’s what you should do! We will only ever include things like that in the hope it might spark ideas for you. 

We might also mark up your manuscript if we notice anything in particular that’s confusing, or doesn’t work for us – but in general we won’t do a major line edit with you unless this is something you’re specifically concerned about.

You can see an example of Kat’s editorial comments on the Pitch Wars blog from 2019.

Thank you!

Thank you for reading through our wishlist. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment here, or you can reach us on twitter @KatAliceDunn and @daphlt.

You can view the same wishlist and leave a comment on Kat’s website as well.

Good luck!

 


 

Pitch Wars 2020 Young Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists

You can get back to the full list of mentors’ wish lists through the blog hop link, or you can use the list of links to other YA mentors’ wish lists below.

Pitch Wars 2020 Young Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists


    Click here to view all Pitch Wars 2020 Mentors’ Wish Lists

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    October 2020: Life & Death

    Our October theme is LIFE & DEATH! Our featured book this month is…well. We’ve hinted and we’ve teased, but we can now finally come out and say we’ve chosen THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE by V.E Schwab! This book is truly incredible and we’re so happy to be bringing you a gorgeous Illumicrate edition featuring all exclusive: cover, hidden cover, endpapers, and sprayed edges! It will also be signed by Victoria! Both the full box & book only options come with a gorgeous pin inspired by the book and designed by Stacey McEvoy-Caunt!

    We’ve decided to do something a little different this time and bring you a fandom neutral box! We will be including one item inspired by The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, but beyond that all our items are beautiful items not inspired by a particular fandom. We’ve loved putting this box together! It’s one of our most aesthetic boxes ever and it is super atmospheric and perfect for this time of year! We’ve got some exciting reveals to bring you.

    Existing subscribers, your spot is reserved for you as always! New spots for both box and book only will be available exclusively for our waitlist, however please be aware that we have limited spots available. Anyone not offered a spot for October will remain on our waitlist for November. 

    We’d also like to give you a little taster of the rest of our 2020 book choices, in our favoured form of emoji hints!

    November: ◀️▶️🕰 🧙🏻

    December: 🐦🔮👩🏻‍🎓👩🏾‍🎓

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    September 2020: Sinister Surroundings

    Our September 2020 theme is SINISTER SURROUNDINGS! This box is dedicated to stories with dangerous settings or situations, and crucially, have characters with the nous to get out of them (mostly) unscathed!

    Our featured book this month is…look we’re just gonna tell you, okay? It’s A DEADLY EDUCATION by Naomi Novik! We loved the deadly Scholomance, our reluctant protagonist El, and all her classmates so much! We’re thrilled to be bringing you a special edition of what is one of our favourite books of 2020. Our Illumicrate edition will have all exclusive: cover, hidden cover including a quote on the spine, sprayed edges, and a bound author letter with Naomi Novik’s signature (she has an injured hand and cannot hand-sign as a result). Both the full box and book only options will come with yet another incredible pin designed by the one and only Stacey McEvoy-Caunt!

    Our featured fandoms for September are Caraval, Uprooted, Red Rising, Kingdom of Souls, and an officially licensed Ninth House item! We’re also excited to announce our next @rosiethorns88 mug is in this box, and it is stunning.

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    August 2020: Identity Crisis

    Our August theme is: IDENTITY CRISIS! Our book this month is a science fiction debut set in a world where the secret of travelling to parallel universes has been discovered, but you can only travel to worlds where you’re already dead, and about a girl who is dead in all but eight of them. There’s multiverses to traverse, and doppelgangers to avenge.  We were totally gripped by the author’s voice from the very first chapter!

    Our edition has an exclusive cover, exclusive sprayed edges and is signed by the author! Both the full box & book only subscriptions will come with a matching pin designed by Fable & Black!

    Our featured fandoms for August are  The Illuminae Files, We Hunt the Flame, Mistborn, The Lunar Chronicles, and Percy Jackson! We revealed when we launched our August preorder that the Percy Jackson item is one of our book tins, and the design by @chattynora is stunninnggggggg! We love this set of items & can’t wait to bring you some more reveals!

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    Illumicrate damage guidelines

    If you receive an item that is damaged, we will try our best to replace it for you. Please fill out our Customer Support form within 14 days of receipt of the item and we can have a replacement sent out to you. Be ready to provide photos of the damaged item/s and the box, showing the shipping label.

    As a general rule, we are unable to replace a product if only the packaging is damaged. We are also unable to provide packaging of an individual product if yours was missing.

