Saturday, February 7, 2009

What would you do?

I have a small-to-midsized dilemma, and I'm looking for advice.

Say you sent a manuscript by email into an open reading period and paid your reading fee. Say you then went to a workshop and had a mind-blowing, poetry-expanding experience, and you were inspired to revise (and, you think, truly improve) many of the poems in that manuscript.

Do you send email (politely, deferentially) offering to send a copy of the new (and, you truly think, improved) version—if the publisher hasn't read the original version you sent anyway?

Or do you say nothing, and hope that in the extremely slim case the publisher accepts your original manuscript, you'll be able to send the new version then?

The slim case makes it the small dilemma—but what if those few revisions made the difference?

What would you do?

And if you're a publisher, what's your preference?


Penultimatina said...

I'm a softy when it comes to replacement mss (shh!), but a lot of people aren't, and might be put off by the swap. I would probably recommend holding off, or sending an email to see if it would be okay.

Good question! I'm in the same situation right now with my ms. I can say, however, that the ms that's accepted is often far from the ms that becomes the book, and revisions are very common.

Good luck!

Joannie said...

Thanks! I know I'd better not assume any softy-ness, although I do wonder about sending an email message. There's also the option of waiting a year for the next reading period and (if it hasn't been picked up elsewhere) sending the new version then.

And thanks for the reminder about manuscript revision. Nothing is etched into stone or even paper at this point.

jeannine said...

I'm with Mary. Some places even explicitly state that they don't want any revisions after the manuscript is sent.
I think you keep revising your MS until it is published, sending out the different iterations as you go. Don't stress over manuscripts you've already sent out - focus on the future!

Joannie said...

Focus on the future. Got it. Thanks, Jeannine.

Martha Silano said...

I'm right with Jeannine, Joannie--eyes on the future. My manuscript is different today than it was last week, very different from two months ago, but there's no way I'm going to contact the editors I sent it to back then. I see it more as a general movement toward making a book; every time there's a contest coming up, I re-examine and revise what I've got. It's one way for a book to finally get finished: one contest at a time.

Joannie said...

Ah, this all helps. Thanks for your insights.

I put together five manuscript packets today, so I guess I'm looking ahead.

Dana said...

I want to know what mind-blowing, poetry-expanding workshop you went to.

Joannie said...

Ah, good question! It was LitFuse 2008--especially the master class taught by Lorna Dee Cervantes.