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Pitch Wars Showcase

Please note: These are the entries for the Pitch Wars season beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022. Please note that our Agent Showcase ends at 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday, February 14, 2022. Agents will not be able to leave comments requesting material after that time.
PW2019 YA #03: NOT YOUR AVERAGE JO (Contemporary #OwnVoices)
Grace Shim
Mentored by:
Jesse Q Sutanto
Book Title:
2019 Entries
Contemporary (#OwnVoices)
Word Count:


A STAR IS BORN meets EMERGENCY CONTACT. Korean-American Riley Jo is a bonafide rockstar onstage. Offstage, not so much. When her bandmate won’t let her sing her own song because she’s “too Asian” she must drum up the courage and speak up or risk losing her voice onstage and off.



It’s the Mondayest of Mondays.

Back to school after winter break. You can practically hear groaning from students all across the country. It’s just the worst. Except, it isn’t. Not for me.

Present company may have something to do with my highly irregular attitude about school. Xander McNeil isn’t only the other guitarist in our band, but to say he’s not bad to look at would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions. He’s tall, athletic, and has a thick head of stare-hair. You know, hair so fine that you can’t help but stare. After indulging myself for a solid minute, I force myself to start tuning my guitar.

Xander pulls up a chair next to me, glancing side-long. Because I’m me, I pretend to be fascinated with my A string, which is a stretch, even for me.

“I once dated this girl and when I was tuning my guitar she was like, ‘You always play that song. What’s it called?’”

I snort, covering my mouth. “She did not.”

He buries his face in his hands with shame. “I shit you not.”

“Pro tip: date smarter people,” I tell him. Not that I’m a pro. But, I mean, it’s not like I could say ‘novice tip,’ right?

He chuckles, rubbing his chin.

I perk up. Maybe I’ve convinced Xander that conventionally pretty girls are overrated. Maybe then he’d start considering girls that are, you know, good at other things. Like the guitar, for example. What? It works in the movies.

22 responses to “PW2019 YA #03: NOT YOUR AVERAGE JO (Contemporary #OwnVoices)”

  1. Saba Sulaiman says:

    Hi Grace,
    I really like your voice, and I’d love to read more! Please send a query, synopsis, and the first 25 pages (Word documents will suffice) to ssulaiman@talcottnotch.net — and don’t forget to mention #PitchWars in your subject line. Thanks—looking forward to my read!
    Good luck,

  2. Andrea Morrison says:

    Hi Grace,
    I would love to read the full manuscript! If you’re interested in sharing, could you send it as a PDF file or MS Word doc to amorrison@writershouse.com?
    Thank you!
    All best,

  3. Ashley Blake says:

    Hi Grace, I’d love to see more of this! If you’d like, send the full manuscript to ashley@reesagency.com and put QUERY PITCH WARS in the subject line. Hope to hear from you soon!

  4. Megan Manzano says:

    I’d love to see more of this! Please send your query, synopsis, and first 30 pages to https://querymanager.com/query/MeganManzano/PitchWars

  5. Melissa Edwards says:

    Hi Grace,

    I’m intrigued. I’d love to take a look! Please send the ms as a doc to medwards at stonesong dot com. Thanks!!

    All best,

  6. Hi, Grace,

    I love your voice! Can you send me the full and a synopsis (2-4 pages)? Please use Times New Roman, size 12, black, double-spaced text, 1” margins all around, and ½” paragraph indents. Paste your pitch in the body of the email and attach the manuscript and synopsis as two separate Word documents (docx). Sent to: lynnette (at) theseymouragency (dot) com and add “Pitch Wars Request” along with your title in the subject line. Thanks.

    If more than one agent from The Seymour Agency likes your entry, please send requested material to the agent you feel will be the best fit. #OneAgentAtATime

    Looking forward to reading more.



  7. Tara Gonzalez says:

    Hi Grace,

    I would absolutely love to read this – will you send me your query and first 20 pages to tara@emliterary.com at your convenience, and mention Pitch Wars in the subject? There’s no timeline on my end, just whenever you feel ready!

