Welcome to Pitch Wars 2017!


(If you don’t know what Pitch Wars is and you want to learn more, check it out here)

Assuming you are in the right place (and even if you are not!), thanks for stopping by to learn more about Team Unicorn Mojo. This year I’m co-mentoring middle grade with Julie Artz––my critique partner, a professional editor, and an all around awesome human being. You can read our bios and wish list over at her blog.

But wait! Don’t leave just yet––in addition to sharing important information about us that you won’t find elsewhere, we have a very cool GIVEAWAY in store for you at the bottom of this post.



First, we know the wish list over on Julie’s site will play a critical role in helping you decide if we’re the right mentors. But we also know that just as important to your decision process is what we aren’t looking for. So here goes:

We are not looking for:

  • Fae/elves/Tolkienesque-type high fantasy
  • Historical (unless it’s super fresh and from an #ownvoices author)
  • Science Fiction
  • Anthropomorphism
  • Anything (much to Julie’s dismay) involving zombies
  • Mysteries
  • Books in verse


We thought that might be the case!

Team Unicorn Mojo FAQs:

Q: Are you open to working with writers working on their first MS?

A: The fast-paced and intense revisions required in Pitch Wars may be hard for a beginner, or even a long-time writer who hasn’t worked in a critique partner or group setting, to handle. We love the Malcolm Gladwell quote that it takes 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” to master a skill. If you’ve put in those hours to hone your craft and have experience with feedback, we’re ready to help you, whether it’s your first book or your tenth.

Q: Do you care if my MS is written in first or third person?

Both are fine with us!

Q: Are you open to multiple POVs?


Q: My book is middle grade but my main character is 13 or 14. Should I submit to you?

For sure! We both love upper middle grade and will help you make sure you are nailing that all-important MG voice!

Q: I’m really in love with my story and don’t want to make big changes. Will you help me polish it?

We both have a track record of providing lengthy editorial letters requesting extensive revisions. If you aren’t open to big changes or don’t have the time to tackle them, we probably aren’t your best choice. (Of course we’ll only ask for big revisions if we believe it will truly improve your MS.)

Q: Why should I trust you with my story?

Because we have magical unicorn dust that we’re willing to sprinkle all over it! But seriously––we consider mentoring a great honor and will do our very best to help you and your manuscript reach the next level. We are both avid readers of middle grade as well as writers, so you can be confident that we’ll help you take your writing to the next level.

Q: I am a friend, client, and/or critique partner to one of you––can I submit to your team?

Social media friends are fine, but if you already have access to our feedback, please submit to the many other fantastic Pitch Wars mentors instead of us.

(In the event you still have questions, give us a shout on Twitter on the #askmentor or #PitchWars hashtag)

And finally…the moment you’ve been waiting for…


Remember that giveaway we promised you?

To thank you for taking the time to learn about us, we’re giving away a FREE QUERY AND FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE! (Don’t worry, we’ll turn it around in time for you to polish before the Pitch Wars window goes live—we’re quick like that.)

To enter, leave your Twitter handle and a comment about one of the books on our wish list in the comments section below. We’ll draw a winner at 10pm on July 20th.

Good luck with this and all of your writing endeavors…

With love from #TeamUnicornMojo


p.s. If you’ve read this far and are dying to know more, here are a few links to past critiques, success stories, and a couple more testimonials:

First Page

Query Critique

Voice Critique

Success Interview 1

Success Interview 2

Success Interview 3

Success Interview 4

Testimonial: From the start I knew Jessica was a legendary mentor. She’s whip smart, clever, caring, communicative, and above all else she dives into her mentee’s words and analyzes them as closely as she does her own. Jessica loves to talk about unicorn magic, and unicorn magic she does indeed have, in the form of turning around drafts in days, brainstorming on the fly, and editing with the careful precision of a publisher. We went through at least three rounds of edits in a month, a feat that had seemed impossible until it was completed. Jessica pushed me and challenged me to see my work as a professional, and to set very rigid and close deadlines when tackling revisions. As a result, by the time the agent round was upon us, I felt like I could handle anything as a writer. That is where the unicorn magic comes in—through Jessica’s mystical ability to simultaneously challenge and instill boundless confidence in her mentees. I continue to be grateful for her guidance long after Pitch Wars has ended

