I have a lovely e-mail/Twitter/Facebook friend who submitted a manuscript that I read quite a few years ago, when I was just a lowly assistant. I passed on the manuscript, but I gave her feedback on it because I could see the seeds of something good in there yet it needed a lot more work. She recently resubmitted the manuscript to me and told me what a difference my initial input had made. Well, I passed on the manuscript again, but again I gave her feedback and told her I looked forward to seeing it after she’d revised it again. Here’s the cool part: She keeps thanking me and the manuscript just keeps getting better each time she resubmits it!
To me, that is the sign of somebody who takes the craft of writing seriously. She’s doing the work. I was going to write a whole post about revise & resubmit, but she said it better than I ever could. With her permission, this is what she wrote to me:
“In the past I made the newbie mistake of thinking I needed to rush to get it back (but, ahem, not this time) and that’s probably pretty common. Writers rush for various reasons, including being afraid the agent will forget about them. But sending back the same manuscript with a few patches on it two weeks later is only going to result in rejection. Tear it apart, reconsider, rethink, reconstruct, trim, tighten, slash entire chapters, nix or add entire characters or subplots. If the writer doesn’t feel a rewrite is necessary, it’s not a good agent/author match anyway and the writer should query elsewhere.”
So when I (or any other agent or editor) give you feedback and ask you to resubmit, I’m not being polite or nice or anything. I really want you to do the work, like my friend suggests. And then resubmit it. Because honestly, I wouldn’t waste my time giving you feedback if I didn’t think it was worth it.
How do you feel about revising and resubmitting without a solid offer of representation on the table?