Born and raised in the Midwest, Jenna Voris now calls Washington D.C. home. She’s an Author Mentor Match alum and has a journalism degree from Butler University. She’s currently pursuing her masters from George Washington University and has worked everywhere from a children’s museum to a cupcake bakery to a professional theatre company. When not writing, she can be found convincing her friends to go on spontaneous road trips, registering people to vote, and desperately trying not to kill her new houseplants.
Writing has been a passion of mine for a while, but I only started to pursue publishing seriously after I graduated college. While in school, I wrote for the university newspaper and other local publications, edited for the undergraduate literary magazine, and worked as a creative writing tutor at a local high school, so I knew I wanted to write, I just wasn’t sure how. I finished a draft of my very first book the summer after I graduated, but it took another year of revisions before I felt ready to query. During that time, I connected with so many people in the writing community who are still critique partners and friends to this day. When I was ready to query, they supported me every step of the way and when that book didn’t work out, they encouraged me to write another. I submitted my next book, a YA sci-fi retelling, to AMM and I was lucky enough to be selected as an R7 mentee last spring. I learned so much from my mentor and my fellow mentees and absolutely wouldn’t have made it through quarantine revisions without this community. I started querying in July and in August I signed with my incredible agent, Claire Friedman at Inkwell Management.
I graduated with a degree in journalism and I’m currently working toward my masters in publishing and communications. I’ve had the opportunity to work in the sales department of a major publishing house where I worked on campaigns for new and established authors across all genres and in the marketing/publicity department of different professional theatre companies. Both of those jobs taught me how to develop, market, and sell stories of all kinds. During my time in school, I had the opportunity to work as a high school creative writing tutor where I worked with kids in all stages of their writing career. Some had never tried fiction and some were already superstar poets. Watching them improve and flourish over the course of a semester while sharing in their love of stories was an incredible experience. I’ve also edited for newspapers, magazines, and online blogs. As a previous AMM mentee, I learned things from my mentor that I never would have realized on my own. Having that support system and friend through revisions, querying, and everything that came after was such an integral part of my personal writing journey and I can’t wait for the opportunity to support new writers of of my own.
I want to be an AMM mentor because this program and community changed my life. It gave me wonderful friends, an incredible mentor, and it helped me become a stronger writer in ways that I couldn’t imagine before. I never had a place I could go with my publishing questions and I made a lot of mistakes when I queried my first book just because I didn’t know how the process was supposed to work. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. I definitely credit AMM with helping me land an agent. I felt comfortable and prepared to query and, for the first time, I didn’t feel alone on this journey. Being able to mentor and guide someone else through the same process is so exciting!
Mentorship contests are incredible, but they are not the be all end all of publishing. I didn’t get into AMM the first time I applied and I wasn’t chosen for Pitch Wars. And every time, the hardest part of the process was literally just pressing the button to submit my application. Just know that applying takes guts and I’m so excited for each and every writer who pushes through the fear and doubt to take that next step in their publishing journey. Don’t count yourself out before you begin and don’t be afraid to take a risk.
I’m looking for YA science fiction, romance, and thrillers that go beyond surface level and have something to say. I also love retellings and subversive twists on classic stories. Send me your books with messy, chaotic protagonists, villains who feel terrifyingly real, and settings that surprise me. I’m excited to read about vicious, hungry characters who know what they want, sweeping epic romances, and girls who don’t apologize. I’m excited for soft characters who manage to stay kind in a cruel word, for all the yearning, and for unbreakable, steadfast friendships in the face of everything.
Overall, I can’t wait to find my new favorite books and support you on your journey. Let me make you countless aesthetics and Spotify playlists! Please, it’s my one true passion!
I write YA sci-fi (and think it’s vastly underrated, let’s bully publishing into making sci-fi cool again), so I’m especially looking for a science fiction book to fall in love with. Send me any and all space operas, galaxy-wide adventures, and planet hopping road trips. If you can comp it to Illuminae or Star Wars, I want to see it. Extra points if it’s gay. Extra extra points if Oscar Isaac was your inspiration. I’m also a fan of contemporary, but prefer that the vibe leans more speculative or thriller than fluffy rom-com, although romantic subplots are always a big yes!
Give me politics and intrigue of any kind, especially plots that critique and dismantle systems of power. Tear out the corrupt leaders and burn the system to the ground instead of appointing new ones. I want stories full of scheming and revenge plots, power struggles and toppled monarchies led by morally gray characters who know exactly what they want. Across all genres, I’m looking for ambitious characters who make questionable choices, characters who learn to grow past the confines of their upbringing, and anyone who would literally burn the world down for the people they love.
I love retellings of myths, fairytales and folklore as long as there’s something new – a speculative element, a surprise romance, an unconventional setting.
And please give me a romantic subplot to yearn for, I’m SO not picky especially if you can add “but make it queer” at the end of your trope. Submit your enemies to lovers, friends to enemies to lovers, rivals to lovers, and forbidden star-crossed love. I want it all.
