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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.
PW2020 YA #24: WE RISE LIKE EMPERORS (Fantasy – Chinese #OwnVoices)
Lujia Li
Mentored by:
Tashie Bhuiyan and Chloe Gong
Book Title:
2020 Entries
Fantasy - Chinese #OwnVoices
Word Count:



Lanyu is the charming, shameless, brothel-hopping son of a powerful family in Tianhua. When the Emperor orders Lanyu’s little sister to become his concubine, Lanyu is terrified she’ll lose her life to treacherous palace politics. Desperate, he arms himself with rouges, dresses as a woman, and takes her place to sabotage the union.

But Lanyu miscalculates and, in disguise, is forced to marry the uptight Third Prince instead, sweeping him into a vicious struggle for the throne wherein his morally righteous spouse is the worst contender. If Lanyu’s to survive, he must outwit the court’s sharpest players and lift his husband onto the throne—without getting caught in his deception.



His world was red. It was the sort of red that came not with blood but with weddings. The crimson bridal veil draped over his face made sure of that. Tradition meant for it to be lifted only by a husband’s hand.

Lanyu’s fingers clenched his red brocaded lap, swaying with the motions of the palanquin.

Trumpets blared around him. Firecrackers spat. And somewhere amongst the clip-clop of hooves carrying the ninety-six men making up the imperial wedding procession, the groom perched, high and cold, above his stallion. The groom. His groom.

Lanyu had never been one to picture his wedding day, but even if he had, this wasn’t something he could ever have imagined for himself. To be the bride. Not merely an imposter but also a man. He’d be dead within the day if his new husband realised. Throat cut. Corpse flayed. And his head returned to his father, who’d burn it for shaming their family name.

Deceiving the Emperor was not a survivable transgression. Lanyu knew this. And yet…

He would spare his sister from this wretched marriage.

The veil lifted.

15 responses to “PW2020 YA #24: WE RISE LIKE EMPERORS (Fantasy – Chinese #OwnVoices)”

  1. Wow, I love the complexity of the pitch AND the writing here. This sounds amazing, and I’d love to read more. Please kindly send the full manuscript and a synopsis as word doc attachments to hilaryquery at ktliterary.com with ‘Pitchwars Requested Material’ in the subject field. I can’t wait to dive in!
    Hilary Harwell, Literary Agent
    KT Literary LLC

  2. Karly Caserza says:


    Please send first 20 pages to QueryMe.online/Karly/ and please add “PitchWars” before your title. Thank you for sharing your work.

    If another Fuse agent requests your work, please query us one at a time.

  3. Tamara Kawar says:

    Hi Lujia,

    This sounds so great and I’d love to read! If you’re interested in sending, could you please email the full manuscript to tamara.kawar@icmpartners.com and make sure to include “PW2020” in your subject line?

    Thank you!


  4. Larissa Melo Pienkowski says:

    I would love to take a look at this! Please feel free to send me this query and the first 50 pages as a Word attachment to larissa@jillgrinbergliterary.com, with your name, title, genre, and “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. (Also, if you have requests from two or more of us at JGLM, please do pick and send to only one of us.)

  5. Lauren Spieller says:

    Hi Lujia! I’d love to read more. If you think we’d be a good fit, please send your query + full manuscript to Lauren@triadaus.com, and put “PW Request” in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you! ~Lauren

  6. Haley Casey says:

    Dear Lugia,

    This description of your work immediately had me hooked. I would love to read more!

    Would you please send your full manuscript, a synopsis of the project, and a short bio about what you do and any of your previous publications to Haley@CMALit.com? Each should be a separate attachment in Microsoft Word or PDF format. To ensure your email doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, please include “Pitch Wars” in your subject line.

    The two other agents at Creative Media Agency, Paige Wheeler and Shannon Snow, are participating in Pitch Wars with me. Should one of them also request your manuscript, we would appreciate it if you would choose the agent you’d most prefer to work with and only send them the requested materials. Should they pass on the project for any reason, and you find yourself still seeking an agent, then you are of course free to resubmit to another member of CMA.

    Thank you for taking the time to send me more of what you’ve written!

    Haley Casey

  7. Samantha Wekstein says:

    Hi Lujia! This sounds great and I’d love to read more! If interested, please send your first 50 pages to samantha@thompsonliterary.com. Thank you!

  8. Hi, Lujia! OMG. I LOVE this premise!!! I seriously need to read this MS! 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. Please go here: QueryManager.com/QueryLynnetteNovak/Pitch_Wars_2020_Requested_Only to submit to me. Attach the manuscript and synopsis as two separate Word documents (docx). 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.



  9. Suzie Townsend says:

    H! I’d love to see this! I love your writing! Please send the manuscript with the query pasted into the first page to Suzie(at)newleafliterary(dot)com. Put REQUESTED-PITCH WARS in the subject line.

  10. Samantha Fabien says:

    Hi Lujia,

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! You must be thrilled.

    This entire pitch and excerpt is everything I never knew I needed! WOW. I’d love to request the full manuscript to see how the story develops!

    If you’d like to share it, please send the query in the body of an email, with the full manuscript and synopsis attached as a Word doc.

    The subject of the email should be “Pitch Wars Request: WE RISE LIKE EMPERORS for Root Literary” sent to submissions@rootliterary.com.

    Although not all of Root Literary is participating in Pitch Wars, please feel free to query whoever feels like the best fit! We’re happy to coordinate internally.

    All the best,

  11. Em Lysaght says:

    Hi Lujia, I would love to see more material for this project! If you would like to submit to me, please send me your query letter, synopsis, and first 3 chapters/50 pages (whichever is longer) at the following link: QueryManager.com/emlysaght/Pitchwars2020

  12. Anya Goncharova says:

    Dear Lujia, I am hooked. Your writing is so suspenseful and I am completely immersed in this world with you. I would absolutely love to read more. Could you please send through the first 50 pages of your MS for our consideration? My email is anya@peonyliteraryagency.com Really looking forward to reading more, and I hope you are doing very well! All best, Anya; Peony Literary Agency

  13. Jackie Williams says:

    Hi Lujia,

    I’d love to see more! Please send the query in the body of an email with the full MS attached to jackie.williams@knightagency.net. Please mention Pitch Wars in the subject line!

  14. Zabé Ellor says:

    Oh my god–I absolutely love, love, love this!!!! What an excellent hook!

    Please could you send the query and first fifty pages to me, as an attachment, at zrellor.books@gmail.com? Please paste your query on the first page of your attached sample pages, and also in the body of the email, and include PITCH WARS in the subject line. If more than one JDLA agent requests, feel free to first submit to the one you think is the best fit.

  15. Kari Sutherland says:

    Hi Lujia,
    Wow, I really want to read more! I’m a big fan of palace/political intrigue and I’m eager to know what happens to Lanyu. Please send the full via this form: QueryManager.com/Kari_Sutherland_Query_Form/PitchWars. If more than one Bradford Literary agent requests it, you can send to multiple of us, just let us know so we can coordinate. Many thanks! Kari