Friday, March 22, 2013

Revising with an Agent

Happy March 22nd, everyone! What's so special about March 22nd? Well, for starters, it happens to be the anniversary of this blogger's birth. *tosses confetti in the air*

But this time of year, besides being awesome for other reasons, will now always remind me of this time in 2010, when I started querying agents for the first time. Since I signed with my agent at the begininng of December, my entire agent-hunting process spanned two manuscripts and almost three years. And I know I wouldn't be at this point now if I hadn't gotten such awesome feedback along the way.

Some people do get an offer of rep right off the bat, but for others, there's some trial and error involved. Sometimes your book isn't quite sub-ready, but an agent thinks it could be, and sends you some suggestions. In QueryTracker parlance, this is an R&R - a revise and resubmit.

So if you get an R&R, what does that mean? Here are some things to keep in mind:

- Do a happy dance! Agents are under no obligation to provide feedback, and are under tremendous time constraints elsewhere. They're taking time, for free, to work on your manuscript with you. Even if there's no guarantee this could lead to an offer, this is something to be proud of. Yay!

- While you are doing your happy dance, remember: this is a test of your abilities. The ability to revise effectively is a crucial one. This is your chance to put your best foot forward as a potential client, both on a professional level and a personal one.

- Remember that this could be your potential agent, too. This is an excellent chance to see how well you click with this person. When you're talking to someone with a great editorial eye who really gets your book, you get this immediate sense that this person is saying, "I see what you're going for, here - and here's how you can do that even better." When you're talking to the agent, do you feel excited and energized and ready to go, or do you feel like the agent is talking about a different book?

- At the same time, if you do have a negative reaction to what the agent is saying, give yourself time to think it over. When considering a fundamental change to your book, a little distance from the issue is key, and once your brain has time to let the suggestion percolate, you may realize it's actually perfect. Or maybe you'll still feel the same, but that's okay, too. Not every editing suggestion is going to be right for you.

- Don't rush! I know that's hard, but I've been told more than once that this is the most common mistake writers make. Agents want you to take the time to get this right, so use that time to really make sure it's perfect. This is what your betas and CPs are here for!

- And remember: you are going to rock this. Go forth and kick ass.

Best of luck, everyone, and have a great weekend!

2 comments:

  1. Wow. This is great advice. I'm in the middle of querying agents for my WIP. While one said no, he at least provided feedback that I'm trying to implement. But others I know have received the revise and resubmit message, so I'll pass this post on to them.

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  2. Happy blog birthday:D

    Great advise for R and R's esp. on the not rushing it and believing we can kick ass.

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