    Book damage guidelines:

    Does qualify as damaged

     

    Does not qualify as damaged

     

    A tear/rip/cut or visible scratch on the front of the dust jacket or spine larger than 1cm Light scratches on the back of the dust jacket
    Residue or marks on the cover that cannot be removed Scratches or unevenly sprayed edges
    A book that should have been signed but isn’t Small white spots or scratches on sprayed edges, or bleeding onto pages
    Dents or crushed edges bigger than 1cm Minimal creasing on top or bottom of the book spine, dust jacket, or corners
    Water damage Wavy pages
    Bent pages that affect the text on the pages
    Production defects (such as a missing finish)
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    July 2020: We Are the Resistance

    This is rebel leader, calling all rebel forces. Please ensure you are in a secure location before opening this briefing.

    We’ve had word that Illumicrate have released their July theme: WE ARE THE RESISTANCE. Our intel reveals that the book is a space opera following a group of rebels fighting to free the galaxy from a tyrannical empire. Sound familiar? Illumicrate loved the twisty plot and multiple POV perspective! The book has an exclusive cover, exclusive sprayed edges and will come with signed bookplates. There will also be an enamel pin inspired by the book, designed by Fable & Black, included in both the full box and book only options.

    The box will also contain items inspired by The Bone Season,  An Ember in the Ashes, Star Wars, the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, and more. Our intel suggests that the items are beautiful and useful as usual, and there will be some official reveals to come.

    Our source also managed to glean some information about the books for August – October, but it is encrypted. Resistance cells, get your best codebreakers to work on these and get the info out stat!

    August: 🌍↔️🌍

    September: 💀📓

    October: 7 ⭐

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    June 2020: In the Shadows

    Come, join us IN THE SHADOWS as we tell you all about our June theme…

    Our featured book for June is set in an alternative Paris where the dark underworld is divided into criminal guilds and one girl fights to keep her sister from their clutches. We totally fell in love with the captivating writing and incredible world-building, and we know you will too!

    Our edition features an exclusive cover AND an exclusive hidden cover under the dust jacket. There’s also exclusive sprayed edges and endpapers. This is truly one of the most stunning books we’ve ever included and we are so in love with it! We’re also incredibly excited to announce that from June onwards we’ll be including a collectible pin inspired by our book choice each month! These will all be created by our friend and collaborator @fableandblack and will be included in both the box and book only subscriptions.

    The items in this box are inspired by Nevernight, the Villains series by V.E Schwab (Vicious and Vengeful), Game of Thrones, Crescent City and more! We’re excited to announce that the next in our @rosiethorns88 mug series will be in this box.

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    Shipping updates

    Due to the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, we are seeing many delays for the items in our upcoming boxes. At first, production was halted in many factories to stop the spread of the virus, and while most of those factories are now back in operation, some have a backlog of orders to get through which is slowing production on new orders.

    In addition, we are now starting to see major delays in the shipping of finished products. This is due to an increase in the volume of goods being transported via cargo planes, and limits in the amount of flights taking place. This is affecting when products are reaching us. We are now having to ship our products by sea instead, which takes significantly longer than air shipping. We are trying to work ahead to minimise the disruption to customers.

    We want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to minimise delays to future boxes. While all our March and April products have been heavily affected because of the point in our schedule that the outbreak happened, we are now trying to plan further ahead than usual to try and avoid future boxes shipping late.

    We also want to assure you that the fulfilment centre who pack our boxes are taking every precaution to ensure this is done safely both for their employees and our customers. Our packers are spread the required distance apart, are wearing gloves to pack, and have extra sanitising products available. Our shipping company are also taking every precaution with handling boxes.

    Here are a few general updates:

    • Our shipping company has reported that their courier partners are able to deliver in almost all countries they ship to. We are seeing delays in shipments both due to the lack of cargo planes and additional border checks, so please do be patient once you receive your tracking email. If there are no tracking updates after a week, or you have any concerns regarding the shipping of your order, please get in touch with us by email
    • We are able to change the delivery address of your order if needed. The last point this can be done is when the ‘Check Your Address’ emails go out to customers approximately 10 working days before orders ship.  These emails need replying to within 24 hours if you need to change the address, and after that point additional address changes are not possible. You do not need to reply if your address is correct. You can change your address for an existing order any time up to this point by emailing us to request it. Please note that changing your address in your account does not change it on any paid-for orders, including subscription renewals. 

