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cate townsend
02-15-2010, 10:05 PM
I've seen plenty of threads on this subject, but nothing with my specific question.

For those of you with agents who suggested revisions, how long did it take you to complete those revisions? I understand it depends on the magnitude of those suggestions, of course, but I'm curious. Did the agent give you a deadline? Did you create your own? Would love to hear about your experience.

Wayne K
02-15-2010, 10:25 PM
The biggest surprise for me was when he said that my ms didn't need a lot of revising. (thank you beta readers) There was some work that we did. I think all done, it took two weeks.

Jeanette
02-15-2010, 11:03 PM
Approximately 4 months.

OctoberRain
02-16-2010, 01:45 PM
I got a page long email of suggested revisions from my agent the weekend after I signed (which was two weekends ago), and of course I panicked. I emailed her back asking her if there was a deadline and (thankfully) she said no, she'll be happy whenever she gets it. All of the suggested revisions are really minor except one, which involves restructuring certain parts of the last half of the novel.

Just for my own peace of mind, I'm going to try to have it all done by the end of this month. She told me that whenever I get it back to her, she'll need time to read it again, and may suggest even more changes. Or not. But I'm preparing myself to go back and forth with it for awhile.

heyjude
02-16-2010, 05:10 PM
I had very few revisions to make. No deadline. It took me less than two weeks and was only slightly painful. :)

ChaosTitan
02-16-2010, 06:02 PM
Revision suggestions came with the emailed offer of representation, so I had time to stew over them before I accepted. Only two revisions were major, and only one of them I agreed with (see? it's okay to say no to an agent's suggestion if you really do disagree with it). I took about two weeks, I think, to do those revisions. About a week or two later, he sent it back with line edits and grammar/spelling tweaks. That took me about another week.

So in total, about five weeks of editing.

Momento Mori
02-16-2010, 06:45 PM
I received my agent's comments in November and have been working on them ever since (hampered by work commitments). There were a number of small changes that I needed to make within the text, but the biggest issue was with the last 3 chapters, which need a rewrite (a comment I agreed with). There's no deadline for when the revised manuscript needs to be. I'd hoped to get it in at the end of last month, but now I'm aiming for the beginning of March.

MM

Libbie
02-16-2010, 08:16 PM
I've seen plenty of threads on this subject, but nothing with my specific question.

For those of you with agents who suggested revisions, how long did it take you to complete those revisions? I understand it depends on the magnitude of those suggestions, of course, but I'm curious. Did the agent give you a deadline? Did you create your own? Would love to hear about your experience.

This question was just made for me, since I've been working on revisions for my agent for some time! :)

She suggested a rewrite after reading the full but before offering representation. I did rewrite and resubmit...that one took me about a week and a half, I believe, and was completed while I was working full-time.

After she offered to represent me, she read through the book and sent me notes on about 45 different pages of the book. I did those revisions plus my own read-through for error correction/fact checking/eliminating overuse of the word "little" in two weeks. For part of this time, I was working full-time, and part of this time, I was unemployed.

She read the revised book and sent me more revisions -- this time mostly having to do with minor plot issues that need clarification or structural change -- within about a week. I am anticipating having those done today, which would be about three days of working (while unemployed).

I signed the contract on 21 January, to give you an idea of how long this has been going on.

I mention the employed/unemployed factor since it does effect how much time I can put into writing daily. I was doing about two hours while employed, and anywhere from four to fourteen while unemployed, depending on whether it's a volunteer day for me or not.

She did not give me a deadline, but my writing is my priority, and I strive to get the best work done in the shortest amount of time possible. My agent is very prompt and professional, and I aim to be, as well.

It's a process that is beginning to feel tedious, but I have a rad agent and I trust her opinion and her eagle eye. I know all the revisions are making a much stronger and more appealing product to put in front of editors when we finally do go on submission. (I'll be really happy when I get a break from revisions, though! Of course, once I have an editor, I'll be back on the revision train again.)

