You weren’t selected for RevPit? Me neither.
No, seriously, I wasn’t—and not because I was an editor as opposed to an entrant.
I, too, submitted to the annual RevPit event in April 2017, and, much like you, walked away with nothing.
Except that’s not true. Not even close to it, in fact.
It can be easy to dwell on that feeling of rejection, on the notion your work just wasn’t good enough, but there are a million reasons why your pages might not have been selected that have nothing to do with your talent as a writer.
And I would know—as an editor for the 2018 and 2019 RevPit main events, I can tell you firsthand how difficult it is to have to take a pool of 100 entries and select just one from those submissions. To prove it, here are some comments I left on entries I didn’t choose as my RevPit finalist.
This could be the one.
Literally said “Oh, cool” to concept.
I’ve got a good feeling here.
Writer’s talent is apparent.
Again, these are submissions I didn’t choose as my winner. There’s so much subjectivity involved in this process, and much of it comes down to fit, where I have to ask myself whether I’m the best editor for a particular project.
In some cases, the submission is already in such pristine shape that I’m not sure what feedback I can offer. For example, just last year, E.L. Rowe submitted a wonderful manuscript to me that I knew almost immediately I couldn’t work with. Why?
Because it was already beyond query ready. Only proving my point, E.L. went on to secure an agent mere months after I sent her a feedback email to let her know how much I adored her work, but that I couldn’t choose it as my winner.
Still not convinced? Take me as a second example. I submitted to Sione Aeschliman in 2017, and though she didn’t choose to work with me, we ended up working together outside the RevPit event on my manuscript’s first fifty pages, its darkest moment, and its ending.
With her help, I was able to bring a new vision to my manuscript, which I went on to sign a contract for with NineStar Press in early 2018. And, wouldn’t you know it, Imminent Dawn was then published in January 2019.
All of this brings me back to the question posed in this post’s title. What now?
Keep on keeping on.
It’s what E.L. and I have in common, and it’s what so many other now-published or agented authors have in common with the two of us as well.
Sure, you might want to take a break after the emotional roller coaster that is RevPit, and that’s okay, too. You wrote a book because you love writing, and that love will always be there for you when you’re ready to receive and share it again.
And don’t forget—success is more than publication. It’s more than signing with an agent. It’s more than being selected as a winner in a single online pitch event.
Success is finishing a manuscript. It’s getting words down on the page. It’s brainstorming while you’re in the shower. It’s leaving it all behind when you know you need a break.
You’ve already proven so much to yourself simply by submitting, and I encourage you to never lose sight of that. Your work is valid. It’s good enough. You’re good enough.
And you don’t need anyone else’s approval for that to be true.