Now that I have a short break from school, I’m making the most of this free time by filling it up with writing (I know, I don’t know how to chill). I reviewed Johanna Warren’s new album, Chaotic Good, over at Stars and Scars. Follow the link to read more!
Folks, the #RevPit announcements went out today! (If you have no idea what that means, learn more about the annual contest here). As you may have guessed, I ultimately wasn’t chosen as a mentee this year, but it was really fun to haunt that hashtag the last few weeks. While I’m super excited for those authors who are working with editors to overhaul their manuscripts in the next eight weeks, as in similar publishing-related Twitter-based events, it’s not really about winning. Keep reading to know five things I learned (or re-learned) from submitting my book this year.
1. We’re all winners.
It sounds cheesy–and I don’t even have cars to give away to everyone because I’m not Oprah–but it’s true. Writing a book is something so many people dream of doing, but relatively few accomplish. Even if you’re not chosen, submitting the book you’ve spent months or even years on to virtual strangers is a risky leap forward.
Beyond the huge amount of courage involved in that first step, the editors who run #RevPit are all extremely generous, and most of them will give some form of feedback to all entrants (though you might have to ask for it). Whether you get this in an email, a #10Queries tweet, or even form a critique group with other authors, getting feedback is a key part in leveling up as a writer, and something I always appreciate in the often heartbreaking world of publishing where silence means no.
2. Maybe the real treasure was the friends we made along the way.
Okay, I’m done speaking in time-worn tropes, I promise. But even though only a handful of writers win the ultimate grand prize in events like #RevPit, the rest of us can still benefit from making connections, both with the editors and with one another. The community is incredibly kind and has been offering positivity passes, critique, and general fun threads to follow. We all need a relatively light-hearted place to go, especially given the current state of our world.
3. Get it in ASAP… and then let go of all expectations.
I set an alarm on the Saturday morning the submission window opened so I would be sure my submission would go to my top two editors (one of whom was a last minute switch that worked out really nicely, but that’s another story). Given my track record in previous #RevPit years, in which I had gotten not a single request, I wasn’t too hopeful that it would pan out. I mean, there are so many great writers out there, and most of these events lean very heavily on YA authors anyway. So I kept my expectations low.
A few days later, I was absolutely thrilled to receive a request for my full manuscript from one of the editors. Proof that the best surprises happen when you stop obsessing over them.
4. How to determine whether a #10Queries tweet was about me… rationally.
Okay, I mean, it’s hard not to think every last tweet was about my book, even from the editors I hadn’t submitted to, even the ones about YA fantasy, when I clearly don’t write YA fantasy. It highlights how common different issues are, across genres, and how much all writing has in common. But as I engaged in some reflection, it became easier to compare what the editors were noting in their tweets to what I knew was going on with my first five pages.
5. It’s really not about you.
Like I alluded to above, editors in these types of events have to be very selective about their one winner. They have to have a vision for the book that will resonate with the author, and they have to know they can pull it off within eight weeks. They also have to be confident that the author needs their help at all. The quality of your writing is just one factor in this decision.
These are all important lessons as I continue on my journey as a writer, and I hope that you might benefit from them too. Thanks for reading, and stay well!