Danthia
02-17-2010, 12:46 AM
She talked to me about revisions when she offered to rep me, and then got me her comments a few weeks after that. I don't remember her giving me a deadline, but I jumped right on them, so they were done quickly. Second round of edits was a month or so after that, pretty much the same story.

It all depends on a lot of variables. How much needs to be done, if there are any particular editors looking for that kind of book at the moment and the agent wants to take advantage of that, schedules, etc. But they're good about working with you, so if you're concerned you probably don't need to worry about it. You'll have time.

Jamesaritchie
02-17-2010, 08:35 PM
I have never, ever allowed an agent to suggest revisions. I doubt ten agents out there know a thing about writing, and considerably less about revisions. The surest way I know to ruin a perfectly good novel is to allow an agent to mess with it in any way.

isabella19
02-17-2010, 10:16 PM
I have never, ever allowed an agent to suggest revisions. I doubt ten agents out there know a thing about writing, and considerably less about revisions. The surest way I know to ruin a perfectly good novel is to allow an agent to mess with it in any way.

Forgive me, but you're wrong about that. Editors now are pushed for time and want their mss as perfect as possible before acceptance and offer. Agents are picking up the editing slack. These are days of major cutbacks and skeleton editorial departments. No one has the time to nurse young authors through their first masterpieces and they expect the agents to do it.

cate townsend
02-17-2010, 10:16 PM
I have never, ever allowed an agent to suggest revisions. I doubt ten agents out there know a thing about writing, and considerably less about revisions. The surest way I know to ruin a perfectly good novel is to allow an agent to mess with it in any way.

But what if an agent suggested a particular revision, and you sat down and went to work and made those edits, then realized your story was much stronger for it?

And what about those agents who are former editors? They don't know a thing about writing/editing?

suki
02-17-2010, 11:17 PM
I've seen plenty of threads on this subject, but nothing with my specific question.

For those of you with agents who suggested revisions, how long did it take you to complete those revisions? I understand it depends on the magnitude of those suggestions, of course, but I'm curious. Did the agent give you a deadline? Did you create your own? Would love to hear about your experience.

Everyone's experiences are different. And every answer to this question will be full of too many variables to really mean anything. Revisions take as long as they take. My agent didn't give me a deadline, and I'm getting close to sending the manuscript back to him after working on it for a few months.



I have never, ever allowed an agent to suggest revisions. I doubt ten agents out there know a thing about writing, and considerably less about revisions. The surest way I know to ruin a perfectly good novel is to allow an agent to mess with it in any way.

Again, everyone's experiences are different. Those of us who have strong and vibrant working relationships with knowledgeable agents had have very different experiences than yours. Good luck on your path.


For the OP, when the time comes, if your agent offers suggested changes that you also believe will strengthen the book, you can discuss with the agent at that time a timeframe to make those revisions.

~suki

Barber
02-18-2010, 08:31 PM
Phew, I'm glad I came in here! I was SORT OF going to ask the same thing. So now I can share my experiences instead :)

STEP 1: In the middle of November, I got The Call, during which my agent communicated the major areas of improvement (killing off a certain character, for example, which meant a complete rewrite for the end of the book).

STEP 2: She wanted to review the changes at the end of the year, which gave me about 6 weeks. This time her read-through consisted of noting all the little things I could improve, while reiterating some of the things from the phone conversation that I overlooked.

STEP 3: It took me about 2 weeks to work on those suggestions, after which we worked on my cover letter (working aspects of the story into the query that I left out for word-count-worries). This took some going back and forth, because she REALLY wanted certain aspects in there that I didn't know how to work in nicely... but we got there eventually, LOL.

STEP 4: She asked me to cut about 6K from the book, to get it into the late 60s from the early 70s (it's MG fantasy, which is pushing it a little). This took me about 2 weeks and 3 read-throughs.

STEP 5: She's now waiting for the 'go ahead' from her bosses before she starts to submit to editors (she's the newest with the agency).

All in all, the revisions process took about 3 months, but we really took our time since it was nearly the holiday season when I signed. I was going to post a thread asking for people's experiences between signing with their agent and going on submission. This thread pretty much took care of it for me!

