Pitch Your Story to Shira Hoffman

shira-hoffmanSHIRA HOFFMAN began her career in publishing as an intern at Tor Books and started working at McIntosh & Otis, Inc. in 2007.  In 2013 she took over as M&O’s Director of Subsidiary Rights.  Shira is currently developing her own list and is interested in a broad range of fiction and non-fiction in the adult market as well as an occasional YA title.

She is looking for women’s fiction, romance, and commercial memoir with strong characters who you can invest in and compelling original voices.

She’s a sucker for a cowboy or a man in uniform. Second chance romance and secrets from the past are tropes she loves and can read again and again. She’s also interested in books that have strong mystery or suspense elements and fast pacing.

Ultimately, the most important qualities she’s looking for in romance and women’s fiction is a strong voice and the ability to fall in love alongside the characters.  Not currently accepting pitches for historical romance or time travel romance.


Pitch will be read: December 15, 2017

Pitching Guidelines can be found HERE.

Please post your Pitch in the Comments section below in this format:


PITCH (under 200 words):


  1. Thanks so much to everyone for participating and having me on the blog! Toronto obviously has a great chapter and so many great ideas brewing. Wishing you all the best of luck with your pitching and with your writing. I hope you will all keep working at it and I’m looking forward to reading more. Happy Holidays!

  2. TITLE: Reinvention Hustle
    GENRE: Contemporary women’s fiction novel with romantic elements and mystery
    LENGTH: 90,000 words
    AUTHOR: Hyacinthe M. Miller

    For two decades, 42-year-old, mixed race Kenora Tedesco set aside her ambitions for the sake of husband, children and a management job she despises. Her tidy suburban life swerves off course in 2013 when her mother dies suddenly, her husband trades her in for a younger model and she’s fired for insubordination.

    In danger of losing her money-pit rural house, she charms her way through a series of awkward job interviews in mid-town Toronto and embarks on a new career.

    Who could have predicted that, during her year-long journey to financial and personal independence, this hockey playing former soccer mom would toughen up and become a competent private investigator, fall for her handsome boss, be stalked by a lovesick embezzler, almost get kidnapped, and declared dead by a drugstore pharmacist?

    Kenora learns through trial and many errors that starting over requires trusting herself and others, giving up her go-it-alone attitude, following the rules and being courageous enough to fight for the second chances she deserves.

    • Hi Hyacinthe,

      Thanks so much for submitting. I think you’ve got a really clear commercial writing style and a lot of interesting details here. A mother and wife who is also a hockey player and mixed race sounds like a super interesting character that I might be interested to read about. So great job on your main character. That said, I’m going to pass on requesting this because I wasn’t getting a good sense of what the story arch and conflict would be about here that would stand out in a really interesting way and be appealing to publishers. Thanks so much for submitting and I hope the feedback is helpful to honing your pitch.

      All best,


      • Shira, I very much appreciate the time you took to read my pitch and provide comments. The feedback about being clearer about story arc and conflict is, indeed, helpful! Best wishes for the Holiday season.

  3. Title: WOE TO THE WICKED (Book One in Series)

    Genre: Romantic Suspence

    Word Count: 65,000

    Author: Judy Malcolm

    Lab tech June Harber is more than grateful to survive a round of hospital lay-offs and land a job, even if it is in pathology.

    Immersed in a group of cliquey women, June doesn’t belong. Upon discovering shady lab practices June blows the whistle and her world implodes. She lives in fear from retaliation and her heart shatters when her new love Dr. Hamid leaves.

    Fate avenges all wicked deeds but at what cost? Will June be left with a cynical, calcified view of life and all the people in it?

    • Hey Judy,

      Thank you for submitting! This query really packed a punch and I really appreciated that you let us know the stakes and what was on the line here for June with her career. That said, within romantic suspense publishers are really looking for stories that focus on the the romantic development of the two characters and this story appears from your pitch to be really focused on June’s career and career drama at her job at the pathology lab. I think that could be super interesting in a different genre, but I don’t think it would work as well in romantic suspense. So unfortunately I won’t be requesting this. Within romantic suspense the plot needs to be very character driven vs. plot driven and from what you have here it doesn’t look like that’s the direction you are going with this project. So maybe just something to ponder either about the project or about how you are pitching this one. I hope that’s helpful! Best of luck.


  4. Virlana Kardash says:

    Title: Susanna Bailey and The Bag of Unknowns
    Genre: Romantic Suspense
    Length: 80,000 words, completed
    Author: Virlana Kardash

    Fish-out-of-water Washington D.C. court reporter finds the body of a witness on a park
    bench, is sucked into a web of espionage, and falls for sexy, dangerous Naval
    Intelligence officer, exposing old wounds and deep secrets

    • Hi Virlana,

      I’d love to take a peek at this! I think the idea of having a court reporter as a main character is super smart and fresh, especially with the resurgence around true crime we are seeing right now. Would you send the full manuscript, a synopsis and the first 100 pages to me? You can submit by sending to SHquery@mcintoshandotis.com

      Looking forward to hearing more.

      All best,


  5. Title: Murder By Mistake
    Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mystery
    Word Count: I00,000
    Author: Irene Knight

    When VIVIAN QUICK’s fiance, mystery writer ALEX COLT, dies in a freak explosion just hours after promoting his next whodunit, she gets an intuitive “hit.” He’s still alive. Vivian visually discerns people’s personalities with uncanny accuracy. But her hunches? A crap shoot. However, she can’t ignore it. No way can she wrap her heart around the idea that he’s dead.

