Saturday, March 16, 2013
Can I revise after editors rejected by manuscript?
Hi Noah, I read your book but am still in a quandry: My agent sent my thriller to 26 editors last year. All were passes, with some very encouraging reject letters. Things went downhill at that point: I had to ask my agent 3 times to send me the reject letters. The last time he sent them with a curt comment, "Now I've sent you all the letters." I proposed a major rewrite based on some of the comments, he responded enthusastically, and I turned in the revised manuscript to him in November. He didn't respond, and didn't respond to the next 2 emails. On the fourth try, he gave a curt response..."I'm discussing with editors will let you know when there's feedback". I let him know I was attending the SF writer's conference 2 weeks ago, and he did respond to say I could pass out a "pitch" sheet with his info. 6 major editors expressed interest in the book!! I gave him the incredible news 2 weeks ago with the names of the editors...no response or acknowledgement of my email, which contained a ....
Your post got cut off, so I will respond just based on what I see here.
I answer very similar questions in depth in my free PDF, which contains 600 pages of information. Please visit www.landaliteraryagent.com and download it. I keep mentioning this because I keep finding people post questions that I have already answered. Please read the book.
That said, I will answer it again here:
If publishers reject your manuscript and do not specifically request (eagerly) to see a revision and do not offer comments for specific changes they would like to see, then they are most likely wasting your time to try to revise and please them. 99% of the time, if they pass and don't ask to see it again, then they don't want to see it again. If they do want to see it again, they will make a very clear point of it, and will make very clear suggestions. Thus your agent's resistance. I would let it go with that novel and write a new one. Sometimes publishers will buy your new novel, it will come out and do well, then they will buy the old one, years later.
Additionally, just because editors tell you at a conference that they want to see your manuscript, it doesn't necessarily mean they really do. They can often be put on the spot in such an environment, especially in one-on-one pitches. Plus, 26 editors is a good number, and if he is a good agent and did his job properly and covered 26 good publishers, then either these 6 editors work at houses that already rejected the ms., or they are not great publishers--either of which make you start off with less than a clean slate. Thus nothing is impossible, but I wouldn't put too much hope on the conference.
That said, this doesn't excuse the agent's lack of response. If you are unhappy with him then fire him and find someone else. But make sure you are unhappy for the right reasons.