PS--every single suggestion she had made my book 1,000 times better. It told me we were SO on the same wave length.

Jamesaritchie
02-18-2010, 09:44 PM
Everyone's experiences are different. And every answer to this question will be full of too many variables to really mean anything. Revisions take as long as they take. My agent didn't give me a deadline, and I'm getting close to sending the manuscript back to him after working on it for a few months.




Again, everyone's experiences are different. Those of us who have strong and vibrant working relationships with knowledgeable agents had have very different experiences than yours. Good luck on your path.


For the OP, when the time comes, if your agent offers suggested changes that you also believe will strengthen the book, you can discuss with the agent at that time a timeframe to make those revisions.

~suki

I've always had vibrant, working relationships with agents. That's why I know the worst thing any writer can do is listen to an agent about revisions. Even if it works, you'll probably still get royally screwed down the line when you no longer have this agent, or when, for any other reason, you have to write a novel without the input from this agent.

It's your path that's going to take nine helpings of luck down the road. Allowing an agent to suggest revision, and following those revisions, may get a novel sold, but it comes back to bite writers in almost every case. And the bite is often fatal.

An agent's job is twofold. 1. Send the manuscript to an agent. With No Tinkering. Period. 2. Handle the contract. That's it.

I strongly suggest anyone who is even considering getting an agent go over and read all the posts about agents on Dean Wesley Smith's blog. He's got it dead right. http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/

In fact, read all the posts dealing with Myths in publishing.

suki
02-18-2010, 09:50 PM
I've always had vibrant, working relationships with agents. That's why I know the worst thing any writer can do is listen to an agent about revisions. Even if it works, you'll probably still get royally screwed down the line when you no longer have this agent, or when, for any other reason, you have to write a novel without the input from this agent.

It's your path that's going to take nine helpings of luck down the road. Allowing an agent to suggest revision, and following those revisions, may get a novel sold, but it comes back to bite writers in almost every case. And the bite is often fatal.

An agent's job is twofold. 1. Send the manuscript to an agent. With No Tinkering. Period. 2. Handle the contract. That's it.

I strongly suggest anyone who is even considering getting an agent go over and read all the posts about agents on Dean Wesley Smith's blog. He's got it dead right. http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/

In fact, read all the posts dealing with Myths in publishing.

Jamesaritchie,

I understand this is your very strongly held opinion, and I'm not trying to change your mind. And I've seen the blog you site. Again, others' experiences have been different.

But, out of curiosity, I'd love to see the factual proof of the underlined assertion above - especially the "in almost every case."

~suki

Inkblot
02-18-2010, 10:23 PM
I think that agents who come from editing tend to be the ones who suggest revisions; and I can understand why they might do that -- although no two editors will agree on what revisions are necessary. On the other hand, agents without a strong editing background should leave the editing to the publisher who picks up the book.

Ken
02-18-2010, 11:14 PM
... no suggested revisions from my former agent. Went right out on sub. No sale, either, though. The work needed revising and streamlining as I later saw. At the time I couldn't have made those revisions as I didn't have the experience to know what needed fixing. I could have improved it some, though. I rushed through the work when the agent first sent a request for a full. Only had five pages written at the time. From the experience I learnt two things: always have a work completed, and also have it as polished as you can get it. Hard lessons to learn :-(

Barber
02-18-2010, 11:33 PM
You know, this thread is the first time I've ever heard of that opinion, the one that writers shouldn't listen to agents' revision suggestions.

Interesting. And if that works for some, that's amazing. I on the other hand loved my agents suggestions. But I guess that's why I found her and not one who doesn't make suggestions to revise.

However, the way a writer can disagree with agent-suggested revisions, we can disagree with one another on what works for us as writers.

fov
02-18-2010, 11:34 PM
I signed in August 2008, received detailed feedback in September, and worked on a comprehensive revision until April 2009. The agency came back with some additional feedback in June, and I worked on a second revision until early December. They're reviewing the manuscript again now.

