Agent Interview: Sarah N. Fisk

A surefire way to determine an agent is the best fit for your manuscript/writing career is by learning all you can about them. Such information is great when choosing who to query, and when those offers of rep come in, for deciding who you’d love to work long term with. As a site dedicated to guiding writers through the publication journey, we’ve put together these agent interviews for you!

Today we’re introducing Sarah N. Fisk from the Tobias Literary Agency! In case you wonder who sheepishly chuckled, it’s Lucia, hehe.

Path2pub: Welcome to Path2pub! How did you become an agent?

Sarah: It was very intentional and quite hard-won. I had been a writer for several years and had worked in the industry in other roles before I decided agenting was right for me. Once I got the urge, I took a long time to learn as much as I could about the job and worked very hard at networking. I attended info sessions and scheduled informational interviews with about a dozen agents, then I started applying for internships and assistant positions. I was lucky to get an internship with an agent I really admire and soon after that, was hired by Tobias Agency. Networking was essential to getting both positions.

Path2pub: That’s super inspiring. What genres do you represent and why did you decide ‘these are what I want to help bring to the world’?

Sarah: I love and read a wide variety of genres, so it was really a matter of narrowing it down, since it’s hard to know every editor in the entire industry. I chose the categories and genres for which I knew the market the best: Young Adult (all genres), Middle Grade (all genres), Adult Romance, and select Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy.

Path2pub: What instantly catches your eye in a query letter/manuscript?

Sarah: Something slightly different or distinct that helps a story stand out. A great example of this is Little Thieves by Margaret Owen, which has a lesser-known fairytale as well as having a strong German cultural aspect. Sometimes the thing that stands out isn’t so much world-building or plot, but is writing that sings.

Path2pub: Lovelily put🙂. What is that element that makes you know at once that a story is not for you?

Sarah: I’m personally bored by stories that center around who gets to rule an empire/kingdom.

Path2pub: *sheepish chuckle* How hands-on are you editorially?

Sarah: I am somewhat editorial, but not hugely so. As a Pitch Wars mentor, I was known for taking already well-written stories and making small changes to make them more marketable, so that is my forte over doing a huge overhaul on a book. However, I did have a mentee that I took on with the plan on doing a big rewrite, but I fell absolutely in love with character, concept, and writing so never say never!

Path2pub: I’m sure the mentee was thrilled! Do you have goals for how many clients you want to acquire in a year?

Sarah: Yes, but I also fully believe the proverb “We plan, God laughs” so I focus on the things I can do towards those goals rather than the numbers themselves. I’m a brand new agent, so I will probably sign more clients this year than most established agents, but I also want to make sure I don’t take on too many because I’ve seen that go very wrong with new agents in the past.

Path2pub: We writers love a brand new agent! What are some books you think everyone should read?

Sarah: As you can probably tell, I’m obsessed with Little Theives but more recent books that I’m in love with include Daniel José Older’s original stories, Iron Widow, The Inheritance Games, Arsenic and Adobo, anything by Kellye Garrett, The Lost Apothecary, Cemetery Boys and many more you can find on my Goodreads. I also think everyone in the US should read Never Pay the First Bill because our healthcare system is not caring for our health the way it should.

Path2pub: If a writer could write a book specifically for you, what would you want it to be about?

Sarah: Oh this is a very hard question, but the first thing that popped into my head was a YA or MG queer cozy paranormal mystery.

Path2pub: What advice do you have for querying writers?

Sarah: Follow guidelines, keep improving your craft, and keep going as long as you still love it.

Path2pub: Thank you for that! What are your non-publishy hobbies?

Sarah: I play volleyball, bake, and make resin jewelry and trinkets.

Thank you for stopping by and for making the interview so smooth!

Sarah N. Fisk is a former mechanical engineer who made the switch to publishing in 2011. They have worked in the publishing industry as an editorial assistant, author’s assistant, publicist, and art director. Sarah is a former Pitch Wars mentor, board member, and Agent Liaison. They host the podcast Queries, Qualms, & Quirks and have a passion for spreadsheets. Sarah is one of the founding members of Disability in Publishing. Learn more about Sarah here.

We definitely have more insightful agent interviews coming, especially through February—our ALL ABOUT QUERYING themed month—so subscribe/follow us and stay tuned!

Weekend Roadside Cafe

The road to publication can be exhausting sometimes. Here’s a Roadside Cafe serving all things writing/publishing to relieve you: information sodas, entertainment burgers, amusement chips… we’ve got it. It’s alright to take a break; check out the menu!

Today’s Roadside Cafe will be slightly different as we’ll be sharing links to the publication journeys of some of the biggest names in the book world these days. Lucia has a love for following these journeys because they constantly inspire her to keep going on her own path. Hopefully they inspire you too!

Leigh Bardugo: You probably didn’t know that Leigh went from querying to book auction to three book deal in only 37 days! This is a fascinating recount you should read!

Sarah J Maas: Sarah’s publication journey was much longer, going from querying to one book deal in 2 years. There was also a ton of work involved that’s highly motivating! The huge difference between Sarah and Leigh’s (two mega-successful authors) start-up journeys is fascinating. You might find it so too!

Stephanie Garber: Stephanie’s story is pretty emotional and highly inspiring. From getting rejected by agents for years with over 5 manuscripts written, having an agent drop her after her second book didn’t sell to editors, to having her 6th book get 8 offers of representation, and going to auction shortly after submissions!

