D. F. Krieger

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Writer Wednesday: R & R's

Today I'd like to discuss the truth behind what is known as R&R's. Yes, the dreaded Revise and Resubmit. Not exactly a no, but certainly not a yes. The problem is, authors tend to take them as a no. Here is my beef, when I send an R&R, I really mean it...On both parts.

Wait, I have yet to really explain an R&R, right? Right. Okay. An R&R letter is something an editor sends when they think the story has a good bone structure, but some things need to be changed before it is contractable. Is contractable even a word? Hmmm...Anyway, so like I said, it's not a YES, but it's not a NO either.

Now, time for my rant. When I send an R&R, I always, always, ALWAYS list why I rejected it and what needs to be fixed. I do it in a bullet style format so the author knows what was wrong. What does this mean? It means, fix the darn story and resub it to me. It doesn't mean, "Here, I threw some reasons at you and I never want to see this again."

The first few R&R's I sent, I never saw a thing again. It was then I realized that authors weren't seeing it as an R&R, but as some form of rejection. C'mon, if I'm going to reject you, I will flat out say, "This isn't right for our press." That's when I got smart, and I started adding the lines "This is not a rejection. Please attend to the following and resubmit your piece."

Strangely, since I started adding that line, I'm seeing authors changing the flaws and resubbing. So here are some thoughts I'd like to throw out there:

*If the 'rejection' contains a list of reasons as to why your manuscript was not accepted, fix them and send them back. The list means the editor liked your story enough to read past the first couple of pages.

*When you read the list, do not email the editor back to argue with them (Yes, this happened to me). If you don't like the suggestions, feel free to sub somewhere else.

*Do not think if you simply wait a couple of days and resend it, that we wont notice you didn't change anything. We do actually read these and your lack of willingness to work with our suggestions just threw you from "maybe" to "hell no."

*If you do not understand a suggestion, please research it. Ask fellow authors, google, something. But don't give up.

*If you get a "Revise and Resubmit" please do not get disheartened. An R&R means you wrote well enough to catch the editors attention, there are just a few things that need to be ironed out.

Now, on a side note, I understand it is an editors job to help fix your story. I get that, I really do. But it is not our job to play babysitter while you half-ass your manuscript. I've received stories in which the errors are so glaring, it's obvious I've been given a rough draft. If you don't want to bother reading through to fix an obvious typo, why should I put the time into it? I get paid, but not that bloody much!  Remember, different editors have different attitudes. Those errors may receive an R&R with some, but with others, the editor may give you a flat-out rejection. It is in your best bet to give your manuscript a pass or two before you sub it anywhere. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. ~ D. F. Krieger


Shyla Colt said...

Great post! A nice glimpse into the mind of an editor.

Lorraine Nelson said...

Well said, DF!

I received a letter back from a requested partial, 1 1/2 pages, explaining why the manuscript didn't work for that line. No where did it ask me to resub. Should I have taken that to mean R&R? I asked a few people at the time and they said no. The editor was just nice enough to give me feedback. If she'd wanted to see it again, she would've said so. What do you think?

D. F. Krieger said...

Shyla - Thank you ever so much.

Lorraine - If she didn't ask for you to resend, it's probably a no-go. Another key factor is a phrase saying something doesn't fit their press/line/etc. That often indicates a rejection instead of an R&R. Hope that helps.

Lorraine Nelson said...

Thanks, DF. I figured as much.

Raven McAllan said...

Thanks for this. Way back when, I got a flat out rejection with a 'next time you submit to us please do x.y.z'. and I never have. Because that told me I was not the type of author they wanted. Which really helped me to focus on what I could do and who to sub to.
I do have and R/R lurking for when I have time, and I'm thinking over, as to whether I can do as the ED suggested. Hmm we'll see.

Angelica Dawson said...

I've only ever received rejections and acceptance. All of my rejections were of the 'flat out' variety. Form letters and all. Very discouraging. Of course that ends with the first yes.

If any of my rejections (not even R&R) had given me advice, I would have tried to take it! I mean, hello, advice, concrit, isn't this what we all look for after finishing our first or even second drafts?

Some writers confuse me.