Pitch a Book, Win an Edit

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED


The time has come: Pitch a Book, Win an Edit has arrived! I’ve tried to predict and answer all your below:

What is Pitch a Book, Win an Edit? Pitch a Book, Win an Edit is a contest where everybody wins, but only one person gets the grand prize. Writers pitch their completed manuscript to me the same way they would to an agent/publisher, and I will pick the submission I think has the most potential. That writer will win a developmental edit of their full manuscript!

Everyone else, while they won’t receive the free edit, will receive a response explaining why I did not pick their submission. So, even if you don’t win the grand prize, you will receive feedback that will hopefully help you improve your concept or query for future submissions.

How do I submit? Email your query to winanedit@gmail.com before June 28, 2019 at 11:59 pm EST. Manuscripts in any genre or age group, and of any length, are welcomed. Your email must include:

  • subject line I want to win an edit for Title by Author Name (Insert your manuscript title and your author name. Any emails without the appropriate subject line will be deleted without opening).
  • a query letter with:
    • a personalized opening (e.g. Dear Jessica, Attention Ms. Trudel)
    • metadata (age group, genre, and wordcount)
    • 1-2 paragraph plot/character summary
    • short author bio
  • the first 3000 words of your manuscript (pasted in the body of the email)

Absolutely no attachments. Each author may submit only once to this contest. If you do not follow the submission instructions, your submission will be rejected. Read and re-read the submission guidelines before you click send.

What will you do with my submission? After reading your query letter and the first 3000 words of your manuscript, I may want to see more of your manuscript or see a synopsis of your book. If so, I will email you to request additional materials. Make sure your full manuscript and book synopsis are ready to go.

On the other hand, I may not feel your submission is the winning submission. If so, I’ll email you back right away briefly explaining why you did not win. It could be that you didn’t follow the submission instructions, or it could be that I don’t feel your manuscript is ready for developmental editing. Please remember, my comments are meant to help you improve your story concept or querying skills. My words are not a personal attack, though I know it can feel like I’m attacking your book baby.

When will the winner be announced? The winner will be announced this summer, though I can’t be sure when as it will depend on how many submissions I receive. I reserve the right to close the contest to new entries at any time if I receive more submissions than I can handle.

What do I do if I don’t receive a response to my submission? All submissions will be responded to prior to the announcement of the winner, so if you have not received a response by the time the winner is announced, your submission either did not have the appropriate subject line (and thus was deleted without opening), or I did not receive it. Please check your email sent folder to verify that you did in fact send your entry prior to the deadline, and that the subject line followed the submission guidelines. Feel free to reply to your original sent email if you think I missed your entry or deleted it unfairly.

When will the winning manuscript be edited? The developmental edit will be completed in or by Fall 2019 depending on the length of the winning manuscript and the complexity of the edits.

What’s in this for you? An editor’s career flourishes after their name is attached to a successful, published book. The goal is for me to choose an author/manuscript that I believe has the most potential to not just be published, but become a bestseller. No, I’m not phishing for book ideas to steal: I have enough book ideas of my own that I will never have a chance to write.

What if I have questions not answered here? If you have questions, do not email the contest address as any email sent to that address without the correct subject line will be deleted. Please email jessicatrudelwrites@gmail.com with any questions related to this contest. You may also ask me on Twitter if you prefer. My handle is @reallitbulbs.

“Jessica Trudel recently provided me with a structural edit of my first novel. I am extremely impressed with her professional and in-depth feedback. An hour long face chat today after receiving the written report was invaluable. Jessica is easy to chat to and her feedback and ideas are fantastic. I can highly recommend her editing services.” – Sal Gallaher

Words to Cut: OF

A strong manuscript uses strong, direct language, and vivid images, to convey its story or message. Leave your passive and weak words on the clipboard.

It’s easy to ignore common words like THE, A, and ON when you’re editing because there’s so many of them that they start to blend into the background.

Here’s one common word you should never ignore: OF.

OF has many uses as it conveys relationships between people, entities, and objects.

For example,

“She was able to get out of the trap.”

“Big box stores are at the top of the retail food chain.”

“I’m one of the gang now!”

These sentences are all correct uses of the word OF, so many editors would not correct you, but they might note that you used a lot of weak language in your manuscript.

Many times, you can replace the word OF with stronger, more active words, or more vivid imagery. You will still need to use the word OF from time to time, but you’ll find you can eliminate many.

For example,

“She was able to escape the trap.”

ESCAPE is a stronger word than the phrase GET OUT OF because it is more active, and it uses one word to replace three.

Another example:

“Big box stores stir mom and pop shops into their morning coffee and watch them dissolve into the deep brown whirlpool.”

This sentence is a complete rewrite, prompted by the OF in the previous version. I decided it might need stronger, more vivid language.

What about the last one, I’m one of the gang now?

How about:

“I am Negan.”

All joking aside, try it yourself. Pick up your own manuscript, search for the word OF, and see how many you can eliminate by using stronger, more active words, and more vivid imagery.