Chloe Gong: Chloe’s journey to publication shows that not every publication journey is going to be rough. She went from querying to book deal within a year, with multiple offers of rep and a book auction. For some like Chloe and Leigh, the path is really smooth. So the publication journey is not all heartache and dread!

Kristin Cashore: Introverts especially will love Kristin’s story. There’s so much to take home from this!

A great resource to find more of these stories and hear inspiring publication journeys from these author’s themselves is 88 Cups Of Tea. (Another favorite of Lucia’s!). If you do give it a listen she’s totally available to gush over the author’s podcasts with you!

She recommends:

Tweet Chips 🍟:

Writing Community Tweets we think might interest you!

Agents Open To Queries & Their Wishlist:

Relatable/Funny Writer Tweets

Informative Tweet

Got any awesome writerly links to share with us? Any Twitter thread you think everyone should see? Leave in the comments and we’ll add it next time!

Publishing Industry Terminologies (Path2pub Special)

The publishing industry is a vast one. That means a whole vocabulary that writers entering the industry have to learn and keep up with. Many of these terms/acronyms we also use on Path2pub. And so for this Path2pub Special, we thought it would be great to make a list of publishing terminologies with their easy-to-understand definitions for our readers!

Buckle up. Here we go:

  • Advance: The amount a writer receives from a publisher for their book.
  • Agent (Literary Agent): An industry expert who serves as a link between a writer and a publishing house. They guide a writer’s career and would receive a commission of 10-15% of the writer’s income.
  • ARC: Advanced Readers Copy. A copy of a book that is shared to readers and reviewers to create buzz about a book/author before the book is officially published.
  • Auction: Book Auction. (AKA every author’s dream). This is a process where multiple publishers are interested in acquiring a writer’s book and then place bids to win it. Often the publishers believe this book has huge sales potential.
  • Bio: (Biography). Information about a person as related to what they are offering.
  • Bestseller: A book with one of the best sales recorded in the market during a particular timeframe.
  • Blurb: A few sentences on a book cover crafted to promote a book. It could be flattering reviews from super successful authors, or lines that make readers eager to read a story.
  • Co-publishing: A scenario where both the author and the publisher contribute financially to the publication of a book.
  • Copyedits: An editorial process where grammar is the focus.
  • Comps: (Comparative titles). Successful books that are similar in one way or the other to yours. Usually these are included in a query letter or other proposals to show where your book would fit in a market.
  • Copyright ©: Protection for an author’s book.
  • Deal: (Book Deal). This is generally a scenario where a publishing house buys a writer’s manuscript. In a deal, advances are described as thus: Nice Deal: $0-$49k. Very nice deal: $50k-$99k. Good deal: $100k-$250k. Significant deal : $251-$499. Major deal: $500k and above.
  • Earn-out: This is when a book sells enough copies that the advance is covered completely, and the author can begin to earn royalties.
  • Editor: An editor can either be one who edits your manuscript as a freelancer, or one who acquires your book on behalf of a publishing house and works with you to see it ready for publication.
  • Elevator Pitch: A brief pitch (usually one sentence) of a book that includes all the plot’s essentials.
  • Exclusive: A submissions scenario where a writer submits solely to one agent or editor, giving them time to consider the project without competition.
  • Film Rights: (Another authors’ dream when accomplished!). The rights that allows a book to be made into a movie, usually sold by the agent or author to a professional in the movie industry.
  • Foreign Rights: The rights that allow a book to be translated into other languages.
  • Genre: An umbrella under which a specific style of literature fall under. This can be romance, thriller, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, etc.
  • High-Concept: A book that can be described entirely in one sentence.
  • Hook: What makes a story stand out amongst others in the genre.
  • Imprint: A section of a publishing house dedicated to a specific category of books. This could be based on genre or age group.
  • Lead Time: The period of time between a book’s acquisition by a publishing house and its publication day.
  • Lead Title: A book a publisher believes will make lots of sales, hence puts the most money and efforts into marketing. (Yup, you got it right. Every writer’s dream!)
  • Mass Market: Books printed for a large audience inexpensively.
  • Midlist Titles: Books that aren’t on Bestseller Lists but do well enough in the market. Often, this justifies a publisher purchasing more books from the author.
  • Middle Grade: A category of books targeted mostly at readers younger than eleven.
  • Multiple Submissions: This refers to a writer submitting different projects at once. It could be for a contest, to an agent, an editor, etc.
  • Manuscript: (MS.) The unpublished copy of a book.
  • Partial Manuscript: The first 3 chapters or 50 pages of a manuscript.
  • Preempt: When a book is acquired on preempt, it means the publishers paid a substantial sum of money to entice the author into considering them solely as the best option for the book. Usually, this is done to prevent an auction and the timeframe to accept the offer is often within hours to days. Victoria Aveyard for instance, had about 3 hours to accept the preempt for Red Queen.
  • POV: (Point of View). The narrator(s) in a story/chapter/paragraph.
  • Print-on-demand: Books printed only when orders for copies come in.
  • Query letter: (Cover letter). A proposal/pitch written by a writer (duh) to an agent/agent about their manuscript.
  • R&R: (Revise and resubmit). This is when agents and editors request major manuscript revisions (in tone, for characters, etc.) are made first before accepting it. If the changes are made sufficiently, you’re allowed to resubmit the MS to them for reconsideration. Picture it as a reset button!
  • Royalties: After a writer earns out their advance, royalties are the amount they make from ensuing book sales.
  • Self-publishing: A publication process where the author handles every step, from writing to marketing.
  • Slush-pile: Manuscript submitted to an agent or editor unsolicited.
  • Shelve-It: A term used to describe a writer setting aside a manuscript either temporarily or permanently after it doesn’t get an agent or dies on submissions to editors. E.g. ‘I’ll be shelving this manuscript after this round of querying’. ‘Shelving an MS hurts’.
  • Subagent: An agent who handles subsidiary rights.
  • Submissions: (Subs). Manuscript submissions is a period of time during which agents submit their client’s manuscript to publishing houses in hopes of getting the writer a book deal. Usually, it can extend anywhere from 1 day to 11/2 year. If a book doesn’t sell during this period, it most likely is shelved afterward.
  • Writing Community: A vast community where writers interact both online and physically.
  • Young Adult: Literature targeted at readers between ages 13-19.

