Resisting Hitting “Send”

Posted: October 21, 2015 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

Finger pushing enter button of keyboard

So, about five weeks ago my daughter and I received a Revise and Resubmit request from our dream agent, on our middle grade fantasy manuscript. And because she is swamped with school, I have taken on the task of making all of the revisions and resubmitting the manuscript when ready.

I told the agent we would have the revised manuscript back to her in eight weeks. I finished the revisons a week ago. It is a struggle to resist sending it off so we can get to the part where she signs us.

The way I see it, an R&R is actually a whole series of tests … or opportunities. Of course the agent is looking for a perfect manuscript, or at least a marketable one. But not only that. An agent is also looking for a client she can work with, a client who gets her and a client she gets.  A client who understands deadlines, follows directions, accepts criticism as well as praise, and who can read between the lines. So when an agent says, “It might be better to relocate the character’s development elsewhere,” it helps to understand what she means and to be able to make that happen in such a way that it satisfies her issues with the manuscript.

I’m pretty confident I’ve addressed every one of her concerns and criticisms, and the revisions and additions all support these changes and improve the book. It took a lot of planning and late nights, but I think I’ve pulled it off, and I think the agent will like the results. But here’s another opportunity to impress: turning in the work early, exceeding expectations.

The extraordinary thing about this agent is how remarkably fast she has responded. She requested our full manuscript the very next day after we sent her the original unsolicited query. And one week after we sent the full she replied with an R&R, complete with extensive notes. Given that the consensus in the writing community is generally that an R&R request means an agent is quite likely to sign a client, I am understandably eager to put this revised manuscript into her hands as soon as possible.

The only problem is … I haven’t actually read the new manuscript, yet. Not as a whole, not in order. Not with a fresh perspective.  And the easiest way to turn off an agent is turn in a manuscript with bigger issues than it had before the revision. Or, you know, typos. But before I could read it again I needed to take a week off from this project and stretch my creative legs. I read a book by another author. And it was glorious. It had brand new words and everything!

But now I am back to our book, and I am about halfway done with the readthrough. So far I’ve only found a handful of very minor things to change, and not all of them related to the revisions.  A couple of tiny consistency mistakes, and so on.  But I haven’t gotten to the big changes, yet. I’m hoping I can get through the rest of it over the next week. And, barring any huge issues, I will be ready for the Resubmit portion of the R&R two weeks early.

Not a moment too soon.

  1. Sandra Coopersmith says:

    John, do NOT shoot yourself in the foot by trying to get the MS in to the agent two weeks early. If she gets it on the date originally agreed to, or a couple of days earlier, then that’s perfectly acceptable. Use all the time you can to finesse the MS and get it into as perfect a condition as possible regarding the concepts the agent recommended. You want it to flow and you don’t want typos or grammatical errors, so take a breath and approach it from that perspective. Better to take a little more time and do it right than rush it through in a desire to impress her (two whole weeks early – wow!) as that haste could backfire on you. You and your daughter have a terrific story to tell and I want you to do it in such a way that the MS — not the shaving off of time in submission — really knocks the agent’s socks off. Good luck!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Sandra. Unfortunately, I don’t have anyone who has time to read the whole manuscript, who can tell me if I’ve done what I set out to do — only a few people have read the version that I submitted to the agent (It’s quite a bit different from the one you read). I’ve asked a few people, but nobody has gotten back to me.

    I’ve read through the whole thing from front to back, except for the very last chapter (which I’ll read tonight), and I hardly made any changes to that one at all. So at this point, I’m not sure what the point is of waiting. I could read it all again in a week, but I’m not sure I can be objective anymore. I’ve been living and breathing this manuscript for the last six weeks.

    I am going to wait a few days. Maybe send it on Monday. And over the weekend I’ll go over the changed parts and added scenes one more time. I’ve reached the point where my eyes just skip over the text, because I already know it pretty much by heart.


    • Sandra Coopersmith says:

      I know what you mean, and it sounds to me, after reading your response, that you’ve made a lot of progress — enough, I’m sure, to make your agent feel comfortable that she’s working with someone reliable who really listens, so your final run through over the weekend should suffice.  Good luck!!! From: Am I Doing This Right? To: Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2015 3:16 PM Subject: [New comment] Resisting Hitting “Send” #yiv3348365937 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv3348365937 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv3348365937 a.yiv3348365937primaryactionlink:link, #yiv3348365937 a.yiv3348365937primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv3348365937 a.yiv3348365937primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv3348365937 a.yiv3348365937primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv3348365937 johnrberkowitz commented: “Thank you, Sandra. Unfortunately, I don’t have anyone who has time to read the whole manuscript, who can tell me if I’ve done what I set out to do — only a few people have read the version that I submitted to the agent (It’s quite a bit different from th” | |


  3. vherrick says:

    I have to say, as a professional editor, that I am charmed by the “voice” in your blogs, and looking forward to the emergence of your novel. The only reason I can think of for waiting is if one of your trusted beta readers would have time to get back to you before the deadline, especially if they are aware of the revisions the agent requested. They might offer a point of view that would be helpful in polishing. But really, the bottom line is not whether you can deliver a perfect manuscript, either two days or two weeks early — it’s how well you and the agent can communicate. This is a “first date” of sorts. You can’t really know until she gets back your response to her request, how well it will go. But you’ve made a sincere effort, and if this one doesn’t “click,” you are so much more ready for the next opportunity. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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