Author Topic: To revise and resubmit, or not to revise and resubmit?  (Read 3798 times)

Offline lemonndco

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To revise and resubmit, or not to revise and resubmit?
« on: October 23, 2019, 06:40:33 AM »
Hi all,

Longtime reader, first time poster. In short, I've been querying my YA novel for the last few months, and have received a few partial/full requests. Yesterday I received my first response from an agent who had the full ms - it was an invite to revise and resubmit.

I have a few questions/thoughts about this. In the agent's original email, she expressed a real love for my novel's concept as well as my writing, but thought the execution of the novel was lacking (the concept wasn't "made enough of"). She also mentioned that it was too slow to start, and maybe thought there wasn't enough going on plot-wise, and that's why it was taking a little too much time to get going.

While I definitely don't disagree with her notes, I'm also not sure I fully understand them. I realise now I should have and probably will ask for clarification should I decide to go ahead with her revisions, but that's separate. Either way, when I wrote back the whole "Thanks a bunch" email, she came back almost immediately reiterating how much she loves my writing and the concept, and would love to hear from me again.

That in and of itself says I should go forward with the revisions. However, I've got friends who went through with revise and resubmits only to be lead on wild goose chases and ultimately rejected by the agents. And surely if this agent loved my writing and the novel's concept so much, she'd want to work on it with me to make it better? Also, my full novel is currently with three other agents, so part of me thinks I should wait to hear from them to see what they think?

I keep going in circles with all of this. What do you think? HALP.

Offline mafiaking1936

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Re: To revise and resubmit, or not to revise and resubmit?
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2019, 06:59:12 AM »
So just from my own limited experience, I'd say go for it. I had an R&R from a small press last year, and I certainly didn't get as much praise as you seem to have gotten. It was more a laundry list of snide criticisms that made me wonder why they liked it at all. I tried to do everything they said, though it was all over the phone so I had no written record to go off of. I made a lot of tough revisions that I think made the MS better, and though they rejected my revision too, I think it helped make it strong enough to get more requests further down the line, and ultimately an offer. You can almost think of it as a free professional critique.

Offline Smellerby

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Re: To revise and resubmit, or not to revise and resubmit?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2019, 08:09:05 AM »
I see no reason why not to at least try. You can always keep the current version of the manuscript and work on the RR separately. That way, if you decide you don't care for the changes, or if they're not going well, in the end, you still have the original version. And who knows? Maybe while you're working on it you'll get an offer from one of those other agents.

If you'd like to work with a beta reader/critique partner who can look through your work and help you identify areas the agent was talking about, feel free to message me.

Offline Tabris

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Re: To revise and resubmit, or not to revise and resubmit?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2019, 10:21:49 AM »

While I definitely don't disagree with her notes, I'm also not sure I fully understand them.

Do not start doing the revision until you fully understand why these suggestions are being made, otherwise you're just going to be shifting around the furniture. You can't fix a problem you can't see.

I suggest writing back to the agent now and thanking her for the feedback and saying you will definitely take a look at the manuscript, and she will be the first one to see ay changes you make. HOWEVER...I also would wait to see if you get similar feedback from other agents, and I would suggest not making even one change until you really understand how the changes would work. It's too common for an author to send back a piece with one specific thing changed but not carrying the changes out into the rest of the manuscript because the author didn't see what was underlying the need for the change.

I did have a manuscript where I kept being told something specific about the dialogue, but I disagreed. It wasn't until I came back to the piece years later that I could see it, crystal clear, and then the changes were easy and fast--and I knew they were necessary. I zipped right through because they made sense.

I suggest waiting a bit therefore. Maybe pull out one chapter into a separate document and play for a while just to see if it becomes clearer when you're making changes, but I wouldn't do anything huge until you fully agree and fully understand.

