Team Soul Glo's 2021 Pitch Wars Wishlist
Updated: Sep 13
Welcome to #TeamSoulGlo aka Nikki Payne and Regina Black. We’re mentoring in the Adult category and are excited to read your romance and women’s fiction! We are open to New Adult submissions from authors open to submitting to the Adult Agent Showcase.
Keep reading to learn more about us and what we’re looking for. If you’d like to view our wishlist as a text only, WORD doc, it’s located here. If you'd like to view it as a text only PDF it's located here.
First things first. What is Pitch Wars? Pitch Wars is a program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose an unagented writer to mentor through a revision of their manuscript. It ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where agents can read a pitch and expert from the mentee’s book and request to read more. We are both 2020 Pitch Wars alums, so we know a lot about the program. If you’re curious about our projects, you can find our 2020 showcase entries here and here. But, we give horrible life advice #DumpHim, so don't lean on us for everything.
So who is Team Soul Glo?
Team Soul Glo motto is not just about bomb ass hairstyles from the '80s. In fact, we're focused on leveraging your strengths as a writer, so that you might hone your craft and build the best manuscript for you and your characters. We’re both adult fiction authors who have recently sold our debuts. So we understand the waiting, the angst, the uncertainty of starting a career, but we also know how to turn an idea into a well-executed draft. And that friend is 90% of the work.
Nikki’s romantic comedy, PRIDE AND PROTEST is a fresh reimagining of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice that asks what if Elizabeth Bennet was a round-the-way girl from DC? By day, Nikki Payne is a curious tech anthropologist asking the right questions to deliver better digital services. By night, she dreams of ways to subvert canon literature. She's a member of Smut U, a premium feminist writing collective, and is a cat lady with no cats.
A Few of Nikki’s Favorite Things
Authors I wait for:
Movies I watch over and over
Vibes = Eve’s Bayou
Feels = Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Wit = The Mirror has Two Faces
More Vibes = The Photograph
Nikki's Writing Superpowers
Regina’s debut, THE ART OF SCANDAL, is a Shondaland inspired, marriage of inconvenience romance in which a woman agrees to play the role of the perfect Black trophy wife for her cheating husband's political campaign, but falls for a much younger man in the process. A civil litigator in a former life, she currently works as a law school administrator. In her spare time, she loves making templates, baking cakes, and offering opinions on DC Comics characters that no one asked for.
A Few of Regina’s Favorite Things
Books I'm Obsessed With:
Take a Hint, Dani Brown, by Talia Hibbert
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
Thirsty by Mia Hopkins
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
TV/Film with Vibes and Voices I Love:
Being Mary Jane
Beyond the Lights
Regina's Writing Superpowers
Show Don’t Tell
What We Want
We want stories of becoming with high concepts and strong hooks that grab your attention with a one or two-sentence pitch. Think “modern arranged marriage with a reluctant neurodiverse Hero” like in Helen Hoang’s The BrideTest. We love fresh takes on familiar tropes, like romance in a small college town, or best friend’s older sister instead of brother. Don’t be afraid to play with familiar ideas to find a fresh voice.
We enjoy characters that have to grow up a bit to be ready to receive the next level of love. So show us your growth! We love a good character arc. We look for compelling internal and external conflict and characters who feel like real people-flaws and all. We love to see our characters struggle to get to their goal. We want to root for them.
There is still work to be done normalizing the many ways and many people that love can show up for. We’re extremely excited to read stories featuring BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, neurodiverse, and body diverse characters written by authors who share those identities. We also love stories with intersectional feminist, womanist, and sex-positive themes. We strive to integrate these themes into our work and would really like to see them reflected in your pages.
Oh, you want more specifics? Use the lists below as a guide to things we enjoy. But please, know it's not exhaustive. More than anything we want to be surprised and wowed by a great story! So even if your book doesn't include one of the specific tropes below, if you like our vibe and feel like it's a good fit for your book, we'll be happy to read your submission.
RomComs and Contemporary Romance
In romance, a happily ever after or happy for now is required. And we love both, so choose the ending that feels right for your story.
All heat levels are welcome. We both write steamy, open-door so that tends to be our preference. But more than anything, we want to see why these two people love each other on the page. Don’t just tell us they can't keep their hands off each other. Show us the heat. Don’t just tell us that this person makes them the best version of themselves. Show us how and why. And always make sure there’s clear consent on the page.
