FAQs About the Revise and Resubmit Process
If you’ve been querying for awhile, or even if you haven’t, you may have heard the term ‘R&R’ tossed around. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean “rest and relaxation,” at least not where writing is concerned. An R&R in publishing contexts means a “revise and submit.” But what does that even mean? And is it a death sentence for your manuscript? Not always, dear reader. I’m going to break down some common questions and misconceptions about R&Rs below, so get ready!
So, What Does an R&R Mean?
R&R is an industry term for “revise and resubmit.” What it means is that the agent is interested in your work, but as it currently stands, doesn’t think it’s quite there yet for them to love it. So they’re inviting you to basically get a second chance—revise the manuscript, and resubmit it to them.
(A note: you do not have to do an R&R. If you receive notes from an agent and feel like they aren’t a right fit, or simply if you don’t want to do one, then you absolutely do not have to. It’s your career.)
Does an R&R Lead to a Yes?
It can. And it can’t. It can feel really disheartening to put the work in and not have it lead to anything. But know that it is a good sign that the manuscript is working, AND at the end, you’ll have a cleaner, tighter manuscript, so if the requesting agent doesn’t end up offering, you can feel confident when you hit the trenches again.
Great! How Do I Start?
If this is your first R&R it may be your first time working directly with notes from an industry professional. Don’t be afraid to approach it as a dialogue, as my now-agent Emily Keyes told me in her first R&R request to me. It shouldn’t feel like this giant, daunting thing, or like the agent is handing down edicts from above that you don’t agree with. If a note doesn’t make sense to you, email! Or, better yet, some agents will want to schedule a call to discuss your R&R, where you can ask any questions you have about the notes they’ve given you.
Don’t be afraid to email them in the middle of the process, too, if you have questions. (And again, this will vary from agent to agent.) Remember, they want this revision to work, or they wouldn’t have requested it. So taking the time to make it the best you can will definitely work out in your favor.
When Should I Turn My R&R Around?
Always check with the agent on this matter, but don’t be afraid to take your time on revising. R&Rs are often substantial revisions, so no agent wants to see them turned around in a week, as it looks like you didn’t think them through. I’ve heard three-six months is typical, but again, check with the requesting agent on what they want. Some will say it’s up to you, some will give you a deadline.
So, What Happens Now?
Once you’ve completed the R&R, you’ll resubmit it back to the agent (some will request in the same email thread they requested the R&R, and some won’t mind if you send an entirely new email.) From there, it’s the part you’re already familiar with: the waiting. The agent will be reading not only to see how the story flows, but to keep an eye on how well you implemented the changes requested, and if they still feel true to the novel.
And those are the basics of a Revise & Resubmit! If you have any more questions about the process, feel free to @ me on Twitter @NitaTyndall!