Kerbie Addis was born and raised in the Carolinas. She majored in English with a minor in Latin/Classical Studies and worked as both a literary agent intern and the marketing director for a bookstore as she finished her master’s degree in library science. Currently, she works as a nonprofit librarian in Philadelphia, and lives with her husband and a dog too fluffy for her own good. She can be found anywhere there’s herbal tea, vintage clothes, or creepy books.
I began writing novels when I was 11, but started querying when I was 17. Several terrible books later, I entered Pitch Wars in 2013. I made it in as a mentee, but after revising and querying, ended up shelving that manuscript. I entered Pitch Wars with a new manuscript in 2015 and made it in, but yet again, after about a year of querying, ended up shelving that manuscript, too. Frustrated, I decided to just write for me and have fun with it. When I finished that manuscript, I sent a small batch of queries and ended up quickly getting two offers of representation. I signed with my amazing agent and after doing a few rounds of revisions with her, I’m on submission now. Fingers crossed!
I worked as a literary agent intern for four years and have been critique partners with authors at various stages in their careers, and many of them have gone on to sign with agents and sell their books. Based on my publishing industry background, I was invited to be a mentor in Pitch Wars and have mentored for the past three years. I’ve also mentored in TeenPit, a contest that helps polish a teen writer’s first chapter, for two years. Additionally, my librarian background is in academic research, so I’m all about researching obscure facts to make a book more believable!
This will be my first year mentoring in AMM. Because of my background with Pitch Wars, I jumped at the chance to participate with AMM because I’ve heard wonderful things about it and well, I just really love helping writers.
Entering a contest like AMM or Pitch Wars gives so much more than the mentorship itself–it gives you a community to surround yourself with through both the good times and the bad. I made my first writing friend in the Twitter trenches while waiting to hear if I’d made it into Pitch Wars the first time, and she’s my friend and CP to this day. In fact–I was a bridesmaid at her wedding! And of course, I’m still friends with my mentors.
Truly, nothing makes my heart happier than not just revising someone’s manuscript, but seeing them learn and grow and blossom into the amazing author they can be. I’m so excited to fall in love with an amazing book and see what heights my mentee can reach!I’ll only be looking at speculative YA, which includes science fiction, fantasy, and everything in between, as well as horror. I keep my tastes pretty broad because often it’s a “I’ll know I love it when I see it” and sometimes even books that tick all my boxes end up not clicking with me.
I tend to gravitate toward crisp but detailed/specific writing–if you’re a journalist or trained in another writing discipline, such as screenwriting or playwriting, I’ll probably enjoy your writing style! Overly flowery/purple prose isn’t for me, though that doesn’t mean I don’t like the occasional gorgeous turn of phrase (would not say not to an Upmarket Thriller). Characters are paramount for me: I will follow good ones anywhere. I prefer character-driven plots, where there are really juicy character conflicts & stakes. This doesn’t mean you get to skimp on plot and good external conflict/stakes! Great stories should have both.
- Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Magical Realism/Fabulism, #ownvoices*, LGBTQIA*, Urban/Contemporary Fantasy, Horror
I love dark. I could take a bath in this stuff. Put it on cereal, rub it right into my eyes. I dig horror, but it’s very hard to pull off in the written form, so mostly I settle for dark fantasy. But man do I crave that horror mineral. However, I also love funny characters. I don’t really click with books that are primarily comedy, but I like when a writer knows how to utilize comic relief.
I adore rival characters. Whether it’s the enemies/rivals to lovers trope, or a hero and villain equally matched in intellect. Think Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty or Valjean and Javert. I like it when the villain and the hero are equally matched–sometimes in morality as well as strength.
I also love the whole “I feel like I’m a monster” thing. I love this when it’s metaphorical, literal, whatever. Give me monsters. Double points for said monster either resisting and finally giving in to their monstrous self, OR they slowly discover they weren’t the monster, but their friends/family in the past.
Some tropes/plot elements I’m less likely to read: I’m pretty over any books with homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, etc. that isn’t obviously corrected or looked down on in-text. I’m a little tired of prophecies, farm boy turned king, street urchin turned thief, and court intrigue.
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Freestyle in chat
I make long edit letters. Seriously, lonnnnng. The more I talk about things to fix, though, the more I love your book. I can also be blunt, though I try to soften harsher blows, and I’m especially no-nonsense about problematic issues in manuscripts.
I tend to make lots of jokes and long, rambling metaphors (I once compared worldbuilding to melting cheese in the microwave). I love being a cheerleader for writers, but I also have no qualms about attacking a chapter if it’s not good enough yet. I was a mentee myself in a different contest and revised with my agent, so while I understand the stress that comes with editing, I also know that it can definitely be done.
My ideal mentee understands that to make a manuscript great, you must revise. Sometimes that means line edits, such as fixing awkward phrasing, and sometimes that means cutting an entire character to make the story more cohesive. Yes, even the character that you love.
However, I also want my mentee to also understand that my word is not law. If you feel like cutting that character destroys the core of your story, let’s talk about it. Maybe there’s a different solution or compromise we can decide on.
Overall, I’d love to build a relationship of trust and friendship with a mentee, one where I can shriek with joy when you land that agent or publishing deal, and also be a shoulder to cry on when a rejection hits too hard.
I’ll take most genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, other than those noted in my Anti-MSWL. Mostly I’m on the lookout for characters I click with, especially those that come from #ownvoices marginalized authors.
Again, my tastes are very much “I’ll know it when I read it” so here’s a list of some of my favorite YA books from the past few years:
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor
Sadie by Courtney Summers
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
DO NOT SEND ME:
I’ve found that I’m not a big fan of fae, portal fantasies, love triangles, or “morally ambiguous” characters that just come across as disinterested.
Hard or military sci fi will be a pass from me, as well as Tolkien-esque fantasy. Other people love these types of books, but they’re just not for me!
I already listed some YA books I love, so here’s some fun stuff.
Video Games: Silent Hill 2, Nier Automata, Life is Strange, Final Fantasy 7 & 9, Bioshock
TV: Gravity Falls, My Hero Academia, Twin Peaks, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Adult Books I’ve Loved: Ninth House, The Night Circus, Song of Achilles