View Full Version : Agent response question: R&R or more? Or less? What to do next?

Kerry Ann
02-15-2015, 05:26 PM
I shouldn’t still a querying newbie, but this silly question proves I totally am. I’d love the advice of some seasoned query junkies and agented writers.

A few weeks after a full request, I received a response from the agent. After a few brief paragraphs about what she loved and thought could be improved, she hit with the main thrust of the letter—she thought it would sell better if I switched genres. If I wanted to consider those changes, she’d love to talk about it further. If not, she’d love to see my next book.

Switching genres isn’t a minor decision, so I spent a week working out basic plots changes and tried to figure how many major revisions I’d need. (I had some major research to do.) I needed to figure out if this felt right for me, and I decided it was worth a try. It’s all a learning experience, right? I grew excited. I emailed the agent back saying that I had several ideas, and I’d love to hear what she had in mind.

That was three weeks ago. ::cue crickets chirping::

So, is this just a revise and resend? She wrote that she’d like to “discuss it further.” We're talking massive changes—I’d hate to redo the whole thing when she was thinking something else entirely. I'd REALLY like to discuss what she has in mind, since she has proven her ability to sell works like mine–and like what mine could become. I don’t want to seem pushy or high maintenance though.

Since it’s been three weeks, should I assume that she’s not going to respond? Assume the email was lost in the black hole of her inbox and send her another email? Nudge her? Is this normal, or is she just busy? Just rewrite the whole thing and send as an R&R?

Any suggestions, oh wise ones?

Aggy B.
02-15-2015, 05:51 PM
Well, it sounds like you have two things going on. First, you might be wanting to do a rewrite to change the genre of your book. The fact that you have ideas for it and have considered it a possibility may mean you need to explore that further even if this agent is no longer interested.

Secondly, it's always possible she's just busy and hasn't had time to get back to you. I think this can be a hectic time of year as a lot of contracts and negotiations happen as the big houses pick back up after the holidays. Which means, if I were you, I would send another email. This time include a little bit about what you're thinking in regards to the possible rewrite - keep it brief but maybe mention one or two of the things you think would need changing if you switch genres. Also mention that you would love to talk to her about it in detail and provide some general times you might be available to speak on the phone if she would rather not discuss via email. You want her to see that you are thinking about the changes on your own, but also able to take outside input. And also that you can take steps to make further communication happen.

And then wait. If you don't hear back the second time I would probably be moving on, but some agents are just really slow so lack of immediate response doesn't necessarily mean you won't hear back, but don't wait to hear back if another few weeks passes with no response.

02-17-2015, 03:07 AM
Definitely send another email - you want to know she's on board with the changes before you go to the effort of making them. She either hasn't found the time to respond to the email, or it is stuck somewhere and she hasn't seen it. I spent three weeks freaking out about how my editor hadn't responded to two emails, and it turns out they had been landing in her junk mail folder. So it is possible!

Jo Zebedee
02-17-2015, 04:37 AM
I'd nudge politely.

Old Hack
02-17-2015, 12:24 PM
Would you mind sharing her exact wording with us? It's so easy to misinterpret things when we're hopeful. Not that I'm suggesting you got things wrong: but it might help to be absolutely sure.

Kerry Ann
02-17-2015, 09:30 PM
She wrote three paragraphs about what she loved about the ms and a few suggestions to make it stronger. Then she described how the ms straddled two genres, and how she thinks it would sell better as one over the other. Then from paragraph four: "I thought this was a great read, but I think that I would have trouble selling it in the ________ market. If you are interested in considering some changes to the book in order to gear it more for the _______ market I would be happy to talk with you about that further. Otherwise, I would be happy to look at future submissions if you care to send me something."

I wrote back that I'd be very interested in hearing about what changes she had in mind—if she even got the email.

I know she's taken on several authors who wrote their ms in one genre, then sold it in another (with major revisions).

Debbie V
02-19-2015, 12:19 AM
If I were in your place, I'd give her a little longer to reply to the e-mail. Besides it being a busy time of year, the weather in NY has been atrocious and many offices have been closed for a day or two that wasn't in the plan. (I'm assuming a New York agency.)

While waiting, I'd try outlining the new version. This will give you something concrete to send in a second e-mail should you need one. It goes a little further than just sending the new ideas by giving them a more concrete space in the manuscript. She may need to know you can carry off the revision and not just that you have an idea or two for it.

If you are a pantser, start writing the changes into the new version and see what happens. After all, you might hate it. This way, you'll be underway when you hear back and you'll know how the ideas play out and whether the changes work.

Good luck either way.

02-19-2015, 06:43 PM
Patience with the process. Nudge. Wait.

And submit to other agents.
Agent Alpha might worry about selling a book that's not hitting the gold in either genre. Agent Beta might not see this as a problem.

And it probably matters which two genres.