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Queries and Agents => Literary Agents => Topic started by: Abbey on December 03, 2007, 05:17:32 PM

Title: Re-writes??
Post by: Abbey on December 03, 2007, 05:17:32 PM
Newbie, here, seeking advice!  (I hope I'm posting in the right place - and that I'm not being redundant - I didn't see any recent threads on this topic).

I've been lurking for a bit and really like the tight-knit community here.  You all seem very informed and savvy to this crazy agent/publishing world. 

With that said, I have a question about doing revisions for agents who have NOT yet offered representation...

Here's the situation I'm in - I submitted 50 pages of my novel to an agent last June, and she asked to see the entire manuscript (exclusively). I sent it to her and 5 months later she sent back the entire manuscript with only a handwritten note suggesting a change for the first chapter (and adding "May resubmit"). I thought about it, agreed with her suggestion, worked hard on revising the opening, and sent it right back to her.

Today, not even six days after I'd sent it, I received the entire manuscript in the mail again. Inside was a brief letter - no comment at all regarding the revisions I'd made, but she'd added advice regarding Chapter 2 (it's pretty clear to me this agent hasn't read the entire manuscript, btw). At the end, again, "May resubmit."

Honestly, from the pattern I see being formed here, I'm starting to wonder if I'll end up just sending the entire manuscript and this agent will continue to read one chapter at a time, sending the whole thing back, suggesting changes. It's already cost me about $60 to send it twice (with SASE boxes), so it doesn't seem like a very good deal, on my end.

Curious to know what people think....is this a normal way to do re-writes for an agent who has not offered (or given a strong indication of ever offering) representation? I wish she would've just kept the whole manuscript and emailed me to see if I'd think about making changes. Sure would've saved me some money...

Thanks in advance for any opinions you can offer...
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: audal on December 03, 2007, 05:26:39 PM
Hey Abbey... and welcome to QT.

(Hey everyone - did you see that - she thinks we're informed and savvy!  Who knew?!  ;D)

Just kidding, Abbey.  We try.

I can see how your patience & diligence may be wearing thin with your current situation.  I think you're probably going to have to make a gut decision.  Weigh out the following - Do you want this agent because of the agent's track record, or do you want this agent just because you want representation period?

It's not abnormal for an agent to request a rewrite, but for one to do it time and again one chapter at a time does make one wonder if the agent will ever be satisfied.

Then again, I don't know exactly who the agent in question is... You don't have to share if you don't want to, but perhaps I'd consider another draft if he/she were at one of the elite agencies.  Then again, how long do you want this drawn out - especially since not even a hint of representation has been offered.
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: Abbey on December 03, 2007, 05:40:55 PM

Weigh out the following - Do you want this agent because of the agent's track record, or do you want this agent just because you want representation period?

It's not abnormal for an agent to request a rewrite, but for one to do it time and again one chapter at a time does make one wonder if the agent will ever be satisfied.

Then again, I don't know exactly who the agent in question is... You don't have to share if you don't want to, but perhaps I'd consider another draft if he/she were at one of the elite agencies.  Then again, how long do you want this drawn out - especially since not even a hint of representation has been offered.

Thanks for the welcome!!  You pose some insightful questions, indeed.  I'd say, in this case, it's probably more a matter of me wanting ANY representation, rather than this particular agent.  I don't mind sharing the agency with you - it's the Seymour Agency (has anyone had any dealings with her?  I'd be very curious to know...).  She's a very small agency that in the past has dealt with romance and/or Christian non-fiction, I believe.  She's been very nice in her correspondence, but I'm just not sure about the way these re-writes are being done (with respect to me having to send the entire mansucript back and forth to her for a few-page revision that could've been easily done by email). 

Honestly, I think I'd be more encouraged if she'd read the entire manuscript, indicated that she had some faith in it, and then asked for certain re-writes.  At this point, it does seem she's only reading chapter-by-chapter and stops whenever she sees a chance for a re-write.  I just didn't know if this was common or not... :huh:

You're right - ultimately, I'll have to go with my gut on this...

Thanks for your input!!
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: audal on December 03, 2007, 06:07:29 PM
Abbey (ooh - just realized we've gotta be careful here 'cause we already have an "Abi!")...

For what it's worth, there are a couple comments in the following discussion that may help make up your mind.  Or they may help confuse you even further.  But it's worth a look, as it seems you are not alone:

Go here: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28520 (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28520)
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: Abbey on December 03, 2007, 06:14:59 PM
Abbey (ooh - just realized we've gotta be careful here 'cause we already have an "Abi!")...

