Pride, that is, for those of you who’s thoughts immediately turned pervy (you know who you are:) A few of you might remember this post from several months ago in which I manifested my grief at being passed over by an agent after multiple revise & resubmits. I was, in a word, devastated.
And even though the agent had showed interest in some of the other projects I’d mentioned while in contact with her, and told me to re-query with anything in the future, it took me a long time to actually take her up on that offer.
Because, to be honest, I felt like I’d been left at the altar. And wasn’t sure if re-querying that same agent would make me dumb, or naïve, or a glutton for punishment. The emotions were still raw and it took lots of sushi, wine, querying, revising old projects, starting new projects, oh, and day dreaming of self-publishing and by-passing the crummy querying trenches all together, for me to finally cool down enough to realize that I wasn’t left at the altar at all.
While it’s hard to cut out the emotions that go along with exposing your work to professionals, the emotions really do need to be put aside. The relationship between a writer and their agent is a professional one. There’s no crying in baseball, people. And as a professional, the agent gave me a lot to think about. She challenged me and made me delve into revisions, reworking my manuscript in ways I’d never had to before. She made my book stronger, in the end; saw something in my work and went the extra mile to help me make it better, which is more than any other agent has done for me yet.
I finally decided to submit an older manuscript the agent had shown interest in. It took her awhile to get back to me, but when she did, she’d read the manuscript in its entirety and wanted me to think about rewriting and resubmitting- turning the book into a stand-alone novel instead of the first in a trilogy.
Now, these aren’t your quick-fix type of revisions and I was hesitant at first, since I was hoping to do more with the story in future novels. But she answered my questions, gave me her professional insight into why she thought it would work better as a singleton and I had to admit, she was right.
I swallowed my pride and did what was in my work’s best interest, professionally. And I encourage all of you to do the same. Has your project or query seen revisions? Don’t be afraid to re-query agents on your list who turned you down before. You might be surprised. Does an agency have a ‘no from one is a no from all’ stipulation? Query a second agent in the agency anyway, especially if there was more than one that looked right for your work.
As for me, this month will be devoted to completely revamping the novel with the agent’s suggestions in mind. Will this lead to a contract? I have no idea. But, the bottom line is, revising and editing according to professional feedback is something every published writer needs to be able to do, no matter where they are in the process; agented, un-agented, out on submission with publishers, or getting a book ready for the printing press. It’s something I need to learn to do, and do better, if I ever want to make it.
Have you ever had to swallow your pride for the sake of your manuscript? Did the outcome result in a stronger project and/or a stronger you?