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  • Writer's pictureMia P. Manansala

Pitch Wars 2021 Adult Mentor Wishlist

**I am open to reading NA. However, since NA isn’t really a thing in mystery/crime fiction, there’s a good chance I’ll request that you simply pitch your book as Adult come Agent Showcase.**

Greetings, Pitch Warriors!

For those of you who are new to Pitch Wars, it is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for an agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents.

It's a fantastic program that has changed many lives and also introduced so many writers (me included!) to a wonderful writing community. For more info on the program itself, go to the website.

Who Am I?

My name is Mia P. Manansala (she/her) and my debut novel, ARSENIC AND ADOBO, came out earlier this year from Berkley/Penguin Random House. I was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2017 and this is my fourth year mentoring in Pitch Wars. I specialize in traditional mystery (stories featuring amateur sleuths as opposed to law enforcement professionals) and PI novels, but also enjoy psychological suspense and domestic thrillers that aren't too dark.

What I’m looking for:

  • Crime fiction that combines a great voice with a strong main character, doses of humor/wit, and some amazing plot twists.

  • A fresh, fun take on the cozy mystery genre, particularly if it deals with issues/interests that Millennials and Gen Z care about

  • Traditional mysteries (of all subgenres) that balance humor and heart

  • Crime fiction that touches on important issues, but has a light/entertaining tone and ends with a feeling of hope and justice served

Examples of books/authors I love, and the types of stories I'd love to mentor:

I am particularly passionate about uplifting BIPOC and other historically/systematically excluded voices, though you should feel no need to “out” yourself as part of the process.*

*Of course, you don't have to be a marginalized writer to submit to me, but your story shouldn't just be populated with cishet white characters.

What I am NOT looking for:

I am NOT the best mentor for anything super dark, especially subject matter involving serial killers, pedophiles, child rapists, torture, and abuse of any kind. There is an amazing group of crime fiction mentors this year who are perfectly happy to tackle dark subject matter, and I wouldn't want you to waste an entry on me.

Communication Style:

I’m very hands-on, but prefer to chat online through Facebook Messenger or Gchat while revising in Google Docs. I can also do Zoom or Google Meet since it can be easier to brainstorm and discuss feedback through a video call rather than sending a million messages back and forth.

Text messages or other social media DMs are cool too, but I am a typical Millennial (and also have some auditory processing issues) so phone calls give me Anxiety. Please never, ever call me out of the blue because I will assume I’ve either won the lottery or someone died. There is no in-between.

Revision Process:

We’ll spend some time breaking down your plot and protagonist’s character arc. Once your story structure is in place (yes, I will make you outline, and yes, there is absolutely a reason for this. I ask you to trust the process), you are off to revise. You can either:

A) Revise and send by act: Revise Act 1, send it to me to critique while you start revising Act 2, rinse and repeat for Act 3.


B) Revise and send the full manuscript because you feel it’s better for me to look at the manuscript as a whole.

I am flexible about this, but I do ask that you stick to the deadlines we set out. If you know you can’t meet the deadline (life happens and life is particularly difficult right now), please let me know ASAP. I have a day job, my own writing deadlines, book coaching clients, and other everyday responsibilities. I will do my best to accommodate late deadlines, but clear communication is key in making sure we have a good, productive relationship. Never be afraid to ask me questions, or for whatever it is you need as a mentee.

Also, I just want to add: Your story will always be YOUR story. I would never force my vision on you if you don't feel it's right. HOWEVER, you must be open to feedback and constructive criticism. I will explain why I’m asking for specific changes, but you should always feel comfortable talking it through with me, asking questions, and also explaining your viewpoint. And don't forget, all writing is rewriting. (And rewriting, and rewriting...)

Why You Should Choose Me:

  • I’m a Pitch Wars veteran! I’m part of the class of 2017, and the amazing Kellye Garrett was my mentor. So I know the particular pressure of being in this program, and I know how it feels to be in Pitch Wars on both sides.

  • I’m very hands on. Seriously, got a question? Don't hesitate to ask. The world of publishing can be so confusing (and frustrating and a few other choice adjectives) and part of my job as a mentor is to help you navigate through it.

  • I’m an award-winning mystery writer (flex!) and am active in various writing organizations, so I’m knowledgeable about the market and publishing side of the industry.

  • I’m also an Author Accelerator certified book coach, so not only do I understand the craft of writing, I know how to teach it as well (trust me, those are two VERY different things).

If you have any specific questions about my wishlist, what it's like to participate in Pitch Wars, etc., feel free to ask me on Twitter!

My Bio:

Mia P. Manansala (she/her) is a certified book coach and the author of ARSENIC AND ADOBO, which garnered starred reviews from Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness. The New York Times stated, “Manansala peppers the narrative with enough red herrings to keep readers from guessing the killer, but the strength of the novel is how family, food and love intertwine in meaningful and complex ways,” which are common themes in her writing. The sequel, HOMICIDE AND HALO-HALO, comes out February 8, 2022.

She is the winner of the 2018 Hugh Holton Award, the 2018 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award, the 2017 William F. Deeck - Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers, and the 2016 Mystery Writers of America/Helen McCloy Scholarship. She's also a 2017 Pitch Wars alum and 2018-2021 mentor.

A lover of all things geeky, Mia spends her days procrasti-baking, playing JRPGs and dating sims, reading cozy mysteries and diverse romance, and cuddling her dogs Gumiho and Max Power.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @MPMtheWriter

Or check out her website:

Check out the links below to see the other Adult Mentors' wish lists!

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a day ago

This is exactly the kind of guidance I've been looking for! My manuscript is a traditional mystery with a diverse cast of characters and a strong focus on tunnel rush community and humor. I love that you're interested in uplifting BIPOC voices, as my protagonist is a first-generation immigrant balancing her cultural identity with her role as an amateur sleuth.


Apr 27

Mia P. Manansala's wishlist is fantastic. As a crime fiction writer myself, I appreciate her specific examples of books and Buildnow GG series she enjoys.


Lamb Herman
Lamb Herman
Apr 22

enjoy psychological suspense and domestic thrillers that aren't too dark. snow rider 3d


Dai Galvin
Dai Galvin
Apr 19

Good tips! The quordle sequence game's design encourages players to think critically about letter placement and word structure, making it both an entertaining and educational tool.

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