Katie Zhao is a 2017 graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English and Political Science, as well as a 2018 Masters of Accounting at the same university. She is an #ownvoices Young Adult and Middle Grade featured author on Wattpad, a former member of Kopitonez A Capella, and a fitness/health enthusiast.
PUBLISHING BACKGROUND: KATIE
Katie has been seriously pursuing publication since 2014. She’s written 10 books in her life, although 4 were after signing with her agent. It took her a little under 4 years of querying to get an agent, although she stopped trying for 3 years. She’s been on submission twice now.
Katie majored in English and Political Science and served as an editorial intern for The Ann Magazine. Most of her CP’s have signed with agents or have publishing deals, some for high six figures.
Rebecca Mix is a 2017 graduate of Oakland University with a B.A. in English. She writes #ownvoices queer books filled with magic and murder, and lives in Michigan with two cats possessed by benign but troublesome demons.
PUBLISHING BACKGROUND: REBECCA
After years of fanfiction, Becca wrote her first book at sixteen and started querying at eighteen. Five years later, she’s written five books, and signed with her agent after querying the third.
Becca has a bachelor’s in English literature, and she’s worked extensively with critique partners on multiple projects. Most of her cps are now agented, and some of them have sold books in six figure deals.
Katie has received so much from this generous community, and wants to give back in any way she can. She especially wants to help uplift marginalized voices so that their important stories can be shared with the world, and so other marginalized readers will feel seen and heard in ways they never have before.
Becca genuinely loves workshopping books, and having critique partners that were slightly “ahead” when she was an unagented writer changed everything for her. She would love to be that for someone else. She’s particularly interested in helping lift up other queer writers.
We’re looking for diverse, underrepresented voices in the genre led by POC and/or queer characters who come to life in fast-paced stories that will sweep us away.
- Magical Realism/Fabulism
- Own Voices
- Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
We love books that offer fresh takes on the genre, especially things that bring diverse characters. For fantasy, non-western worlds and innovative magic systems are a huge plus. Books across any genre filled with queer and/or POC will make our hearts burst. Tropes we love: Enemies to lovers, fake dating, angry girls and the cinnamon roll boys that loved them, character’s forced to question their view of the world, morally gray characters
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
Katie likes giving big picture feedback via an edit letter but also provide helpful notes (as well as fun readerly reactions) via line edits. There is lots of fangirling and cheering involved, but also lots of criticism. As much as she will love a project to take it on, she wants to push her mentee to make his/her work truly shine.
Becca loves to tackle big picture edits. Her specialties are character development, voice, and getting to the heart of the story. She’ll point out the good with the bad, and prefers to ask questions to get the writer’s brain turning rather than saying “change x to y.” Becca loves chatting organically about possible fixes for problems, and is more than open to skype calls, texting, dms—whatever the mentee needs!
Someone enthusiastic, willing to work, and unafraid to ask questions. We both have an intense editing style because we want the book to be in its best possible shape. Our mentee needs to be willing to kill darlings and rework character arcs or plot elements if it’s going to make a better book.
Characters that drive the book. #ownvoices ! POC and/or queer characters in leading roles. Immersive non-western fantasy worlds. #ownvoices queer stories, particularly F/F, aro/ace, and bisexual/biromantic stories. POC-led quest narratives. #ownvoices Chinese stories. Non-European mythology. Immigration narratives. Heist narratives.
DO NOT SEND US:
All-white, all-straight casts. SJM-esque fantasy. Incest. Glorification of suicide or self-harm. Anything homophobic or racist. Do not give us “bury your gays” or books where every POC character is killed off.
Katie: THE POPPY WAR, HARRY POTTER, PERCY JACKSON, VICIOUS, STARFISH, AND I DARKEN, PEOPLE LIKE US, MONDAY’S NOT COMING, THE HATE U GIVE, DEAR MARTIN, TRAIL OF LIGHTNING, FROM TWINKLE WITH LOVE, FRONT DESK, ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME, PEASPROUT CHEN, REFLECTION, YOU’RE WELCOME UNIVERSE, BLOOD WATER PAINT, TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE, THE WICKED DEEP
Becca: AVATAR THE LAST AIRBENDER, DEXTER, VICIOUS, THE GOOD PLACE. THIS SAVAGE SONG, THE POPPY WAR, STARFISH, AND I DARKEN, THE HATE U GIVE, THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE