Friday, August 15, 2008

When to re-submit

This question often comes up among writers. When should you re-submit to an editor or an agent?

Essentially the situation is this. You have your dream agent or editor on the radar. You really know this is the place you want to be in your career, so you submit your manuscript. After a while, you receive that dreaded rejection letter. Now what? Do you send a new manuscript to that person or write that editor/agent off as a lost cause.

The answer is to wait a few minutes...

Too often, I have writers that submit a story to me and immediately, after receiving a rejection letter will fire off a new manuscript. I have a lot of you out there that I think are on my frequent flyer program (he says smiling). When I get that manuscript and log it into my computer, the name will pop up as a repeat, so I check it out. Now, here comes the funny part. The mistakes they made in the first manuscript are the same they make in the second manuscript.

What does this tell me? They didn't learn and grow from the first letter.

The same goes for an editor. Sometimes the first manuscript just doesn't work but editors really like your work. They just need the right match and fit. Your job, since you are in all of the control here, is to sit down and make those adjustments in your manuscript and grow from that.

After you receive that rejection, read it and think over the response. Look at your manuscript and see what they said and see if these are changes you can make. Not just to the one you got back, but to any future manuscript. You have to be objective with this and not just assume you don't make the same mistakes. I have to tell you, I have actually written essentially the same rejection letter for the same writer several times now. Hmmm, what does this tell me?

So, what will this accomplish? Actually there are benefits on all sides. The writers will end up improving their writing and maybe increasing their chances for receiving "the call." (Just ask this year's Golden Heart winner in Romantic Suspense how that worked!). As for the editors, they may start to see some better writing coming across their desk.

Of course there is that one caveat. Form rejection letters will never assist you as a writer. Sorry, I wish I could help you there.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your thoughts and insight on this subject, Scott. I have written and illlustrated a picture book that I have not sent out yet. I just keep lurking on the sidelines.