PITCH WARS BLOG HOP
Welcome Writers of Memoir and Contemporary, Historical or Literary Fiction for Adults
(Looking for my Scavenger Hunt letter? Scroll to the bottom of the post -- but beware: you'll miss a cool meme and a REALLY COOL special offer.)
I'm jennie nash
I HAVE SPENT 30 YEARS IN THE WORLD OF BOOKS
My first job out of college was at Random House, where I worked for a fiction and a non-fiction editor at a time when manuscripts came into the office by mail, on floppy discs.
I spent years in the world of magazines, where I learned how to edit a story, meet deadlines and crank out catchy copy. I loved every minute of it!
I've written for publications ranging from The New York Times to GQ to Child.
I published my first book at age 25, and have published eight total—four novels, including The Threadbare Heart, The Only True Genius in the Family and The Last Beach Bungalow; three memoirs, including The Victoria’s Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming and Other Lessons I Learned From Breast Cancer — a book that has more than 100,000 copies in print; and a field guide to the worst moments in the writing life. These are my books:
Six of my eights books were published by Big 5 publishers. I self published my writer's guide and my last novel, Perfect Red. It was pretty much a total sales failure, even though it's a great book. The startup gurus say you're so supposed to fail fast in order to maximize learning. Done!
I am represented by Faye Bender of The Book Group.
I have been an instructor at the UCLA Extension Writing Program for ten years, where I have taught hundreds of writers. I love a classroom, a white board, and a group of eager students. I always learn something new, either about about writing or life.
I am the founder and chief creative officer of Author Accelerator, an online book coaching program that gives writers the SUPPORT, ACCOUNTABILITY and FEEDBACK they need to do their best work. If you don't find the success you want in Pitch Wars, or if you could use some help meeting your deadlines and kicking doubt to the curb, check out our services. Here's a SPECIAL OFFER to help you out:
^ Don't miss the Author Accelerator special offer! We also have chapter and ms. editing services.
My private-coaching clients have landed top New York agents, and had books published by Scribner, Simon & Schuster, Norton, Hazeldon, Ten Speed and SelectBooks. Recent client successes include The Accidental Truth by Lauri Taylor (SelectBooks), For the Love of Money by Sam Polk (Scribner), and Story Genius by Lisa Cron (TenSpeed/Random House.)
TOPICS I AM INTERESTED IN MENTORING
MEMOIR: I am open to almost any memoir topic and almost any memoir structure (a straight narrative; a collection of connected pieces; a story that includes how-to or self-help elements), but I am looking for a memoir that is generous of heart and universal in scope — something that can help readers better understand ourselves and the world. I have worked with journalists, lawyers, lobbyists, entrepreneurs, nutritionists, athletes, moms, and survivors -- and enjoyed all of it.
Your memoir must have a structure and a point. Just because something happened — even something dramatic — is not enough to get me to care. If you have written your memoir simply to make sense of your own life and with no thought as to who might read it, or what they might get out it, I will probably not be the right mentor for you. Writing for therapy is a worthy undertaking, but not in someone seeking an agent and a traditional publishing deal.
If you have made an effort to invite your reader into your story, and you are full of doubt and fear because you feel vulnerable and exposed, that is a good sign and I would be honored to work with you.
FICTION: If you are writing contemporary women's fiction, historical fiction or literary fiction, I welcome your submission. It's hard for me to say that I might respond to, or not -- it depends on the topic and the treatment. What I said above for memoir, however, applies 100% to fiction, as well. Yank me into a story! Make me care! Teach me something about human nature! You can check out my favorite stories, below, to get a feel for what I love.
Here are a few things I probably won't respond to:
- I am wary of being able to help someone on a sweeping multiple-POV or multiple-generation novel in such a short period of time. Game of Thrones or Thornebirds polish in two months? No can do!
- I don't read enough category romance, mystery, sci-fi or fantasy to be a good choice for those genres.
The last two memoirs I read and loved were When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and A Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky. These books not only made me want to become a better writer and a better book coach, but a better human being.
Some favorite novels include Bel Canto by Anne Patchett, The Soloist by Mark Salzman, The Remains of the Day by Kasuo Ishuguru, Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland, The Hours by Michael Cunningham and Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.
Other recent reads I can’t stop talking about: Hamilton: A Revolution (totally obsessed by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s genius); Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (mind officially blown by this elegant little book); Start With Why (late to the party of this biz bestseller but so much wisdom here.)
COACHING / MENTORING STYLE
I am very tough because I want you to write a book people want to read. I may ask you to ax 2 chapters, 50 pages, or a whole subplot — and you have to be okay with that. Once I read the whole ms., you will get a revision plan from me that will likely include 2x month deadlines. We will work mostly via email but we will talk on the phone at least twice during the mentoring period. I will be thinking about how to make your book better 24/7. But that tough love thing is real. This is a meme one of my clients made:
WHAT'S ON MY DESK?
- English Breakfast tea
- 5x7 yellow pads – a lot of them
- A picture of one daughter at Disneyland and the other daughter running cross-country
- A quote about a legendary Harvard crew coach: "He made people prove themselves to themselves."
- Lucky stones from the beach
- A massive Apple Thunderbolt screen
- A quote by Scott Dilbert: "The market rewards execution, not ideas."
- A paper calendar
- A little red clock
- A tiny ceramic bear
- NARS "Gipsy" red lipstick to put on right before webinars