By Nicole Frail-Magda

#RevPit is just around the corner, and unfortunately I’m unable to participate fully because my days, nights, and weekends are dedicated to getting my life ready for my first child—a baby boy—in May! However, I’ve finally figured out how I can pitch in! (Better late than never, right?)

To all runners-up the editors choose, I’m excited to be offering a free first-chapter critique on the work you’ve submitted to #RevPit to go along with Kyra Nelson’s query edit.

How will this work?

The runners-up will be paired with me after announcements and we’ll work out submission details. You can cash in this free service up to twelve months after #RevPit is over, so don’t feel pressured to do so right away. If you received feedback on your first five pages (or more) that you want to apply to your first chapter, please take the time to incorporate that before reaching out to me. (It’s not like I won’t have anything else to do in the meantime!)

Note: I’ll be on maternity leave between baby’s arrival and most likely end of July, so please give me a few days to get back to you before following up!

What’s the process like?

I’ll take a look at your full first chapter (we can talk more if you have a prologue) and give you two types of feedback:

1) a brief editorial letter focused on the more complicated “issues” or ideas

2) in-line edits via Track Changes on specific things I’ve noticed throughout

Are you looking for anything specific in the first chapter?

Every book is different, of course, but I tend to favor those in which I’m thrown right into the action, suspense, excitement, or problem. Try not to bog down the reader with backstory right at the start; save all that and sprinkle it in later.

Finally, one tip I’ve found useful: take a look at Chapter 2. Is it more exciting than Chapter 1? Should that, perhaps, be where you start your book?

I don’t envy the editors and the hard choices they have to make over the next few weeks, but I’m definitely excited to work with each of the runners-up on their first chapter critiques! Good luck!

Nicole Frail-Magda:

Nicole is a senior editor at Skyhorse Publishing, a New York City–based independent publishing company with more than ten imprints. She works with both fiction and nonfiction—specifically cooking, lifestyle, and young adult. To find out more about the titles she’s acquired and edited, take a look here.

In addition to editing full time for Skyhorse, she offers freelance editorial services such as critiques, editing, and blurb support at and speaks about traditional publishing and careers in publishing at colleges and conferences. If Nicole is not reading, writing, editing, or talking about books, it's probably because she's eating. (Although she frequently multitasks.) You can buy her adoration with coffee, popcorn, and/or ice cream.

Before moving to New York City in 2012, Nicole was a content developer/editor at an educational book production company in Pennsylvania. In the past, she's solved word puzzles, folded tiny baby clothes, supervised book sellers, and checked groceries. She graduated from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, with a bachelor's degree in communications/journalism.

Nicole lives in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, with her husband, Matt, a professional chef who helps keep her grounded and well-fed. They are expecting their first child in May.


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