View Full Version : Am I reading too much into this?

04-05-2010, 08:18 PM
(Also posted in Ask the Agent)

Hi there,

I sent out my first 15 queries at the beginning of March. Since then I have had 3 form rejections, a personal rejection, an offer of representation which I ended up declining for various reasons, and a full MS request. The most recent agent who requested the full emailed me today. She said some lovely things about my book, complementing the confidence of my writing, my sense of place and the premise of the book.

However, (you knew that was coming, right?), she then went on to say that it needs a lot more work, including addressing the POV (too many), and the characterisation. She has invited me to phone her tomorrow to discuss these points, and concludes the email by saying she would be pleased to take another look if I "decide to rework the story".

Now, is this a rewrite/resubmission scenario? The overall tone of the email suggested that she didn't mind either way if I wanted to take her advice (which I most certainly do - she is one of my top agents), but then again wouldn't she have just rejected the whole thing if she didn't see any promise? I'm really looking forward to talking to her tomorrow and am planning on spending the evening making some notes on possible areas of improvement.

Would she be offering me this help if she didn't think it would be possible to get the manuscript up to publishing quality? I really want this agent...

04-05-2010, 08:19 PM
I'd call and talk to her. What could it hurt?

04-05-2010, 08:28 PM
Yes, that is a rewrite/resubmit. I mean, she said she'd take another look if you made the changes, right? That seems pretty clear to me.
The question is...Do you agree with the changes she's suggesting?

04-05-2010, 08:49 PM
Yes, that is a rewrite/resubmit. I mean, she said she'd take another look if you made the changes, right? That seems pretty clear to me.
The question is...Do you agree with the changes she's suggesting?

You know, I really do. When she suggested the areas she thought were weakest, I immediately knew what she was referring to. Some of the characters need a little flesh added to their bones and some of the plot needs expanding. When I sent out the manuscript, these things were at the back of my mind, but I wondered whether I was just being too picky and that perhaps I would never be satisfied. I guess I've got my answer now, and am rather irritated at myself (and embarrassed) that I didn't address these issues to begin with.

Ah well, it's all a learning curve. I'm just grateful to have the opportunity to discuss it with her - she could have easily told me to forget about it, particularly as at the time she was aware that I already had on offer on the table.

04-05-2010, 09:01 PM
An agent offers to give you detailed feedback and states a willingness to look at revised work. What's cryptic about that?

CGs on your success.

04-05-2010, 09:06 PM
Let us know how it goes tomorrow after you call her. She wouldn't have invited you to call if she wasn't interested.

04-05-2010, 09:09 PM
Thanks guys. I'll come back tomorrow and let you know how the phone call goes.

04-06-2010, 02:18 AM
Hey, I read your other thread as well. I admire you for trusting your instincts. Fingers crossed! Please do let us know how it turns out.

04-06-2010, 07:52 PM
Ok, so I spoke to the agent. After talking with her for nearly an hour, I came away with four pages of notes, a slightly bruised ego (which I decided I just had to suck up if I wanted to get anywhere) and a determination to turn this manuscript of mine into a little firecracker.

The agent was lovely. She said some very flattering things about my writing abilities and seemed quite confident that I should be able to turn my manuscript into something sellable.

The basic premise of the story will remain the same, however I need to deconstruct the whole thing and execute it in a slightly different way. I estimate it is 1 - 2 months work, after which she wants to read it again. I really like this agent - I can see us working well together, so am going to follow her advice (keeping a copy of the original MS, of course!) and see what transpires. I am nervous, excited, and am getting a slightly sadistic thrill at the idea of butchering my literary baby!

Thanks again to everyone who commented.

04-06-2010, 10:24 PM
That's great! I bet you're excited - I'd be if I were in your position.

04-06-2010, 10:38 PM
That's great! I bet you're excited - I'd be if I were in your position.

Yeah, it's a bitter-sweet excitement to be honest. I really am excited about diving back into this world of mine - particularly now I know my characters and what their stories are. I'm just dreading cutting out alot of the stuff I really quite enjoyed (even though the agent was correct when she said it was a little self indulgent in those parts :tongue). I'm hoping 1 - 2 months is a realistic target i'm setting myself. I wrote the book in three months - I'm not sure if the revisions will take longer??? I'll be working two full days a week(9 - 5), plus whatever evening and weekend time I can get. Time will tell.

04-07-2010, 02:56 AM
I already know how horrible it feels when I have to cut out stuff in my short stories, but for a novel, it must sting. Three months is very fast but with something as long as a novel, you grow attached to it. But yeah, if something appears overly self-indulgent or sentimental, it should be cut off. The book is better off that way even though it's painful, but the end result should wash off the bitter taste if it all comes together.

I've never come to end of a novel, but if you took 3 months then a good working schedule should make that target possible. Now you're just trimming and rearranging things, but you already have gone through the painstaking process of building characters, describing sceneries, plotting, resolutions etc from the ground up, now you're working with ready made materials, so it shouldn't take as long. All the best with the revision and rewriting!

04-11-2010, 10:58 PM
Jump right on this with both feet and all your weight. This is worth pursuing. Provided you admire and can trust this agent.


04-12-2010, 05:58 PM
She would not be taking this much time out of her day to do this if she did not see something in it that she liked.

04-12-2010, 07:08 PM
It sounds as if you made a good decision. You must have a great story and voice, but sometimes an agent who can help you shape your prose is a better bet than one who can't or doesn't see the need. Agent #2 obviously likes your stuff -- she needs to see that you can revise it and bring it up a notch.