    Information updated on Friday 18 September

    General update for monthly boxes and book only beyond August

    Due to issues with getting our shipments on the planned boats as a result of an increase in sea shipping due to the reduction of commercial flights and the reduction of staff at ports to unload, we are seeing delays with our products reaching us. For the rest of the year, we are updating our shipping timeframe for our monthly boxes and book only orders. We are now aiming to start shipping orders during the last week of the month, as opposed to our usual timframe of beginning shipping 20-25th of the month.

    The Bone Shard Daughter Debut Boxes

    These will be shipping in September, we will have a more precise shipping date soon.

    Update 02.09: The Bone Shard Daughter debut boxes will begin being packed once the August boxes/book only orders have shipped.

    Update: 16.09: The Bone Shard Daughter debut boxes will begin shipping today! Tracking info will follow for the UK. International orders ship in batches and you will receive tracking when yours ships

    Outstanding orders for Aurora Burning and The Last Wish

    Orders for Aurora Burning and any orders for The Last Wish placed before 5th September will be shipping with The Bone Shard Daughter, so packing will commence next week.

    Update 16.09: These will begin shipping today. Tracking info will follow for the UK. International orders ship in batches and you will receive tracking when yours ships

    The Red Scrolls of Magic and The Lost Book of the White

    These will be shipping in September, we will have a more precise shipping date soon.

    Update 27.08: Due to a production delay with the printing of The Red Scrolls of Magic, we are expecting to ship these in the second half of September

    Update 16.09: We now have our stock of The Red Scrolls of Magic. The Lost Book of the White was already with us, so our fulfilment centre will begin packing orders this week. We anticipate shipping commencing early next week.

    Update 18.09: These will begin shipping on Monday.

    Cemetery Boys Debut Boxes

    Due to a delay with the books for the Cemetery Boys debut box, we expect to ship these in the second half of September

    Update 16.09: The books are still not with us, though the UK distributor has assured us they will get our stock to us as soon as possible once they have received them. We have created the shipping labels already which our fulfilment centre now has, so packing can begin as soon as we have the books.

     

    PAST PRODUCT SHIPPING UPDATES

    August ‘Identity Crisis’  full boxes and book only

    Unfortunately these orders are delayed due to an issue with the cover of the book, and a full update has been emailed out to all subscribers. We do not yet have a new delivery date for the books, but we would estimate that we’ll receive them back in early-mid September, and we will update this page as soon as we know. If you need to change your address for this order, please email us to request it.

    Update 02.09: These are now being packed, and should begin shipping next week. We’ll update when we have an exact date shipping will commence.

    Update 08.09: Boxes & book only orders began shipping yesterday! UK tracking was emailed out today. Our international shipping company ship our international orders in batches, you will receive tracking when yours ships. We expect all orders to have shipped by the end of the week. Our full boxes are missing the Lunar Chronicles item, a full update was emailed out which you can read here

    Illumicrate Collections: A Darker Shade of Magic

    These will be shipping in July, we will have a more precise date closer to the time.

    Update 30.06: These will be shipping towards the end of July

    Update 14.07: Unfortunately there was a production delay for the copies of A Darker Shade of Magic for this box, and they will not be reaching us until 10th August. We anticipate being able to ship these boxes in mid-August. We are so sorry for the length of the delay, and a full update has been emailed out to affected customers. If you would prefer a refund or need to change your shipping address, please email us to request it

    Update 11.08: The books arrived with our fulfilment centre yesterday. Once the July boxes are finished, our fulfilment centre will begin packing these boxes, they are on track to start shipping next week.

    Update 14.08: These boxes will begin shipping on Monday. International boxes will ship in batches over a period of several days, with tracking sent when your order ships. UK tracking will be sent on Tuesday.

    July ‘We Are the Resistance’ full boxes & book only

    We have switched to sea shipping for a lot of our items and have started to see delays with customs in the country of departure. As a result, the ceramic book pots for this box will not be arriving with us until the first week of August, and we anticipate shipping the boxes & book only in mid-August. A full update was emailed to affected customers and we are so sorry for the delay. If you would prefer a refund or need to change your shipping address, please email us to request it

    Update 11.08: The book pots arrived last week and our fulfilment centre team have been hard at work packing. The July boxes & book only will begin shipping tomorrow. International boxes will ship in batches over a period of several days, with tracking sent when your order ships. UK tracking will be sent this week.