It's taken longer than I expected, but the book is so much stronger for it, I really can't complain.

ink wench
02-18-2010, 11:36 PM
Same as Ken, my/our former agent also sent my work out without any revisions. I thought it was okay at the time, but since having a new agent suggest revisions I have to say I'm so glad she did. They're making my story fit much better with the market and overall just making it a stronger work.

To each their own. But I'm glad for my agent's suggestions.

Calla Lily
02-18-2010, 11:46 PM
*remembering manners and that people seldom listen to a CAPSLOCK post*

Absolutes worry me. I strongly doubt with every cell in my writerly brain that "never" letting an agent suggest changes to a ms. is a valid fact for every writer.

There. Was that calm enough? My first "agent" didn't suggest any changes, and, well, she was a Mistake on All Counts.

My current agent suggested overall small tweaks. They were excellent. They improved the book. The Book Sold.

My agent didn't write my book. I did. He was the fresh set of eyes that was just what the book needed to make the deal happen. Enough said.

agentpaper
02-19-2010, 12:30 AM
Okay, I just signed with an agent. (WooHoo!) and the day after I said yes, she came back with a slew of edits(mostly stupid small stuff that I and my beta readers should have caught), but there was a whole section she wants cut. Since I'd been going back and forth about cutting the scene myself, this was the final nail in the coffin for that section. I LOVE that she's asking for these changes. It was really dragging the book down and it could make the difference between a sale or not. I can see why some people wouldn't want an agent to make suggestions, but I don't agree with that.

Ken
02-19-2010, 12:38 AM
... it would be very interesting to see a sample of suggested revisions that a writer got from an agent to get an idea of what they look like. I suppose they vary a lot. Still, it would be interesting and informative. (Thnx for the info, Ink. Seems you're doing fine now. Happy to hear that :-)

kellion92
02-19-2010, 12:56 AM
The first time I revised with my agent the changes were not huge, but took about five weeks total with a second tweak. Now I'd doing another revision, and I'm seeing things that we should have cut.

I think the first time she was being very respectful of my artistic vision, and now that I've been through a round of submissions, my main vision is that I want this thing to sell.

cate townsend
02-19-2010, 01:58 AM
Thanks everyone, for sharing your experiences. It's been interesting to hear about all the different opinions and thoughts on the matter. It sounds like most folks agree their books became stronger after going through a revision process with an agent, and I also have to concur with this, based on my experience. I'm in the middle of revising my book based on my agent's suggestions, and I can see that these edits are improving the story, on so many levels. I wonder if anyone has a story where an agent suggested revisions that the writer felt did not improve their book...?

RoseColoredSkies
02-19-2010, 04:51 AM
My first round of revisions I think I did in about a week or so. That was at the end of October. My editor (with the agency) was doing an internship at the time and had a few other project first reads to do before mine. The second revision at the end of January took me maybe 3 hours?

So overall, it didn't take me long. I didn't have a deadline, aside from one I set for myself. I wanted to get on submission as quick as possible (took a little less than 5 months to get there.

ResearchGuy
02-19-2010, 04:58 AM
. . . It sounds like most folks agree their books became stronger after going through a revision process with an agent. . .
I know of one gross counterexample. The agent would have RUINED the book. The author got out of the contract with the agent, signed the book with a very small commercial publisher who provided only the necessary copy editing and some fact-checking fixups. The book went on to win a major literary prize and to be republished by a much larger independent publisher in New York.

--Ken

stormie
02-19-2010, 05:06 AM
I wonder if anyone has a story where an agent suggested revisions that the writer felt did not improve their book...?
*Raises hand* My agent took me on, then strongly suggested I totally revise the second half of the manuscript. He even outlined what I should write. I didn't wholly agree, but also didn't say anythng but "okay." I was too thrilled to be repped by this wonderful agent from one of the top agencies. He gave me however much time I needed, though. It took me about two months working on the ms. seven days a week, about four hours a day until it was polished. I don't believe he really read the finished project before sending it out. Many editors felt it didn't ring true. The ms. died a horrible death.

