[This article may include affiliate links]
In 2017, I, along with a few other developmental editors, co-founded a contest and community called #RevPit. This contest is for emerging writers who plan to query and pitch their work to literary agents and publishing houses. The contest serves writers who want to gain the experience of working closely with a developmental editor (for free) to get their book in the best shape they can before pitching.
Each featured editor in the contest (usually about 12-15 editors each year) will pick 1 writer to work with on their manuscript for 8 weeks. That means 15 writers win this amazing editorial support, and then when the 8 weeks are up, we showcase a sample of the work we did together here.
This year, for 2023, I selected Amanda Poll and her YA mystery manuscript Beth Death as my winner.
We met almost every other week for two months to nail the revisions to match her vision for the book. We dove deep into the character arcs, the mystery plot, the romance story line, and we amplified the sh*t out of the character’s dark moment and the resolution of the book.
Fast forward to now: Amanda and I wrapped our work on her book a couple weeks ago, and as I reflect on the work Amanda did, and all my authors before, I’m humbled and inspired and honestly, just freaking swelling with pride.
Now, Amanda is in the query trenches and so far she’s had a handful of requests from agents. That book WILL be on the bookshelves in the future, I’m certain of it. You can see the first five pages of her book and the query letter here.
(And have fun reviewing all the other RevPit books from this year).
Speaking of books that I knew would be published; my 2019 RevPit winner Cheryl Wanner just released the book we worked on together See Me As I Am with Immortal Works Press. It’s a YA romance featuring a blind female protagonist and rock bands set in Oregon.
Talk about pride! I get to hold the physical copy of a book I worked on with an author. How freaking cool is that? Every time I hold a client’s book in my hands, I get giddy. They did that. They published their story. It was not an easy path, and yet, they persisted, and grew, and kept moving forward.
When I look back at all my authors, it’s so freaking cool to see their different types of achievements and how they kept moving forward.
Since this email is about RevPit, let’s play “Where are they now?” RevPit edition:
2017: Marissa Urgo; The Gravity of Missing Things (June 2022)
2019: Cheryl Wanner, See Me as I Am (May 2023)
2020: Mackenzie Reed, The Rosewood Hunt (coming Oct 2023)
2021: Ann Laguerre; querying.
2022: I sat this year out.
2023: Amanda Poll; querying.
How inspiring is this list? It’s not just that these authors are publishing their writing, but that they have kept moving forward to meet their writing dreams, even though it took time or many books.
It wasn’t always linear. And just being in RevPit didn’t mean they automatically got a leg up.
In the case of Marisa and Mackenzie, it’s the book they wrote after our RevPit work that got published.
In other cases, you can see the timeline of getting published too–it’s not quick. Madi got her agent with The White Coat Diaries, which was her RevPit book (under a different title), right after RevPit in June of 2018 and it took two years before it made it into the world. And that was one of the faster processes I’ve seen.
The one thing these authors have in common is their perseverance. They didn’t stop with one win. They took their knowledge and determination and kept on. And on. And on.
When you feel like you are stuck, or struggling, keep in mind that every path is different. It takes time. It takes grit and tenacity. And it’s not the “wins” that keep you moving forward–it’s your choice that moves you forward.
These authors were ALL open to growth. Working with each was such a dream because they were eager to learn and apply new skills. They didn’t sit back and expect work to be done for them. They didn’t succeed because they worked with me. They succeeded because they did what it took to be the best writer they could be.
There is no guarantee in publishing. Working with me may have shortened the path, or kept them from taking some very off beat turns, but they were already on the path the whole time. They would have gotten here without winning RevPit.
What RevPit DID do though was provide the space and focus to drill into their work and spend 6-8 weeks giving their story everything they had. They learned, applied, grew, and stored information that helped them write the next book, and the next one, and so on.
That’s why I love book coaching. It’s not about the one book or the one win. It’s about the career of writing—of growing and getting better and faster and feeling more empowered with every book that comes next.
You have the ability within you. The path is clear.
But sometimes you might want a guide to help you steer.
Specifically, a guide who will carve out the space, knowledge, and safety net for you for 8-10 weeks. And at the end, you’ll have a book you are so freaking proud of–the story that changed the course of your author career forever. Because whether that book is the one that lands you an agent or gets published or not, it’s the book you changed the game with. It’s the manuscript that powered your confidence in your skills, ability to write and finish the thing, and the story you know you’ll always look back on and say, “Damn, I took that farther than I knew possible, and look what it’s done for my writing ever since.”
If that’s you, book a call with me this week and let’s plan your 10-week “RevPit” intensive.
P.S. If you want to get the “RevPit” experience with a developmental editor, book a free 20min consult call with me this week or reply to this email to get started.
P.P.S. Coming up soon on The Writing with Coach McCoach podcast, you’ll be hearing from published authors and the paths they took, the pivots they made, the challenges, the successes, and the unwavering determination to see their work in print that led them forward. Check out our latest interview here.