Sarah Nicolas & Leigh Mar #PitchWars Bios and Wishlist

Welcome to our corner of the Pitch Wars blog hop! Lost? Here’s more info on #PitchWars, a mentoring/pitch contest combo for MG, YA, NA, and Adult fiction authors looking for a literary agent.

This is Sarah’s fifth year mentoring Pitch Wars and Leigh’s first after being one of Sarah’s mentees last year. We are excited to be teaming up and fully intend to WIN!

In past years, Sarah has coached mentees who have “won” the YA category – i.e., gotten the most requests from agents. Almost all of her past mentees have gotten an agent or a book deal following Pitch Wars – including Leigh, who signed with Elana Roth Parker at Laura Dail Literary Agency with her Pitch Wars MS.

#TeamSarah (Or #TeamCoffeeDragon) Alumnae:

*Chelsea and Shannon did not get offers immediately from Pitch Wars, but since I have great taste in writers 😉 they did eventually get agents/book deals.

About us

Sarah writes YA as Sarah Nicolas (Dragons are People, Too and the forthcoming YA f/f romancKeeping Her Secret) and adult romance as Aria Kane. She’s represented by Rebecca Podos at the Rees Literary Agency and has worked as a Publicity Director for Entangled Publishing and in the editorial department of two small publishers. Sarah used to read slush for Liz Pelletier and Prophecy Girl was the first book she ever “pulled out of the slush” and championed.

Sarah’s a whedonite, a whovian, and still convinced she’s going to marry Leonardo (the Ninja Turtle). She plays a lot of wallyball and her day job is planning events for a public library.

Get to know Sarah on: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram She also writes for Book Riot and blogs for YAtopia

Leigh Mar writes YA that feels contemporary, but usually has a speculative twist tossed in there somewhere. She interns for a literary agent, reading a MS a week and making recommendations and revision plans. The MS that most excited her this year wound up with six offers of representation, so, she has pretty excellent taste!

Leigh is a wanna-be private eye who spends more time daydreaming than solving crimes. She is a professional marketer by day, writer and reader by night (often, far too late into the night…).

Get to know Leigh on: Twitter, Tumblr. She also blogs for To The Shelves and answers questions at Ask Authors


We are seeking ALL THE YA*

We love all genres. Sarah’s tastes tend to fall towards spec-fic of any kind, but she also enjoys contemporary or historical with a strong hook. Leigh loves plots with twists you don’t see coming and characters you can’t help but root for and follow anywhere (likable or not). We don’t need a love story in our YA, but we do appreciate a good one (main plot, sub plot, unrequited, what have you).

Other interests include: Diverse cultures and settings, breaking of cultural norms (especially gender norms), villains you can love, broken souls realizing they are stronger than they thought, strong and complicated family relationships (especially sisters!), underdogs who take you by surprise, times of change (summers before college, moves to new places, etc.), mysteries, strong voices with smart and witty writing. If you have a genre-bender like Sarah’s 2013 mentee’s Amped, bring it!

We absolutely love and want your LGBTQ+ stories!

*Excluding: hardcore horror, on-screen rape (no exceptions), books centered around sexual assault, dream stories

Edit: This previously said no ghost stories, but we’ve removed that from our exception list. As long as the ghosts don’t have anything to do with dreams, count us in!

What to expect working with us

Be prepared to WORK! We want a mentee with a positive attitude who’s not afraid of hard work, who’s open to constructive criticism and can take feedback and run with it. Last year, Leigh deleted the first 60-some pages off her MS. Poof, gone. She wrote about 20k new words and re-structured the telling of her story while adding a new character and subplot (and it was SO much better!). If you’re looking for someone to challenge you to make your book better in every way and to help you write the best damn pitch/query letter your book has ever hoped for, you’ve found the right team.

So if you have an awesome YA, submit to us on August 3rd! In the meantime, read some of Sarah’s query secrets and follow us on Twitter for more #PitchWars prep tips.

(And if you missed the letter for the scavenger hunt, take a muccloser look at my entire post.)

Check out the other YA mentors’s wishlists (then come back and join our team, because we’re the best!)

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3 thoughts on “Sarah Nicolas & Leigh Mar #PitchWars Bios and Wishlist

  1. Hi, Sarah! Hi, Leigh! Since you guys are open to both contemporary and historical, I was wondering. My manuscript is set in the '70s. Almost like The Parent Trap (1961 version) meets Eleanor and Park with complicated family drama and light romance. Would you consider it contemporary or historical? And can I put you in my list of potential mentors?


  2. I guess it depends on how it's executed. If the time period is fundamental to the story, I would call it a historical. If the time period is simply a setting, then maybe not.


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