View Full Version : A Revision & Resubmit Question

06-14-2013, 02:10 AM
My full manuscript was being recently read by two agents - one with a big agency, the other with a smaller agency where I know some of their writers.

Long story short, the big agency agent sent a nice letter and invited a resubmit if I worked on pacing and narrative thrust issues.

I spent a month on the manuscript and made quite a few changes, polished it up, and figured I'd sharpened it considerably. Then I sent it off to him (this was a week ago). Today I received a rejection of the original manuscript from the smaller agency, again a nice letter, again talking about issues of narrative tension and voice. The agent did not ask for a revision.

But thinking about the issues they both found in the manuscript, I've been considering my revision and how it is very probably not deep enough.

I know you're not supposed to interrupt an agent when they have your manuscript, but in this case, would it be foolish to send a note saying politely that I am worried that I was too hasty in sending the revision, and if he hasn't started it yet, perhaps he might wait until I had another crack at it?

He's been quite kind with his feedback, and got back to me within minutes after I sent the revision in, telling me he'd received it and was looking forward to reading it.

Thanks for any wisdom anyone might share on this. I've written and deleted an email to him already today...

Drachen Jager
06-14-2013, 03:10 AM
I'm not sure. I think it really depends on the agent whether you're better leaving it or pulling it.

Check the Bewares Recommendations and Background Checks forum for that agent, it might have something.

And welcome to AW, it's good to see people from my neck of the woods on here.

06-14-2013, 03:49 AM
Thanks! Nice to hear from another Canuck... The agent has a good reputation, is building his list I believe. The agency is top notch.

Just figuring I only have one shot at this, and don't want to blow it.

Drachen Jager
06-14-2013, 03:54 AM
My instinct would be to pull and re-submit, but not knowing the agent I really can't say for sure.

I've pulled manuscripts several times in the submission process and only ever had one agent get upset with me for it if that helps.

Debbie V
06-17-2013, 08:00 PM
Research the specific agent as thoroughly as you can. There may be an online interview or policy statement somewhere that would help you decide how to proceed. Meanwhile, start that deeper revision.

06-17-2013, 08:09 PM
I'd lean towards removing and resubbing too, but with the caveat that you damn well better be sure this time: Once makes you look a bit flighty, or naive, but that's fine. A second starts to make you look difficult. That said, i'm not an agent....so I could be way off, too.

06-17-2013, 08:22 PM
Thanks for the comments, everyone. I'm still wrestling with this one. I also inquired with two writer friends with experience (one who's read the mss, and one who's repped by the agency that rejected me) and both said I should just let it lie and not harass him as it would look flighty - if he's interested, he should be able to see the improvements I've made as a signal that I'm open to revision and able to turn around changes fairly quickly, even if the book is not there yet.

I have gone through the mss with a beta reader I trust (my wife!) and mapped out a revision that's deeper, but I won't have time to get started on it for several weeks at a minimum. She also thinks I should leave the agent alone and see what happens.

As part of my day job I definitely slot people who send me multiple anxious emails into a 'high-maintenance' category in my head. I don't want to be in that category with the agent!

This is a tough one. I guess if I procrastinate long enough, my decision will be made by time and fate...

06-17-2013, 09:29 PM
Would you be comfortable presenting the situation to the agent and asking the agent's preference in the matter? Saying you realized a better way to do the revision after you sent?

06-17-2013, 10:52 PM
Would you be comfortable presenting the situation to the agent and asking the agent's preference in the matter? Saying you realized a better way to do the revision after you sent?

Good suggestion. That would be the least neurotic way to do it, wouldn't it?

06-18-2013, 07:21 AM
Good suggestion. That would be the least neurotic way to do it, wouldn't it?

And thus, for some of us, the hardest. ;)

12-08-2013, 09:05 AM
I've belatedly realized I never updated this thread with my decision. For anyone who might go through something similar, here's what I did. I bothered several other people with my dilemma, then I talked with another writer who's repped by the agency who I queried, and who was in a similar situation in the past himself. He told me a very wise thing: "He looked at your manuscript once. He's not going to look at it three times."

Meaning I only had one shot with this guy now, and I had better not blow it through haste. I pulled it the next day and he simply said, "I'll hold," and thanked me for letting him know. Since then I have taken it through a much deeper revision than I had ever imagined, essentially writing 50,000 words of it from scratch, and changing most of the scenes. I will probably have something ready to show the agent in the late winter / early spring. In retrospect, imagining I could fix pacing and structural issues with a quick rewrite over a few weeks was naiive. Looking back now at what I did, I just added another coat of lipstick to the pig, as it were. I was so excited that he was interested that I wanted to get the revision to him as soon as possible. But of course, he's a busy guy. He was not sitting by his computer wondering where the hell my revision was. The haste was all in my head.

I may still get a rejection from him, but at least it will be on a better manuscript.

Debbie V
12-17-2013, 11:17 PM
Let us know what he says.