Got any Terminologies you’d like us to include? Let us know in the comments!

Red Flags in Small Press Publishing Contracts

Today’s guest post is coming from Megan Shunmugam! It delves into the firsthand experience of dealing with a shady small press and is something every writer in the writing community should keep alert of. Take it away, Meg!

Post by Megan Shunmugam

When I first started the querying process, I queried widely. To agents and small publishers alike. When I received an offerfrom an independent, small press publisher, I was ecstatic. But there were a few red flags I should have observed better.

The contract seemed fairly straightforward and contained the basic essentials, such as royalty payments and retention of the copyright to my work. I was assured that the book would be available at book retailers and, after receiving an offer merely five days after submitting the full manuscript, I grabbed it with both hands, truly believing that an opportunity like that would never come along again.

At the time, I didn’t understand the concept of “print-on-demand” publishing or even the function of an independent publisher. I just thought that I have this great chance to finally get my book in some of the biggest book retailers and that the small press would help me achieve my dreams.

Looking back on the experience, my biggest enemy was my naiveté. I say this because I did not ask the questions I should have. I quickly came to realise that the small press publisher did not have a printing facility whereby they would print hundreds of copies of my manuscript for sale to book retailers, there was not even an indication that they had even read my manuscript!

The marketing of my manuscript fell solely on me and the small press did not even manage to secure a single review of my manuscript on the various online platforms in which they uploaded my manuscript. Under the pretence of the publisher wanting to “involve me in the process” I wrote my blurb and even picked out the cover design myself. At the time, I thought I was really lucky to be involved that heavily in the process.

Now, I realise exactly what happened. “Green publishing” and “print-on-demand” was used as fancy terms to gloss over the fact that my manuscript would be uploaded onto Amazon, online websites, and the website of one book retailer, and that once ordered by someone, the book would be printed by Amazon and shipped out. In essence, the small press publisher did exactly what I could have done myself – they self-published my manuscript, but had the gall to take a chunk of my royalties with them!

Although I felt deceived, it’s really no one’s fault but my own. The small press publisher answered all questions I had. I just wasn’t asking the right ones. And, largely, I think I might have been too scared of the answers. Scared that if I knew what the deal really was, I would lose out on a great opportunity. But now that I think of it, it was an opportunity that never existed. 

To sum it up, ask questions. Even the hard ones. Especiallythe hard ones. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase that “no agent is better than a bad agent”. The same thing goes with small presses! It’s better to find out all the red flags before you sign a deal and end up regretting it! Don’t get swept away with the excitement that someone is interested in your work. You wrote a wonderful story and you deserve to have someone champion it. Don’t settle for less!

The following is a list of red flags to look out for in contracts:

  • No termination clause or a vague termination clause.
  • Assignment of copyright of your work to the publisher.
  • Excessively one-sided obligations on your part, like marketing. Whilst it is completely normal and expected of an author to market their work, your publisher should be as excited about marketing your work as you are!
  • Payment of ANYTHING. All expenses should be borne by your publisher.
  • Print-on-demand and exclusive e-book publishing without a roll-out of a few books to retailers, unless this is something you really want!

Megan Shunmugam is an attorney, currently working and residing in Johannesburg, South Africa. When she is not writing, she can be found reading or spending time outdoors. Her favorite novels include The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger and Vicious by VE Schwab.

So You’re Looking For Mentorship?

Post by Amber Chen

We’re on the brink of announcements for Author Mentor Match (AMM) mentees for Round 9 and the PitchWars Class of 2021 showcase, so it seems like a good time to reflect on the concept of mentorship for authors and what it means on the path to publication! I first jumped into the world of traditional publishing and book twitter two years ago thanks to PitchWars, and as part of the PW Class of 2020, the mentorship process has been extremely important in shaping my journey as a writer (shout-out to my amazing mentors Kat and Daph :D). But what is mentorship all about, and is it truly necessary for someone who wants to be published?

(TLDR: Jump to the end for tips on navigating the mentorship process!) 

Applying for a mentorship programme—what’s it like? 

Deciding to take the leap and apply for a mentorship programme can be a stressful process for many authors. Competition is stiff—there were over 4000 entries in the year I applied for PW!—and there’s often a misconception that if you don’t get selected, it means your work isn’t good enough (totally untrue). Before submitting, I faced all these anxieties along with everyone else, and the lead-up to the opening of the PW submission window was both an exciting and nerve-racking period at the same time. There were times when I considered not submitting, because if you don’t submit, you can’t get rejected! But in the end I decided to bite the bullet and yeet my application in anyway. After all, what’s there to lose? If I don’t get in, I’ll just be back to status quo. 

