that time I waited 6 months to revise

Fourteen months ago, I finished my first YA book, an urban fantasy about fallen angels. I worked on it for almost a year, knowing this was the book that would put me on the map. And when I finished it, and went through a billion rounds of edits, I started querying. I queried for 3 months, got all rejections. Then in September of last year, I got two partial requests (happy dance), but they both rejected. I decided it was about time to stop querying. I was getting frustrated and wanted to work on something else, so I queried one more handful of agents and put my book about angels to rest.

In December, when I was knee deep in finishing my YA fantasy, I got a rejection letter from an agent (who I seriously adore) that said all these wonderful things about how unique my concept was, how good of a writer I was, but that there were just some things that needed to be changed. I didn't think much about it. Truth be told, I didn't even read the whole email, because all I saw was NO. And my only thought was, "there is nothing about that book that I'm willing to change right now."

So I finished my YA fantasy, queried, got 2 full requests which were rejected. I wrote two YA contemporaries, one of which I was absolutely positive would get me an agent. I won a total of five different contests with said MS but in the end, it was all rejections. So after I finished my second YA contemporary, I decided to revisit my angel book.

I rifled through my emails, trying to find that one email from that one agent in December. I remembered she'd suggested a few changes, and I wanted to see what they were. So I reread the email, and at the bottom of the email, the very last line said: "Please consider making these changes, and revise and resubmit."

So I remember feeling like the world's biggest idiot a month ago when I read that email. It felt like I was slapped across the face by Rapunzel's frying pan. After spending nearly a week thinking about the changes that needed to be made, I started working on revisions. I got through 20 of 27 chapters and was feeling really good about the changes.

BUT THEN, OH BUT THEN, I was on Tumblr, reading a blog of a literary agency I follow, one who does Q & A. And one of the questions they got was : What are you tired of seeing in YA? And the answer was something along the lines of: vampires, werewolves, and angels, where a girl falls in love with a mysterious guy.


So I panicked, freaked out. Pretty sure I went into cardiac arrest. One the one hand, I have this agent who asked for an R&R, but here's this agency saying, STAY AWAY ANGELS. So I called my trusted CP and friend, Brianna, because she ALWAYS talks me off a cliff when I'm just about to jump.  And I ran some ideas by her, and I just got this one idea that literally just started soaring. A great way to take out the angels, replace them with something else, and keep the unique concept of my book.

So, here's the thing, I'm so angry with myself for not reading through that email entirely in December. But ALSO, in December, I would not have been able to make the changes I'm making now, and this book would not be half as half as half as good as it's becoming with all the changes I'm making. So while it's been a while, and I hope this agent hasn't forgotten how much she loved my concept, I'm revising like a madwoman, back to my thought that this WILL be the book that gets me an agent. I REALLY believe that.

Waiting six months to revise a book that got you an R&R is really hard! But when you need to make significant changes, I think one of the best things you can do for yourself and your book is just walk away for a bit. When you work on something else, you improve your writing craft and you see what your first idea was missing, and it makes your revisions a million times better.

For all those of you in the revising boat with me, we won't let this ship sink. Godspeed to you all!


  1. I already mentioned this on Twitter but boy, what a great post. I lived in that same place for a long time with my last book. It's hard to be on the edge of a "trend" in YA, when you so fully believe in the concept.

    Sometimes all it takes is putting some distance between you and the work. I think we grow so close to them that we can't see the forest for the trees! Really, really happy for you. Good luck making that MS sing.

  2. Omg that's awesome!! If the agent asked for a R&R, she won't forget, even if it takes you another year. Way to go!!! :D


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