Today I was thinking a lot about the revision letter I’ll be getting from my editor in about a month or so, maybe a little bit more, and then I started thinking about what my deadline would be to get the revisions done in, and then I started worrying about how I’d never actually had a deadline before because when I was doing my revisions with Joanna she was just like, “Take your time,” and even my editor said the same thing about turning in my second book, MB, for her to look at: “Take your time.”
So then I started thinking (I do a lot of thinking, most of it worrying, lots of it totally foolish) about, if my editor asked me how long it would take me to make my revisions, what would I tell her? I think I revise quickly, but I’ve never sat down and counted how many weeks it’s taken me to do any of the revisions I’ve done this year. But! Through the magic of Google, I can look back at all my emails, see when Joanna sent me revision letters and when I returned the revised manuscript, so that’s what I’ve done. This is the timeline for everything that happened.
January 18, 2008: Joanna emails me on an unrelated subject (I was a Browne & Miller intern in the summer of 2007, she was catching up and asking for permission to give another intern my email address); I email her back with some personal chit chat, permission to disseminate my email address to anyone she wanted, and the query letter for my novel. She requested to see the full manuscript that same day.
March 10, 2008: Joanna called and offered me representation.
March 14, 2008: Joanna emailed me a 10 page editorial letter.
April 9, 2008: I emailed Joanna the revised manuscript.
May 6, 2008: Joanna emailed me a copy of the manuscript with her changes tracked, plus a short list of line edits.
May 17, 2008: I emailed Joanna the revised manuscript.
May 20, 2008: Joanna emailed me back about the revisions. The other revisions were fine, but there was one stumbling block we’d discussed a lot and that I’d attempted to fix that Joanna wasn’t feeling. She gave me some suggestions and I went back to that section to try and fix the problem. Basically, I overshot it; I was trying to ground a new narrator in the reader’s mind and ended up raising all these questions about another character, who wasn’t really going to feature much in the book. Which is really too bad, I found her quite interesting, but there just wasn’t room. Sigh. There never is, is there?
May 21, 2008: I remember really attacking this that night and trying to come up with something better. I emailed it to Cambria and asked for advice and eventually got to the point where I thought it was pretty good. I emailed it to Joanna the next day (May 21).
May 30, 2008: Joanna liked the changes I’d made and didn’t have any more edits for me. She decided to give it to Danielle to read it and comment.
July 23, 2008: Joanna emailed me Danielle’s “big picture comments” and mailed me the marked up manuscript, which I was deathly afraid of. Turned out, revisions aren’t lethal. Something to keep in mind for next time.
August 14, 2008: I emailed Joanna my revised manuscript and went back to finishing MB.
September 9 to September 12, 2008: The top six editors on Joanna’s pitch list were emailed copies of the manuscript.
September 12, 2008: Word that we were to expect an offer on Monday.
September 15, 2008: Said offer is made. It’s a pre-empt!
September 16, 2008: We accept said pre-empt. I’m a Delacorte author!
September 17, 2008: Publishers Marketplace blurb goes up.
So I guess it turns out I am a pretty quick reviser, all things considered. I think the longest it took me to do a full manuscript revision was three weeks and some change. How long it’s going to take to make the changes my editor will want me to make is hard to say. Fingers crossed that I’m able to put all distractions aside and get it done well in a timely manner.