Before submitting, I spent a lot of time looking through the list of mentors and their MSWLs, adjusting my mentor picks again and again before I finally settled on four that I thought would be a best fit for me and my MS. After that, I went onto the PW forum and found some fellow applicants who were willing to take a look at my sub package—I received lots of useful feedback from this, and gained some new friends too! The post-submission window was probably the worst, because that’s when you fret about getting requests and stress about the silence (and the teasers). Unfortunately there’s no running from this waiting game. There are mentors who request quickly, and others who request at a slower rate, and you never know when you might get an email—even all the way till the day before announcement of mentees!

What happens after you get a mentor? 

This is when the hard work begins! Most mentors will send their mentees an edit letter for their MS that is full of warm fuzzy feelings (all the things they loved about your work!) and then the suggestions for how the story can be improved. The length of a mentor’s edit letter can vary greatly, depending on their personal critique style and the amount of work they think your MS needs. Based on the feedback you receive in the edit letter, you’ll need to dissect your MS and figure out what you want to change or keep. For some mentees, this could mean a complete (>90%) overhaul of your MS, while others may only require more minor tweaks (<50%). For my MS, I probably did about a 30-40% change on my original draft, although some major plot details were adjusted.

For my first round of revisions, I used the reverse outlining method to generate a beat sheet for my MS, after which I went about colour-coding the key plot arcs (see image below for a glimpse at what my beat sheet looked like!). My mentors recommended doing that so that it would be easier to see whether or not each plot arc was spread evenly throughout the MS, or whether there were large gaps where certain plot arcs were neglected.  After that, I made edits to beats in red so that I’d know what to change. My mentors then helped to take a look through the revised beat sheet first and we talked about other possible adjustments before I actually dived into editing the MS itself! Once the revisions were complete, my mentors took another look through and they helped polish the first 50 pages (because that’s what many agents ask for in a partial) at a line edit level. They also helped with edits for my query letter so that the MS would be submission ready 🙂

Excel doc casually named “Beat Sheet Thing”

Is there an expiry date on mentorship?

It really depends. Some mentors and mentees prefer to limit the mentorship to the duration of the programme itself (for PW that would be a two month period), while others are happy to continue indefinitely! You’ll need to establish those expectations for yourself at the start of the mentorship. My mentors were happy to help even after the PW showcase and when I started my querying journey, they helped to vet through my agent list and offer suggestions on who I could query! When I got the email for “the call” (one whole year after my PW cycle), they were also kind enough to give me a list of questions that I could ask the offering agents. 

What should you do if you want to apply for mentorship? 

  • Be diligent with trawling through mentor profiles and MSWLs to find mentors who are most likely to be a good fit for you! Some mentors may be more high profile than others, but it doesn’t always mean they’re the best person to help you take your work to the next level. It’s important to ensure that your potential mentor has the relevant experience to add value to your work, and that what they are able to provide meets your expectations of the mentor-mentee relationship.
  • Get another pair of eyes on your submission package—you’ve probably looked at your own query and pages so many times that you can’t see the blind spots. Also, if you volunteer to give feedback to sub packages of other authors, you might glean some new ideas about how to structure your own! 

  • (If you get a mentor – yay!) Take some time to sit on your mentor’s edit letter instead of rushing to get started. Some things might resonate more than others, and that’s okay. Your mentor is there to help you polish your work, but ultimately it is YOURS and the final product has to be something that you are proud of and happy to put your name to. If there are things you don’t understand or disagree with, have a further discussion with your mentor and see how you can work it through. 

  • (If you don’t get a mentor – it’s alright!) Mentorship can be helpful, but it’s not the be all and end all. There are tons of published authors who have never gone through mentorship programmes, and I’ve met many writerly friends who have gone on to land agents far quicker than I did even though they didn’t get picked for mentorship programmes. Repeat after me: Not getting a mentor is NOT an indication of the quality of your work. 

  • Revise and be proud of your new, shiny MS! Very often the mentorship and revision journey is not an easy process and it doesn’t mean that the MS will get an agent and book deal immediately (or at all), but if you persevere, what you should have at the end of it is a stronger story and new skills that make you a better author 🙂
  • The best part about a mentorship programme is the community! I mean every word here, because the people I’ve met through PW (not just fellow mentees, but also other applicants in the lead-up to the sub window) have become such a valuable part of my writing journey. Take the opportunity to find betas, CPs and writerly BFFs that you’ll keep for a long time to come!

Amber is a PitchWars ’20 alum and a Wattpad Star. One of her Wattpad novels, The Cutting Edge, has recently been adapted for television and is streaming on meWATCH. She is represented by Anne Perry at The Ki Agency.

Website | Twitter | Wattpad | Instagram

ALL ABOUT QUERYING: Strength In Your Queries

February 2022 is going to be a momentous one on Path2pub and you don’t wanna miss it! Why? Well, it’s ALL ABOUT QUERYING.

Yes, literally!

All through the month, each contributor will be sharing posts with tips, lessons, and of course, tricks, on how to approach the query package. (🥳). Roadside Cafe will include only links to querying resources, and we’ll be spotlighting more agent interviews!

BUT that’s not all. We’ll also be doing a STRENGTH IN YOUR QUERY Challenge, which (as the name suggests) is all about highlighting the strong points in a query letter.

Lucia, Amber, and Mariana will also be stripping down their query letters and sharing what made them work. (You don’t wanna miss this!)

