The Voyage YA Book Lab

Registration is now closed | $497 | Register Here 

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Our lab is now closed. Check back here for info about our next lab later this fall!

We have been so proud of the work we’ve done to elevate and shine a light on great YA writers with our contests and monthly publications. YA writers-we often do not get the respect and support we deserve from the literary community, and Racquel and I began Voyage to meet that issue head on. That’s why we’re also so excited about a new project that has been in the works for a while: the Book Lab.

We set out to design this from the ground up with accessibility in mind: make it fit into the regular writer’s busy life and cramped budget. Researching opportunities for this sort of workshopping online, we found so much of what is offered is either thousands of dollars or requiring an extensive and specific schedule disruption. We’re proud that our project offers great value that is under $500 and completely virtual and asynchronous. You don’t even have to get on Zoom if you don’t want to!

We’ve also gone a totally new route that you won’t find anywhere else: our editorial partners are all working agents. These key decision makers will be the ones giving direct and actionable feedback on your manuscript that can take it to the next level, give it a fighting chance in the agency submission slush we’re all wrestling through. To keep this affordable and to get as much as we can from the time these agents are offering, the feedback will be for the first 50 pages or ~15,000 words of your novel. This can be a completed book, or a work in progress. The feedback will be useful for writers at any stage.

Do you want to understand exactly how Agents are responding to your query and writing? This is the opportunity for you.

Racquel and I share over a decade of creative writing teaching experience, at all levels, and we put that experience to use in creating rigorous and unique learning materials just for this lab: workbooks, glossaries, query guides, submission suggestions, and more. Over a hundred pages of learning material to work through and digest as you read our suggested foundational texts: Naming The World edited by Bret Anthony Johnston, The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass, Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway, and Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. These materials are entirely self-guided to meet your own unique pace and needs and can last months to a year to complete.

Are you looking for a way to truly put in the work and progress professionally as a writer? This is the opportunity for you.

That’s not all though. We’ve asked writers, in a dozen different ways, what is most important to them as they make progress, and the answer predominantly remains the same: community. Finding a good, sustainable writing group is so very tough. We know it, we’ve been through them ourselves. Experience levels differ. Tastes differ. Personalities clash and life happens. Getting to a great writing group is hard work, and we want to help. We will use this opportunity to curate for every writer who wants one, a group of their peers that match their interests and their experience, and help guide the groups along to a sustainable longevity.

Are you eager to connect with fellow writers and to live life with them as a professional author? This is the opportunity for you. We’ve packed into this as much as we can. We’re so proud of the accessibility it offers, and our incredible agent partners who are joining us on this journey. We hope you will too!

Please feel welcome to reach out to me at with any and all questions!


Josh & Racquel | Founders of The Voyage Journal

Book Lab Details

Expert advice from the comforts of home. This remote, asynchronous writing lab is open to all writers and is an excellent way to improve your novel. Please submit only the first 50 pages and include a cover letter describing your project.

Your cover letter should include a brief introduction to your story, where you have submitted or hope to submit in the future, and any specific feedback you’re looking for, as well as challenges you’re having. If you’d like to join a writers group, please also include a short biography and any information that you think may help us match you to the right group of peers.

When your submission is uploaded you will receive registration confirmation. Manuscripts will be processed in the order they are received. Please give our agent and editor partners 8-12 weeks after registration ends to return their feedback.

Early submissions may yield earlier feedback.

We accept works of young adult fiction of any and all genres, the first 50 pages or fewer of your novel. Please submit one single manuscript per submission.


