Pitch Wars Logo Called Poe


Alex Segura and M.J. Soni Pictures


Welcome to Team AlexMJ Pitch Wars Wishlist

We are Alex Segura and M. J. Soni (Manju) and this year we are co-mentoring for Pitch Wars.
And here, you potential Pitch Wars mentees, will get some idea of our wishlist.

And why should we submit to you, Alex and MJ?
Here are the basics on me – I was a PitchWars Mentor in 2019, to the great Joe Passanisi – and it was a wonderful, engaging experience. Mentoring and helping other writers is a big part of my day-to-day. In addition to PW, I teach a regular class at LitReactor on putting together a comic book pitch you can sell to editors, and I’ve also given writing lectures at the Quills Conference, The Resort LIC, and Hero Initiative. I think it’s important to give back to your community and PitchWars is a big part of that. Additionally, I’ve written acclaimed novels, comic books, and podcasts in the crime/mystery/YA and sci-fi genres that help give me a varied and versatile eye when it comes to helping fiction writers. What about you, MJ?

Because I’m going to be the most bestest, most tremendous, most amazing mentor that ever graced planet Earth.
Okay, just kidding. This is me:
Being a 2019 Pitch Wars mentee was the most valuable experience of my life as a writer and I feel obliged to pay it forward. It taught me how to write better, I signed with my agent through PW, and found my incredible community of fellow writers.
I’m a former eye surgeon turned author. My debut nonfiction book, When Lions Roared: How Brave Young People Defied Apartheid, was published in 2016. My first short story, a psychological suspense, was published by Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2017, I’m the recipient of the Leon B. Burnstein/MWA-NY Scholarship, and the 2020 runner up to the Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award. I’m currently working on my PW #ownVoices mystery/suspense which is set in a small town not too different to the one I live in.

So what’s Pitch Wars again?
Pitch Wars Is a mentoring program, where, over a period of three months, mentors help their mentees create a better manuscript, which is then pitched online where agents can read it and ask for more.

And what type of books are you and Alex looking for?
Mystery or crime novels

And… we welcome any and all of the following:
Great author voice
Social and cultural diversity and themes
Feminist slant
Strong setting
All gender and sexual orientation
Great supporting cast
Standalones or first in series welcome
#ownvoices and marginalized communities
We like something that makes us think, takes us out of our comfort zone, and moves us.

What we lean away from:
Cozies (there are lots of other great mentors who love these)
As much as I love all genres – and have written in them, I’m not looking for anything that doesn’t fall into crime/mystery/noir/hardboiled. I’m not the right person to give you feedback on your fantasy, romance, or historical fiction. But I wish you the best if that’s what you’re working on! I love reading those kind of books.
I’m obviously partial to the PI genre, but don’t feel compelled to send me established PI stories – I love me some amateur detectives. I love exploring how people evolve from regular folk to heroes or at least try to. I am not a big fan of the boozy detective who doesn’t face any consequences for his/her/their actions, though. So, if your hero knocks back a twelve-back and still saves the day, hooks up with the femme fatale, and recovers from a gunshot in your novel with little repercussions…that’s not my bag.

I love all stories, that said, for Pitch Wars I’m keen on anything that falls into crime/ mystery/ suspense/ noir. I enjoy a story that has a scientific or medical angle, and I’m big on suspense. Not a huge fan of cozies, and like Alex, I’m not the right person for sci-fi, fantasy, horror, romance or historical fiction.
I also get a bit impatient if the story is very slow-paced, although if I’m hooked early on I’m good with continuing. And political and social justice themes as well as domestic suspense (emphasis on suspense) are my thing.

Books in these genres we love:
These Women by Ivy Pochoda
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
Sunburn by Laura LippmanSilent City by Alex Segura
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
Bluebird, Bluebird Attica Locke
Broken Places by Tracy Clark
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Brighton by Michael Harvey
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

Once we’ve chosen a mentee and get to work, this will be our communication style:
I’m fairly responsive, as is MJ – especially over email and often through Twitter DM. That said, we’re also busy, so take that into account if you need someone to check in with hourly! But we will make time to get back to you and carve out phone sessions to drill down. Because we’ve just been through the trenches as a 2019 mentor and a 2019 Pitch Wars mentee, we understand the stress the whole process brings. We will be honest and understanding in our replies, but don’t believe in giving false hope or being misleading. We’re strong believers in clear, focused, and direct communication. The goal of Pitch Wars is to come out with a better manuscript, and be part of an incredible community who will root for you all the way.
We’re not good at line edits, so you will get high level responses from us, and we will point out obvious grammar or spelling mistakes, but no proofreading.

Final words:
You’ll be in good hands no matter which mentor you pick, but pick us!
But seriously, we’re the best! ?
Good luck!!!!!

Check out other Pitch Wars Mentor blog lists at Alex’s website!!

See you soon