When Revisions Aren’t Enough

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Oct 02 2019

We all know when an agent is planning to offer representation to an author they need to love a book. And we know they also need to feel they can sell the book. But one piece of that is not often discussed, is whether the agent and author can revise the book.

Revisions are inevitable and every book an agent at BookEnds offers representation on will go through some sort of revision. Heck, every book we submit will go through a revision. Unfortunately, not every agent feels they can revise every book and in some cases this is the reason for rejection.

Definition of Revisions

Revisions aren’t about teaching an author how to write and they aren’t about the craft of writing. The purpose of a revision is to make the book the absolute best it can be and, in many cases, to eliminate any reason an editor might reject it.

Top Reasons We Won’t Tackle Revisions

  1. World-Building. In my experience world-building is a very difficult thing to fix in revisions. It’s something the author needs to learn through the study of the craft and not usually something that can “just be fixed.” **Note: World-building exists in all genres and not just Fantasy (which is something we often forget).
  2. Voice. Only an author can change or alter their voice. Voice can also be personal. I might not like a voice someone else loves. The other side to this is to write certain genres you have to have a certain voice for it. You have it or you don’t. If you don’t you learn it or you don’t.
  3. Pacing. We can tell an author the pacing is off, but the author needs to figure it out. Pacing isn’t just necessary in fast-paced books, it’s necessary for everything and another issue of craft that we can’t necessarily just fix.

There are other, obvious reasons, an agent will pass on a book, but these are the bigger reasons why when we love the idea and “so many” other things about the book we might still pass.

2 responses to “When Revisions Aren’t Enough”

  1. Avatar Diana Manley says:

    Great article!
    How about one on pacing?

  2. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    This is fascinating. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone talk about why you won’t tackle revisions. Thanks, Jessica.