I am an author with a wonderful agent but I have a question that would be better answered by an editor, and I'd like your input.You're just being negative. You know what editors love? Great manuscripts. You know what editors ADORE? Great revisers. Oh dear god, how I adore great revisers.
My debut novel has been on submission since the beginning of the year. In our first round of submissions the first 'no' came with a very thoughtful, detailed email from the editor that made a number of suggestions about revisions and a request to see the ms again if I made them. At the time, my agent and I felt that since there were other editors reading we should just put those thoughts aside. However, more rejections came in, including some that brought up some of the same issues that first editor had discussed. Two more of the editors who said no said also they would look at the book again, if revised.
So I did the revisions. Not every single thing, mind you, but the major ones. And after some back and forth about them with my agent, she came up with a new list of editors to submit too, including the three who had been willing to see the revised ms.
Here's my question: as an editor, how do you generally feel about an ms. that has been revised this way? Is it something you're more likely to like, now that some of the problems you had with it are fixed, or if you really didn't love it at first then you'll never really love it? The second one is my big fear -- that if these editors really loved the book, they would have bought it first, and then had me make changes. But I don't know if I'm just being negative.
Also, I've gotten a surprising amount of flak (mainly from non-writer friends) about my willingness to do this kind of overhaul. As a journalist by trade, I'm used to rewriting things based on other people's input (and, honestly, sometimes having them change it to something unrecognizable without telling me, which thankfully doesn't seem to happen in the fiction world). I figured I don't have to make any changes I don't like, but they don't have to publish it, either. What's your response to people who think someone who revises for editors is somehow debasing their work? Because people really do seem to think that.Morons everywhere think they have a right to an opinion. You tell them that if they think listening to the advice of professionals (advice that you, the author, agree with) is debasing your Art, then they must be under the impression that everyone who picks up a pencil is a Great Artist from that moment on. You know what? When you're Maurice Sendak or Pablo Picasso or are otherwise making a ton of money just to exhibit your work, not sell it, then you are a Great Artist. Until then, you have something to learn. And if you don't think so, then you are never, never going to get beyond being anything but a Great Pain in My Ass.
(Ok, sure, you can be a pain in the ass and crazy and impossible to work with and maybe still a great artist, like Van Gogh. But do you really want your Art to wait to be appreciated until after you're dead? No, I didn't think so. We learn to play nicely with others in kindergarten, and some of us remember that lesson.)