Participants Receive:

  • an editorial letter from your agent or editor with specific suggestions and developmental analysis that will help elevate your novel to the next level.
  • a PDF collection of self-guided learning curriculum (100+ pages) on fiction and novel writing, featuring workbooks uniquely built by our team around the foundational texts Naming The World edited by Bret Anthony Johnston, The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass, Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway, and Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody.
  • free submission in a forthcoming Voyage YA contest
  • the opportunity to join a workshop group with your peers in the program
Participating Agents:
Ameerah Holliday (Serendipity Literary Agency) is a dancer and self-proclaimed poetess from San Diego, California. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from San Diego State University. Holliday is a former editorial assistant intern for Poetry International and currently serves as editorial director for the San Diego Poetry Annual and editor for Kids! San Diego Poetry Annual.
A Texas native, Leah Pierre (Ladderbird Literary Agency) briefly moved to the East Coast to attend Rosemont College and to pursue her dream of working in publishing. Now having graduated from Rosemont with her B.A. in English and History and having accomplished that dream, she has moved back to the South to begin her next adventure. In addition to searching for the next commercial YA or Adult project that will hook her (or make her cry), Leah is currently pursuing her M.A. in Publishing. Leah spends her time enjoying the company of fictional characters more than people. When not in the company of fictional characters, Leah hangs out with friends and family, cooks, and catches up on the movies and tv shows she is always behind on.
Hannah VanVels Ausbury’s (Belcastro Agency) life is consumed by all things bookish, and when she’s not working on books, she can usually be found curled up with a good cup of coffee or a glass of wine. She earned her BA at the University of Michigan and holds MA degrees from Tel Aviv University and the University of Chicago. In addition to agenting, Hannah owns a freelance editing business. Hannah has worked various bookish jobs including a stint as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble, a freelance editor for scholarly and academic essays and journals, and most recently as the acquiring editor at a young adult imprint with HarperCollins Publishing. Hannah loves working closely with authors and coming alongside them to make their vision come to life on page. She lives in West Michigan with her partner, two German Shepherds, and two cats.


Does I need to have a completed novel to participate?

Not at all! This opportunity can work well with books at any stage. As long as you have a beginning that inspires and excites you, we can get an agent to give you feedback that will help guide it in the right direction to meet its readers.


How much interaction will I have with the agents?

Each participant will be assigned one agent who receives their work. For accessibility and convenience, we’ve designed this program with the aim to be completely asynchronous and digital—you will submit your manuscript, and the agent will write their feedback and send it back. After that, any continued conversation is at the agent’s personal discretion.


How much interaction will I have with the other participants?

Entirely up to you! The Lab is designed to be open to complete independence or group participation. After getting your learning materials, you’ll be asked if you’d like to join a group to either workshop writing, or work through the materials together, or both. The Voyage team will help create the groups according to level of experience, and then it’ll be entirely up to the participants after that to figure out a working schedule and style that makes sense to the group.


Will this help me with my other writing?

Absolutely! While the feedback will be specific to the project you share, the rigorous learning material will help your current writing and all future projects become the best they can be.

Will I have to zoom or get on the phone?

Nope! This will be handled entirely through submittable. We will send you your packet of lab material soon after you submit. The timing of the feedback depends on the editor availability, but it should not be longer than 8-10 weeks.


Can I purchase a spot for a friend?

Yes, please feel welcome. Just make sure to make clear in your cover letter what you’re doing and put us in contact with that author.



Voyage YA Values

We are committed to diversity and inclusivity. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, disability, family status, gender identity or expression, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. Voyage has a zero tolerance policy for any work that is discriminatory or harmful in any way, whether intentional or unintentional. Hate speech of any kind will not be tolerated and any work that violates our values will be immediately declined. Voyage maintains the right to further ban authors if problematic behavior persists and/or de-platform authors should there be problematic behavior via other platforms.

As the landscape of publishing changes, Voyage  acknowledges that there is still much work to be done. Systemic racism and structural inequality has been a problem for a long time, and Voyage will actively work to dismantle them. We have joined the global movement to fight for equality and will consciously work to amplify marginalized voices of authors who have been historically underrepresented in publishing.

We urge authors and readers alike to visit some of the resources we have found helpful—and seek out others.

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Voyage accepts submissions year-round and published pieces can be found on our website, accessible to everyone for free.