We want complex enemies to lovers stories with high tension and slow burns.
Give us your antiheroes and “unlikable,” woman main characters. Assholes need love too.
We love a forced proximity trope. It doesn't have to be just one bed. But if your characters happen upon just one bed during a snowstorm, we wouldn't be mad.
Honestly, there aren't many tropes we don't love. Second chance, friends to lovers, fake dating, we want to see them all. But we'd really love it if you subvert those tropes! We’ve both read a lot of romance and are eager to see how creative you can be with familiar favorites. A good example of this is the second chance + enemies to lovers romance, You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle.
Romantic comedies should make us do spit takes. We want to laugh out loud while we root for the happily ever after.
Give us conflict, tension, and big emotions. Don’t be afraid to make us cry or keep turning the pages with soapy cliffhangers.
We want contemporary romance that straddles the line between genre and commercial/book club fiction, like Seven Days in June by Tia Williams.
We welcome soft speculative elements in your plot. We would love to read a romance with magic realism, fabulist, or soft sci-fi, or soft fantasy plots like The Rehearsals by Annette Christie or What the Hex by Alexis Daria.
Women’s Fiction and Women’s Fiction with a Strong Romantic Subplot
For WF with a romantic subplot, we’re looking for everything we want in romance but a HEA/HFN isn’t required.
Our tastes are more commercial/book club than literary. Think The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid or Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers.
We're more interested in external conflict and plot-driven stories (i.e. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid) than more introspective, character studies. Don't get us wrong. A good growth arc is a must. But we want your character to encounter obstacles outside of their internal struggles.
We’re looking for characters and settings that are underrepresented in women’s fiction. Like retail workers instead of white-collar professionals. Or the Mississippi Delta instead of a Midwest suburban town. However, underrepresented characters in familiar plots are always welcome. If you have a nonbinary MC dealing with PTA drama in the suburbs, send it our way!
We like books that play with theme and voice in unexpected ways. We want a dark comedy with a touching love story at its heart. Or a drama with fresh social commentary and unexpected humor.
Send us your platonic love stories! We’re both mothers, so tug our heartstrings with those parent/child, sibling, best friends reunions.
What We Don't Want
You only get four choices in this thing! We want to make sure you're choosing the best mentor for your submission. DO NOT send us a manuscript that includes the following because we won't consider them.
Jane Austen Retellings or Shakespeare Retellings. We both have books like this in the works and would rather not receive these submissions to mentor.
On-page sexual assault or graphic violence.
On-page child abuse. A history of domestic abuse as a backstory is okay, but we don’t want graphic depictions on the page.
Misogynistic or “not like other girls,” themes.
Racism as a plot device. While we welcome realistic depictions of BIPOC experiences, we would prefer if the primary external conflict wasn’t racial trauma.
We're also not the best fit for the following subgenres:
Mafia or MC Club Romances
Historical Romance - Recent history is okay (example 1980’s or 1990’s)
Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy (Soft fantasy elements are okay. See our want list above).
Sci-Fi Romance (Soft sci-fi elements are okay. See our want list above).
Why Team Soul Glo?
Our style is mentee-focused and based on the GROW model, a four-step framework we use to maximize the benefit of your mentoring sessions. GROW is an acronym for:
GOAL: This is where we listen to what you want to accomplish during Pitch Wars. Every writer has different needs. We’ll develop a strategic plan tailored to our mentee to help you reach your goals during the mentorship period.
REALITY: This is where we take stock of the current state of your manuscript. You’ll receive feedback on plot, character, and structure as well as resources for attacking your big revisions.
OBSTACLES: Now it’s time for a game plan. From brainstorming sessions to chapter critiques to managing your time if you’re juggling multiple obligations, we’ll help you figure out how to implement the changes needed to make your book query ready.
WILL: We will be your accountability partners the entire way! We’ll make sure you stay on track, check in for status reports and general cheerleading the entire time. We encourage open communication and will make ourselves available through email, DM’s, and Zoom for regular meetings to keep you motivated and on track to finish strong.
Here! Have a Spotify Playlist to get you in the Soul Glo Mood!
Have questions? Want clarification on something from our wishlist? Our DM’s are open! You can reach Regina at @reginablkwrites on Twitter or @reginablackwrites on Instagram. You can reach Nikki @nikkipayne14 on Twitter.
To see what the other Adult mentors are looking for, click the links below. Or head back to the Pitch Wars post to see the complete list of mentors. Good luck!