PitchWars 2018 Wishlist!

Sana Patel is a YA and MG author who writes about #OwnVoices and kick-butt girls, with sometimes a hint of romance. She moved to the States from India at a young age and grew up in Texas where her love for stories, cultural cuisine, and diversity grew. Aside from writing, her main loves are food, Netflix, and baby animals. She’s represented by Katelyn Detweiler.

Some writing background: I’ve worked as an editorial assistant with a small publisher, I’m currently an editor with a private publisher (space industry-related news), and I’m a sensitivity reader.



Give me your DIVERSITY! Your OWNVOICES! Your KICKASS girls!

I’m looking for contemporary, sci-fi, fantasy, historical, mystery, thriller, and horror. I want to be swept away by lush imagery, deep emotions, swoon-worthy romances, heart-breaking moments, heart-pounding scenes. I want to see fleshed-out characters, bone-chilling villains, high stakes, twists and turns.

I want a strong voice that stands out with superb writing. I lean toward humor, but obviously I like the dark stuff, too. You can have an ordinary world, but still make it extraordinary. 

I prefer 1 or 2 POVs, although I’ll consider 3. I prefer first person past tense, but will consider third person and/or present tense.

I’m also accepting NA, but with the understanding that it could become a YA.

What I’m not looking for (not to say it’s an automatic pass, because you never know! but if you’re trying to decide between mentors, I don’t want you to waste your slot). I might not be the best for angel/demon, vampires, witchcraft, and *definitely* no plots that glorify or support racism/hate. If your ms has a ton of cursing and graphic violence (please no rape plot device), I will ask you to tone that down where applicable.

Some YA books that I love:
The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer
Of Poseidon trilogy by Anna Banks
Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Now I Rise by Kiersten White
A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Divergent series by Veronica Roth
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Razerland series by Anna Aguirre

Some things I’m looking for in a mentee:

Hard worker, willing to put in the time and effort and polish their drafts within reasonable time frames; Someone who’s able to stay true to their vision but can brainstorm to make the book better; Honesty, speak up but be chill. I’m not here to stress you out; Someone who can take the criticism (I promise it won’t be harsh, no tears!); Someone who respects me and my time and appreciates all the free effort that’s going into helping you; Someone who sees this to the end and will be happy.

Some things that you can expect from me as your mentor:

I’m fast. I’m detailed. We will do several drafts. We can email or text or chat on the phone, although I won’t be available at all times of the day. We will discuss major points and revisions. It won’t be all about what I want, this is your book! We’ll be a word-busting, plot-carving, character-building, ms-polishing dream team. Bam.

Final thoughts:

I look forward to reading all of your submissions and hope you the best! Please keep in mind that if you don’t get into PW this year, it’s okay! Don’t be disheartened, and don’t take it personally. I didn’t get into PW my first and only time trying. Whether you’re chosen as a mentee or not, take advantage of the PW community. Make friends, find CPs, build your craft. So many congrats on getting this far! Writing a book is not easy, and you should be proud.

Follow me on Twitter: @Sana_Writes

If you haven’t done so yet, check out all of the amazing PitchWars 2018 mentors here.

OR…continue blog-hopping with the links below for all the amazing YA mentors!

















































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Query Success! The One That Landed THE ONE!

I’m very excited to share the query letter that connected me to my agent, Katelyn Detweiler of Jill Grinberg Literary Management. Although things moved quickly for me (this time), just remember that the success others see is simply the iceberg tip and there’s a huge mountain of work, sweat, tears, determination, and progress below the surface that isn’t always known. Querying can be difficult, but keep moving forward. You’re not alone. Below is my successful query:

Dear Ms. Agent,

If you’re going to humiliate and alienate yourself from the entire Indian community, you might as well do it gloriously. At least that’s what seventeen-year-old Kareena Thakkar is telling herself now that she’s come clean about being a Muay Thai fighter—and landing an invitation to the US Open, which could lead to a spot on the first ever Muay Thai Olympics team. Besides, she’s never felt Indian enough, despite pleasing her parents, studying hard, earning college credits, and making plans to get her family out of financial debt under her father’s illness.