And of course, we shouldn’t be having all the fun. We’d LOVE for YOU to send us your query letters while highlighting what you feel the strengths of the letter are. We’ll post it (if you want), and also highlight the strengths of your letter and what could be made even stronger.


To help everyone learn a thing or two on query letter drafting while keeping the month interactive. BUT, if you’ll prefer your query letter not be posted, no problem, just write that in your email. We’ll give you a critique via email!

There are 5 SLOTS open for the strengths-critiques. 4 slots for a public preview and 1 for a private preview. To be eligible to snag one of these slots:

  • Subscribe to the Path2pub site. (For solid content!).
  • Follow our Twitter Account, and retweet the post about ALL ABOUT QUERYING: Strength In Your Queries.

Once you’ve done so, submit those query letters here. The window will be open until the 6th of February so start submitting.

Why Are We Doing This?

The goal is that hopefully at the end of this month, you’ll have put together a successful query letter of your own!

We hope you (and your writing friends) can join us; feel free to ask any questions in the comments!

– The Path2pub Team

Crafting Twitter Pitches

Post by Reem Khaleel

I have had a decent amount of success during Twitter Pitch Parties. What exactly is a Twitter Pitch Party? A Twitter Pitch Party is where authors looking for literary agent or publisher representation for their novels can pitch completed novels in the short form of a tweet. Participating agents and editors can then like your pitches, which is their way of inviting you to submit a query for your novel to them. A Twitter Pitch is exactly like an elevator pitch, using only 280 characters. But condensing a 60,000 to 80,000 word novel isn’t always easy, which is why I want to share my pitch party tips and tricks with you!

Many people think Twitter Pitch Party success depends only on luck. While that’s true, a well-crafted pitch also makes a huge difference! Here’s how I crafted pitches that received four to ten agent likes during various pitch parties:

Pitch 1: Adult Contemporary Romance

Pitch 2: YA Contemporary Romance

Pitch 3: YA Contemporary

Pitch 4: YA Contemporary

Pitch Formula

All these pitches have the same formula:

  1. Comp Titles: These are novels you feel your novel is similar to. These should be novels you can see yours sitting next to in a bookstore. You can choose a comp because it uses the same tropes, has a similar voice, writing style, or premise. When choosing comps, having eye-catching and well-known comps helps during pitch parties. Try to keep novel comps to titles released within the last five years because this is the advice agents give to those querying. You can also use movie/tv show/song comps. If a movie/tv show/song comp works well with your novel, but is slightly older, ask yourself if it’s popular and modern enough before using it. Odds are if it’s a Taylor Swift song, everyone will know it, even if it’s from an earlier album. If it isn’t popular or modern enough, could you find a better choice? Notice in my first example, I use Bride Wars starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson as a comp title. This movie was released in 2009, but starred popular actresses and I felt it was pretty well-known, so I used it as a comp. This ended up working out for me, but it could have easily backfired, so really do your research before using a comp. A few ways I research a comp I’m unsure of is browsing event hashtags (Examples: #PitMad, #DVpit) with a comp title I’m considering on Twitter. This way you can see if others have used the comp recently during pitch parties. When researching for a new comp, I always check out the new releases in a bookstore/online bookstore website and read the blurbs or I do the same thing on Goodreads. I also always put the comps at the top of the pitch, so they’re immediately visible since agents seem to be drawn to good comps during pitch parties!
  2. MC & Problem: Introduces the main character and the main obstacle they face in the novel.
  3. Goal: What is the main character’s goal in the novel? This can tie into how they face the main obstacle in the novel.
  4. Stakes: What stands in the way of the main character and their goal? This is where you create tension in the pitch. You can hint at if the main character is successful at overcoming the obstacle or not, but don’t give away the answer. The point is to get an agent interested in reading more, so less is more here. Stay away from rhetorical questions in this part of the pitch because agents aren’t drawn to them the way you think they would.
  5. Hashtags: This is one of the most important aspects of the pitch. Make sure you have the correct event, age category, and genre hashtags. Agents are likely to filter pitches based on age category and genre because the event hashtag itself will be flooded with too many pitches.

I use this formula every time I craft a pitch and it hasn’t failed me yet! My pitches don’t always list the five elements in order, but by the end, all five elements are incorporated into the pitch.