    Thanks so much!

    Tara Gonzalez
    Associate Agent
    Erin Murphy Literary Agency

  8. Andrea Cascardi says:

    What a fabulous opening! I love the sharp banter and how very easily you show us who the main character is right from the outset. And who hasn’t had the “Mondayest of Mondays”? This is so relatable and yet deeply compelling. I’ll keep my fingers crossed I’ll see this in my in-box! Thank you.


  9. Hannah Fergesen says:

    Hi Grace! I love the premise and the voice in this sample. I’d be interested in seeing the manuscript along with a full synopsis in Word format! Would you please send to hannah@ktliterary.com with Pitch Wars Request + your title in the subject line?

    I’m so excited to read more!

  10. Jess Dallow says:

    Hi Grace,

    I love what I’ve read so far and would love to see more! Please send the full manuscript and query to me at jess@browerliterary.com with PITCH WARS + title in the subject line.

    Thanks and I can’t wait to read!


    Jess Dallow, Brower Literary and Management

  11. Sabrina Taitz says:

    Would love to read more – please send the full manuscript in PDF format to staitz@wmeagency.com – thank you! xx Sabrina Taitz @ WME

  12. Kim Lionetti says:

    Hi Grace: This sounds great! I’d love to see the full manuscript and synopsis. Please upload them here: QueryMe.online/KimLionetti/PitchWars. Looking forward to reading! — Kim

  13. Penny Moore says:

    Hi Grace,

    This sounds so good and is right up my alley! I’d love to read more. Please follow the directions on my query form and submit your MS here: QueryMe.online/LiteraryPenny/PitchWars2020. Thanks!

    All the Best,
    Penny Moore

  14. Kari Sutherland says:

    I love the voice and humor in this! Can you please query me here with “Pitch Wars” in the title so I can request more? https://querymanager.com/query/Kari_Sutherland_Query_Form
    Looking forward to reading it. 🙂

  15. Mollie Glick says:

    Hi Grace,

    This looks interesting! Please send the full manuscript to mollie.glickasst@caa.com.

    Mollie Glick

  16. Anya Goncharova says:

    Dear Grace,

    My name is Anya, and I am an agent with Peony Literary Agency. We represent authors from all over the world and help to connect them with top International publishing houses.

    I absolutely loved your pitch and excerpt, and would be so curious to read the rest. If you are interested, would you mind please passing on the whole manuscript so I could get to know the characters more? I feel like I absolutely must read more about Jo and see her get through this Mondayest of Mondays (haven’t we all been there)!

    My email address is anya@peonyliteraryagency.com and I really hope to hear from you.

    All my best,

  17. Caitlen Rubino-Bradway says:

    I’d love to see more! Please send a full ms and synopsis to crubinobradway AT lkgagency DOT com.

  18. Nicole Payne says:

    I would love to read more! Please send query, synopsis, and first 3 chapters in the body of the email to Nicole@goldenwheatliterary.com. Thanks!

  19. Bridget Smith says:

    I’d love to take a look! Please send the query and the first twenty pages to querybridget@awfulagent.com. Thanks – can’t wait to read more!

  20. Wendi Gu says:

    Hi Grace,

    I have already laughed several times just within the time it took to read this opening salvo and would be very interested in reading the rest! At your convenience, do send your full manuscript in Word Doc to wgu@sjga.com. Can’t wait for all the stare-hair.

    All my best,

  21. Shannon Hassan says:

    Hi Grace, I am drawn in by your voice and would love to read more! Please send a query + 50 pages to shannon@marsallyonliteraryagency.com (with PitchWars in the subject line). Thanks, Shannon

  22. Heather Cashman says:

    Hi, Jesse. I’m hooked! If you think we’d be a good fit, please query me with Pitch Wars in the request line at http://QueryMe.Online/HeatherCashman, I’ll request the full asap and you can upload the file there. Thanks!