Have questions about submitting to Pitch Wars or just want to know what it is? Start here!

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.
PW2021 Adult #31: HOW TO SAVE BLACK BOYS (Horror – Black #OwnVoices)
Neena Viel
Mentored by:
Anna Kaling
Book Title:
Horror (Black #ownvoices)
Word Count:



Calla thinks it’s impossible to keep a black child safe. She’s right. Still, she does her best to raise her youngest brother, Jamie, with the fickle support of her middle brother. She’s finally getting used to parent-teacher conferences and teenage theatrics when Jamie’s Black Lives Matter activism starts with an explosion and ends with a very dead cop. 

Her brothers think they can trust Calla to save them again when she takes them on the run to a remote cabin. They’re wrong. Calla is fed up with their secrets and her sacrifice.

It’s just so hard keeping black boys alive.



Calla was wearing the wrong bra for this sort of confrontation. The situation really called for her sports bra, the one with six no-nonsense hooks anchoring her down and all the sex appeal of old goulash. Instead, she was in her limpest bra, the one with the underwire missing under the right breast. Unfortunately, her right breast was the one that misbehaved, the one that was a fraction larger than the left, popping slightly over her bra like a gopher. She feared this was very noticeable in her chunky cable-knit sweater dress.

She drew the long, dark twists of her hair over one shoulder. She prayed it would keep anyone from noticing she currently had three breasts. If she’d known this morning she would end up at a disciplinary meeting at her little brother’s school, she would have dressed more authoritatively. Her boobs wouldn’t be giving her this much shit trapped in a blazer.

The heavyset man sitting across from her cleared his throat. “Ms. Williams, we’re glad you were able to make the time today. I’m afraid we found drugs in your son’s backpack.”

30 responses to “PW2021 Adult #31: HOW TO SAVE BLACK BOYS (Horror – Black #OwnVoices)”

  1. Ernie Chiara says:

    Hi Neena,

    This sounds great! If you’d like to query me at QueryManager.com/ErnieChiara/PitchWars and include your full manuscript and synopsis, I would love to read it!

    Thanks so much, and best of luck!

    Ernie Chiara,
    Fuse Literary

  2. Shannon Snow says:


    I was so excited after reading your pitch and excerpt. I would love the opportunity to check this out!!

    If you would like to submit to me, email me your first six chapters and synopsis in Word format to Shannon@cmalit.com. Please put “Pitch Request” in the subject line.

    I definitely hope to hear from you!

    Shannon Snow
    CMA, Inc. Literary Agent

  3. Kim Lindman says:

    Hi Neena! I’d definitely want to read this. Can you send your pitch, a synopsis, and the full manuscript to submissions@stonesong.com? Please also include my name (Kim) and (Pitch Wars Query) in the subject line, so it’ll go straight to the top of my inbox! Thanks!

  4. Sharon Pelletier says:

    Intrigued!! I’d love to read. Could you please send the full (as a Word doc) and your query to spelletier@dystel.com? If you get more than one request from DG&B, please choose the agent you think is the best fit for you and note in your email the other requests.


  5. Amy Elizabeth Bishop says:

    Dear Anna,

    This is a great premise and I love your comps. I’ve been on the hunt for horror in this vein, so I’d be delighted to take a look. Would you send along a query in the body of the e-mail, and the first 100 pages attached as a Microsoft Word doc., with Pitch Wars in the subject line, to abishop@dystel.com?

    If you receive a request from more than one DGB agent, do approach the person you feel might be the best fit for your work and notify us of other requests in agency. We’ll work it out on our end! 🙂

    Thanks so much and looking forward to hopefully reading!



  6. Jemiscoe Chambers-Black says:

    Hi Neena! I am digging this pitch and excerpt. If you’re up to sharing, I’d love to see your query letter, 1-2 page synopsis, and the full manuscript. You can send everything to https://querymanager.com/query/Jemiscoe/PitchWars. If someone else from my agency requests, please send it to only one of us, but let us know of our colleague’s interest, and we will share if it’s not the right fit.

  7. Lauren Spieller says:

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! I’d love to read more. Please send your query + full manuscript + synopsis to Lauren@triadaus.com, and put “PW Request” in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you! ~Lauren Spieller

  8. Jen Nadol says:

    Hi Neena,
    Great, unique premise – I’m intrigued and would love to read more. If you think we’d be a match, please send a query & first 50 pages as a Word attachment to jen.nadol@theunteragency.com

  9. Hi Neena,

    This project had me hooked from the first sentence! I’d love to see more of it. If you’re interested in submitting, visit my Pitch Wars event QueryManager page (QueryManager.com/SavannahBrooks/Pitch_Wars_2022). It’ll ask for your first 20 pages.

    I look forward to reading more!


  10. Hi Neena. Congrats on PitchWars. I really love the voice and the pitch here. I can’t wait to read more and see what happens at the cabin!! Please use this link to upload your full manuscript: QueryManager.com/1353/PW2022
    Talk soon,

  11. Logan Harper says:

    Hi Neena. I would absolutely love to read the full manuscript! I would be delighted if you could email me the query letter, synopsis, and full manuscript as a Word doc to lharper(at)janerotrosen(dot)com. Please include PitchWars + HOW TO SAVE BLACK BOYS in your subject line. Thank you so much and I really look forward to reading this.

    Logan Harper
    Jane Rotrosen Agency

  12. Dorian Maffei says:

    This looks so good and is exactly what I’m looking for in the horror genre! I’d be thrilled to read more! If you think we’d be a good match, please send along the full manuscript and fill out my submission form here: https://QueryManager.com/dorianmaffei

    Very much looking forward! 🙂

  13. Penelope Burns says:

    I would love to see more of this! If you’d like, can you send your query and full manuscript to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com, with #PitchWars in the subject line? Thanks so much!

