Time For a Little R&R

Posted: September 16, 2015 in Writing
Tags: , , , ,

There’s an expression: “No rest for the wicked.” I never really quite understood that. Does it mean good people have more leisure time? That bad guys have to work harder? If so, what’s the point, really, given that “bad guys never win” and “crime doesn’t pay?” Seems like a bad career move all around.

I’m not wicked – or at least it is not a defining characteristic. I would have to place myself in the “good guy” column, all things considered. So, why don’t I have more free time? Seriously? I mean if “nice guys finish last,” that suggests we’re not particularly speedy or overly motivated, as a general rule. And yet, here I am, an aspiring author with my daughter (a career path that takes enormous amounts of time) while at the same time a devoted father and husband and holder of two jobs. I typically work 7 days a week, or at the very least 6, and that’s not even counting the writing. So I clearly don’t fit the mold.

I have a serious lack of free time (like any working parent with three kids, or a writer, or both), but I’ve suddenly been presented with some R&R, and I am at something of a loss as to how I should handle it.

I am not speaking of Rest & Relaxation. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Our dream agent read our book and requested a Revise and Resubmit. That’s like having Simon Cowell ask us to sing our audition song again because he liked it so much. I’m told (because this is brand new territory for us) that an R&R is very good. Most of the time – statistically speaking – an agent will respond to a query with, “Thanks but no thanks,” or if they liked it but could not sign the writer due to circumstances unrelated to the writing, they might say, “I loved it but….”or even, “This is not for me but do you have anything else?” A request to revise and resubmit means they REALLY liked it, and even though it is not currently marketable for one reason or another, they aren’t willing to let it pass without trying to fix it.

So, an R&R is very good. My daughter and I are understandably excited. Of course, there is that pesky issue of actually having to revise our carefully-constructed manuscript. This R&R was accompanied by first a list of the things that this agent thought especially worked. Then she gave specific suggestions for how to resolve the issues she detailed. I gather this is not always the case.

I’ve heard that some writers reject the offer to look at a revised manuscript, because the writer does not agree with the agent’s request. I suppose I can understand that. If this agent had asked for something we were not willing to change, we might do the same. Fortunately, this is not the case. But even if it was, I am led to understand that most successful agents are successful because they know what they are talking about and because they know the market. Meaning, even if I passed up this opportunity and found another agent willing to sign us with our manuscript as-is, it is not unlikely that an editor at a publishing house would later ask for the same or very similar changes. So, it is tremendously lucky that we see eye-to-eye with this agent.

Did I mention she is our dream agent? She is the agent for the author who wrote our favorite books — the books we used a model for the tone and pacing and voice of our own book. Not exciting enough? Okay, how about this: We sent her our blind query on September 2. She responded with a request for our full manuscript on September 3. On September 11 we received the R&R. Nine days from initial query to R&R. Do you suppose that means she is interested?

We suppose so.

  1. Great news, John! I predict this will be your new agent!


  2. Don Ford says:

    While I was in the midst of one of my “Writing for Profit” classes at a local Boces facility, I received an email from a publisher that a story I sent them was going to be published. “Please revise the parts where you talk about a blood transfusion. This is a story for children, and we need it changed up somewhat to fit their language.” In our class my students got a chance to watch a submission go from sent to received to final publication. A dream come true, when you are teaching your writing students the tenants of getting published, and they get to see it first hand. WOW!


  3. Sandra Coopersmith says:

    This is wonderful news, and there is no question that you have landed the dream agent. Such responsiveness is incredible and I suspect that your book will be a huge success. All the best to you, John – I’m so thrilled for you and your daughter!

    Liked by 1 person

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