    Illumicrate Exclusive: The Last Wish

    We had to return the remaining stock of these books to the printer to remedy quality issues. We now have an estimate for when the books will arrive back with us, and we anticipate shipping orders out in early August. We are so sorry for the length of the delay, and a full update has been emailed out to affected customers. If you would prefer a refund or need to change your shipping address, please email us to request it

    Update 31.07: Outstanding orders began shipping today. International orders ship in batches over a period of several days, with tracking being sent when your order ships. All international orders should be shipped by the middle of next week, UK tracking was sent today.

    Illumicrate Exclusive: Harrow the Ninth

    There should be no delays with the shipping of this book, and we anticipate shipping orders out in early August.

    Update 31.07: Orders began shipping today. International orders ship in batches over a period of several days, with tracking being sent when your order ships. All international orders should be shipped by the middle of next week, UK tracking was sent today.

    The Folk of the Air sets

    We’re awaiting an update on when we will receive the bookplates, which were held up en-route to Holly Black due to COVID, and should have news soon. Thank you for your patience!

    Update 06.07: The bookplates are now with our fulfilment centre. Address check emails will be sent shortly, and the sets will be dispatched within the next couple of weeks.

    Update 14.07: These will begin shipping on Thursday 16 July. International boxes will ship in batches over a period of several days, with tracking sent when your order ships. All orders should be shipped by early next week. UK tracking will be sent this week.

    Outstanding Aurora Burning orders

    Orders placed after 28 May will ship either with the Folk of the Air sets, or with Illumicrate Collections: A Darker Shade of Magic, whichever ships first

    Update 06.07: Outstanding orders will be sent with the Folk of the Air sets

    June ‘In the Shadows’ boxes & book only

    These are on track to start shipping in our usual window of 20-25th

    Update 19.06: Our June boxes & book only will begin shipping the middle of next week

    Update 23.06: Our June boxes & book only orders began shipping today! UK tracking emails have been sent, international orders have begun shipping in batches and tracking emails are sent when your order ships. All tracking emails should be sent by the end of this week.

    Aurora Burning

    First wave of boxes (those ordered before 4th May) began shipping on 13th May and have now all shipped. Any orders placed  between 4 May & 28 May will ship in the middle of June. Orders placed after this will ship in July.

    Update 11.06: These began shipping on 09.06. UK tracking emails were sent 10.06. International orders ship in batches, you will receive tracking when your order ships

    The Last Wish

    We anticipate The Last Wish beginning to ship in mid-June and so far there are no delays.

    Update 11.06: These began shipping on 09.06. UK tracking emails were sent 10.06. International orders ship in batches, you will receive tracking when your order ships

    With love,

    The Illumicrate Team

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    May 2020: Monstrous

    *whispers* Wait…did you hear that? Is there…something out there?

    Our May theme is MONSTROUS. We’re talking true monsters, the ones lurking in the dark and hidden places, humans hiding monstrous tendencies and those who think they’re monsters when really they aren’t.

    Our featured book this month is set in an unforgiving ice world, where children are thrown deep into the ice and left to their fate. But there’s monsters in the dark, and there’s humans that can’t be trusted, and there’s secrets to discover. We did not know who we could trust in this twisty read and we are obsessed with the worldbuilding! Our Illumicrate edition has exclusive sprayed edges and is signed by the author!

    Our featured fandoms for May are The Witcher, Not Even Bones, Howl’s Moving Castle and more! We are also THRILLED to announce we’ll be working on a series of Harry Potter-inspired book sleeves with @Pauhami, who designed the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sleeve from our November 2019 box! You will find the sleeve inspired by The Chamber of Secrets in this box!

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    April 2020: Squad Goals

    Our April theme is SQUAD GOALS! Do you ever wonder what you’d be doing during a specific historical time period? If we’d lived during the French Revolution, we like to think we’d be busting people who shouldn’t be in prison out of it, just like the badass crew in our April book!

    But with their most recent jailbreak, this crack team definitely get more than they bargained for. Will they all make it out of this job unscathed? This is the author’s debut and we are already obsessed! It’s a fantastic book filled with revolution, romance and our favourite squad since Six of Crows. It is a May release coming to you early, in hardback, signed by the author, with exclusive sprayed edges and exclusive embossing under the dust jacket! 😍 We’ll also be including a bonus art print featuring the characters.

    Our items this month are inspired by some of our fave squads and teams! We’re bringing you The Witchlands, Aurora Rising, LOTR, Gilded Wolves and more! We’ve got some kickass items and we can’t wait to start dropping reveals!