First, a few rudimentary and not terribly interesting numbers. (Sorry. Someday, I’ll do a big statistical breakdown of all the data I’ve collected in the last couple of months, but that day is not today.)
Total queries: 56
Pending queries: 4
I don’t really expect to hear back on those four pending queries, though I’ll wait to mark them down as non-responses until they hit the three-month mark. I’m still waiting to hear back on several fulls and partials, but you never know when you might hear back on those, so I’m not holding my breath or anything. Instead, I’m focusing my energy on another agent-requested revision.
About three weeks ago, I received a reply on one of my requested fulls. It was a long e-mail--the longest e-mail I’ve received from an agent about a manuscript, in fact--so I knew right away it wasn’t going to be an offer of representation. But it was a revise-and-resubmit.
The agent went into some detail about the problem spots she’d noticed in the manuscript. It was a lot to think about. In fact, it was so much to think about that I started to despair (with much hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing). But one of my fantastic beta readers picked me up and smacked my cheeks and splashed some cold water on my face--metaphorically speaking, of course, since she lives on the other side of the country--and basically told me to get to work.
It was exactly what I needed to hear.
I started thinking about the agent’s ideas not from a how-am-I-ever-going-to-pull-this-off perspective but from a let’s-get-cracking point-of-view. And almost right away, I realized I could resolve almost all of the agent’s concerns if I just flip-flopped Seth and Adair’s POV responsibilities. Just.
It’s a pretty big revision, so big I’m just calling it a rewrite, but from the moment I started working on the new, new chapter one, I could barely contain my enthusiasm. It’s like I’m falling in love with Bob all over again, even after spending the past eighteen months with him. The. Past. Eighteen. Months.
So I’m busily working on this revision, and another e-mail pops up in my inbox. It’s from another agent who has my manuscript--and she’s requesting revisions, too. Her feedback matches up with Agent A’s feedback, so I give myself a little fist-pump. Now two agents want to see the revision. That’s good, good, good for me.
A few days later, Agent C gets back to me. She really loves the concept and thinks the writing is pretty clean, but she sees a few things that need fixing. Might I maybe, possibly, think about revising? Don’t have to ask me twice:) I send Agent C a summary of the things I’m planning to change, and she asks to see the new, new Bob as well.
A few days after that, Agent D gets back to me. She agonized over what to do with Bob. (Well, she didn’t call him Bob, of course, but she probably would have if she’d known about his nickname.) She even asked her colleagues to read the manuscript and give her their opinions. In the end, she isn’t quite ready to sign it, but if I ever do revise, she’d LOVE--her capitalization, not mine--to take another look.
So now I have four agents all interested in this revision, and I am super, super psyched about it. (Why don't we use that word anymore? Is "psyched" one of those decade-specific words that signals I grew up in the nineties?) Bob’s current draft, the one still making the rounds through several agents’ inboxes, is the very best Seth version of the story that I could write, but I think I’m (finally) realizing that maybe this story was Adair’s story all along. That maybe this will be the best possible version of the manuscript. That maybe this is the story I’ve been trying to tell from day one.