I have a question about sending revisions to agents who have my full manuscript. You've said several times on the blog that you want writers to send their best work, and you are willing to wait on a revision up until you've actually read the manuscript, but... is there a limit to how many revisions an author can send in before it taints your opinion of them or the work?
At the end of September I received an R&R from an agent that really resonated with me. I contacted the 6 other agents that also had the full and asked them if they would wait for the revisions. All but one got back to me with a very kind "yes, I'll wait, send whenever you're ready." Some of those have rejected the manuscript since then, but 3 of them still have that revised version (one is a fellow New Leaf agent!).
I just received a rejection last week that contained more feedback that I found valuable. Should I contact those 3 agents that already have a revised version from me and ask them to wait again? Or just let it go?
This is one of those things for which there is no gold standard. Each agent will have their own particular melting point. I've gotten six or seven revisions from authors from whom I have requested fulls. I don't particularly care that it's that many, but I do wonder a bit about their inner editor not being up to speed. That said, my goal is to add projects to my list that I can sell. I'd rather add something that will sell after seven revisions than say no to something after only three.
A savvy writer will know that revisions means fixing MAJOR plot points or twists, or shifting the chronology of the book. It's not fixing the spelling in chapter three, or changing a character's name, or (this drives me bonkers) changing the title.
I assume writers are continuing to work on the novel even after I get it. Pruning and polishing is NOT revising in the sense we mean here. I'm not going to reject a project if I think it needs just a bit of polish. I'm going to tell you that it does and see if you can do it.
This is one of the places that Twitter can be valuable. If you follow the agents who have your requested full, check their twitter feed to see if they yap about writers sending revisions. (Since I do not tweet about my requested fulls, this will only help with Other Agents.)
Bottom line: always offer the most revised and polished version of your novel, even if the agent has an earlier version. The worst thing they'll do is say no.