More Pitch Party Advice

  1. I always try to use phrases from my successful pitches to edit my query letter because these short pitches really help to pin down the main plot points & stakes in the novel if that’s something you struggle with when writing a query letter. Example: Using your “goals” part of the pitch at the beginning of your query letter, or the “stakes” part of the pitch as the closing to your query letter.
  2. ALWAYS pin your best tweet to your Twitter profile. This makes it easier for your friends to support your pitch and help give it a boost in the event hashtag by commenting and retweeting. If you want to pin each pitch as they post, you can try that method too, but having one pinned pitch always helps me. If you get a few early agent likes on a pitch that isn’t your pinned pitch, you can also switch your pinned pitch then. I’ve done this before and later got more likes on the same pitch.
  3. Don’t pitch EXACTLY at the hour or half hour because those are the times the pitch feed gets most flooded. Choose a random interval like 8:05 am.
  4. Don’t thread your pitches! This will definitely ensure they get lost in the flood of pitches.
  5. Try to pitch in the first half of a pitch party. I’ve noticed that agent activity dies down after around noon during pitch parties. Some agents come back at the end of business day, but only notice the pitches made earlier in the day. My pinned pitch always is made right at the start of pitch parties and gets the most likes.
  6. If you’re in an international time zone, schedule your pitches ahead of time! This has quite honestly saved me several times because pitch parties often happen at night in my time zone!
  7. Try to monitor agent activity at the beginning of the event. Space out your pitches accordingly. I’ve found that pitching every two hours works for me, until all my pitches are posted.
  8. Make sure to read the event guidelines, so you know how many pitches you’re allowed as this will vary with each pitch event.
  9. Take a deep breath, relax, and support all the wonderful pitches! Don’t refrain from commenting or retweeting other pitches out of fear that will make your own pitches less noticeable. The most important part of a pitch event is to interact with other authors, otherwise they will be a very lonely and soul-crushing experience. I’ve had pitch parties with no agent likes. It’s already hard not to be discouraged by that, but if you go through it alone it’s worse. I mostly participate in every pitch event I can to connect with other authors and I have made so many new writing friends through all the pitch parties I’ve participated in!
  10. Remember to NEVER like anyone’s pitch because this is reserved ONLY for agents and editors. Some pitch parties have retweets reserved for ONLY editors so make sure you read the event guidelines to know whether to comment or retweet to support your friends.
  11. If you get an agent like, make sure you research the agent first. The only thing worse than not getting an agent like would be getting fooled by a schmagent during a pitch event. Also make sure to check out the Twitter profiles of all agents who like your pitch for their pitch party query instructions before querying them. Almost always they have different query instructions for pitch parties than their normal query guidelines and most of them will tweet their pitch event instructions at the start of the event.
  12. DON’T mention agents or crawl into their DM’s with your pitch, unless they ask you to do so after liking your pitch to get query instructions, or they’re looking for pitches they missed in the genres they’re acquiring and ask people to send them pitches in their mentions or DM’s.
  13. For your own sanity, don’t stare at your Twitter feed all day hoping for a like. If you want to check up on your pitches from time to time, bookmark them on Twitter to look at the likes. This makes it easier to find them again without having to scroll through your own Twitter feed.
  14. Even if you don’t get agent likes, browse the hashtag after the event to see which agents are acquiring your genre, check out their manuscript wishlists, and cold query them! It’s impossible for an agent to see every pitch on the event feed, so they might still love your book, even if they didn’t like your pitch. They might not have even seen the pitch, the only way you will know for sure if a novel will be a fit for them is if you query them through their regular submission process. Make sure you use their regular submission process though because they won’t want to see unsolicited queries using their query instructions for the event.

Remember pitch parties are only one potential way to find the perfect agent for you. Whether you have pitch party success or not isn’t going to be the “be all, end all” of your writing career. But your writing will be. Try not to be discouraged by pitch party likes and agent rejections. I know it’s hard because I’m going through it too! But I always try to keep my eye on the next project. The only thing you can do is keep improving on your craft and don’t stop writing, so one day you will achieve your dreams! I hope that this blog post helps anyone looking for a little guidance in crafting pitches.

Happy pitching!

List of 2022 Pitch Events:

January 26 (8 am to 8 pm EST): #IWSGpit — Twitter pitch to agents/publishers for all UNAGENTED authors of every genre and age category

February 17 (8 am to 8 pm EST): #PBpit — Twitter pitch to agents, exclusively for all UNAGENTED authors of picture books

February 24 (8 am to 6 pm Eastern): #SFFpit — Twitter pitch to agents/editors for all UNAGENTED science fiction and fantasy authors only—all age categories

March 17: #RevPit — Twitter contest to win developmental edit on a full fiction manuscript from a professional editor

NEW EVENT! April 7 (8AM EST – 8PM EST): #MoodPitch — Twitter pitch to agents using a moodboard pitch for all UNAGENTED authors.

April 14 (8AM EST – 8PM EST): #LGBTNPit — Twitter pitch event for UNAGENTED queer, trans and non-binary authors to pitch their books to agents & editors.

May 5 (8 am to 8 pm Eastern): #APIpit — Twitter pitch event to showcase pitches from any UNAGENTED author and/or illustrator of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent.

NEW EVENT! May 17 (8 am to 8 pm Eastern): #SmoochPitTwitter pitch event to showcase Adult romance pitches by authors of color.

NEW EVENT! May 19 (8 am to 8 pm Eastern): #SmoochPit— Twitter pitch event to showcase YA romance pitches by authors of color.

May 19 (8 am to 8 pm Eastern): #PitDark — Twitter pitch for UNAGENTED authors of manuscripts that contain an element of horror or darker writing in a range of age categories

June TBA (8 am to 8 pm Eastern): #HivePitch— Twitter pitch to agents for all UNAGENTED authors. Part of the 2022 WriteHive Conference, taking place virtually June 10-12

June 23 (8am—8pm EDT): #PitchDis — Twitter pitch event to showcase pitches from all UNAGENTED authors from the disabled community

NEW DATE! August TBA (8am—8pm ET): #DVPit — Twitter pitch to agents for all UNAGENTED marginalized authors and illustrators only for children’s & teen fiction/nonfiction

NEW DATE! August TBA (8am—8pm ET): #DVPit — Twitter pitch to agents for all UNAGENTED marginalized authors and illustrators only for adult fiction/nonfiction and for artists & illustrators using #DVart

September TBA (8am—8pm CDT): #LatinxPitch — Twitter pitch for all UNAGENTED and AGENTED Kidlit LATINX authors, author-illustrators, and illustrators

October 5 (8am to 8pm ET): #KidLitGN — Twitter pitch for UNAGENTED writers and illustrators of middle grade and younger graphic novels and graphic books for children

October TBA (8 am to 8 pm Eastern): #PitDark — Twitter pitch for UNAGENTED authors of manuscripts that contain an element of horror or darker writing in a range of age categories

NOTE: #KissPitch , #PitMad , and #FaithPitch are pitch events that are no longer happening from 2022 onwards.

