Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sending an Agent Revisions

Dear Rejector,

First off, I am enjoying your site so much! It's very, very enlightening.

Okay, question.:) I have had a full out to an agent for about five months. Due to some excellent feedback during that time I have done some major revisions. I mean major. Not one hundred words or so per chapter, I mean only about 45% of the original book is still in the new version. Total rehaul. And it is so much better. But if I write to the agent that has the full and say, "well, I have a better version for you now," do I look like a total flake? Should I wait till she responds and hope she offers to look at revisions? I'm hoping you have an answer since you menitoned you often read revisions.

I have mixed feelings about how to answer this question. She's had it for a long time, so that's a factor, but just last Thursday my boss was complaining about this crazy author who sends her like another revision every week and tells her not to read the old one. She's been through four now.

The real answer is that you shouldn't send off work unless it's totally polished and the way you want it to look when it's published, but 5 months is a long time for you to gain new perspective and let other people weigh in. This is why I let my own manuscripts sit for about a year before I begin to edit them.

You do risk annoying the agent, but if it's way better, you risk losing them by having them not like the earlier (and I'm assuming, crappier) version. I would take a gamble and email the agent about the revision. Don't send until you hear a reply. Also, start querying other agents. Don't put your eggs in one basket. Unless, I guess, it's some kind of egg basket.

5 comments:

writtenwyrdd said...

Sometimes there is no right answer, is there?

Anonymous said...

this worked with an editor who had my MS for 5 months. I emailed to say there was a newer version and she could recycle the old if she hadn't read it. In fact she had just finished reading the old version and was keen to get her hands on the new version. she was happy to know i had been working on it! You just never know - take the gamble. And like The Rejector said, you don't want the agent to read the (presumably) crappier version. Let us know how you go!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the rejecter--a person should have their manuscript the best they can have it before sending it out. But, this happened to me too with my first, current manuscript---I 'thought' it was ready, but the agent's feedback ( I was lucky to get personal responses)suggested some improvements. I did all the stuff I was supposed to do prior to this--my own revisions, critique groups, beta readers---but it was the agent that shed light on what was missing--
I'm sure I am not the only one this has happend to. When you've done all you can, you have to take the plunge and send it out-- and in my case, this became part of the process, a learning experience.

Manic Mom said...

Ha, you're funny; am enjoying your blog. Laughed at the egg basket comment. Cute.

Niamh Sage said...

You let your manuscript sit for a whole year?? My goodness. I was thinking I'd be right letting mine sit for 6 to 8 weeks. Yikes.