So--if an agent suggests revisions, discuss it, don't just blindly do it like I did. Agents generally do know the market but again, discuss those suggestions.

cate townsend
02-19-2010, 09:30 AM
*Raises hand* My agent took me on, then strongly suggested I totally revise the second half of the manuscript. He even outlined what I should write. I didn't wholly agree, but also didn't say anythng but "okay." I was too thrilled to be repped by this wonderful agent from one of the top agencies. He gave me however much time I needed, though. It took me about two months working on the ms. seven days a week, about four hours a day until it was polished. I don't believe he really read the finished project before sending it out. Many editors felt it didn't ring true. The ms. died a horrible death.

So--if an agent suggests revisions, discuss it, don't just blindly do it like I did. Agents generally do know the market but again, discuss those suggestions.

I can see how this could happen. It's difficult, as you're caught up in the rush of landing an agent, a good one at that, and suddenly you don't hear that little voice - your gut.

Even though I asked, I'm sorry to hear of this experience you had! Who do we trust if we can't trust Mr./Ms. Top Gun? A successful author once told me we have to be first and foremost our own best advocate. Good advice.

nighttimer
02-19-2010, 10:15 AM
Hopefully there's a happy medium between "No Revisions EVER" if suggested by the agent and "You want me to gut and bone my book? Hay, no problemo. You know more about this biz than I do."

In the battle between art and commerce, I love art, but I trust commerce, because the world is full of unsold artistic books sell that nobody reads. I want the agent to help me sell the book. I don't want the agent to rewrite the book. Suggest away, but when you begin to believe the suggestions is hurting the book, it may be time to hit the brakes.

There's always another agent. You may only have one book in you. It's a tough call, but it's one you may have to make if that's the only way to be true to yourself and the book.

I have this belief that an agent is supposed to be the advocate for both the book and myself. In any creative endeavor there's going to be flashpoints where what the agent thinks is good for the book is going to be bad for the author. I'm willing to do what it takes to make what may be good better if that's what it takes to help it saleable. I'm totally uninterested in whoring out my principles and turning my vision into that of someone else.

There's a line between selling a book and selling out. Most of us will know when we've crossed it.

stormie
02-19-2010, 06:08 PM
Hopefully there's a happy medium between "No Revisions EVER" if suggested by the agent and "You want me to gut and bone my book? Hay, no problemo. You know more about this biz than I do."

There definitely is that happy medium--it's called a good working relationship.

Calla Lily
02-19-2010, 06:49 PM
There definitely is that happy medium--it's called a good working relationship.

QFT.

myrmidon
02-20-2010, 11:28 PM
FWIW...I really didn't want to do my agent revisions (prior to getting the actual notes) mostly because like many writers I was just ready to be done with revising and ready to move to the next steps (also, I was unemployed and hopeful that this whole 'novel thing' would move more quickly than everything I'd been reading said). Even after I got the first notes, I was pretty resistant...perhaps just because my expectations had been so wrong. Cut to now, nearly seven months since I got those first notes, and I'm finishing my second revision pass and feel SO much better about my book.

My agent is definitely not a writer, but he IS like a super powered beta that knows the industry inside and out. Naturally I didn't do everything he suggested, and more often than not his suggestions were more about pointing out the problem area and leaving me to work out my own solution...but the book is far superior now to how it was when we first started working together nearly nine months ago.

It hasn't always been easy...it was nine months of waiting and over five months of work that I didn't expect, but I can say with authority that in my book's case at least, it's a far better book thanks to my agent.

Cricket18
02-21-2010, 12:36 AM
Myrmidon-sounds like we've had the same experience--perhaps the same agent? ;)

When I first got my notes, my hackles went up. I had no desire to do yet another revise. After 2 days of pouting / crying / and general frustration, I realized my agent was right! I've just finished my first round of revisions (about 2 months) and keep thinking, "This is SO much better...how could I have not seen / made these changes a long time ago?"

Another thing that helped: my agent told me what was missing, but did not tell me HOW to fix the problem(s). I much prefer my agent saying I need to make my MC more multidimensional vs. your MC needs to be a crack addict. ;)

Good luck to you!

fov
02-21-2010, 05:49 AM
That was my experience too - the agency told me which areas they thought needed improvement, but left it up to me to figure out how to do it. I resisted some of the changes at first. I understood where the feedback was coming from but didn't know how to go about making those changes happen. So figuring out how to tackle the revision was what took time, for me. Once I "got it," the writing didn't actually take that long.

