2023 Annual Contest Editor ✓
Mini-Event Editor ✓
Joel Brigham is both a freelance editor as well as an editorial consultant for The Purcell Agency, a boutique literary agency based out of Chicago. He writes MG and YA contemporary books (a couple of which are currently on submission), and he has a long history of writing SEO content, professional blogs, and NBA journalism for Basketball Insiders. He also has been a high school English teacher for nearly two decades and has a bachelor's degree in Creative Writing and a master's degree in Education. He loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, fantasy football, '90s hip-hop, and true crime podcasts.
"In terms of age levels, MG and YA are my sweet spots, but I also work with a lot of adult-level stuff. "New Adult" (college-age protagonists) and "Women's Fiction" are great, too!
My preferred genres include contemporary, action & adventure, historical, romance, issue-driven, literary, fairy tale retellings, and magical realism/speculative fiction.
Genres that I love (and am open to working with!) but may not necessarily be the BEST fit: novels in verse, horror, and thrillers. I'm not a good fit for picture books or graphic novels.
As for science fiction and fantasy, it depends entirely on the story. I'm more likely to take low fantasy than high or epic fantasy, and I'm more likely to take character-driven soft sci-fi than hard sci-fi. Steampunk, space operas, and space westerns aren't for me.
How can a manuscript’s first five pages make you sit up and take notice?
If the lead gets me, I'll devour the first paragraph. If the first paragraph gets me, I'll devour the first page. It usually only takes me about that long to know if I'm going to fall in love with a manuscript. Don't ""save your good stuff"" for Page 4 or 5. I want to see your best foot forward on Page 1!
More than anything, I want to see something new and unique. If the character and/or plot is something that feels original in some way, I'm in. Bonus points if you can make me laugh.
What can writers expect from working with you during #RevPit, including communication?
My whole deal is to provide writers with actionable feedback. When I put together an edit letter, it's so the writer has a solid list of to-do items that they can tackle one at a time until the manuscript is just the way they like it. My specialty is pacing, so if your book feels like it drags or sags at certain points, that's something I can help with. I'm also great with voice, dialogue, and plot, and I'm the King of Show-Don't-Tell. Also, because I work so closely with literary agents, I have a strong sense of what they look for in a draft, which is helpful to prep a book for the querying trenches.
In terms of communication, I'm ridiculously accessible. Probably more than I should be. But I've been a teacher for so long that helping people is in my DNA at this point. I'm the kind of person who likes consistent (and persistent!) communication. We're going to be buddies if we end up working together. You really won't have much of a choice.
What do you expect from writers during the #RevPit revision process, including communication?
I'm looking for writers that are interested (and maybe even excited!) to take feedback and apply it to their manuscript. Be ready to put in the work necessary to make the most of this opportunity, and know that while I love to dole out praise, I also work best with people who are ready to get down to business. I value work ethic above all things, including talent!
What hobbies do you have outside of writing and editing?
I love to watch baseball in the summer (go White Sox! and Savannah Bananas!), and in the fall I've grown to enjoy the challenge and community around fantasy football. I collect vintage Ninja Turtles, watch every Oscar-nominated movie each year, and walk or run for an hour almost every day. I also coach my daughter's 12U softball team and love nothing more than planning a good family vacation!