Getting Published: Revise & Resubmit



Greetings, LadyNerders! Welcome to the latest addition to my Getting Published series here at TLN. If you’ve missed any of the previous entries or would simply like to go back over them, you can find them listed below:

In case you were wondering (of course you were, darlings!), I remain sadly agentless. However, I choose to believe this is at least IN PART due to the fact that I haven’t sent out any new query letters since…May. Why, you ask? Oh, dear readers, let me tell you: I have not sent out any new queries becaaaaaaaaause….(pause for dramatic impact) I’ve been working on a revise & resubmit request since early May! Woo! (yes I know that’s a long time for a revision I was working 11 hour days all summer mmmmmmmmmmk?). If you don’t know what an R&R is, you don’t believe I know what an R&R is, or you just want to hear my crazy commentary on the whole deal. Well…read on, nerd.

Revise and Resubmit – What are this?

So we’ve all heard of purgatory, right? Even if you aren’t religious, the concept is everywhere (SUPERNATURAL? ANYONE? ANNNNNYONE?). It’s an in-between place. Not heaven, not hell. Just…in-between. Waiting. Surviving. Remembering to breathe. Well, the R&R is kinda like that. It’s not a HELL YES I BE YOUR AGENT NOW, and it’s not a HELL NAW YOU SUCK GO AWAY, either. It’s a…maybe. Try this and we’ll see.

In more clear language, a revise and resubmit happens when an agent decides that a project has enough potential that they’d like another look at it, but their concerns are significant enough that it isn’t an automatic yes. Or even an eventual yes. And I totally get that, because if the project they read the first time is the very best a writer is capable of but still isn’t strong enough for the agent to champion…then that’s sad, but it’s also business. Get it?

For the would-be author, it isn’t a guarantee, but it is hope. It’s a chance to prove that you can revise. That you can be reasonably flexible (more on this below). That you’ve got more in the tank.


How it Works

1. Writer sends query to agent.

2. Agent reads query, likes what they see, asks for more.

3. Agent (and/or agent’s assistant) reads le book.

4. Agent likes le book, but has some concerns…something isn’t working for them (this could be multiple things, let’s be real).

5. Agent very generously e-mails reader with suggestions for revision (sometimes called a revision letter…something similar happens post-agent-acquisition and pre-going-on-submission-to-publishers)…AND THEN THE AGENT VERY EXPLICITLY SAYS THEY WOULD LIKE TO READ IT AGAIN SHOULD WRITER REVISE.

This last part is key, because many agents give excellent feedback upon rejecting a full or even partial manuscript. However, unless said agent clearly states an interest in reading the project post-revision…it’s not an R&R. You can still opt to resubmit later, but it’s not requested material and you MUST go back through the query process.

Got it? Got it. Moving on.


To Revise or Not to Revise?

So, you don’t have to revise based on an agent’s R&R just because they offered it.


If their vision differs too greatly from yours or if they ask for changes you can’t in good conscience make for whatever reason…move along. That’s okay. At the end of the day, it’s YOUR story. However, I would caution against making an emotional decision about it.

You see, querying is an emotional process. From the outside, it might not seem like it would be, but it is. It’s like standing naked in front of all the cool kids at school while they alternate between “yucks” and “ews” with little to no explanation. No joke. It’s kinda pretty much dreadfully awfully bad. And R&Rs, even though they aren’t “yucks”…they can kinda feel like one at first. Especially if you skip over the positive things they say and only focus on the negative stuff. And if the revision letter is thorough, it’s likely to also be overwhelming.

I suggest 3 days. Give it 72 hours, then reassess. When I got my revision letter, I knew exactly what it was…and it was still overwhelming. (Note: my amazing crit partner got one and thought it was a rejection…until I pointed out the whole “I’d love to read this again” bit. It’s just so intense, you guys!). Anyway, I was excited to feel so close to a YES! but also unsure on if or how I’d go about addressing the concerns she listed. I did, however, know I wanted to try. So I wrote her back to thank her and say yes, I’d like to revise, thanks…then printed out the e-mail, stuck it in my revision notebook, and didn’t look at it again for three days.

Best. Decision. Ever.

After those three days, I knew what to do. Granted, I was fortunate that the bulk of her notes were on a single issue (and one I’d already attempted to address but inadequately), so I wasn’t dividing my focus between multiple threads of correction. Also, I agreed with her notes. That’s important. She wasn’t asking me to change anything about the plot or my characters or the ending (which can definitely be part of a very good/helpful revision letter, so be ready). Instead, she wanted me to try something different on a technical level. Not overwhelming in content, but in SCOPE. It meant making adjustments in nearly every scene. Nearly every page.

And THAT, dear reader, is why I’m not finished yet.

But also the 11 hr shifts thing.


Now what?

Uh, revise.

And then, uh, resubmit.

I’ll keep ya posted on the resubmit part.


Alright, that’s it for me today, LadyNerders! I hope you found this post helpful! If you have any questions or comments, leave them below and I’ll get back to ya! 

May your word counts be high and your first drafts magical.






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