    All best,

  14. Heather Cashman says:

    I would absolutely love to read more of this! If you think we’d be a good fit, please query me at QueryManager.com/HeatherCashman/PitchWars2021. If another agent at Storm Literary has requested, please feel free to send to us both (for Pitch Wars requests only).

  15. Chris Bucci says:

    Hi Neena, I’d love to read this. Sounds fascinating. Please send a query and 50 pages to my email address cbucci@aevitascreative.com and include ‘Pitch Wars’ in the subject line. Thanks for taking part! Chris

  16. Lori Galvin says:

    Dear Neena,

    Thank you for sharing your work. I would love to see the full. Could you please send to lgalvin@aevitascreative.com with Pitchwars in the subject line. Please feel free to submit to other ACM agents who request. Thank you so much.

  17. Claire Friedman says:

    Hi Neena! This sounds fantastic. My colleague Jessica Mileo and I would love to consider together. If you think we’d be a good fit, please send the full ms to claire@inkwellmanagement.com and jessica@inkwellmanagement.com. Excited to read!

  18. Quressa Robinson says:

    Dear Neena,

    Congrats on making it through the editing rounds with your mentor! I’ve been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to check out everyone’s showcase samples. Based on what I’ve read so far, I’d love to see more. Please query me at this link (QueryManager.com/QueryQuressa/PW2022) and follow the directions. If more than one Folio Lit agent requests work from you it is okay to query more than one of us, just give us a heads-up. Good luck!



  19. Roseanne Wells says:

    Hi Neena,

    Wow, the voice stands out immediately, and the humor is balanced by the pace. I’d love to keep reading. Please submit your query letter, full manuscript, and synopsis to querymanager.com/roseannewells/pitchrequest, and I look forward to reading!



  20. Marcy Posner says:

    Hi Neena— I think you have something special here. I’d love for you to share the full with me. If you decide to do so, please send your full manuscript as an attachment with your query letter in the email body to marcy@foliolit.com. Make sure to put Pitch Wars in the subject line so I can find it easily! If you happen to receive requests from my other colleagues, please select the agent you are most interested in working with and send materials only to them.

  21. Cortney Radocaj says:

    Hi Neena!

    I love the sound of this and would love to see more. Can you please submit your query, synopsis, and first 30 pages here?


    If another Belcastro agent requests as well, please choose one of us to send to and mention in your query who else has requested; we’ll be sure to pass the submission along to the other agent if it ends up being a pass 🙂

    Looking forward to reading more!

    -Cortney Radocaj, Belcastro Agency

  22. Allison Hellegers says:

    I’m hooked and would love to read more! You can e-mail a query, a full synopsis, and the full ms to alli@sls-submissions.com. Thanks!

  23. Carlisle Webber says:

    I’d like to see this manuscript! Please submit it along with a query letter here: QueryManager.com/Carlisle/PitchWars2022.

    If more than one agent from Fuse Literary requests your work, please choose one of us to submit to.

    Good luck, and I look forward to reading your work.

  24. Dani Segelbaum says:

    I would love to read! Please send your query and first 50 pages to dani@carolmannagency.com.

  25. Katelyn Detweiler says:

    Hi Neena,

    This pitch! I am so curious to read more! Could you please send your query and full manuscript to me at katelyn@jillgrinbergliterary.com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line? (Please note, if multiple agents from Jill Grinberg Literary Management request your ms, we ask that you only share with one.) Thank you!


  26. Laura Bradford says:

    Ooohhh, I can’t wait to see where you are going with this sibling story! The voice is fantastic and I want to know what happens in that remote cabin! WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CALLA IS FED UP?!? I’d love to see more. Please send me the full manuscript and synopsis (as attachments) at laura@bradfordlit.com. Please put Pitch Wars in your subject line.

    Can’t wait!
    Laura Bradford

    ***If you receive a request from more than one agent at Bradford Literary Agency, you are welcome to send to all agents who made the request, but just let us know when you send the material***

  27. Hannah Andrade says:

    Hi Neena! I LOVE the sound of this! Can you please send the first 100 pages of this to me on my QueryManager (https://QueryManager.com/hannahandrade)? And don’t forget to put PitchWars in the subject line along with your project. I can’t wait to read it!

  28. Chelsea Hensley says:

    Hi Neena! I love this-if you’re interested you can send the full manuscript, your query, and a complete synopsis to my Query Manager at this link: QueryManager.com/Chelseahensley/PitchWars2021

  29. Diana Fox says:

    I would love to read this manuscript! If you choose to submit to me, please just put “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line of your email so that I can keep an eye out for it and confirm receipt right away.

  30. Dana Murphy says:

    I love the voice in this sample and this pitch sounds exactly like the kind of horror I’m looking for. I would love to read more. Per our submission guidelines, please send a query and your first ten pages in the body of an email to submissions@thebookgroup.com — with my name, the books title, and “Pitch Wars” in the email’s subject line. I’ll be in touch as soon as I see it to request the full. (If you’d like to review our full submission guidelines, please visit: http://www.thebookgroup.com/submissionguidelines)

    I don’t believe any of my colleagues at The Book Group are participating in Pitch Wars this year, but if you do get requests from others — or if you’ve already submitted to someone else on our team — don’t worry! We happily accept simultaneous submissions. If you wouldn’t mind flagging this in your query letter, it’s helpful to know up front.

    Thank you! I hope I make the list of agents you chose to submit to but, either way, huge congratulations on your Pitch Wars participation this year.

    Dana Murphy