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Queries and Agents => Literary Agents => Topic started by: Miss Plum on April 10, 2021, 11:34:37 AM

Title: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: Miss Plum on April 10, 2021, 11:34:37 AM
Hi, all

So one of my beta readers got back to me at looooong last, with some fabulous suggestions for my manuscript. I made them and it's so much better now -- now that I've already submitted it on a full request. The agent in question has had it for just a month, which basically means she hasn't opened it yet. I'm soooo tempted to send her my improved version, but that would make it look like I broke a querying commandment and submitted it before it was polished and perfect (which would be true, but let's not go there :sad:).

Suggestions? Should I simply tell her what I told you and attach another file?
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: littlewritings on April 10, 2021, 12:09:05 PM
Something similar has happened to me. Two agents had my full at that time and I emailed them to tell them that I had an updated version of my manuscript and asked if they'd like me to send it to them. They both said yes, please send it over. I don't know what the etiquette is on just sending it without a warning, but asking politely if they want it has definitely worked for me.
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: Johnny 5 on April 10, 2021, 12:20:31 PM
Hello Miss Plum,

It's a tough one. Does the agency have a standard general info email address you could reach out to ask the question and get their advice? Or maybe they have an FAQ that has an entry for your situation. You could also maybe get a friend or use a different e-mail address to ask the question direct to the agent without giving yourself away (if you know what I mean). It's pity agencies are generally closed to phone calls for such things.

I have been down this road and retracted one such query through Query Manager with a US agent. It allowed me to add comments when I did so, and I noted that I had reworked the manuscript. I got a reply from the agent (it may have been form) but she thanked me for letting her know. I then submitted the updated query as a new submission. Still waiting on a response.

I also tried the above with a UK agency for the same query. They used e-mail and not Query Manager, and when I asked the question (can I retract and resubmit) I got a reply the next day apologizing for the delay and saying that the agents will read my query eventually and that the delay is due to the number of queries. So they clearly misread my e-mail asking about the retraction. I followed up with a response to clarify what I was asking, and three weeks later I'm still waiting on a response.

Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: Odd John on April 10, 2021, 01:10:34 PM
That's a tough one unless you have a generous agent contact to begin with, as per littlewritings.

Is this your dream agent?

You could thread the needle by asking if you can send the (re)draft -- with a note saying the the other MS was an earlier version and was sent in error. You might get away with this but I think only once. Of course, don't slip up and call it a "redraft". You'd be telling the whole truth but for a small fib of omission.
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: Miss Plum on April 10, 2021, 01:18:02 PM
Thanks for your ideas, all.

Odd John, what can I say, she requested my manuscript -- she's my dream!

I think I'll request the re-send and just tell her the truth. One thing I keep learning over and over is that agents are human. They just might understand a little slip-up.

ETA: I just saw this on an agent's website: "A grammar error or misspelling will never dissuade us from reading a query. We know that emails are pored over, like books, and yet we still miss things in the copyedit."

More evidence that agents are human and understand the occasional mistake.
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: littlewritings on April 10, 2021, 01:24:51 PM
One more thing I'd suggest: Stay in the email thread you already have with that agent, so they immediately know which manuscript your email is about. (If you sent it via QM, you can use the "send message" option.)

(I wouldn't recommend lying to the agent, because that's no way of starting a professional relationship. You have an updated version and you're offering it to them, simple as that.)
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: rivergirl on April 10, 2021, 05:48:51 PM
If I was an agent, I'd be wondering why you didn't send me your very best version. This ship has sailed in my opinion. Let it go. If it's in tip-top shape and marketable, someone else will want it.
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: Miss Plum on April 10, 2021, 06:04:00 PM
Quote
If I was an agent, I'd be wondering why you didn't send me your very best version.
Yup, there's the problem. "Thou Shalt Not Send Thy Second-Best Draft" is inscribed on a stone tablet somewhere. Unfortunately, I didn't know it was my second-best until I got some useful commentary from a beta reader I'd given up on.
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: richardclin on April 10, 2021, 09:14:57 PM
Hi Miss Plum,


I had posted a similar question a few weeks ago but hadn't picked up any response. So thank you for posting this question as I feel it very significant. I too am in this boat after a couple of R&R from agents and feedback from this kind group of authors. I consulted with a trad published author friend of mine along with two professional freelance editor friends of mine. All suggested waiting a couple of months before sending such a note asking whether the agent might like to review the new version instead of the old one. Otherwise, it may come across as a nudge, which I guess is usually reserved for when you receive an offer of representation or sufficient time has passed (i.e., 2-3 months for a partial, 4-6 months for a full seems to be a standard range).


Of course, the risk with this approach is that this increases the chance they have already read or started into the old version.


I do agree that honesty is the best course. I also feel that opening up and asking politely (as littlewritings shared) seems to work. For instance, after any personal rejection, I always politely ask for feedback and whether they might allow me to act on them. A couple have declined, a few have not responded, but three have agreed to a resubmit. One offered to take another look if I re-oriented my memoir towards the YA market and suggested some YA books for me to read up on. So I guess it goes back to the old axiom "it never hurts to ask (politely)." And, as I learned from a mentor many years ago, most people are willing to help if you humbly ask them for counsel.


Another observation I have made in my limited experience: it appears to spur some agents to action when you honestly share with them that you have been receiving attention/feedback from other agents. For example, I will ask them for their perspective on some feedback that other agents have provided. Again, a few have responded positively with their views.


