by Sione Aeschliman

Are you ready to submit April 7th?
  1. You have a finished manuscript. I cannot overemphasize how important this is. You cannot be almost done, or "done except I need help deciding the ending." Your ms has to already have a beginning, middle, and end. Maybe you're not 100% sold on the ending you've written or a couple other details, but you've committed regardless and the thing is DONE.

  2. Your manuscript is a workable length. There's only a month for editing, which means that we're limited in terms of how much manuscript we can take on. The editors generally agree that "a workable length" means no more than 110K for an adult scifi or fantasy novel. 80-90K for an adult novel in any genre is ideal. If your word count is over 100K (not a typo), you might want to check out this post about the most common reasons I see for high word counts and get your word count down a little further.

  3. You've revised your ms at least once in response to feedback. Probably more than once. And by "feedback," I mean from a beta reader or critique partner - someone who gets stories and will be honest with you. And by "revised" I do not mean you've smoothed out the prose. I mean you've worked hard on overall structure, character development, world building, pacing and conflict. You've gone back in again and perfected your first five pages because you know that's all you have to get our attention. And then you've polished your first 50 pages a couple of times, both for the big picture and for language-level details. Do the editors expect your ms to be perfect? No. But it has to be as close to done as you can get it without a professional editor. Because I guarantee that we'll have some insight and ideas of our own that will take your awesome book and make it even awesomer. Which brings me to...

  4. You're still open to doing more revision. You need to be super honest with yourself right now: How are you feeling about your ms? Are you burnt out on it? Convinced that it's perfect as-is? Revise & Resub is all about editing, so you need to be open to constructive feedback and willing to roll up your sleeves and work hard. Again. If you aren't open to hearing that your book isn't done, or you don't have any more energy to put into it, it's not the right time to submit.

  5. You will have the time & energy to work hard. I intend to take my author through two or three rounds of editing. In past contests, my authors have taken time off of work, cloistered themselves away from their families, and worked late into the nights to execute the changes we'd agreed on because they understood that they had access to a professional editor for free for an entire month. The editors who participate in this challenge are willing to give you a lot of ourselves for one month. You have to be willing to bring it, too. So time for more honesty here: How much time are you realistically going to be able to devote to revisions during the editing period? If you're going to be traveling, will need to focus a lot of your time and attention on your family/relationships, or will have a lot going on in your day job that'll prevent you from spending a significant amount of time on revision, the timing isn't right.

If YES to all of the above

Once you've decided that you do absolutely want to submit in April, it's time to get down to business.

  1. Read through the RevPit submission guidelines carefully and more than once.

  2. Read your manuscript one more time to make sure (1) it feels done to you and (2) you're still willing to put more work into it.

  3. Research the editors, choose up to 3 to submit to. It's super important to understand the editors' MSWLs (we get grumpy about receiving subs that don't fit), but it's also super important for you to get a sense of our personalities. If your submission is chosen, you're going to be working closely with one of us for five weeks, and it'll go a lot smoother for everyone if you're actually excited about the editor you're working with and respect their professional opinion. In addition to looking at the editors' RevPit profiles and websites, show up to as many of the #AskEditor sessions as you can April 1st-6th.

  4. (Re)write your query letter.

  5. Send your submission materials to a critique partner or friend to make sure you haven't overlooked anything.

  6. April 7-9: SUBMIT!

If you're not ready to submit...

You don't need to be a contestant in order to benefit from the amazingly supportive and enthusiastic RevPit community. Even if you decide not to submit this April, you can still join the party: ask questions, favorite, retweet, shake your pom-poms for your friends, find a critique partner and/or an editor, and learn from the editors' #AskEditor and #10queries tweets. Be sure to follow @reviseresub, the event organizer, and tune in to the #RevPit hashtag on Twitter.

Related posts on Sione's blog

Novel's structure

Word count

First five pages

First 50 pages

Darkest Moment


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