Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Revision Ready--

So the call came... but it was only ALMOST the call... (this is all about my audition for the Cozy gig, in case you're lost already)

*ring ring *

“This is Tami.” (some of you might not know, but in the day time I have an extra name..erm.. I mean two—Tami is a grunt who does menial labor, and Tamera publishes scientific manuscripts and signs legal documents—I was in grunt mode)

“I'm looking for Hart Johnson?”

“Speaking!” (Instantly alert—there are only so many people OFF line who call me that.)

“This is EXXPT.” (that is code for the agent's as yet to be disclosed name *cough *)

“Yes, hello!”

“I wish I had really good news,” (heart stops) “but it's not bad.” (heart starts again) “The good news is she really likes your voice,” (heart speeds) “but she thinks maybe the details flow too fast, there is too much, so she wants to see revisions.” (heart resumes normal pace)

You see THIS is territory I am familiar with.

Tamera (the one from the scientific manuscript part of my life) is well aware that when you submit to a scientific publication the possible responses and likelihoods are as follows:

“Accepted as is.” (happens if your name is Linus Pauling or Albert Einstein.  Possibly Oppenheimer...)

“Accepted with revisions.” --this means they tell you the exact changes they want and if you make them, you're in. (happens once in a leap-yeared blue moon)--oddly, I've experienced this twice in my 10 publications, but I am only first author on one, and THAT isn't one of them.

“Revise and Resubmit,” (meaning it has enough merit we will look at again it if you address the problems listed)--top... maybe half... maybe only a third... I might be slanted by working with people high in their fields... might only be 20%--these are typically eventually publishable, but sometimes take several rounds and several journals.

“Rejected” (the rest) –contrary to how it reads, these find publication about half the time, too. You just have to aim lower.

I think y'all are smart enough to see how my professional life has prepared me for this SINGLE ASPECT of trying to publish a book. I can take criticism, specific or general, and do a pretty good job telling what it is that's wanted. And I am REALLY HOPING that is going to work for me here.

On the down side 'revise and resubmit' delays the ultimate decision by a couple weeks, but honestly, it works pretty well with timing. I have a conference coming up... I hope to get it back to MY AGENT by the time I go, give her those few days to give feedback, turn it back around and have it to the editor in the 3-week window requested.

Revision Plan

Tonight I will read it. Nothing else.

Tomorrow night I will read it marking what needs expanding (my intention is to put MORE action and relationship stuff, to slow things down a little), what needs eliminating (mostly descriptions of characters that can come later, people who need delay of mention (I have a party and suspect that needs to be streamlined)).

THEN I will begin page by page with what I've marked and delete and write as needed for revision.

I don't have any non-necessary people—I was careful on that, as it was ENOUGH to get all the necessary in there, but there ARE some who can be delayed. I THINK my aesthetic description was fine—it wasn't hugely heavy, and these are themed books, but I will watch for it.

Whatever the case, I feel confident I can do it AT LEAST enough that MY AGENT sees I've met the spirit of the request... The EDITOR is a less known quantity and may have something in mind that is hit and miss, but the way I figure it, if the agent believes in what we submit—that I've met what was requested, even if it isn't exactly what the editor MEANT, then I've preserved the relationship enough for a serious read of something later. Unknown is... you know... unknown... this is a negative where the editor is concerned—I can't read her mind. But this works FOR ME with the agent, for whom I am no longer unknown and am 1) being cheerful and cooperative about making requested changes, 2) meeting my deadlines 3) providing writing in a likable voice. I'm hoping when I send her LEGACY (cuz y'all voted and it won) that she will at the VERY least give it a read because she knows I'm easy to work with.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Reggae on the River (A Digression)

So in Portland I worked with the world's NICEST guy, though I'm glad he was not my partner, son, child, or... employee... as part of WHY he was so nice was his daily pot use, which made him excessively mellow and excessively underambitious... but underambitious boy still managed to attend an organizational meeting for Portland's Reggae on the River. Do you know ALL seven people who showed up were left handed? How the HECK do you figure that happened (it is a statistical impossibility, or nearly, that this happened by chance). What part of your brain is it that determines 'you will be left handed and adore Reggae music' (I mean I like it, but not enough to organize a freaking festival—apparently for THAT, you have to be left handed.)

Roly-Poly—just put one outside. The spiders I squash. The rolly-polies are the only ones with so many legs I don't decimate if they enter my domain (though 6 legs or less gets a reprieve if they have no wings)


Fire and Ice said...

