Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Notifying other agents of an R&R

I know you're supposed to notify other agents if you get an offer from an agent, but not to notify them if you get a full request. But what if you get a Revise and Resubmit? Should you let others with the full know? How are you supposed to know whether to proceed with the request if others still have the full? Should you give them a head's up?

Don't assume that the requested revisions improve the book. Just cause An Agent said it, doesn't make it the best choice.

It's one thing to say the pacing is off in the middle chunk of the book; it's another thing entirely to say all your characters need to be vegan cause that's the new hot thing in dino porn, and oh by the way more sex scenes so it's not Lickosaurus lite.

However, if you do decide to undertake major revisions, what you can do is withdraw your manuscript from the other agents who have it, revise, then send it back.

Most of us would rather read the version you think is best.

You don't HAVE to do that; you CAN do it.

You can also let the submissions run their course. I can hear you muttering on your hamster wheel "but what if this new revision would have worked where the first version didn't??!!??"

And that is why writer should always have bottle of hooch next to their desk.

How to decide?

Well, if the revision requests are things like "pick up the pacing", "develop the characters", "build the world" generally those are things most agents will agree on as problems.

You'd be well advised to withdraw the manuscript, fix the problems and resubmit.

Things that are more idiosyncratic, and more personal reading taste "I didn't like Felix Buttonweezer very much" vary from agent to agent and "fixing" that "problem" might not improve the ms from another agent's point of view.

If those are the revisions requested, you can make them but NOT withdraw the other manuscripts from consideration, and send this revision only to the agent who suggested it.

There is no one right way here.

How to figure out what to do: email the agents with the requested fulls and ask them.

I get these kind of emails and my standard response is "I always want to read your best work. If you intend to revise in a major way, I'd rather read the revisions."

Not all agents will respond that way, but at least you'll know the lay of the land.

Bottom line: you do not have to notify other agents of a revise and resubmit.


AJ Blythe said...

That's where I'm going wrong... "writer should always have bottle of hooch next to their desk."

Crazy thing, OP, but I was pondering this (and many other scenarios) while defrosting in the shower just before. Not because I'm in that boat, but dreaming of what might happen when I start back in the trenches in September. Another scenario included what to do when six agents are all begging me to be their client *wishful thinking*.

I cna't add anything of value to what our Queen has said, so best of luck, OP. I hope we hear good news soon!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Lickosaurus lite? My co-workers are giving me the stink eye, I laughed so hard. This is why her Majesty is QOTKU. Yeah, more hamster wheel material. I wonder if Writer’s Tears can be ordered by the case?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Lickosaurus lite? Is that with natural sweetener or straight up?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Lickosaurus lite.
A new Chap Stick flavor guaranteed to not only moisturize, but fulfill all your Jurassic needs.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

If kicking back and drinking a cold one is on your weekend agenda, there is no better time to find out what species of light beer tastes the best.

Out of the top ten best sellers Lickosaurus lite comes in as number 66 million, brewed and served chilled just prior to the biggest bash to end it all, The Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.

Okay, I'm done. Have a nice day boys and girls, be kind to each other and party on.

Donnaeve said...

Belated WELCOME BACK, Janet!

Have mercy. (and I just got a shirt that says that, too.) Lickosaurus lite? Well, I never. I got so distracted by giggling I almost forgot to read the rest of the post.

OP, I find this outstanding advice - even though I'm not in this situation. I like the idea of weighing what the R&R means to the overall story. It is little pats and fluffs hither thither, or is it a major overhaul, re-creating the story enough so as to render it very different?

But also - do you agree with those changes? That's another whole other writerly problem to chew on. IF you think this R&R is the bees knees, and it's a major overhaul, then yeah, I'd notify them if I were in your shoes. If it's not, then no need to rock the boat. I mean what if you asked and they went all NORMAN on you???

Craig F said...

If an agent asks for an R&R make sure it is on a copy of the manuscript. If you have to, stash the original on a flash drive or external hard drive.

Do that because there is that chance that A)it doesn't work; or B) one of those agents with your query might not want an R&R. They might want to read the original after you ruffle some Lickosaurus feathers.

Nothing can raise an agent from NORMAN land more than interest from another agent.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Whenever I've submitted something, I try really hard not to even open the file and look at it until I hear back. I can't always do that.

With my most recently published story, "Surveillance Fatigue", I couldn't leave it alone (including tinkering with the ending. Oh, endings). And then I got the "we've held this for consideration" email, took a deep breath, and sent back "I've done some work on it, would they prefer to see the newest version or continue as-is?". I was asked to send the newest, and that is the version you see/hear on Escape Pod (if you are so inclined).

Would they have accepted it anyway? I have no idea. But that's just what happens in this line of work, isn't it? :)

Amy Johnson said...

I must have had a less than cheerful facial expression while reading today's post. (That's unusual, I'm sure. I look forward to reading posts here every day--I keep checking to see if it's 7:00.) One of the fam asked what was wrong. The subject of revisions got me a-ponderin' about my last time in the query trenches. Got several requests for the full, but no offers of rep. I was fortunate to receive kind words and other feedback, but nothing like the pacing is off in a particular part. It would have been good to learn something like that was the issue. Then I could work on that specifically. I really believed in that story. Still do. Queried over 200 agents--waaay more than my first time in the trenches. The manuscript has been sitting for about a year. Maybe in a couple of years I'll check on it. Could be the bones will seem good enough for me to try a major revision.

It's a beautiful day here. The garden is looking good. As of now, no blossom end rot on the tomatoes. Heading off to the woods in search of wild raspberries. Have a good one, all!

Karen McCoy said...

Lickosaurus Lite. I am dying!

Yet again, this blog answers questions that I haven't even asked yet, and offers a clear path forward.

I love the Reef!

Karen McCoy said...

Amy Johnson, an author friend recently told me that when you're that close, it becomes a when, not an if. Keep submitting. Keep querying. And once you get signed, show them that other MS!

Amy Johnson said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Karen!

BrendaLynn said...

The tough part of major revisions is deciding when to stop. While writing the third book in the series I realized that I had to make some fundamental changes to my earlier MC in order for the plot of the later book to work. Those changes were easy because they were my idea and they served the story.
I’m tightening up the first fifty pages on the first book. It’s not my idea and I’m cutting some fun stuff, which hurts. Kill my darlings, kill my darlings. In that version I’m happily stripping down the story in order to woo an agent (slutty of me, I know). At the same time I’m trying to gauge when to preserve what I love.
It’s kind of like the sex worker visited by an old sweetheart. How much is business and how much is pleasure?
The contests here have taught me a lot about cutting to improve the story so I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Maybe that old lover needs a little razzle-dazzle.