Testimonial: The absolute best recommendations I can give for Jessica come from two people, my agent and my critique partner. When I was in the midst of revisions, my CP read what I had. Then she read it again after Jessica got a hold of it and ran her amazing, fine-tooth, line edit comb over it. She said something along the lines of, “I don’t know what you did, but it’s so much better. It’s told so much more confidently now.” Then, on the call with my my agent (Elizabeth Harding) she said several times, “The manuscript is really, really polished.” I owe both of those compliments to Jessica. She will make you work and mark up your manuscript with so much virtual red pen you might have a heart attack. And then you’ll get to work and end up with a “confident,” “polished” manuscript.





































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35 thoughts on “Welcome to Pitch Wars 2017!

  1. I wish I could make a comment about just *one* book on your wishlist. I’ve added so many of them to my own “wanna buy ‘for my niece’ and then read myself” list.

    My twitter handle is @SharonDeeTabak.

  2. Love Lockwood & Co –magic, ghosts, and lots of action. Great character interaction, too.

    Thank you for the offer.
    Twitter: @njcorsini

  3. @ditchburnpatton

    Thank you for the giveaway and all the great book recommendations! I’m swooning over The Girl Who Drank the Moon right now!

  4. You guys have a great wish list, but my favorite on it is “The Girl Who Drank the Moon”. I just read it a few months ago and fell in love with it. My twitter handle is @jnifer4
    Thank you! Jenn Mulready

  5. You have a great wish list, but I’m currently smitten with “The Girl Who Drank the Moon”. It’s beautifully written almost sing songy voice made me fall in love with it quickly.
    My twitter handle is @jnifer4
    Thank you, Jenn

  6. Thanks for the opportunity for a giveaway! I’ve adored Neil Gaiman since his Sandman days, and was blown away by The Graveyard Book. Oh, and The Girl Who Drank the Moon still haunts me. As does Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. What? Out of space? But I haven’t…oh all right. My handle is @GinnyKaczmarek.

  7. I adore The Graveyard Book. I’ve been a fan of Neil Gaiman’s for years, and this is one of my all-time favorites. Thanks for the opportunity to enter. @lvoisin

  8. The Thing About Jellyfish pops up on so many lists for a valid reason! Thanks for adding a sprinkling of fun to PitchWars!
    My twitter handle is @Mdmd2020Forbes

  9. You guys are awesome for doing this!
    Loved it, but The Thing about Jellyfish made me tear up so badly that my 18 year old offered to take me out for ice cream.
    I’m @kmorrisontaylor on Twitter

  10. There are some great books on your wishlist. I loved The Graveyard Book and A Monster Calls. I also just finished The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill (not on your list), but The Girl Who Drank The Moon is on my TBR list.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. Hi! I’m pitching an adult MS, but as a teacher, I love all age ranges of books and enjoyed reading your page!
    I’m very interested in checking out When the Butterflies Came, and a bunch of others on your list. I’ve taught 3rd grade and under for the past couple of years, and it seems I’ve fallen behind on some great books!


  12. Hello! I’m pitching an adult MS, but as a teacher I enjoy books in all the age ranges, and I enjoyed reading your wishlists. When the Butterflies Came sounds very intruiging, as do many of the books on your list. I’ve mostly taught 3rd grade and under for the past few years, and it seems I’ve fallen a bit behind on some great reading!

  13. I might be a computer imbecile, but I can’t see any book titles on this page (apart from in the comments)? I would love a critique though, twitter handle is @justineohlrich

  14. Neil Gaimans Graveyard Book is one of my favourites!! Thank you for this chance! My handle is @jadewritesbooks

  15. My Twitter handle is @nicolelynnhoefs. And as for one of the books on the wishlist, I’m going with ALL FOUR STARS since I already talked about this with you on Twitter. 🙂 I can’t wait to read it this weekend.

  16. The Girl Who Drank the Moon has some of the most beautiful, lyrical prose I have ever read. If I had to choose just one favorite book this year, this would be it. Thank you for this opportunity!

  17. Thank you to all who entered the giveaway; the entry window is now closed and we will be announcing the winner shortly. If your MS fits our wish list, we hope to see it in our inbox in August. Good luck to all, and happy writing/revising!

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