    Digging for clues leads to more questions. Alex has lied to her about, well…almost everything. Where is he hiding? Why is someone trying to kill him? And why does he have a bad habit of faking his own death?

    When Alex’s manuscript goes missing, a trip cross-country leads Vivian to an estranged family, an inherited mansion and two sexy chefs in a reality TV cook-off. Oh, and Alex’s ex-fiancee, who gets murdered. Somehow they’re all related. Working under a cloud of suspicion Vivian must fake psychic ability to uncover the clues to catch a killer. This sends her into an emotional tailspin. It isn’t until she confronts a shame-filled con artist past that she’s able to gaze into her new cracked crystal ball (it was on sale) and sleuth out a trail of wrongdoing, going back decades, in order to save them all.

    Thank-you for this opportunity.

    • Hi Irene,

      Thanks for submitting!.

      I really love the idea of a mystery writer who goes missing or fakes his own death. That kind of meta playing with genre can be super fun. There are a lot of really smart ideas in this query. That said I’m going to pass on requesting this one, for me there is just a bit too much going on in this query and I’m not getting a good sense of main conflict and am getting very caught up in a lot details that don’t quite seem to fit together to me. I hope that’s helpful towards pitching in the future!

      All best wishes,


  6. Title: STAGE FRIGHT
    Genre: Romantic Mystery Thriller
    Word Count: 78,000-words
    Author: Diane L. Kowalyshyn

    Girl-next-door actress (think Meg Ryan) and war hero (think of a British Marcus Luttrell).

    Gifted actress, Skye Andrews, catapults off the stage and into the real world—a world filled with more drama than her Broadway performances when she learns she’s being stalked.

    Skye’s pragmatic nature always made her question the eccentric ramblings of Bessie, a dear aunt who claimed to possess prophetic powers. Once she passes, Skye travels to the UK to fulfill the executor’s duties and soon believes there might have been some truth in those wild claims because she is bequeathed a journal she is unable to read because Bessie wrote it in an undecipherable archaic script. Even more curious a strange man from Bessie’s past appears at the service of remembrance and requests that Bessie be buried with an antique Luckenbooth brooch.

    In South Hampton, at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Skye runs into another snag. She requires official approval to add another inscription on the family headstone that already has two—the decision must be made by Captain Jet Dalry, a wounded soldier recuperating from an accident that’s left him in a quandary about his manhood—a man who despite their mutual attraction, doesn’t want to be loved.

    The arcane stone in the brooch is the key to unlocking the journal’s secrets—it acts like a looking glass. It allows Skye to see events from everyone’s past, present and future—hers, Jet’s and Bessie’s. The information Skye gleans allows her to manipulate fate to save Jet and herself from a .38 caliber bullet.

    • Hi Diane,

      Thanks so much for your query!

      There is a lot going on here. I love the drama and the setting. An actress looking into a mystery from the past with a bit of a gothic feel could be a great concept for an engaging mystery. That said, I won’t be requesting this one. Unfortunately, anything with a paranormal bent right now is just super difficult to place. Everything needs to be pitch perfect and the concept has to be extremely stand out. I would work on honing the paranormal elements here and finding a super original way to make them stand out, or alternately considering making this more of a contemporary gothic mystery with less focus on the paranormal elements. I hope that helps! Best of luck.

      All best wishes,


  7. Hanna Loren says:

    Genre: Contemporary YA
    Word Count: 72,000
    Author: Hanna Loren

    World weary diplomat’s daughter Claire Marshall is finally in a country secure enough for her to attend her final year of high school. Still, life is as claustrophobic as ever under the tight security at the US Embassy in #boring Toronto, Canada … until Claire’s charming classmate and neighbour Benjamin Prince invites her to prom. While Ben worries Claire won’t accept his invitation because his Down Syndrome and critical heart condition make him different, Claire’s concern is disappointing Ben if their date falls through, knowing she never stays in one place for long. When Claire overhears her father about to accept another assignment halfway around the world she sneaks out to meet Ben determined to delay their departure. Ben’s homeless brother Carver, always watching over Ben from a distance, steps in to save Claire’s life when she goes into anaphylactic shock after a post peanut butter sandwich kiss from Ben. Accepting Ben’s invitation sets off a chain reaction that puts Ben’s life and the security of the USA in jeopardy. Claire risks breaking Ben’s fragile heart when she falls for his heroic brother, who prevents her father’s assassination while helping her expose the chilling crimes of a White House infiltrator.
    Many thanks for this pitch opportunity.

    • Hi Hanna,

      Thanks so much for submitting this!

      I just love the idea of a teen romance between the daughter of an ambassador and a love interest with Down Syndrome. That said, my tastes with in YA are super specific and I’m mostly looking for projects that are funny or light hearted within YA romance. So I think this one is just a bit of a mismatch. That said, you might try querying Christa Heschke (if you haven’t already) as she is looking for a wider range of contemporary YA than I am.

      Best of luck!

      All best wishes,


      • Hanna Loren says:

        Many thanks Shira for your recommendation. I will definitely try querying Christa Heschke.

        All the best,

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