Recently, one of my authors asked me: Why would you send an R&R rather than offer a contract and work with the author on the issues during developmental or content edits? And I thought: What a great blog post idea! So, here we are 🙂
What exactly is an R&R? In publishing, an R&R stands for Revise & Resubmit. It’s actually a very good thing! It means the agent / editor sees a lot of potential in your writing / story but there’s just something not quite there yet. It’s usually something the agent / editor can easily pinpoint and ask the author to fix. I’ll admit, I personally don’t send a lot of R&Rs, and neither do any of the other editors here at Anaiah. So if you get one, it means we really, really do want to see the manuscript again after revisions.
How does an R&R work? Typically, the agent or editor will respond to your submission stating what they enjoyed about the story or writing, followed by the things they felt didn’t work. And this can be absolutely anything, and it will vary greatly depending on the agent or editor. At the end of the email, they will encourage you to resubmit the manuscript once you’ve made revisions.
Do I have to do an R&R? Absolutely not! If an agent or editor asks you to change something you vehemently disagree with, you don’t have to do as they ask. Now, if you want to reply to thank them and politely decline, that’s fine, but that’s not necessary.
So, if an agent or editor likes the story so much, why not just make an offer and then work on the issues during edits? Why offer an R&R? There are multiple reasons an agent or editor will offer an R&R, and I don’t proclaim to know all of them, but I can give you the top 2 reasons the Anaiah editors will offer an R&R:
- Timing. When a book is contracted, it gets put on our production schedule, which then means editorial deadlines are set. If the issue(s) that the agent / editor feel needs to be fixed can be time consuming, asking for an R&R allows the author to work at their pace rather than working within set, tight deadlines.
- Deal Breakers. Sometimes the things an editor asks to be fixed are things that are deal breakers for the author. While an editor can’t know with any certainty what is or isn’t a deal breaker, we can make educated guesses, and if we even think it might pose a problem, we’ll ask for an R&R as opposed to offering a contract.
What types of things do you ask for in an R&R? I can’t–and won’t–speak for anyone else, but the most common things Anaiah editors ask for in a revise and resubmit are….
Multiple Points of View: Here at Anaiah, our preference is to have a single POV per chapter. We will allow up to two different POVs in a single chapter, but rarely will we allow anymore than that. So if we get a manuscript with three or four or more POVs in a single chapter, we’ll ask the author to fix it to better suit our personal guidelines.
Overuse of Scene Breaks: This often goes hand-in-hand with multiple points of view. If a manuscript has more than one or two scene breaks in a single chapter, the story itself becomes choppy and episodic. We often ask for authors to smooth out the scene breaks, which often means a lot of filling in, cutting, and overall restructuring.
Content: As a Christian publisher, we have specific guidelines regarding the content we will and won’t publish. If we find a manuscript we love, but there are some problematic scenes in terms of acceptable content, we can ask the author for an R&R to remove those specific scenes.
So, there you have it — the insider track on R&Rs here at Anaiah. Got any questions? Ask them in our comments 🙂