Then I had some people read it and critique it while I was revising, which drew out the process somewhat but also helped a lot.

cate townsend
02-22-2010, 10:03 PM
've just finished my first round of revisions (about 2 months) and keep thinking, "This is SO much better...how could I have not seen / made these changes a long time ago?"

That's exactly what I thought, after making suggested revisions. I think you can revise until the end of time, but someone once told me that in writing, there is no such thing as being finished - there is only a deadline.

BrigidMary23
02-23-2010, 12:31 AM
My agent called last August, a week after she received the full. She asked for some significant revisions (one of which included writing a sex scene, which I'd never done). I agreed with all her revision suggestions. I set a personal goal to have everything done within 30 days, and I succeeded. (I have a full time job and a toddler, so it's possible other people would have been faster.)

When she asked for the revisions, I did ask if she wanted them done by any specific time, and she said, "As long as it takes to do them right."

Six weeks after I submitted my revised manuscript, she called me up, offered representation, and asked for another round of revisions. Those took me another thirty days, and then we went out on submission.

All-in-all, it's been a great experience, and I couldn't be happier. :-)

neener
03-04-2010, 09:20 AM
Have any of you had agents ask for revisions before signing? If so, how did that process go?

myrmidon
03-04-2010, 09:36 PM
Have any of you had agents ask for revisions before signing? If so, how did that process go?

I'm still not officially signed with my agent. I just turned in the second revision, and what I hope will be the last. From what I've read and learned, both here on AW and beyond, it is not that uncommon to wait until revisions are completed before signing.

While many agents do it differently (one agent that wanted my book offered a contract right away, the other said he preferred to wait until revisions were finished) my understanding is that even if you do sign a contract, it is fairly easy for that contract (prior to anything being sold of course) to be ended by either party (you or the agent). So the contract offers no real protection or guarantee...until you're going on submission of course.

MissKris
03-04-2010, 11:16 PM
Have any of you had agents ask for revisions before signing? If so, how did that process go?

Great reading about everyone's experience. My agent is highly editorial and I love it. My work is stronger because of her and we have a great relationship.

I wasn't given revision requirements before signing, but my agent did pass along her notes after she'd offered, but before I'd picked which agent to sign with (as well as other teaser tidbits to entice me). I was so impressed with her insights I knew before I'd heard back from the other agents with my work that I wanted to work with her. And she's been absolutely amazing.

skippingstone
03-04-2010, 11:27 PM
OK, so what category of revision is this in? I've now had 3 agents tell me that they'll look at my ms again if I revise it. But they didn't really suggest anything specific TO revise other than to say "something wasn't quite working" for them.

That's not really a "requested" revision, and I certainly don't infer they'll offer representation if I do revise. I guess it's just that they're giving me a second chance, right?

I'd be inclined to say, well, maybe my ms is just not their thing, but when I hear the same thing more than once, I pay heed to it. I'm just not sure how to proceed with such a vague directive though. Any advice?

heyjude
03-04-2010, 11:38 PM
I'd be inclined to say, well, maybe my ms is just not their thing, but when I hear the same thing more than once, I pay heed to it. I'm just not sure how to proceed with such a vague directive though. Any advice?

Beta readers! Have you had any? What do they say? If not, get one or three. A good beta will have thoughts for you.

triceretops
03-04-2010, 11:44 PM
Very extensive first time out--about five months back and forth. But most of that time was lag time. Second time out, I'm at the halfway point after three months, but only copy-editing is up next. When you have freelance contract editors, you can drown in downtime, waiting for them to find the time to get to your project. In both case, the editing was exceptional, very difficult, very demanding and precise.

Tri

skippingstone
03-04-2010, 11:53 PM
Beta readers! Have you had any? What do they say? If not, get one or three. A good beta will have thoughts for you.

