Welcome to Pitch Wars! I am so excited to be back for my third year as a YA mentor! This contest has changed my life in so many wonderful ways, and I have experience on both sides–as a mentee and as a mentor. I’m super proud to say both of my previous mentees have found agents. You can read their success stories here and here!

I’ll talk a bit more about myself and my editing style below, but first… here is an overview of what I’m hoping to find in my inbox this year!

1) Magical Realism (as well as realistic fiction with fantastical elements)

Magical realism is always a tricky genre to define, but I love the way Anna-Marie McLemore described it in this blog post: “It’s a world where magic is more heartening or frightening than it is surprising.” I’m looking for a manuscript where a sense of magic shapes not just the MC, but their community. Some of my favorite books/authors of this genre are:

  • The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
  • Nova Ren Suma

I’d also love to see a story with fantastical or supernatural elements that may not fit the exact definition of magical realism. Such as…

  • The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
  • Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
  • This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers (not even close to magical realism, but I include this because it is one of my favorite examples of a book with a high concept (zombie apocalypse) that is grounded in the emotional lives of the characters, and because to me it reads more like a contemporary than a sci-fi or fantasy. Also because I love everything Courtney Summers writes.)

To be clear, I am NOT looking for fantasy or science fiction novels.

2) All The Contemporary

I love the entire spectrum of contemp YA, from light and swoony to dark and gritty. The most important thing is that it gives me the FEELS. I love when a book manages to make me laugh and cry, or when a dynamic between two characters is so intense it makes my stomach clench. I would love to see a book where characters’ backstories intersect in unexpected ways.

I’d also love to see any manuscripts with psychological elements, and/or manuscripts addressing mental illness as a main focus or influence. Some favorites: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Other things that will give me grabby hands:

* Flawed female characters

* Anti-heros (love a protag who makes mistakes and could be labeled unlikeable)

* Sibling stories, especially those with complicated relationships in the vein of I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

* Characters with messy histories

* Toxic friendship stories

* Unreliable narrators

* Romance that is grounded in flawed characters facing real obstacles. [Give me a slow-burning romance to ship! Also love the enemies to friends to lovers trope. (My ultimate book boyfriend is Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road)]

* Unique structures (alternating POV, alternating Before/After timelines, etc.)

* VOICE! Always voice.


3) Suspense/Thrillers
I would love to see a twisty mystery or suspense, especially one with emotional heft. Some recent examples I adored…

Far From You by Tess Sharpe

After the Woods by Kim Savage

The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey (not so recent, but… <3)

Anything by Stephanie Kuehn

To reiterate, I am NOT the right mentor for your fantasy/science fiction/horror novel.

Think you’ve got what I’m looking for?? HOORAY! Here’s some more info that might help you decide if we’re a good match!

What I’m looking for in a mentee:

Someone who is willing to work hard and who will take a thoughtful approach to revisions. Someone who responds well to feedback and is willing to kill their darlings. (This does NOT mean you have to agree with everything I say. I love having a dialogue with my mentees and coming to a solution that feels right. But I do want someone who will take the time to absorb my notes before deciding on a revision plan.) Someone who isn’t afraid to cut scenes/chapters/huge sections if they aren’t working. (Fun fact: when I was a mentee I cut and rewrote about 75% of my book during the contest. It sold four months later.) And last but not least, someone who has put in the hours to get their manuscript as ready as it can be, and is looking for help to take it to the next level.

What you can expect from me as your mentor:

An edit letter with big picture feedback, as well as line edits/examples in track changes that jumped out at me while reading. Time allowing, a second pass to focus on smaller-scale revisions. Several passes over your pitch/sample for the agent round. A cheerleader who will be there to talk over any issues that come up while you’re revising. Encouraging emails that will likely contain pictures of my goldendoodle puppy, Tilly.


Tilly the goldendoodle at eight weeks old. Adorable, amirite?


Miscellaneous and probably irrelevant facts about me (that aren’t listed on my bio page…):

I’m slightly obsessed with Marilyn Monroe. I watch too much TV, especially Netflix. I know every line in Mean Girls. If I were an appliance, I’d be a refrigerator (because I like being full of food). I consume a lot of maple syrup. My favorite ice cream flavor is cookies ‘n cream. I think sea lions are adorable. If you like Arrested Development and/or Gilmore Girls, we will probably be great friends.

Be sure to check out Brenda Drake’s blog for submission details and rules. Any other questions, feel free to chat with me on Twitter (@thatEmilyMartin)!

And if you’re looking for a letter… :) images.duckduckgo.com




































































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I’m super excited to have some upcoming events in my home state of Michigan this summer!

Friday, July 22

4-6 PM

Traverse Area District Library

610 Woodmere Ave
Traverse City, MI 49686

Panel with Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of FIRSTS

More information: http://www.tadl.org/event/woodmere/2016/07/22/ya-conversations-meet-authors


Saturday, July 23

2-3 PM

Brilliant Books

118 E Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49684

Signing with Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of FIRSTS

More information: http://www.brilliant-books.net/event/laurie-elizabeth-flynn-emily-martin-book-signing


Saturday, September 24

9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Boston Teen Author Festival

Cambridge Public Library & Cambridge Rindge and Latin School

More information: http://www.bostonteenauthorfestival.com/


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I’m so excited to be joining a panel of amazing authors to talk about our YA novels at Books of Wonder in New York!



Posted in 2016 debut, In-person event, The Year We Fell Apart Comment

Hi everyone! This post is part of the 2016 YA Contemporary Scavenger Hunt sponsored by The Book Belles! I am so excited to have exclusive content for one of my favorite 2016 debuts, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES by Rebecca Podos. Here’s a little more about the book:
22811780All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It’s the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters.

When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn’t come back. Neither Imogene’s stepmother nor the police know where he could’ve gone, but Imogene is convinced he’s looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she’s gleaned from a lifetime of her father’s books to track down a woman she’s never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she’s carried with her for her entire life.

Rebecca Podos’ debut is a powerful, affecting story of the pieces of ourselves that remain mysteries even to us – the desperate search through empty spaces for something to hold on to.


And now, a word from Rebecca on her content:

To solve the central mystery, my main characters travel across MA in search of clues, so I thought it might be cool to draw up a map of key locations from the book.

So without further ado…


So interesting! Thanks to Rebecca for sharing this awesome content, and happy hunting!

6537142Rebecca Podos’ debut YA novel, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, is forthcoming from Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins) on 1/26/16. A graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing program at Emerson College where she won the M.F.A. Award for Best Thesis, her fiction has been published in Glimmer Train, Glyph, CAJE, Paper Darts, Bellows American Review, and Smokelong Quarterly. Past Awards include the Helman Award for Short Fiction, the David Dornstein Memorial Creative Writing Prize for Young Adult Writers, and the Hillerman-McGarrity Scholarship for Creative Writing. She works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston


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The wait is over and The Year We Fell Apart is finally out in the world! Join me for the official launch party at Porter Square Books on 1/26, 7pm!

There will be a reading, a Q&A, and mini-pecan tarts!




Posted in The Year We Fell Apart Comments Off on THE YEAR WE FELL APART Launch Party!

Let me start by saying, I am so thrilled to be a part of Pitch Wars! This contest has played a huge role in kicking off my own career, helping me land an agent (the amazing Lara Perkins of Andrea Brown Literary) and eventually a book deal (my debut, THE YEAR WE FELL APART, comes out from Simon Pulse in January 2016!). This is my second year as a mentor, and last year I had an amazing experience working with some incredibly talented writers. My mentee went on to get an agent after the contest, and I am so proud to have been a part of that journey.

I’ll be mentoring YA this year, so if you’re still with me… here is a bit more on my mentoring style:

My critiques aren’t sugarcoated. I will absolutely gush and fangirl over all the aspects I love about a manuscript, but I also won’t hold back when I feel something isn’t working. This experience is all about learning and growing (and having been a mentee myself, I know how challenging it is!). With that in mind, I am looking for a mentee who can handle constructive criticism, who will take a thoughtful approach to revisions, and who isn’t afraid of hard work—even if it means cutting scenes and killing your darlings.

If you’d like to know more about me, come chat with me on twitter, where I can often be found discussing important matters such as book boyfriends, chocolate cravings, and other writerly things!

And without further ado, here are some more details on what I’m dying to see in my inbox:

Contemporary YA. I write in this genre, so it’s always something I enjoy reading. Things that will give me grabby-hands include: VOICE!!!, rich world-building (even realistic YA needs this!), and a strong hook/fresh story idea.

I’m also looking for historical fiction and magical realism! (I tend to fall hardest for magical realism that is firmly grounded in the world around us, but with a touch of the surreal. Think A.S. King or Sarah Addison Allen.)

I love writing that strikes a balance between literary and commercial, and adore stories that are heartbreaking and honest (and if you can make me snort-laugh, I’m yours). I’d also love to see any manuscripts with psychological elements (but no horror, please!), and if your ms has a slow-burning romance, unreliable narrator, or a unique structure (alternating POV, stories told in before/after sections, etc.) send it my way!

I’m NOT the best mentor for your high fantasy or sci-fi novel.

My favorite books are ones that evoke a range of emotion; especially those that make me laugh and cry. Some examples in no particular order…

  • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  • Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
  • Anything by Jandy Nelson
  • Anything by Courtney Summers
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
  • Anything by Nina LaCour
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Don’t forget to scope out Brenda Drake’s blog to read all about the submission guidelines!

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This week, the Middle Grade and YA debut author group I’m a part of, The Class of 2k16, launched our website. To celebrate, we’re giving away two $50 B&N gift cards!

To enter the drawing, all you have to do is:

1. Retweet our launch tweet @Class2K16books

2. Follow us on Twitter.


That’s it! That’s all you have to do, and then you’re entered in this tasty giveaway!

The giveaway will close at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 2. Be sure to check back on the Class of 2k16 News & Giveaways page for weekly giveaways of the Class of 2k15’s books!

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