Brent Taylor

YA Contemporary / Verse Novels

500 WORDS OR LESS (Fall 2018)
Simon Pulse

I’m Juleah! Pronounced like Princess Leia with a “JU” in front. Honestly, I spend a lot of time working. Writing and working a very demanding 9-5 job that I love consume much of my time and attention. But I live in Colorado, so I escape to the mountains for hikes and some bonding time with the special people in my life when I can. POC author.

The best thing about the first novel I wrote was that it was complete. Critique partners thought it was great, but I didn’t love it and neither did the few agents who requested partials or fulls. Then I started writing what eventually became 500 WORDS OR LESS. Some people did NOT like it. Some people thought I should essentially whitewash the POC characters because they “didn’t get” them. It felt like my own experience and existence as a person of color was being critiqued. But this time, I loved the story I was writing. It felt like a reality and people I had known and seen. People with complexity and flaws. I held back on querying, and searched and searched for the right agent because I was afraid of hearing someone else say they didn’t “get it”. I was incredibly lucky to stumble upon a tweet through #MSWL that led me to Brent Taylor. I was even more lucky when my eventual editor Jennifer Ung gave me a second chance after an initial pass to revise and resubmit the full manuscript for her consideration. I feel so grateful and lucky.

I am still learning and working on the craft. I have served as a mentor in a professional/non-writing capacity. The most successful mentorships have been those where we are able to answer, “what is your goal with the time we have together?”

I feel strongly about mentoring a POC writer through the process, because it can actually be kinda shitty at times. Somedays “diversity” feels like a “trend” in the industry, whereas everyday it’s your own lived experience.

A writer with a verse novel, preferably quirky or funny OR a writer who has a manuscript with drama, tension, scandal, multiple love interests and CW appeal.

  • Contemporary
  • #ownvoices
  • Romance
  • Verse Novel

Tropes I love: summer love, love triangles. Can’t get enough of them! I also have an unhealthy obsession for novels that include boarding schools.

Tropes that bore me: Verse novels where the protagonist is a musician and writes song lyrics (unless you are Kwame Alexander and his coauthor and wrote Solo…but even then I skipped over the song lyrics.)


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Skype or phone call

Provide an edit letter or line edits with suggested resources/homework with follow up Skype or phone call to talk through any ideas or questions.

Preferences, but not required: A POC writer; someone who is open to homework such as reading suggested craft books; someone with experience participating in face-to-face/in-person critique groups.

Something akin to a CW show (Riverdale, Gossip Girl, etc) with an authentically POC cast. A quirky and/or humorous verse novel

Fantasy, paranormal, magical realism, and historical fiction; books that take place in NYC

Authors: Jenny Han, Jason Reynolds, John Green, Kwame Alexander, Jacqueline Woodson, Stephanie Perkins, Sonya Sones; Jandy Nelson

Favorite verse novels: Inside out and back again; The crossover; Booked; Love that Dog; True Believer/Make Lemonade; Love and Leftovers; Brown Girl Dreaming; One of those hideous books where the mother dies; Stop pretending.

TV shows that I could binge watch repeatedly: Most of these shows are problematic on so many levels, yet I can’t get enough of the drama. The OC, Veronica Mars, Laguna Beach, Gossip Girl, Riverdale; Girls; also Project Runway.