Dear Diary: Vicki’s R&R Adventure

Recently, I had a new experience in my writing career. After participating in July’s Pitchmas, I had a few requests for material.

When an editor for a small publishing company told me to send her sample pages, I was excited. The same day I got the request, I sent out the first three chapters, and within a week or two, I received an email back requesting my full manuscript. I kind of looked like this:
It was my first request for a full ever, and I’m pretty sure everyone on my contact list got a text that just said, . I immediately hit reply to the editor’s email, sending my full manuscript, and then I waited, like we all do. You know, hitting refresh every half hour, offering up sacrifices to the email gods to make the editor’s reply appear..Then, finally, a few weeks later, I received my reply.

When you send your full manuscript to an editor or an agent, there are three responses you can get:
I loved it! I want to offer you representation/publish this!
I liked it, but I want to see a few changes before I agree to represent/publish this.
I don’t think this is right for me.
Two of those responses are good. Obviously, we all want every agent and editor to squeal with delight and fight each other for our book, but receiving an R&R (or a request for revision and resubmission) is still pretty darn good. So, to say I was happy with an R&R is putting it mildly. AND the editor sent back good notes on what she wanted to see change! I was beyond willing to oblige.

Immediately I started working on the edits – in fact, I just did another complete edit from beginning to end – and fixed all the things she asked for. I reworked dialogue and the scenes at the beginning; I wrote a brand new ending that added on almost 3,000 words…I went through my baby with a fine-toothed comb and edited the crap out of itAgain, I sent my manuscript off to CPs and beta readers – making sure to get some fresh eyes on the pages – and when I was happy that it was as polished as it could be, I sent it back to the editor.

Being that this was my first R&R experience, I had a lot to learn when I started the process. But now that my manuscript is back on the editor’s desk, I can say these few things with assurance:
Don’t ever be afraid of the changes the agent/editor requests. You might be surprised how much better your novel ends up at the end.
Take your time. This isn’t a race to the finish. Rushing through an edit will only lead to more issues. It’s better to do it correctly than quickly.
Keep a list handy of all the edits the agent/editor requested. As you go through your book again, you might find there are scenes/dialogue you need to adjust. Keeping the list near you will help you to avoid making silly mistakes and ensure your book remains coherent.
Enjoy the process. There are a lot of things you can learn from an R&R. Absorb as much as you can. These are professionals giving you editing tips!

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