As some of you already know, I have an agent with whom I'm working to get my book (current working title, "Horatio") published. My agent first read the ms in early March, and he came back to me with a suggested major change to the way I was telling the story. It was a good suggestion, and even though I thought I was finished writing the book, I revised for three months and at the end of May sent the much-longer ms back to my agent for his opinion.
Naturally, I assumed that the next time I heard from him, it would be a message saying something like, "This is amazing, and I've just sold it at auction in a significant deal and where should I mail the check?" Naturally, when I heard back from him on Sunday evening, that's not the message I got.
Mr. Agent, who has a well-earned reputation as a "hands-on" sort of guy, asks that I make further changes to the book. These will be pretty major structural changes and will take me about two months, I estimate, to complete. Darn, I say. I was hoping to get a decent start on my next book. But no.
The point is, even after I revise the novel again, I know I won't have seen the last of the revisions. Once it gets picked up by a publisher, an editor will go through it and make a list of suggested changes I'll be expected to do. Every published author gets this "revision letter" from their editor. Yes, even your favorite author, although they may claim otherwise.
So the moral of this little tale is that you should get used to revising. I don't mean the kind of revisions Davin was talking about in yesterday's post. What you'll likely see from agents and publishers are bigger, story-level things that will make you annoyed and wonder at what point your beloved novel became someone else's artistic property. The upside is that my agent is not telling me what story to tell, but is trying his best to help me tell that story in the best way possible. Still, it irks because I am a Creative Genius and blah blah blah. But that's part of this business, and you should be prepared for it.