View Full Version : Revise and Resubmit

10-16-2015, 12:36 AM
How common is it to ask for revisions if you have only read the first three chapters? I have just gotten such a request from a very reputable agent, but am in a quandary on quite what to do and how to respond. She also suggested a book for me to read though I am not a newbie and have been writing for a very long time. One of her suggestions would be quite a structural change-- and she has not read the entire manuscript. However, representation by this agency would be quite a boon. So--- my dilemma. Thoughts?

10-16-2015, 12:43 AM
I think this is where you need to be a little artsy fartsy and less business pragmatic and ask yourself if you like the suggestions, if they make your book better. If you like the suggestions, then I say go for it, but if you don't then don't. There are lots of great agents out there, and is it really worth changing your story in a way that will make it feel like it isn't yours anymore for just one particular human who had a particular opinion? And what kind of representation will you have with that agent anyway? Will you always be writing stories that aren't really you in order to satisfy her? I know alas a few authors who have agents who liked one of their books but since then keep wanting them to write something that isn't really true to them while meanwhile refusing to submit their other work. It's not a fun position to be in.

10-16-2015, 12:45 AM
I don't know if it is common or not, but if she read the first three chapters, and thought it had promise but would need a significant revision -- especially a structural change -- why would she read any further unless you are agreeable to making those changes? She already knows that as is she's going to pass, right?

And as for the suggestion of reading material, I would only be concerned if the recommended reading was for some book she profits from (or a client profits from, perhaps). Something that would make me doubt her motives. But if no ill motive seemed obvious, then I would assume she is trying to be helpful. What does how long you have been writing have to do with it? She perceived that you would benefit from the experience of reading the book. If you don't want to read it, then don't.

The only question I would have is do you agree with her suggestions or not? If yes, then what do you have to lose by trying the revision? If no, then politely decline.

Don't revise simply in hopes of representation if you don't agree with what she is suggesting. But if you think the suggested changes might strengthen the story, then it seems like a good opportunity.

good luck. :)


10-16-2015, 01:55 AM
Thanks so much for the feedback. My problem w/ asking for changes after only reading 3 chapters is not knowing the whole...I am researching and trying to find out how common this is. As far as liking the suggestions.... right now they feel rather vague, so it's hard to know...I guess I would feel a lot more comfortable and centered if the whole book had been read and I was convinced she understood the book and me as a writer. Hence the shock, too, re read this book. However, having said that, some very nice things were said, too, so I don't want to throw the baby out w/ the bath water. It's not like reps are falling out of trees these days....Oh, well, a little more contemplation won't hurt. Thanks again for your thoughts everyone. Deeply, deeply appreciated as I mull....Where's my Chard????

Aggy B.
10-16-2015, 03:35 AM
It could be she thinks the story/characters are interesting, but the writing needs more polish. The first revision I did for my agent involved not only beefing up some areas of the plot, but also adding in some craft-based work. (I really have to work to get the right amount of internalization.)

Also, she has the query, right? So she's not completely without a clue in regards to where the story is headed.

If you don't hate the suggestions she's made so far (and I realize they might be super vague), then I would tell her you're open to revisions and see what she says next. There's no obligation to make those changes if she comes back with detailed notes that you aren't comfortable following through with.

10-16-2015, 05:55 AM
Sometimes if there's a HUGE structural problem but an overall interesting premise, they might not want to slog through the whole manuscript to come back with the same answer.

I was asked to go from First Person to Third, once. It happens. (And was a waste of my time, honestly!)

10-16-2015, 05:31 PM
I just got the same thing. Did you comment on it in the agency thread here in Bewares? It might even be the same agency.

The assistant only had the partial, so she didn't read the whole thing. She was interested in the query, synopsis and first chapter, but said it wasn't moving fast enough. And that it sounded more MG than YA. This is the very first amount of feedback I received on the book, so it's all so new still. I have another partial out and am going to wait and see what they say first before I start fiddling around with it.

Do you have other requested material out? If this is the first kind of feedback you got, I would hold off and see what others say. If it's all the same thing, then yes, I would consider revising it.