Have you ever tried pitching literary agents/editors on Twitter? I want to hear about it! Comment any questions you might have about Twitter pitching below.

Reem is a young adult contemporary/romantic comedy author from the Maldives. She has lived in various corners of the world, including New York, Tokyo, California, and Kuala Lumpur throughout her life. She loves writing heartfelt stories filled with love and friendship. She is a 2021 graduate from the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at The New School.

Twitter | Instagram | Website

Weekend Roadside Cafe

The road to publication can be exhausting sometimes. Here’s a Roadside Cafe serving all things writing/publishing to relieve you: information sodas, entertainment burgers, amusement chips… we’ve got it. It’s alright to take a break; check out the menu!

Info Burgers 🍔

Alex’s Book Recommendations!

  • Adult Fantasy: The priory of the orange tree— It has everything: romance, action-packed scenes and of course a female protagonist that is saving her realm.
  • Middle Grade: The Mediator series by Meg Cabot— This book is a comfort book I read it at least once every year. It is an old book but who doesn’t love a main character who can talk to ghosts?
  • Paranormal Romance – Wolfsong by TJ Klune. This has become my favorite book of the year. I cannot express how good this book is! It has everything romance, angst, found family and of course werewolves

Team Drinks 🍻

Our 2022 Reading Challenges

  • Lucia: 24 books (copying Amber’s number!)
  • Alex: 50 books!!
  • Sarah: 30 books
  • Amber: 24 books (with fat word counts!)
  • Mariana: 24 books (open to extension!)
  • Reem: 50 books!

Quote Of The Week

You Are A Writer If You Write. And if that’s what you love, you’re a writer.

Sarah J Maas

Got any awesome writerly links or quotes to share with us? From your blog or another? Leave in the comments and we’ll add it to next weekend’s!

How many books are you planning to read this year?

Agent Interview: Sam Copeland

A surefire way to determine an agent is the best fit for your manuscript/writing career is by learning everything you can about them. Such information is great when choosing who to query and deciding who you’d love to work long term with. As a site dedicated to guiding writers through the publication journey, we’ve put together awesome agent interviews for you!

Today, we’re introducing Sam Copeland of the RCW Literary Agency. Lucia had a blast interviewing him!

Path2pub: How did you become an agent?

SC: I had worked in a book shop for over three years, and a colleague got a book deal. ‘Go and work at agency,’ he said. ‘They are the ones with the power’. At the word ‘power’, my eyes lit up. I got lucky then – the right letter of application landed on the right lap at the right time. An assistant had just left a job and there was an opening. I was an assistant for years learning the ropes, then gradually building a list.

Path2pub: How interesting! What genres do you represent and why did you decide ‘these are what I want to help bring to the world’?

SC: Weirdly, I didn’t choose genres in the past – I just spotted what I thought I could sell, looked for gaps. You then get known as something; I was/am known as doing a lot with crime and thriller, but really, when I came into agenting my reading was more Iris Murdoch and Doris Lessing. And I still don’t choose genres – I just rep what I like, what I like to read. I also love most genres so tend to rep widely.

Path2pub: What instantly catches your eye in a query letter/manuscript?

SC: The feeling of a writer in total control of the material. I want to feel the writer knows exactly what they are doing, and this will feed through into the letter.

Path2pub: Can’t possibly express how enlightening that is! Readers would learn so much from it. What is that element that makes you know at once that a story is not for you?

SC: I struggle when things are too out there: so if it’s based on the planet xargon populated by a tribe of aliens called the fnargles. Conversely, if things are too reality based I also struggle; if it’s a contemporary story based on the lives of twenty-somethings in London who are struggling to find their place in the world…. I mean, who cares? I don’t want a book that puts a mirror up to somebody to reflect their own lives back at them. I need a story to pull me away form my life – but not TOO far.

Path2pub: That planet indeed is a mouthful, haha. How hands-on are you editorially?

SC: As much as needed. Every author varies.

Path2pub: True. Do you have goals for how many clients you want to acquire in a year?

SC: I’d love to get four new writers a year.

Path2pub: What are some books you think everyone should read?

SC: I mean, there are countless! Gone with the Wind is criminally under-read these days. The Barrytown Trilogy (The Van, The Snapper and The Commitments) by Roddy Doyle for sheer joyous writing. Anything (within reason) by the aforementioned Iris Murdoch. I could go on and on…

Path2pub: Great Recs. If a writer could write a book specifically for you, what would you want it to be about?

SC: I think it would probably be historical, with the depth of Tolstoy, the dialogue of Roddy Doyle, and the plotting of Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith/Affinity.

Path2pub: Historical does rock. What advice do you have for querying writers?

SC: Write the book as I just described. Then do a solid pitch letter, not too long. And don’t flap too much about synopses.

Sam Copeland is a literary agent at RCW Literary Agency, so great at his job that he was shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year at the British Book Awards 2020. You can learn more about him and find his submissions details here. Please do well to follow submission guidelines!

Got any questions you’d like us to add to agent interviews hence? Leave it in the comments. We definitely have more insightful agent interviews coming, so subscribe/follow us and stay tuned!

