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Editors Everywhere Beg You to Need Revisions

As I’ve discussed earlier, managing the emotional side to revisions can be a tough job. How do you face all of those red marks (purple in my case) without feeling like you’ve failed your editor and potentially your readers?

I had this exact discussion with a client the other day and I told her to please keep requiring revisions. Without them I would not only be out of a job, but I would miss doing one of the things I love most, and that’s having a hand in the creation of a fabulous book.

Revisions can be difficult and extremely time-consuming for both author and editor/agent, but for both the final product is no doubt incredibly rewarding. There’s such joy in receiving a revised manuscript from an author, knowing you pushed her to her absolute limit, and she was able to go there, and even farther. That the two of you, together, took a germ of an idea and created something that now makes your breath catch it’s so exciting.

The amount of revising you do will change with every book. Some will flow from the keyboard with ease and come off almost perfect. Others are a struggle from beginning to end and could require multiple rounds. Whichever it is, neither is a failure for the author. It’s the final product we look to and with enough work and perseverance we are all working to make that the success.

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3 comments

  1. I go through the same mental stages with every revision. Usually I won’t even read them until they’ve sat in my inbox for a few days. Strangely, I’m a little hurt every time I get revisions so I have to let the hurt go away (You mean she didn’t love it 100%? She wants CHANGES?). I’ve been in this business a long time. It’s not like I didn’t know they were coming.

    Then I read them. Picture someone sitting far back from the computer, one finger on the scroll key, one eye closed, face scrunched up. That’s me reading the revisions for the first time. After that I have to let them stew in my brain because my first instinct is to discount every suggestion. When I’m finally ready to tackle them I can see where the editor is going and why things need to be fixed. By then I’m really into them and so excited to make the book better. But those first few days are killer.

  2. I agree. It took me writing many books to realize that the revision process is fun for me. It allows me to see how far I have come from manuscript to manuscript over the years. It has opened my eyes in many ways.

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