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
I’m big about communication and will probably respond quickly with any notes, edit letters, or questions. In the past, I’ve viewed revisions as a collaborative process and that’s still very true now. I want to work together to enhance and polish your story so that you can end up with a book that matches your vision and truly says what you want it to say. I also am the opposite of cool and will literally be unable to stop myself from telling you how much I love your book. Spoiler alert: if I pick your book, I really do love it. Expect all the validation and support you need, along with endless memes, aesthetics, and the aforementioned Spotify playlists.
That being said, I’m also going to be honest about what revisions I think we need to make your book as great as it can be. First, I’d like to talk about your personal goals for your book and career – what do you want out of this program? This can be done over the phone, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Google hangouts, whatever works best for you! This will help me tailer my developmental edits to align with your vision (although I’ll definitely have ideas before we chat). Then, I’ll send an edit letter with bigger developmental notes and give you time to process/make a plan. What really helped me when I was a mentee was making a chapter by chapter outline of where to put potential edits and how to make the existing material stronger. I’ll encourage you to have a written revision plan or outline before jumping into any edits. We’ll repeat developmental edits as many times as we need and then I’ll move on to line edits, where I’ll go through the manuscript and point out any line-level things I think could be polished up.
I’m also a fan of firm deadlines. I’ll want you to set a specific date for each stage of the revision process so that we can both stay on top of things and so you can get used to working under deadlines. Everything will be according to your schedule and we can adjust if anything comes up, but I would love to nail down a general timeline at the beginning of the process so we can both stay on track.
I’m always down for texting/DMing or talking on the phone to brainstorm or check in. Please never be afraid to reach out, I promise I am just three raccoons in a trench coat, masquerading as a competent adult. If something isn’t working for you, or you don’t vibe with an edit, we can always discuss, but at the end of the day it’s YOUR book. You know it best and I trust your judgement.
I’m looking for someone who isn’t afraid of doing the work. This industry is hard! Writing is hard! Revising is hard! You don’t need to know everything about the industry, but you need to have a clear vision for your book and what you want it to say. My ideal mentee is eager to learn and willing to listen to critiques and understand why those notes are being applied in the first place. If an edit note doesn’t work with you, that’s okay, but you need to be able to tell me why and what you would do instead to fix the problem. You have to be willing to push through the hard stuff. I’d love to have open communication and work with you beyond this book. If I’m picking you, it’s because I love your writing style and want to see everything you write! There are SO many ups and downs in this industry, but I’d love to be there to help with the entire journey, not just this specific manuscript.
This is not a definitive list! Please surprise me with your wonderful stories, even if they have elements that aren’t listed here.
- Morally gray characters. Give me power-hungry, questionable leads driven by revenge or anger
- Villain origin stories. As long as they don’t excuse war crimes or try to make the reader sympathize with a fascist dictator (looking at you, Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes), I’m here for it
- Anything set in space! Space road trips! Space heists! Space politics!
- Characters actively working to dismantle systems of oppression
- Found families
- Eat the rich (I mean this figuratively but if you found a smart, creative way to do it literally?? I would like to see it)
- LGBT+ stories of any kind. They don’t have to be coming out stories either – just give me unapologetically gay protagonists, side characters, or villains whose sexuality isn’t a plot point, or reason for discrimination
- Strong romantic subplots
- Anything that could comp to a Taylor Swift song – preferably from Reputation or folklore
- Strong female friendships
- Bisexual rep, with or without romance
- Characters who are the literal embodiment of chaos
- Characters who are just Trying Their Best
- Retellings of classic stories/myths (but make it queer)
- Star Wars (but make it queer)
- Enemies to lovers or rivals to lovers (but make it queer)
- There’s only one bed
- Complicated, messy mother/daughter dynamics
Also, if you wrote something inspired by or based off of a Broadway musical, I don’t care what genre it is, I want to see it.
DO NOT SEND ME:
I don’t want to limit too much, but I’m probably not the best fit for:
- Fantasy (UNLESS the theme is dismantling/destroying the monarchy and taking down the inherent classism and discrimination woven into most fantasy worlds. If you have that book, please send it to me.)
- Light, fluffy contemporary or rom-coms
- Pirates, mermaids, or anything nautical
And I’m absolutely not the right mentor for:
- Sexual abuse/assault stories
- Slut shaming or stories where women hate each other because of a man
- Body shaming/fatphobia
- Cops/books where cops are the main character.
- Romanticized suicide or self harm
- Toxic love interests/relationships that don’t go unexamined (normalize killing your abusive husband, taking all of his money, and fleeing the country)
Books: Six of Crows, Illuminae, Down Comes The Night (Allison Saft said war criminal rights and I have no choice but to allow it), Percy Jackson, The Darkest Minds trilogy, Ninth House, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Burn Our Bodies Down and Wilder Girls, Red White & Royal Blue.
Movies/TV: Parks and Recreation, The Good Place, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Legends of Korra, Schitt’s Creek, She-ra, Knives Out, Holes, Legally Blonde, Little Women, Rogue One
Music: Taylor Swift, Julia Michaels, Halsey, Hozier, One Direction, literally any Original Broadway Cast Recording