I am SOOO happy for you! You're SO close! I love the way you broke down the answers from the agent ;)
As for the roly polies, They are sweet :) I wouldnt squash one either...a spider, I will.
Congrats on being ALMOST there!!!


Debra Harris-Johnson said...

Almost there is GOOD! Congrats and I love the red phone.


Congratulations, I wish you the best of luck.


Sophia said...

Congratulations on being 'almost there' and good luck with revisions!
- Sophia.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck :o))))

Not Hannah said...

Wow...that is just spectacular.

Also, the seven folks at the reggae festival? Needs to be a short story. Based on a fairy tale. With lots of weed.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Who else has a background like yours?!? It's PERFECT for this job. You are the revision queen...and you'll be so easy for them to work with.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Watery Tart said...

Thank you so much everyone! I love how supportive this blog community is. Still lots of work, but the encouragement definitely helps!

NH: *snort* Oh, now that WOULD make for a trippy little short story, wouldn't it? Except I suspect all the characters act about the same... and I have a REALLY hard time imagining how anything actually gets done. teehee

Lola Sharp said...

Best of luck, Hart.

Revise you ass off, girlfriend! YOUR AGENT will be impressed.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm sure you will meet and exceed expectations!

Megan said...

Good luck with the revisions!!

Watery Tart said...

Man, I WISH I could revise my ass off. I'd be the revising QUEEN if getting rid of my ass could be achieved that way!

Thank you everyone!

TreeX said...

I SO want to read that short fairy story!!! LOL (<- Tolkienism in there too ;) )

Kierah Jane Reilly said...

I know you can do it Tam-- I mean Hart. I use a pen name also *shhhh* and I always wonder what agents will do if they call my cell phone and hear my real name on the voicemail. My ms has my real name under the contact info, but agents still call me Kierah (and Jane is my real life name). I don't know about you, but the close ones hurt more than the form rejections. I hate it when agents gush about my writing or voice BUT-- I hate that! One agent told me it was a close call. I still think about that one. How close are we talking???

Lisa K. said...

I think you're so right about building that relationship even if it doesn't pan out for you this time (fingers crossed though because it sounds SO promising). I've heard again and again that one of the benefits of going to writing conferences is being able to interact in person with agents and editors because one of the things they want to know is that an author if professional and would be easy to work with. And that's what you're effectively doing right now, which is wonderful. Kudos to you, Hart. I'll be looking forward to hearing good news about this soon!

Helena Soistert said...

An editor asking for changes is a hugely positive sign, and your willingness to rewrite sends her a big beautiful neon bright sign. I've got my fingers crossed for you!

Watery Tart said...

Joris-I'll get right on that! erm... after those revisions that is...

Kierah-Yeah... my name isn't so much a PEN name as PART OF my name. But I hear you on worrying about the messages and such! It sounds like you've had more 'close but...' than I have. I think the WORST though would be 'agent loves it, editor loves it, but can't get HOUSE to agree to do it'--I would cry!

Lisa, thanks so much! I don't do the 'in person' as well--I can be professional, but am sort of bad at small talk and REALLY bad at 'selling myself'. Just don't have that salesman thing at all... So hopefully this route will stand in!

Helena-thank you!!!

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Wow. That is so so so close. Stick with it, Hart, and you'll get what you deserve! :)

Helen Ginger said...

I have a feeling your agent will be very happy with what you re-submit. You seem very organized and dependable.


Straight From Hel

Beth said...

YAY! Wishing you many blessings as you work through your superb revision plan!

Cruella Collett said...


Watery Tart said...

Thank you so much, everyone! And Mari-I hope you get a keyboard soon! (is it your laptop? I had a caps key problem on the desk top and just hooked up an old keyboard--good thing I save everything!)

jenny milchman said...

I think this could be GREAT news, Hart!! Sure, it's not as smooth as in like Flynn, but as you point out, only Einstein (Stephen King/Mary Higgins Clark/pick your poison) gets that. What counts is you're a writer--and that means you know how to revise--and hopefully she will see your ability to re-think and work with feedback as a major plus. Remember, if you ever want another trusty reader, I'd be happy to do it...

Watery Tart said...

Jenny-I think your point of only established authors NOT needing revisions (and I think that may be why I more often like earlier books--extra eyes and revisions are a GOOD thing!)

Thank you so much for your offer! I may take you up on that at some point!