It's been pretty well beta'd, but I suppose another round of that couldn't hurt. I guess I was just wondering if this was a fairly common practice with agents. To send something back and just say, "try again."

neener
03-05-2010, 12:25 AM
I'm still not officially signed with my agent. I just turned in the second revision, and what I hope will be the last. From what I've read and learned, both here on AW and beyond, it is not that uncommon to wait until revisions are completed before signing.

While many agents do it differently (one agent that wanted my book offered a contract right away, the other said he preferred to wait until revisions were finished) my understanding is that even if you do sign a contract, it is fairly easy for that contract (prior to anything being sold of course) to be ended by either party (you or the agent). So the contract offers no real protection or guarantee...until you're going on submission of course.

THanks for sharing...I just sent an agent requested revisions last Monday, so I'm only like 10 days in...and it is so much harder to wait than on a regular full! I talked to this agent on the phone and really loved her ideas, so I'm crossing my fingers. Sigh...

this whole process'll kill ya.

cate townsend
03-05-2010, 12:28 AM
It's been pretty well beta'd, but I suppose another round of that couldn't hurt. I guess I was just wondering if this was a fairly common practice with agents. To send something back and just say, "try again."

I know it's common for agents to invite to resubmit after revising, but usually the writers are given some direction. I'd say for you, it's time to listen to your writer instincts. Everyone, no matter how polished and perfect they think their manuscript is, has some small doubts about it. Sometimes it helps to put it away for a few months and concentrate on something else, then come back to it.

After querying one of my manuscripts for a while, I found an agent for it who had revision suggestions. I hadn't looked at the book for a long time, and now that I've had a chance to view it more critically, I see clearly where I need to make improvements.

If I were you, I'd set it aside, and listen carefully to what your writer's voice is telling you. You can also find different betas. If you've got the means, you can pay a reputable editor look at it. But really, the only person who knows how to make it the best it can be is you. It just might take a little time.

myrmidon
03-05-2010, 12:30 AM
OK, so what category of revision is this in? I've now had 3 agents tell me that they'll look at my ms again if I revise it. But they didn't really suggest anything specific TO revise other than to say "something wasn't quite working" for them.

That's not really a "requested" revision, and I certainly don't infer they'll offer representation if I do revise. I guess it's just that they're giving me a second chance, right?

I'd be inclined to say, well, maybe my ms is just not their thing, but when I hear the same thing more than once, I pay heed to it. I'm just not sure how to proceed with such a vague directive though. Any advice?

Yeah, that's a different thing than what I'm talking about...sorry for any confusion. My situation is I had two agents wanting the book, but both thought it needed revision before submission to publishers (which I expected considering it's my first novel). The first agent wanted me to work with him exclusively on the revisions (i.e. the idea being that I wouldn't be submitting it elsewhere and looking for representation, or going with the other guy that was interested, etc. since he was going to put the time and energy into working on the revisions with me). The second agent offered me a contract but still wanted me to do revisions before we submitted. For a variety of reasons I went with agent #1.

I think that if you've heard from several agents that they're willing to look at your manuscript again after a revision, it means that there is likely something they really love about the idea, or your voice, or something, but that they don't feel the manuscript is currently at a place where they can say yes to it.

I second heyjude that another round of betas (maybe particularly brutal ones?) might be in order to push your ms to the next level.

Keep in mind that a revise and resubmit offer is a great sign. It means they really see some promise in your book (and you). I'd take another look at your book. I had a couple agents I really respected (and who really seemed to want to love my book) reject it with some thoughtful notes in 2007, and in 2008 I embarked on a MAJOR revision - which took nearly a year. It was brutal but the result was two agent offers for the first two queries I sent out on the new ms. Totally worth it.

skippingstone
03-05-2010, 01:22 AM
Thanks, guys. That helps me sort this out.

My writer's voice is indeed telling me that there's something I need to fix. Alas, my writer's eye hasn't caught what it is quite yet. I really wish those two would get in sync a little better -- and preferably earlier in the editing process.

Perhaps it's time for this ms to take a little nap while I work on something new.