Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I need some advice.
I've spent the past six weeks waiting while an agent who requested "exclusivity" looked at pages from How to See the Elephant. Last week, that agent rejected it, so I'm going to start sending it out again. Here's the thing, though. I've recently revised one section of it, cutting about 3,000 words and streamlining the narrative. It was not an overall revision of the ms, just one focused on that particular section, based on feedback I had gotten about it. Now, back in October another agent told me that she would be interested in seeing HTSE again if I ever did any revisions of it. So the question is -- does it make more sense to send a revised HTSE to the previous agent, since she showed interest in it? Or should I start afresh, with agents I haven't sent it to? Or can I do both?
Second question. Another recent rejection said they would be interested in any other projects I might have. Usually I don't take this very seriously but as it happens I do have my former WIP, The Poison Hill, complete. I really hadn't intended to start submitting it, however. I think How to See the Elephant is much more "sellable" -- the basic concept is simpler ("girl runs away and becomes a nurse in the Civil War") and it fits into a familiar genre. And I really don't want to end up with two agents interested in two different projects (ha -- I should be so lucky!) because that would be a personal nightmare. Decision making is NOT my strong suit. I'd prefer to just push HTSE. But am I losing an opportunity here? Should I just be sending everything out, at the first sign of interest?
I've been going around and around with this for the past couple of days. Any advice?


Just Another Sarah said...

That's a great dilemma, at least!

I guess I'm not really sure, and I'm not sure my advice will be very helpful...but I think I'd stick with the one who was interested, if s/he was still interested in reading revisions. I think. You know?

I hope that's helpful.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

That is a dilemma but a good one.
Did the agent who said she would be interested in HTSE if you did revisions suggest any revisions in particular? Do you feel you have done what was suggested? And why did you just revise one section of it--did the people who gave the feedback say that was the only area that needed it?
It's hard to answer your question without knowing these things.

Tiffany Neal said...

I agree with the above comments.
I hate making decisions, especially ones that mess with the future. I can barely make myself send the query because I want to make sure I'm making the right decision on who to send it to and 10,000 other things!

Sorry I haven't stopped by your blog sooner. I could give you a million reasons why, but I'll spare you. You have a faithful new follower...

Laura Canon said...

Sarah - Thanks. It's good to have an outside opinion.
Tricia - The only specific commment the agent made was that it took a little long to get the to heart of the narrative. And the revisions I made do address that. Truthfully I have always felt this was a bit of a weak chapter. It emerged that way because the book was once much longer. But I can't do without the chapter entirely -- it's important to the overall structure. So what I've been trying to do is take out the unncessary stuff and streamline it. But the question of whether I've revised enough is really what's holding me back.
Tiffany -- thanks for following!

Donna Hole said...

OH; can I post late to this?

Do both. Definitely. You never know if the agent that said submit revision won't be just as ambiguous with the revision as with the original.

You've got lots of interest; thats so unexpected. Go with it. You have options still. You haven't signed with anyone, and so many want your novel. Unlike many of us, you have some choice in who you go with.

Remember the home loan commercials where banks are competing for you loan? Yeah, I think you're there Girl. Be cautious; but know you have options.

Wow; I'm happy to see someone about to make it! Go to an Agent Blog - I recommend Nathan Bransford because he is just so cool - and read some of the Author blogs. Natalie Whipple is a good start. New authors are your best source of advice in how to approach these issues.

Me; Nah, nowhere near those decisions. But there are some new enough authors out there willing to share. I recomment sites like Janet Reid; Bookends; Nathan Bransford; because I've been impressed with their wanna-be-author advice and the list of authors they've represented.

Go girl Go. And good luck; you're almost there.


Laura Canon said...

Donna, thanks. I've looked at some of those blogs. Sometimes they make me a bit skittish, but I've picked up some good tips as well.