Friday, May 11, 2012

Requests for Revisions: What's Your Take?

So not too long ago, I read an article (or it may have been a blog post, I can't remember) about how requests for revisions usually result in rejection. It was interesting/scary for me, because the day before and earlier that same day I'd received requests for revisions.

More confusing was the fact that the requests didn't say the same thing. I decided to focus on one that only addressed grammatical issues, because I felt that was something that would have to be addressed anyhow. I set to work and realized quickly that I wouldn't be able to do it on my own. Partly because I was overlooking/not catching things, and partly because some specific things I just didn't know. I hired a freelance editor. She  did a great job, but when I got her revisions back, I still had a lot of work to do. Sometimes just because I needed to understand why the changes were necessary and sometimes because though the changes were correct, I didn't like them. I felt for whatever reason it didn't work with my voice. Then I needed an alternate fix that had to be correct. I racked my brain to re-word things and re-work things until they worked and then e-mailed the editor again to make sure the new change was correct. (I basically knew, but I have 0 confidence. I need someone to tell me I'm right).

Some of the things the request asked for the editor didn't see a problem with, so I went back to the press and asked for clarification. Then I set to work again. All of this resulted in a rejection. The article was right. LOL. I'm not angry about it. I'm glad the editor took the time to point out some of the grammatical issues, because I wouldn't have noticed otherwise. Even though, I'd read it 3 times and a critique partner read it too. But being rejected after specific revisions is more disheartening than just being rejected in general.

I'm still working on the other requests. They were more complicated and I feel the end result is going to be the same. I'm trying to decide if I think continuing to revise this piece is worth it, or if I should just focus on something new. But I wonder what is your take on requests for revisions? Do you feel it's a good use of your time? Or is your writer time better spent on something new? Does it annoy you when the requests all go in different directions?


  1. I'm sorry to hear this wound up being rejected. I think if you are getting revision requests, then I'd continue to send the piece out. Obviously people like the piece. (I do too!) You just have to find the person who loves it, and it seems like you're close. Good luck!

  2. I've never had a request for revisions - stories have always been accepted or flat out rejected. I do, however, know of at least one writer who made revisions twice and had the piece accepted; he also made revisions to another story, had it rejected, re-submitted it elsewhere and had it published. I think that if you agree with the revisions, you should go ahead and make them; if you disagree or feel very strongly that it will change the work drastically (and not necessarily for the better), then maybe you should just submit it to a different publisher or market.

  3. Yup, that's happened to me. I revised a manuscript for an editor and she rejected it. However, I felt the story was much improved and it was accepted by another editor. Then that house went out of business before it was published. I'm still determined to find the right home for my story.

    Take the revision requests as positive, Beth. An editor wouldn't waste her time if she did't see something she liked about your story. The next editor may be the one. Best of luck.

  4. Hi, you left a comment on my review of Until I Die by Amy Plum. To answer your question, yes, it's part of a series. The next book is called If I Should Die. Sorry for not including that in my review!

  5. I'm currently working on a revision request and even if the agent rejects the story in the end (she only read the first 50 pages to begin with), it's not the end of the world. The story is better for it. Plus I have three other agents waiting for it. :D

  6. I had a request for revisions on spec that ended up in a contract.