Pub Rants

Second Time Around

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STATUS: Happens every time I come to New York City. I must look like I know where I’m going because invariably a stranger will come up to me and ask for directions. This time a lady was looking for Wall Street while we were standing in the east Village.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? NOTHING COMPARES 2 U by Sinead O’Connor

This entry is going to make me think of Frank Sinatra’s “Love is better the second time around” (which might be oddly appropriate for Valentine’s Day).

Lately I’ve been fielding a few requests from authors who have revised a full manuscript that I’ve read and passed on but would like me to give it another look.

I’m usually willing to if I thought the work was a near miss the first time around; however, when I look at my statistics, I have yet to sign somebody up when that has happened. (Although, oddly enough, I’ve had agent friends who have consequently signed them after I had given a thorough revision letter. Go figure!)

That got me thinking about the why behind that statistic. It’s not impossible but it is harder to feel the love the second time around and mainly I think it’s because the work doesn’t feel “fresh” because of the previous read.

That initial feeling of excitement is always a little tinged because one knows the storyline (and the possible flaws that may or may not have been fixed).

It’s hard to create that “first read” distance with a second round. I’m still convinced it can happen though which is why I’m always willing to give it a try because there is an author out there who will blow that statistic out of the water!

15 Responses

  1. Jenn said:

    Oooh. Kinda makes me want to write something not-quite-crappy and send it to you, just so I can transfigure it and your statistic. The first part might not be so hard . . .

  2. Anonymous said:


    . . . wouldn’t it be great if, like our computers, we had a refresh button we could just click, close our eyes, and start anew when we opened them?

    The most beautiful thing about a pencil is the eraser that gets worn for the sacrifices we have to make to get that end result.

    Well, now that I’ve got my cup o’ gumption, back to the editing.

    Thanks Kristen.

    -Rachel Glass

  3. Anonymous said:

    So, you look like a New Yorker? But how can that be… you’re so nice! I guess it’s the self-assured “agent look,” accompanied of course by the absence of a scrunchie…

  4. Cindy Thomson said:

    What about a totally new proposal from an author you passed on before? I’m thinking about someone who had given me a lot of feedback and said she was truly sorry to be passing. I’ve taken to heart what she said and am trying to fix the problem. I’m thinking of sending her something new. If it were you, would that change the equation at all?

    Author of Brigid of Ireland

  5. Diana Peterfreund said:

    Cindy, I’m not Kristin nor Kristin’s client, but I signed with my agent after she passed on a previous work of mine. I sent her something she couldn’t say no to!

    If an agent is willing to work with you or gives you lots of feedback or says they’d be interested in “future projects” — they don’t say that stuff lightly. Write something new and send it to them mentioning that they’d liked your work in the past! Maybe this one will be the project that “clicks!”

  6. Gabrielle Faust said:

    I just wanted to let you know that I am passing on the “Excellent Blog Award” to you! You can pick up the award badge on my site in the post about the award.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Walt Mussell said:


    I know the feeling. I used to live in Osaka, Japan. As a 6’2″ Caucasian male, I stood out, even in this big city. Yet, once, while sitting outside a train station waiting for a friend, I was approached by an elderly Japanese woman who asked me, in Japanese, how to find the local zoo.

    My first thought was “Six million people live in this city and you’re picking ME as the native?” Instead, I stood up, smiled, and gave her directions. We bowed and she left.

    As she walked away, I wondered to myself how she reasoned I would know. I decided my body language somehow signaled that I knew the area.

    In other words, Kristin, you must have some kind of look when you are in New York. Enjoy it.

  8. Chris Redding said:

    I’m short, but I think it is all in the attitude. I actually walk in long strides because 1. most of the population is taller than I am and 2. all the men I dated were at least a foot taller than me. So I learned to walk fast.
    I get asked for directions no matter where I am. Even in Geneva Switzerland where I clearly was an American with my sneakers.

  9. Anonymous said:

    Hmm… What about editors? Have you ever seen an editor give a postiive response to a project, really like it, but not sign it and instead request revisions? Then supply a detailed rewrite letter … all before the author is signed? I’m in the middle of this process now and it’s new to me–and everyone else I talk to. Most times, editors either sign a project, then work with the author to revise it, or simply reject it. Instead, i’ve got an editor who spent a lot of time to provide detailed rewrite notes, but didn’t buy the book and enthusiastically requested a revised draft. Any insight into this would be much appreciated …

    p.s. I did the rewrites and sent the book back, but I haven’t heard back yet.

  10. Eileen said:

    Hi Anon- I have seen and heard of editors providing revision notes and saying they would revisit a project. Then it is up to you and your agent if you give it a shot or move on with the submission plan.

    Kristin- a question. I have a friend who has been working on the same book for over 7 years. With each new crit she tackles it a different way. Is there a point when you advise people to move on to the next project?

  11. Bethany said:

    What a great blog! I’ve been a fan of this blog for about a year now and really love it. It’s the first place I check every morning.

    Not to change the subject, but I have a question that I’d love to get some answers to.

    I am a writer finishing up my first manuscript and am learning all I can about marketing and publicity while I’m at it.

    Kristin, you are the poster-child for proving that a writer doesn’t need an agent in New York to be successful. I’m wondering if that’s true about publicists too.

    I’m from a small town that doesn’t have a very big publicity firm. But it’s right where I live. If they ever needed me to come in, I could with no problem. But if I get a bigger, better known publicist attached to a bigger, better known firm but they’re all the way in California, I would never be able to really communicate with them unless it was via email or telephone.

    Is this a really stupid question? I feel really stupid asking it!

    I appreciate any response I get.


  12. Cindy Thomson said:

    Editors don’t buy books. They have to sell them to a publishing board. It sounds like this editor is trying to get the proposal into a form he thinks he can sell. That’s a gift. It may not work, but it’s a sign that you have something good. Even if it doesn’t work out, you should try someone else.

    Author of Brigid of Ireland

  13. Diana Peterfreund said:

    Bethany, you haven’t sold your book yet, right? Don’t worry about putting the cart before the horse. You may not even end up hiring outside publicity for your book. I shopped around a bit for publicists when my first book was coming out, but none of them could offer me anything my publisher wasn’t already doing a better job with in their in-house department.

    That being said, it’s unlikely that you’d have to “come in” to the actual publicity dept. for anything that is going on, and far more likelyt hat, if you need to go anywhere, it’s where the actual publicity is taking place (i.e., convention, expo. signing, tv show, etc.)

    But I’d sell your book first then see.

  14. Francine said:

    Hi Kristin!

    I have a question: Have you ever talked about book packagers? I saw that Gossip Girl had its beginning with one, and am wondering whether they could be useful to authors with already completed manuscripts. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks in advance!

    ~Francine in Florida