I am participating in Pitch Wars this year. Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to spend three months revising their manuscript. It ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where agents can read a pitch/first page and can request to read more. If you’re reading this because you’re a fan of mine, then hopefully you’ll become a fan of my mentee once this whole process is over. And if you’re reading this because you hope to become that mentee, then here’s my wishlist!
Who I Am: My name is Tim Akers, and I write fantasy and science fiction. Over the last ten years I’ve published six novels, about a dozen short stories, and written nearly 100k words of material for various games, including Pathfinder, Malifaux, Wild West Exodus, and the Midgard setting for 5e. My first three novels were steampunk noir, mixed with a healthy dose of New Weird strangeness. My last three books form the Hallowed War trilogy, and are epic fantasy as influenced by Miyazaki, the Final Fantasy series, and a childhood fascination with knights and druids. I am represented by Joshua Bilmes of the JABberwocky Literary Agency.
What I’m Looking For: While I read broadly, I have focused my writing skills on producing entertaining, commercially viable stories that are fun and satisfying to the reader. For the purposes of this wishlist, I will only be accepting Adult pitches. For Fantasy, I’m open to epic fantasy, portal fantasy, low magic hijinks, sword & sorcery, steampunk, and New Weird. For Science Fiction, send me cyberpunk, space opera, milsf, and clever near future work that falls outside the typical climate change dystopia.
What I’m Not Looking For: Erotica, re-hashes of established tropes, a narration of your last D&D game, or time travel unless it’s particularly clever (See Hurley’s Light Brigade for a sterling example). Fantasy is a genre that depends on established tropes, but in order to stand out from the crowd you need to do something interesting with them. That doesn’t mean “the exact opposite of what’s expected”, because that’s not interesting, it’s just the opposite.
Caveats: If I think you’re good enough of a writer to be my mentee, it also means that I think you’re good enough of a writer to face hard criticism. I edit honestly, and directly. Writing is a difficult business, because writers put a lot of themselves into their work, and when that work is criticized it’s very easy to feel attacked. If I’m your mentor, I’m going to work hard to make your book the best it can be, but that means I’m going to take a knife to it. It’s going to be messy. If you don’t think you can face that, then save yourself the heartache and submit elsewhere. But if you seriously want to be a better writer, then I think we can work together.
Reading Lists: Here’s a comp list to give you an idea of the sort of books I enjoy.
Fantasy: The Dragon and the Coin series by Daniel Abraham, Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, The Red Knight by Miles Cameron, Name of the Wind by Pat Rothfuss, Blood of Ambrose by James Enge, The Scar by China Mieville, Banner of the Damned by Sherwood Smith, The Thousand Names by Django Wexler, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin, The Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb.
Science Fiction: The Expanse series by James SA Corey, Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee, Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan, Outriders by Jay Posey, Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos.
Final Notes: This is my first time serving as a PW Mentor. I don’t yet have best practices in place for reading submissions. If you submit to me, please be patient. Know that I’m going to give all the submissions my full attention and, if I choose you as my mentee, know also that I’m going to give your manuscript the same care with which I handle my own work.
Click here to return to the Pitch Wars Mentor List
Thanks for your interest!