So, getting back to the original question, I do plan to send newer versions after some more time has passed and just being upfront and saying, sorry, but this is now better. If you wish to stick with the original, please by all means do so. If somehow you have not gotten to my MS, then you have the option of a new one. Would you like to see it? I think it might be fine to do once. Of course, perhaps this gets me banished to the far corners of the query world by an agent or two, but I question whether they would do so if the MS resonates with them. And if they do, is this an agent I would really partner well with?


Not sure whether the more sage and experienced authors agree with any of my approaches.


Thank you again, Ms. Plum, for bringing up this pertinent point for many of us.


RCL
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: Miss Plum on April 10, 2021, 10:29:56 PM
RCL, I didn't realize you had pretty much asked this question, and I'm glad my raising it has helped you with feedback.

You've presented a great summary of the risks and advantages, and raised yet another risk: that it looks like a clumsily disguised nudge, which I also feared.

As always, politeness and respect should carry the day, and whatever I choose to do -- I get only one go.
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: Odd John on April 11, 2021, 06:19:11 AM
In deference to the summary view of the community, and with a different focus in thought, I am withdrawing my prior note on this thread. (Not deleting, I still own it.) Having said this, the suggestion was essentially true: the original submission was an earlier version and it was an error to send it.

As to little fibs, they are a necessary evil. We are adults here. Let's be honest about fibs. If you tell me you've never told a fib, I'd tell you you were lying. Agents will fib to you about their return calls/response times, not to mention the vague fib of the typical stuttered form rejection. Of course, only an extreme situation should lead you to a feather-light "harmless" fib.

But after further thought, there's the rub. Not a singular fib, but habit. Suppose familiarity leads to greater use? Or instead of "little fibs" then "medium fibs". This could get out of hand and lead to "Stephen King sent me a PM, telling me my horror novel is better than anything he's ever written." (Um, tougue-in-cheek here.) The risk to the writer/Agent relationship is too serious to jeopardize.

So, again, adult though I may be, I withdraw my prior post.
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: Miss Plum on April 11, 2021, 08:33:44 AM
Odd John, I appreciate the thought. The idea of fibbing about accidentally sending the wrong draft occurred to me. At some point, I might tell a fib to save my literary career. And yes of course this is my natural hair color.
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: Odd John on April 11, 2021, 08:41:17 AM
MissPlum: An actual LOL re: hair color.!   ;D
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: hesterL on April 11, 2021, 10:56:51 AM
I believe Jessica Sinsheimer addressed this issue in a blog post some years ago (I'll see if I can find the link!) If I remember correctly, she said it was okay to sub a "new and improved version" provided you reach out to the agent first to see if they're amenable to seeing the revised version. From what I've seen on this site, most agents are fine with this--they're not going to hold it against you if you made some post-sub revisions that strengthen the manuscript.

Best of luck with it Miss Plum!!!!!!
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: richardclin on April 11, 2021, 11:20:49 AM

Hi Hester,


This is extremely helpful and provides confidence in reaching out to agents to see whether they would like to see the revised version. It seems much more expedient to simply attach the new version and indicate it is up to them whether they would like to sub it for the original, but I guess the two-step approach is more "courteous.'

I believe Jessica Sinsheimer addressed this issue in a blog post some years ago (I'll see if I can find the link!) If I remember correctly, she said it was okay to sub a "new and improved version" provided you reach out to the agent first to see if they're amenable to seeing the revised version. From what I've seen on this site, most agents are fine with this--they're not going to hold it against you if you made some post-sub revisions that strengthen the manuscript.

Best of luck with it Miss Plum!!!!!!
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: hesterL on April 11, 2021, 01:30:15 PM
 Richard, glad it was helpful!!!! I found the link--http://agencygatekeeper.blogspot.com. Unfortunately when I clicked on the link it says it's "invite only" so the info is no longer easily accessible. However, I found a post in which several QT users discussed a situation similar to Miss Plum's and cited to the blog post (it's from November 2011 for anyone interested in going back that far--I've been on QT a looooong time, LOL! :)) The gist was pretty much what I remembered--send the agent a short e-mail noting that you've made revisions and asking if the agent would like to see the new version. 
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: Viddiest on April 11, 2021, 04:03:39 PM
I have done this in the past and I am in the process of doing extensive revisions so expect to be doing it again, so here's my two cents.

In general, I agree with Nathan Bransford here: https://nathanbransford.com/blog/2019/06/how-to-work-with-a-literary-agent-on-edits (section titled Should I send an agent my revised manuscript?).

Now, the key point is whether the changes are substantive enough.

Earlier I asked an agent if I could send a revised ms and she said yes, but she's completely ghosted me since. The changes, sadly were not substantive (although I thought at the time they were). Now that I am making truly significant revisions, I realise what Nathan means. So unless you are absolutely certain there will be no other major changes to the book, don't send it. In other words, don't burn your chance with the agent when the changes don't truly alter the book in a major way. If they do, and you have no intention of changing anymore, then yes, I for one think it's worthwhile to say something like, "I've received some great editorial feedback and I've reworked my novel extensively, and would you like to see the new version?".

Now speaking of fibs and tactical omissions, I wouldn't mention it was a beta reader who gave me the editorial feedback and let the agent assume it was another agent/editor/someone grand. :)

Good luck!
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: richardclin on April 12, 2021, 07:03:55 AM
Thank you, Viddiest. You are helpful as always! I found the link and links within the link to be very instructive.
Title: Re: Oh lord, now I want to swap out my submitted full for my latest revision
Post by: Miss Plum on April 12, 2021, 09:22:39 AM
Yeah, Viddiest, there's the age-old problem of slow agent/author communications again. I have no idea if the agent has even opened the original attachment yet. It's barely been a month, so I'm thinking it's No.