Pitch Wars 2021 Wishlist

A few months from now all across the internets…



Download an accessible version of our wishlist here:

It is the period of Pitch Wars. Stressed out writers, toiling in their various workspaces, are working all hours of the day to prepare their manuscripts for submission. 

Two mentors, Nanci and L, have drafted a wishlist that boils down to two words--SPACE STUFF--and are eagerly awaiting submissions to enter their mailbox. 

Pursued by the committee's ever-pressing due dates, Nanci and L request you submit your science fiction manuscripts to them, so they can help you prepare for battle....


From the Pitch Wars website:

Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for an agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents.


Nanci Schwartz and LL Montez are science fiction authors, former Pitch Wars mentees, and new moms. They decided to be mentors together to give back to the community that helped them so much on their publishing journeys, and formed #TeamMomsNeedSpace. (It’s a pun, see? We need space stories AND space to ourselves after long days of work and parenting. Ha-ha.) Nanci’s Pitch Wars book, ROBBER BARRONS, is the first book in a forthcoming trilogy from Aethon Books. L is represented by Stephanie Hansen and is currently on submission with her Pitch Wars book, ARC10.

Photo of Nanci and L with the caption "We could be your 2021 Pitch Wars Mentors."


As former Pitch Wars mentees, we know all about the process, how stressful it can be, and how to handle the showcase. Not only do you get our invaluable advice ( 😉 ), but you also get the advice of our previous mentors! Think of it as five mentors in one! 

As science fiction writers and readers, we know the current market. We know which agents to query, which small presses to submit to, and how best to market yourself. We’ve also taken different paths on our journeys, and can advise which might be the best fit for you and your manuscript.

We are both experienced editors, with self-editing work, beta reading, and professional editing experience between us. We strive to be honest, but kind. We will not hesitate to pinpoint flaws in your manuscript, but we also will highlight where your manuscript shines. 

A meme of a man in glasses with the caption our inbox, pointing at a butterfly with the caption space operas, and the question was this made for us?


We want space, space, and spaaaaaaace. Did we say space? Let’s say it again. PEOPLE IN SPAAAAACE. Earth is boring. Scratch that, Earth is HELLA stressful. We want to leave it all behind and explore strange new worlds. Space opera is our JAM. If your book takes place in space, on another planet, on a starship, on an alternate version of Earth, we want to see it! As for subgenres of SF that take place mostly or even partly in space, we are pretty open. Some examples of “spacey” stories we love: 

  • Other media: Star Wars, The Expanse, Firefly, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, For All Mankind
  • Military SF: Planetside
  • Political: The Interdependency series, the Vorkosigan Saga
  • With Robots: All Systems Red
  • On a spaceship: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet; Six Wakes
  • On another planet: The Vorkosigan saga
  • Science-based: The Martian
  • Alternate History: The Lady Astronaut series
  • Time travel: The Light Brigade
  • Dystopian/post-apocalyptic: A Canticle for Leibowitz
  • Romantic: The Vorkosigan saga (Nanci really loves these, okay?)
A set of four images of a pigeon with the captions We, Want, *inhale*, spaaaaaaaace.


We’re open to most genres of sci-fi with the exception of cyberpunk or hard sci-fi. We love robots but want them on a spaceship or another planet. While we are not mentoring fantasy, but don’t mind science fantasy as long as it’s based in space or another planet. Do you have a magic system like the Force? COOL. (Nanci loves Star Wars.) We don’t want any stories with one woman among a crew of men, or one person of color among a crew of white people, or one queer person among a crew of straight people. As we are a mentor team of moms, we are not the best for stories involving harm done to children. Violence and gore are okay, as long as they are not gratuitous. No torture-porn. We love stories about moms and families in space, but infertility is a sensitive subject for us. We love a good romance, but we do not feel we’re the best to edit graphic sex scenes or erotica. Steamy is welcome.

A meme of an astronaut in a spacesuit sitting at a table with a sign that says "magic doesn't belong in space, change my mind."


We love to chat. After sending the edit letter, we hope our mentee will be open to joining us for a video or phone call after the kids have gone to sleep to discuss long-term plans for the manuscript. During the editing process, we are open to group chats or DMs during the day to answer questions, provide immediate feedback, or just vent. We are in Eastern and Central time, so after 9 pm Eastern works best for real-time conversations. However, we are open to whatever type of communication works for our mentee and hope that our mentee will be excited for the conversations. 

As previously stated, Nanci and L subscribe to the Sandwich Method of feedback. We are all about providing detailed, constructive criticism with hard-hitting feedback, but also include plenty of happy screaming. If you’re not willing to put in a lot of work, another mentor might be a better fit. However, if you disagree strongly with any of our suggestions, we want to chat about it and see if we can come to a mutually agreeable solution. In the end, it’s YOUR book, not ours. We are here to help make it shine.


So, in conclusion:

Do you have a book about space?

A meme of a dog on the moon with Earth in the background with the captions so space, wow, much bounce, very explore, such space

Do you need help prepping your manuscript for querying?

A meme of a woman hugging a laptop with the caption how it started, and the same woman with her head on the desk with the caption how it's going.

Then we’re the Mentor Moms for you.

Our team logo, which resembles the NASA meatball, with the hashtag TeamMomsNeedSpace and PW21.

Submit to us!

A meme of Bernie Sanders sitting on Saturn's rings looking impatient with the caption Us waiting for the submission window to open.

Head back to the Pitch Wars site to see the complete list of mentors! https://pitchwars.org/pitch-wars-2021-mentor-blog-hop/

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