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  1. #1
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    Revisions before offer?

    I posted a couple weeks ago about my YA novel, and the editor who liked it but needed to get her editorial director to read it. Well, I finally got my answer. Although they both like it, they want to see revisions before they consider making an offer. It's really just one revision, but it's major. Is this standard operating procedure? I am nervous because I already went through this a few months ago with another publisher (I still don't understand exactly what happened there: I made many revisions, the editor was thrilled with them, but she was rather low-level and apparently had not gotten any of her higher-ups to read it prior to my rewrites, and they never made an offer).

    I don't mind doing revisions, of course, but I am nervous about doing them before an offer is made, and then not getting an offer anyway. Or is this just the way it is?

    BTW, my agent and I are putting these revisions on the back-burner for a while since we still have about 10 publishing houses to hear from (3 of which said they like the book and are getting other reads). Just would like your input.

    Elsie



  2. #2
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    I haven't heard of this sort of semi-conditional acceptance and don't think I'd take kindly to it. Is your agent experienced? What does s/he think of it? It might be another example of the tough times the publishing biz is enduring these days.

    I heartily agree with your decision to postpone considering the revisions until after you hear from more publishers.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your quick reply, Frank. My agent has been in the business 16 years with a small but prestigious literary agency. Having said that, she is new to YA sales (all her sales thus far have been adult trade). She is not crazy about doing revisions, yet again, prior to an offer, and advises we just go slowly (as if we have a choice!) and see what the other houses have to say. In general, she says response time from editors is horrendous compared to the "old days," so perhaps all this semi-acceptance is part of that mentality.

    I am torn; I feel kind of jerked around, all this revising and rewriting before an offer has even been made, yet I am desperate, which I am sure they can smell from here.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    Most first-time authors are not in a strong bargaining position. Be glad you have an agent to run interference for you. She can act cool on your nervous behalf.

    And it's no wonder response times have lengthened considerably. Everybody and their brother-in-law now has access to a computer and writing software, so they're all writing novels. The in-boxes for agents and pubs groan and sag under the weight of thousands of queries, proposals and mss.

    Factor in the recession and upheavals in the industry, and the result is smaller lists, laid-off editors and tighter budgets. Oh, and desperate writers.

    Hang in there.

  5. #5
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    Your not desperate, your sitting in the back garden waiting for the neighbourhood book club to arrive. The help has the crustless cucumber sandwiches standing by and the lemonade is chilled. Your going to "that" film festival overseas Saturday and will likely forget all about the other houses, at-least one of which, is right now-meeting about an offer.
    I wish you luck and superhuman patience, that may be all that is necessary.
    All the best.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Zoe Saadia's Avatar
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    I'm with Allott <thumbs up>

  7. #7
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    Elsie,

    That's a tough position to be in, especially since you went through it before with poor results.

    If it were me, I'd think first about what I thought of the suggested revisions. I mean, did your eyes light up and your lips move with, "Yes! Cool. I knew something wasn't quite right there." Did you fingers itch to start making the changes? Not for the sake of this editor and her team, but for your story?

    If so, I'd start a second file and go downtown on the changes that excited me. Even if this editor doesn't offer, you've got a book you're more excited about.

    If not. If the changes are questionable in your mind, don't excite you. I'd just wait. Sometimes an editor asks for revisions for her own reasons. Like maybe the last five books she bought featured main characters who were landscape designers. She wants you to change the career of the MC, not because it would make YOUR story better, but because SHE's sick of reading about tubers.

    This editor is obviously into your work. It may be that she has a limited acquisition budget and is playing several works she likes, knowing she can't buy them all. Rather than going with her gut, she's hedging, asking more from the would-be novelists to help her make decisions.

    Congrats on getting this far!

  8. #8
    This is actually a fairly common situation. The good news is that you're free to ignore these notes; the bad news is that the editor has no obligation to make an offer even if you make the exact changes they're asking for.

    So if you can, I'd make the revisions and see if you can get an offer. It's better than a rejection!
    Last edited by Victoria; 05-12-2011 at 05:23 PM. Reason: Link removed

  9. #9
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    It isn't terribly unusual. If you want that particular agent, make the changes. (But be sure to keep a copy of the manuscript as it is now. Don't change the original, change a copy. I know that sounds obvious, but people do alter the original and regret it.)

    This is a good opportunity for you to learn to make requested revisions. But only if you really want this agent.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leslee View Post
    It isn't terribly unusual. If you want that particular agent, make the changes. (But be sure to keep a copy of the manuscript as it is now. Don't change the original, change a copy. I know that sounds obvious, but people do alter the original and regret it.)

    This is a good opportunity for you to learn to make requested revisions. But only if you really want this agent.
    I think you need to re-read the OP, leslee. She has an agent. The sorta-interested party is an editor from one of the publishing houses to which the work was subbed. Other houses are still considering the work (in its original form) as well.

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