I received some interesting comments on my post on Revisions Before Representation and wanted to do a quick follow-up post to answer some concerns/questions that popped up. First let me clarify something I have talked about before, but probably should touch on again. I never, ever recommend an author do revisions simply because an agent asked for them. Revisions should only be done if they resonate with you, the author, and if you agree that they will probably make the book stronger. Revisions that are done only because an agent asked for them are never going to work. If you don’t believe in them you probably don’t understand why they are needed and aren’t going to do exactly what that agent feels needs to be done.
Remember, usually if revisions are as easy as they might sound from the letter there is more going on. An agent will happily take on a project that needs minor work, but won’t always give feedback that encompasses everything she found wrong with the book. Which is usually why she’s not offering representation. So if it seems too easy, there’s probably more there you aren’t seeing.
If you do get feedback from an agent you really agree with I would suggest you stop querying, do the revisions, and begin querying again. If you think this is going to make a stronger book, why would you want to query the old, weaker version?
And last, one of the reasons I recommend only doing revisions is if they feel right to you is because there are no guarantees. There seems to be bitterness at times that since an agent asks to see revisions and material again they are automatically ready to offer representation if those revisions are done correctly. Sadly, no, but they do want to offer representation, which is why the revisions were requested. They see something special there and hope it can come out. There are many reasons why, once revisions are done, representation might not be offered. It’s possible not enough was done or the revisions weren’t done in the way the agent envisioned. It’s possible that since that time the market has changed and the agent is no longer as enthusiastic for the book or that she has taken on something similar in the interim and now doesn’t feel she can represent two such books. Or, she’s just lost enthusiasm. Don’t let it get you down. If the book is stronger there’s always another agent out there.