Offline slightlysmall

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Re: To revise and resubmit, or not to revise and resubmit?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2019, 02:23:09 PM »
First of all, Tabris' advice is spot-on, so follow it. And follow it before taking my advice.  :)

Additionally, once you do understand the revision notes, what matters most is how you feel about what the book will look like with the changes. Does her vision match yours for the book? If you tweak it as suggested, will it be closer to or further away from the idea in your head of what the book should be? If it doesn't align, if it tells a story you don't want or didn't mean to tell, don't do the R&R. If it makes it better, do it, without worrying about if this particular agent will sign you after the revision.

Unfortunately, there's also a murky middle ground: where it will make the book different, not necessarily stronger or weaker, just different. And it fits into your vision slightly sideways, maybe, but not wrong. In the murky in-between, I think it's most imperative to wait, like Tabris said, for clarity in how to make sure the revisions do make the book stronger, rather than just changing it.

I hope this helps! And congrats! An R&R is good news!

Offline jessikalindst

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Re: To revise and resubmit, or not to revise and resubmit?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2019, 04:21:38 PM »
I completely agree with Tabris's and slightlysmall's very sound advice. I had an R&R several months ago, didn't end with an offer but I had needed it; it made my book so much better than it was and therefore I feel much prouder of it.

So do definitely wait for clarity and see if the suggestions will fit with your vision. If it does, great and even if not then at least you know that instead of going in blindly, so to speak.

Best of luck to you, lemonndco!  :)

Offline paddler

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Re: To revise and resubmit, or not to revise and resubmit?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2019, 09:17:05 PM »
I think I would start by making a copy of your manuscript and start working out the changes. If they change your dream too much, drop it.

In the mean time, query onward. Maybe the next one can see your manuscript as you do and will also fall for it.

Offline lemonndco

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Re: To revise and resubmit, or not to revise and resubmit?
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2019, 01:44:56 PM »
Hi guys,

Thanks so much for your feedback on this - you all make up such a wonderful, supportive community and I'm very grateful!

I agree with all of the above. I think an R&R won't hurt as long as I'm comfortable with the revisions and their impact on my novel, and understand the suggestions fully. So for now, I'm going to sit on them and wait until things become clearer (or don't).

Thanks again y'all. Did I mention you da best?

Offline klclou

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Re: To revise and resubmit, or not to revise and resubmit?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2020, 07:00:38 PM »
As long as you have a copy of your original, why not R&R? It's a learning experience. Yes, it could be a waste of time financially speaking but probably not in terms of professional development.

Offline lemonndco

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Re: To revise and resubmit, or not to revise and resubmit?
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2020, 07:26:41 AM »
Hi all,

I wanted to give an update on this, since I appreciated everyone's feedback so much.

After asking the agent for clarification on her notes and spending a long time (about five months) thinking about how I would even go about the R&R, I decided to write it. I completely agreed with the agent's point about the novel not starting quick enough, but originally was confused about her note on the concept not being prominent enough. But I figured like we discussed, it couldn't hurt to give it a try. And I found that when I started to work on the second point of the agent's feedback, I started to see more and more what she was talking about, and that I did agree with it. I just needed to to spend a lot of time considering it and then playing with my characters. Ultimately I completed a draft I think is so much stronger.

Long story short, I sent it to the agent and have been offered representation! I even think the R&R would've been worth it had she not been interested. I know this won't be the case for everyone's R&Rs, especially if you don't agree with the feedback or don't understand it, but basically I wanted to update from my first post that I gave it a go and it all worked out.

Okay, enough positivity rambling. I hope everyone's staying well and getting some writing done. Thanks again to everyone for their help and guidance!
« Last Edit: March 28, 2020, 07:29:04 AM by lemonndco »

Offline slightlysmall

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Re: To revise and resubmit, or not to revise and resubmit?
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2020, 02:30:16 PM »
Congratulations! I'm so glad the R&R worked out for you!!

Offline klclou

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Re: To revise and resubmit, or not to revise and resubmit?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2020, 12:54:51 PM »
That's great news. Congrats! :clap: