View Full Version : R&R

09-02-2016, 12:04 AM
I recently had a rejection that would seem to have been tailor made to include the line "but should you address these issues, I'd be glad to take another look." I'm asking the folks here who have gotten a "revise and resubmit" letter and the agents who send them what would prompt such a letter? How much of the book would you need to love? How much work to be done is too much? What's fixable and what isn't? Would you ever send (or have you ever gotten) a letter saying you loved A, B, C and D but didn't love E and thus will be passing without offering an R&R?

Aggy B.
09-02-2016, 04:59 AM
I rewrote almost half a MS from scratch for my agent. (Although he really loved it and had feedback that consisted of giving him more of what he saw in the MS - adding in more details, world-building, clarification of magic system, etc. None of his suggestions revolved around "changing" the story.) It was clear that his vision resonated with mine so doing the work (which took about two months of daily writing sessions) was not a problem.

I did an R&R on the same MS (but the version prior to the one he saw) for a different agent. She seemed excited, but commented that she thought the MC was overly belligerent and not "feminine" enough. I did not make those changes (although I did make other revisions based on things where I agreed there could be improvement to the MS) and that was a key factor in getting a rejection from her. (A very detailed and scathing rejection, I might add, which made it very clear we would not have been a good fit in the long run even if she'd decided to make an offer of rep.)

For me it was a question of whether the revisions altered my book or strengthened it. (And sometimes it can be both, but there are some things that just don't sit well with you as the author and your vision of the book.) The things that I felt strengthened it, I was happy to do - even when it was extensive. But in the end it is my book, so I won't just do anything an agent asks of me just because they're the agent.

(I'll also point out that in working with my agent on other MSs, he has sometimes suggested I could try this or that and I have disagreed and done something different and he has never given me shit for that. Unlike the agent who rejected the first revised MS and criticized me for not taking more of her advice.)

I also (while I was still querying) did send a response to one agent who had read the full and given me pretty detailed feedback in her rejection, and I asked if she would be interested in seeing a revised version of the MS. She said no, but there didn't seem to be any angst over that kind of follow-up. It might be worth it to send a reply to the rejection you received and ask if the agent in question might be interested in seeing revisions.

Best of luck! :)

09-02-2016, 03:44 PM
Yeah, I've done that too and sometimes they say yes.

I think it all depends on what they want and what you're willing to change. Like Aggy said, you should do a revision that speaks to you and not one that you disagree with but do it anyway thinking that's the right thing to do. In most cases it's not.

I've done R&Rs and sometimes that still doesn't work out. That depends too on if they will like the changes or not. It's a gamble. There was one ms that I bent over backwards for and changed to pretty much every R&R I had and it just did NOT work out. I had 6 R&Rs from agents and when that didn't work out I started submitting to publishers and I had over 10 R&Rs with that and for whatever reason my revisions were all a bust.

And on another ms I had several R&Rs with my last publisher and she continued to like the improvement, she offered to publish it. Then it was several revisions after that too. It was mind blowing how much work I put into it with my editor constantly pushing for more. Sometimes I get really scared, like maybe another one might work and I'll have to go through a really grueling revision process. But I'd do it again to strive to do better.

Even if none of this works out with the R&Rs, if you revise, you are improving your ms. regardless. And that's always a good thing.