I’m going to speak here now like I know what I’m talking about, and I suppose I know just enough to be dangerous, but the point of this post is to put forth a question. When it comes to suggested revisions, how long do you stick to your guns . . . and when is it time to give in?
I’m discovering that revisions are a necessary evil for a writer. For me, it seems like I’m always nibbling away at my novel. Continually changing a word here, description there, or moving a paragraph to achieve a stronger impact. But those aren’t the type of revisions I want to discuss today. I want to focus on those significant alterations that substantially re-define the premise of your book. These types of recommended changes can come from numerous sources. They can be self-induced, brought on by your own re-imagining of a plot line, character motivation, or one of a hundred other reasons. Input from a critique group is another basis for making radical changes. Yet another, and one that is on my mind right now, are those suggested by a prospective agent.
I have read that it is not uncommon for agents to send back a manuscript, declining representation, but offering to reconsider their position if certain revisions are made. What do you do if this happens to you? Let’s make it even more difficult by saying you don’t really agree with the recommended changes, even though you can see where it might make the book more marketable. Do you move on to querying the next agent on your list, hopeful that he/she will like your book as it is? Or are you just thrilled that you received a response back at all, and dive head first into making the changes. If the agent still passes on your manuscript, even after making the requested changes, which version of the book do you query then?
How willing are you to compromise the integrity of your book in order to make it commercial?
Does that sound too cynical? After all, the goal is to be published, isn’t it? And publishers (and therefore agents) won’t touch a book unless they believe they can make money with it. I wonder though, how often does the aspiring author give-in and revise their books too soon.
So I’m curious. Would you consider making revisions to your manuscript you’re not 100% comfortable with?