For what it's worth, there are a couple comments in the following discussion that may help make up your mind.  Or they may help confuse you even further.  But it's worth a look, as it seems you are not alone:

Go here: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28520 (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28520)

LOL - I'm actually "ChelseaWriter" on that thread (and a newbie on that board, as well).  I probably should've mentioned that.  I had chosen "Abbey" as a name over here because I had seen another "Chelsea."  Oops!   :emb:
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: Abbey on December 03, 2007, 06:20:48 PM
It sounds to me as if you are being jerked around by that agent. Perhaps not intentionally, but so what? It's still your money and your time being wasted.

I can tell you from my own recent experience that settling for "ANY" representation is not advisable in the long run. Although the agent I had was a very decent fellow, he simply didn't have the necessary Right Stuff to be an effective advocate for my novel. Do you really think Ms. Seymour is the very best you can get? I'll bet not. In which case, start querying like mad.


Hi Lannie!  Thanks for the warm welcome! 

It's funny - I used the same wording just this afternoon, as I told a friend, "I wonder if I'm being jerked around..." (as you said, intentionally or not - from all indications, I really don't think it's on purpose on Ms. Seymour's part, but still...). 

I do already have another agent requesting some pages from that same manuscript, so I think I'll turn my attentions elsewhere for awhile...
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: audal on December 03, 2007, 06:22:02 PM
 :lol: :lol: :lol:

Equally as funny - I actually wondered if you were CW!

A little personal opinion sidebar... I actually did some homework on the agency because it was inexplicably based in the tiny upstate NY town where I went to college.  Something just seemed a bit "off" (perhaps the prayer cards?)... And ultimately I just decided to try other agencies first.  Lots and lots of other agencies.

And then a few more after those.

Ms. Seymour is legit from all I've read, but her methods are just different than the norm.
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: Abbey on December 03, 2007, 06:33:07 PM
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Equally as funny - I actually wondered if you were CW!

A little personal opinion sidebar... I actually did some homework on the agency because it was inexplicably based in the tiny upstate NY town where I went to college.  Something just seemed a bit "off" (perhaps the prayer cards?)... And ultimately I just decided to try other agencies first.  Lots and lots of other agencies.

And then a few more after those.

Ms. Seymour is legit from all I've read, but her methods are just different than the norm.

LOL!!  Too funny, that you thought I was CW!  Spot on!

Yep, I know what you mean about something feeling "off."  Like you, I think she's legit, and she does have books sold.  But, as you said, she has "unusual" methods.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  lol
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: audal on December 03, 2007, 06:42:07 PM
SUNY or St. Lawrence?  ???

St. Lawrence.

It was a great choice, I think.

Abbey - it was your "new" AW status that made me wonder... Thought, "Wow, two people at virtually the same time having the same experience with an obscure agency..."

Yup, real savvy, we are 'round here  :draw:
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: joanjunkmail on December 03, 2007, 06:44:23 PM
nah, there's savvy 'round these parts, 'tis true... and more than a little gullibility.

say, where's chelc?  *snort*
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: Abbey on December 03, 2007, 06:50:30 PM
Yup, real savvy, we are 'round here  :draw:

 :lol:
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: Cole Gibsen on December 03, 2007, 08:51:10 PM
I'm going to hijack this thread now with my own question (Sorry Abbey!):

:hijack: :hijack: :hijack: :hijack: :hijack:

What is the protocol for requerying an agent with a completely rewritten MS once they've rejected a partial or full? Just don't do it?
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: justwrite on December 03, 2007, 09:42:12 PM
Hi Senshi! No...unless they asked you to re-submit.

Abbey...my suggestion is to tell her you'd be happy to revise, but only by email and you'd like to know if there is any chance of representation. Otherwise, forget it.
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: Abbey on December 03, 2007, 10:14:30 PM
Abbey...my suggestion is to tell her you'd be happy to revise, but only by email and you'd like to know if there is any chance of representation. Otherwise, forget it.

That's an excellent suggestion!  It's "to the point," but still leaves an open door...

There's another agent who just requested 10 chaps (tonight!) by email, so I think I'll wait and see what happens there and then possibly re-visit Seymour...
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: justwrite on December 03, 2007, 10:56:09 PM
Ten chapters? Cool! That whole thing with the agent sending the ms back to you was odd. Didn't they have to pay for that? Very strange! Maybe they just wanted an old-fashioned pen-pal.  :)
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: Abbey on December 03, 2007, 11:10:48 PM
That whole thing with the agent sending the ms back to you was odd. Didn't they have to pay for that?