Which is inconvenient, since she’s starting to fall for the likes of Amit Patel. Amit could possibly be the world’s most perfect Indian: a model son, student, and temple-goer. He’s also a genius-level programmer whose abstract mind may have just unlocked the next biggest tech development since the smart phone. As far as Indians go, he’s a gift to their community, practically wrapped with a (very handsome) bow. 

Catching feelings for Amit will cost Kareena more than just her pride—she’ll have to face his disapproving parents, manipulative girls trying to keep them apart, battle her own insecurities, and endanger her focus before the big fight. Still, with his unfailing support and the encouragement of an ever-growing circle of female athletes, Kareena’s bid for the Olympics could very well make history—if she has the courage to conquer her inhibitions and own who she really is.

THE KNOCK-OUT is an #ownvoices, feel good 77,000 word YA contemporary with a southern flair and a side of humor taken from my days in MMA and computer-science. This novel will appeal to fans of Sandhya Menon, Jenny Han, and Nicola Yoon. I attended UW for my BA in creative writing with a minors in computer science, was an editorial assistant for a small publisher, currently an editor in aeronautics research, a PitchWars and DVPit mentor, and a freelance sensitivity reader. Thank you for your time, Ms. Agent, and please let me know if I may send additional material.


Phone #

Query stats:
Queries sent: 66
Full requests: 33
Offers: 3
Amount of time querying before an offer: exactly 3 weeks
Amount of time from query to first offer: 3 days (she read the full in 1 day!)
Huh, just noticed…3 seems to be a theme here. 
Amount of agents who bowed out due to time: 6

I asked my agent (still squeal when I say that!) what she liked about my query and she said: “I loved so many things about your query! It was *very* well written for one, and I think summarizing your own book well, teasing the key threads without telling too much, is one of the hardest things an author has to do. I was so intrigued by the girl power Muay Thai fighter vibes, especially balanced with the idea of not being “Indian enough” (Kareena) vs. being “the world’s most perfect Indian” (Amit). So we have a fierce girl athlete, unlikely romance, and some really interesting cultural perspective and commentary on what it means to be Indian American in today’s world. It just hit so many fabulous points in a few short paragraphs!”

Technical reminders: 
~Queries can be dry, so add some of the book’s tone in there.
~Don’t get weighed down with too many details or terms the agent won’t know about (world-building words, for example).
~Keep it brief but exciting. Make the agent want to read more! Request more!
~Personalization. Address to the right agent, correctly spell their name, and mention any bits of info that you’d like to include such as having met them at a conference, being recommended by their colleague or client, having been requested from a contest (like PW), or maybe an interview or wishlist where they said they wanted something in particular that your book offers.
~Don’t forget genre, word count, target audience/recent comp titles.
~Include writing credits or anything about yourself that gives you a platform such as publishing credits, an MFA, work/experience that helped you build your ms (for example my background in MMA and computer science for this book), and publishing organizations. If applicable. Don’t include a super long list, just the ones that might give you a platform. If you don’t have anything, that’s fine! Don’t include anything.
~Sign-off! Thank the agent for their time, let them know you’d be happy to send additional material, and end with your name and contact info.

Querying tips:
~Query agents whom you’ve thoroughly researched. Ones who rep your genre and those you’d like to pursue in the future. 
~Query agents whom you really want to work with. None of this, I’ll just throw my query at anyone and hope it sticks. You have to find the right agent for you.
~Don’t get disheartened. You will receive rejections and no responses, things that don’t make sense, things that were so close…Agents have a lot on their hands and many times you might not get more than a “This isn’t right for me” without any real insight. It’s okay. Shake it off. You’ve got this. You’ll write the right book and get the best advocate for you and your career.
~Get others to read and critique your query. It’s essential. This is your first impression to an agent. Make it professional and enticing. Imagine it’s like going to a bookstore and the agent has hundreds of books to choose from but can only buy a few. Those back cover blurbs can make or break a deal.

I hope my little corner of success helps you build an amazing query! Write on, guys!