So. Last night, I received my very first offer to “revise and resubmit”. The manuscript is CHERRY. The email was from a literary agent who has had the full for a while. She recently stopped accepting queries so she could concentrate on her backlog of stuff. CHERRY was part of that backlog of stuff. . .
Not an offer. But it wasn’t a no, either. Major revisions suggested, for sure. I agree with some. Have to think about others.
Actually, I have to think, period. The idea of changing my novel to make it more publishable (palatable?) is . . . I don’t know what. Scary and exciting and sad, all at the same time. Scary, because I would have to, you know, rewrite stuff. Big time. Exciting, because revising CHERRY might just make it better than it is, and that might land me an agent who can get my book published one day. Sad, because my beloved little novel may not survive intact, because it probably isn’t viable right now. I thought it was. I truly believed it was, which proves what I’ve always suspected, and what we writers are counselled against, time and time again:
I fell in love with my book.
That fast, I am at a crossroads. I have to decide what to do, what direction to take my novel. Of course, I could keep little CHERRY as is, close to my bosom–my baby, safe and soundly nestled in my arms, not going anywhere. Which, you know. . .
Or I could keep querying the thing, as is. Or self-publish CHERRY, as is. Or just wait and see what that the other powers that be decide, because the full is still out with another agent and two editors; a situation which could prove problematic. What if–
Cart before horse. Classic stalling tactic.
Right now, today, I have a literary agent who is willing to take another look at CHERRY, if I implement her suggested revisions. No guarantees, she said so herself, but she also said she thought I was a good enough writer to pull it off. And she actually said she’d love to read the revised version, if I decided to go that route.
Revise and resubmit. Writers do it all the time, I know they do. It comes with the territory when one is in the business of writing, especially when one wants to be published and I do. I do want that for CHERRY.
Last night, after I read the agent’s email, I clicked on Google and typed, “When an agent says revise and resubmit.” I don’t know what I was hoping to find. What I did find, on a Writer’s Digest online forum ( http://www.writersdigest.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=75254 ), was a discussion about revising and resubmitting. One post, by novelist Steven Campbell, resonated with me, especially this:
I think if you want to stay at 80% of your potential, keep writing new stuff. If you want to reach as close to 100% as you can, you need to edit and prune and pluck. Because it’s vastly harder to do that stuff than it is to write. It’s unbelievably painful to tear out two pages and throw them in the trash. But if it was easy everyone would do it.