Nope - that's the thing I'm a bit miffed at - I'm the one who paid for the ms. to go both ways (SASE).  Since I've now sent the entire manuscript to her twice (at her request), it's cost me about $60, total.  And apparently, she wants me to send it AGAIN.
   :o
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: elknutswife on December 03, 2007, 11:27:28 PM
I don't know if she specifically requested that you send an SASE big enough for the entire ms, but when I send out fulls, I only send a regular SASE envelope for their response because frankly, it is cheaper to buy a new ink cartridge and reprint the ms then to mail it with a full SASE - especially if you are going to be mailing it back and forth like this. 
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: Abbey on December 04, 2007, 12:02:43 AM
when I send out fulls, I only send a regular SASE envelope for their response because frankly, it is cheaper to buy a new ink cartridge and reprint the ms then to mail it with a full SASE  

So does that mean if they decide to reject, they just dispose of it?  I haven't done it this way before...sounds like your way is much easier (and less expensive, lol)...
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: Abbey on December 04, 2007, 12:32:42 AM
Quote
Exactly so, although they use the euphemism "recycle", presumably to lessen the painful image of dumping your manuscript down the hallway incinerator chute.  :'(

 :lol:
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: elknutswife on December 04, 2007, 08:17:41 AM
Yes, they will just dispose of it - and it is easier, for me at least.  Besides, I would probably be reprinting in any case as I'd want a clean, new copy to send.   ;)
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: Dan_Rice on December 06, 2007, 11:43:55 AM
Good luck with this serial buzz-killer, Abbey. I wish I could be encouraging about the outcome, but I just came off a very frustrating experience with an agent who called me up after reading the full ms and said the novel could sell. Then she sent the ms back with lots of handwritten notes in it and some more general comments, and I took two months to do the revision.

After another two months, she rejected the book with comments that bore no relation to the changes I'd made -- almost as if she'd let someone else read the revision. Her advice was to consult a book doctor. Ugh.

I think "revising on spec" is a dicey business, but it's very hard to say no thanks when you're getting more than the usual response. As others here have said, it's definitely a gut decision.
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: Abbey on December 06, 2007, 06:53:03 PM

After another two months, she rejected the book with comments that bore no relation to the changes I'd made -- almost as if she'd let someone else read the revision. Her advice was to consult a book doctor. Ugh.

That's terrible!  I had a similar thing happen to me several years ago.  An agent read the full manuscript, expressed GREAT interest in it IF I'd "change the person from 3rd to 1st."  I agreed and spent a couple of weeks making that change to the entire manuscript.  I sent it in a second time, and got a rejection a couple of weeks later - no acknowledgment of my changes - only a sort of form letter with something like, "We're currently not accepting any new material."  It was as though they hadn't even remembered what they'd told me!!  Ugh, indeed.   :rant:

I must say - that particular agent went out of business about two years later.  Wonder why.... ;)
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: DaveKuzminski on December 07, 2007, 10:20:00 PM
$60 already? Sounds a bit high or like you're not purchasing your paper in bulk or not using book rate at the post office.

I purchase paper by the case. If I purchased it by a small pack, it would cost a couple bucks for 50 sheets or somewhere around seven bucks for a ream. However, I pay about seventeen bucks for a case which is ten reams of 20 lb. paper. That's generally enough paper to print out a manuscript about ten times. Cost for one manuscript would be about $1.70.

Ink is the next expense. If I purchase ink cartridges individually, those can cost $25 to $30 bucks and that's frequently just barely enough to print out one manuscript. I usually buy a refill kit and use that to extend the cartridge life. My last kit cost $50, but it's already given over thirty refills and still has enough in the bottles to give me another 20 to 30 refills. Cost to print a manuscript drops to about $1.00.

Postage is the area where you can only select among rates and I go for book rate. There's no need to get a signed receipt since that generally aggravates the agent or publisher receiving the package. Likewise, there's no real rush to get it to them unless you know they're going to die within the next few days in which case the question is why are you sending to them? Using book rate, I can generally get the cost down to about $5.00 per manuscript. Of course, distance to publishers varies, so you many see that cost go up or down a dollar. Still, assuming $5.00, that brings the total cost for a manuscript to approximately $8.00.

So, assuming you're not using all these shortcuts to save money, you may want do some shopping to cut your long term costs. Of course, this means spending as much as you've spent already, but you save in the long run and that means fewer expenditures and less per expenditure per manuscript.
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: pam on December 31, 2007, 12:18:46 AM
This is very bad form and I've never heard of an agent not dealing with the entire ms. Usually, an agent will send you several pages of notes. I'd move on.
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: Abbey on December 31, 2007, 11:05:51 PM
This is very bad form and I've never heard of an agent not dealing with the entire ms. Usually, an agent will send you several pages of notes. I'd move on.

Yep, I agree completely - in fact, I've decided to query other agents (and have since gotten a request for another full, in the process!  ;D ). 
Title: Re: Re-writes??
Post by: joanjunkmail on January 01, 2008, 07:39:52 AM
YAY!