Not A Walk In The Park

Post by Alexandra Garcia

I swear this post is not meant to be discouraging! With that being said, let me explain why I gave this post that title.

There is no way to sugarcoat it, so here it goes: Writing is hard (sometimes) and the path to publication is even harder. 

The bright side is that it is also very gratifying, and this comes from someone that hasn’t been published yet.

Let’s start with some steps:

The Idea

The most exciting thing for me is the book idea. The idea sometimes come in the most ordinary way (Going to work and listening to a song) or even a scene from a movie… and sometimes it comes in the most unusual way: One day I was traveling back from visiting my parents and I sat down next to a soccer player who started recounting her game play-by-play. (I was so engrossed with her story and her as a person that I was already imagining a novel with plots and twists for her and her teammates).

Where I’m going with this is, when you have an idea: Write it down!

You might not even write a novel or a short story out of it, but the idea will remain there just in case you ever decide to expand it.

Developing and Expanding 

This part to me is where I lock myself for two days and create a three or four act structure outline and eventually move on to chapter by chapter outline. (This part is fun, but is a little frustrating because I see plot holes and I haven’t even started writing!). 

Which reminds me: Every writer is different. 

In my case, during this part of the process, I am also developing my main and side characters. (Personalities, flaws, redemption arcs, etc).

I used to be so hard on myself when I discovered the words plotter and panster in the writing community. I wanted to fit into a mold and be a plotter just to have a structure in my story, and I soon realized I hated it.

Everything was so cookie cutter and my characters didn’t have a chance to grow which in reality it was my imagination being caged by my outline.

It took me a while before throwing my completely structured point-by-point outline out the window and when I did; I loved every second of it.

I discovered something about myself: I am a character driven storyteller. I am willing to sacrifice an entire plot and outline for my characters.

This didn’t come without its hiccups because discovering that also led to more work during the editing process. (I will get to that in a moment)

The Writing

Okay, now that you have an outline, a plot and characters, what do you do? Write!

This should be the easy part, right? Well, sometimes it is and sometimes it is not. Depending on the genre that you are writing, there are certain guidelines to follow as far as word count. I write romance YA and NA, so typically aim for my first draft to be from 65,000 to 75,000 words.

Technically, that should be enough for a novel, however, during a first draft I tend to glaze over some details and don’t add so much description and guess what? That is okay.

The point of the first draft is to exist.

To have that idea written down in some shape or form. One of the things that I had to remind myself to do every time I finish a draft, no matter the grammatical errors or plot holes I have in it, is to CELEBRATE!

I am completely serious.

Sometimes we get so caught up on what is the next step that we forget to enjoy the moment and our successes.

The moment you write THE END in your 1st or 30th draft should be an epic moment of celebration.


After that hooray moment, my least favorite and most dreaded step in the writing process comes: EDIT.

Edit, edit and more edits.

Everybody has different strengths and editing for me is the one I constantly have to polish and work on. This step is where you take that first draft and read the story you love with all the mistakes such as grammar, plot holes and punctuation wrapped in one. This is the step for me where the imposter syndrome comes to play against me and I lose every single time.

If you are anything like me, you will second guess every word you have written. You will compare yourself to other authors and you will try or want to quit because you think you are not good enough. To all of that I have to say: DON’T.

Every word you have written is important because you wrote it. Every author and writer has experienced failure and a bad review. And every time you even consider trying or wanting to quit: Use it. I mean it, use it. Write about it.

I write all those self-deprecating feelings down and sometimes I use them for a moment in my story or a character trait for my protagonist or side character.

Use every experience to your benefit and onto your writing, because at the end of the day, what makes someone better is practice, practice, practice.

Road to publication

Once you are past the editing phase, there comes the query letter, synopsis and querying to agents.

Word of advice: Brace yourself, eat chocolate and watch a happy movie.

There will be rejections and a mantra I say to myself every time I receive a rejection: Is subjective. 

Not everyone is going to love your work, and that is okay. 

You just have to find that one person who will be as passionate about your project as you are. This is something that has helped me quite a bit with every rejection. I want an agent that loves my story and will champion my work with the same or at least similar passion I had when I wrote the book.

Closing Thoughts:

It is fair to say that the road to writing and publication is not a walk in the park.

And after reading the steps and the growing pains, I bet you are wondering: Why do you do it? Why do you subject yourself to rejection and so much work?

My answer is simple: I don’t see myself not doing it. I can’t stop thinking of my characters and the stories I create that deserve to be read. Writing is a passion and a creative outlet. I compare it to music. Musicians create symphonies because they just have to. It is something inside them. The same with writing. Embrace it and cherish it.

Sometimes the lines get blurry when rejection or the imposter syndrome get in the way and whenever that happens I go back to the basics and remember why I love it.

To me, writing is an escape and an anchor to my imagination. Is where my mind runs wild and free. Writing is where I forget about my problems and if I can’t, I pour them into words.

So in every questioning moment, remember to ask yourself: Why? Why did you pick up that pen and write? Why did you let the words leave your heart and mind? Why did they land on that piece of paper in the first place?

You know the answers and whenever you have doubts, hold on to them and keep going.

Alexandra Garcia is an aspiring YA/NA Fantasy, Contemporary and Paranormal Romance author. She currently lives in Texas with her husband and 2 pups: Jett and Maggie. She is currently writing her 3rd WIP (Work in Progress) and just like all her novels she is a constant work in progress.
You can find her here:
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