But the point is if an editor wants you to revise, she should buy the book first. She’s suggesting revisions that will suit her. She or he should make a commitment to the project. When someone on my side of the desk says, “Here’s what I want you to do to improve your story…” it should be followed up with, “and here’s how much I can pay you to do it.”
I wish every editor felt this way. I’ve had friends go through grueling revisions only to have the editor leave and a form rejection sent for their efforts. I’ve had friends go through revisions only to receive a shrug and “You know…I don’t think this will work after all.” Watching a friend go through huge revisions only to have the manuscript rejected for something that was there in the original draft, but never mentioned in the revision letter is heartbreaking.
I know there are differences in the way certain houses are run, and buying every manuscript that might work with some revision isn’t very practical, but it’s nice that she can do it. She’s got a smart, no-bullshit style that’s definitely earned my respect, although I’ve never submitted to her or had the pleasure of meeting her at a conference. But I sure do love the way Ms. Duffy thinks.