receive rejection letters. Sometime we get a hopeful, "Send me more," and then we wait again. We hope for a phone call and not a polite "no thank you" email. A yes, and we're flying. A no, and we're plummeting.
But what about that other response--the R&R. If you're new to the term, in the publishing world it does not mean rest and relaxation. In fact, it might mean just the opposite. The R&R we're talking about stands for revise and resubmit.
For today's post, I'm taking off my writer hat and replacing it with my publisher hat. I'm going to tell you why I ask for an R&R, what I hope you'll do, what I hope you won't do and about the negatives of R&R requests.
Why I ask for an R&R:
This is pretty simple. I really liked something about your manuscript. I saw something there that caught my interest, and not just a little. If I only liked it a little, I wouldn't bother with the R&R. I get this excited inner niggling when I come across something I really like--an intriguing premise, a strong character voice, a unique plot or setting. When I find this, I get excited. This excitement combined with well written sample chapters leads me to request a full manuscript. When the manuscript has problems, but I see great potential, I'll request an R&R.
What I hope you'll do:
I hope you'll take the advice I gave when I requested the R&R and dig into your manuscript, that you'll edit with new eyes. This is a second chance, so take full advantage of it. I hope you'll make global changes and then get new beta readers to supply feedback in light of what I've asked.
What I hope you won't do:
Simple--rush. If I ask for an R&R, it does not mean there are only minor tweaks to be made. If the
What are the negatives of R&R requests:
- I move on. A week after I send you an R&R, I may find something that I like equally, but doesn't as much revision. We may sign that author and by the time you send me your revised manuscript, I may no longer be interested. All the more reason, to rush, right? No, because I may still be interested, and if you don't bring your manuscript to where it needs to be, you've just blown your second chance. I won't give a second R&R. I'll just assume you're unable to do what's been requested.
- I may still decline the manuscript. Perhaps you did what was requested, but it went in a different direction than I'd hoped. This doesn't mean it was bad, just different and not something I felt fit with our publishing goals. However, with the manuscript newly revised, it may catch the attention of another agent or editor.
- You may not want to make the changes I requested. I'm a strong advocate for authors telling the story they felt compelled to write. Whether or not you attempt the R&R is totally up to you. Take some time to think about it. If you don't feel comfortable taking your story in the direction I suggested, then don't do it. Keep searching for an editor or agent who gets your vision for the manuscript.
I encourage you to take full advantage of the R&R. Work hard to show the person who offered you the second chance that you're just the type of professional they'd like to work alongside.
Have you ever had an R&R request? Tell me about it in the comments.