Surviving the Revise and Resubmit

In publishing, there’s this thing that can happen. It’s not a rejection (yet), and it’s not an acceptance (yet). It’s the “revise and resubmit.”


Basically, they see your manuscript as having potential (yay! This is positive!) but they need you to rework, change, add, or delete some stuff from your manuscript for it to be “right” for a particular publishing house or agent.

I recently received one of these. The process went something like this:

  • *Submitted MS to desired publishing house (I didn’t need an agent for this particular place).*
  • *Waited a reeeeeaaaaalllllyyyy long time.*
  • *Received a request for a revise and resubmit with a page or two of notes with some specifications of what they wanted me to do.*
  • *Breathes into paper sack and cries.*
  • *Drinks a lot of Dr. Pepper and eats too much chocolate.*
  • *Stares at computer, useless, for a week.*
  • There’s no way I can write this book.
  • *Gets all the books I can find on this topic.*
  • A whole month has already passed?!?
  • *Bangs head on desk.*
  • %$&*#@!.
  • I’m just going to try typing some words and add a few quotes and see what happens.
  • I have no idea what I’m doing.
  • I am not a writer.
  • I can’t do this.
  • *Cries on the inside like a winner.*
  • *Drinks more Dr. Pepper.*
  • Hey, will you read this and see what you think? (Me, to beta reader friends.)
  • I think I know how to do this. *types a lot of words fueled by Dr. Pepper.*
  • I’ve added thousands of words!
  • Hey, this is pretty good.
  • I think I can do this!
  • BOOM BABY! *Drinks more Dr. Pepper to celebrate.*
  • Uh…what am I thinking?
  • *Complains to accountability partner.*
  • *Sees looming deadline approaching.*
  • This is horrible. I sent this to people…to READ?!?
  • Why did I think I could do this?
  • I am never going to get this right.
  • *Eats more chocolate.*
  • *Pounds out some more words.*
  • This is pretty good.
  • No, wait. No this sounds ridiculous.
  • *Vents to fellow writer friends.*
  • Why did I write this in the first place?
  • *Gets more feedback.*
  • *Writes more words.*
  • Okay, I think I’m close to done.
  • Maybe this is decent.
  • I can’t think of anything else to add or change.
  • Is it time to resubmit?
  • *Hyperventilates*
  • *Gets dizzy and lightheaded*
  • *Gets teary*
  • Attach this file and… done!
  • *Hits send.*
  • *Becomes dazed.*
  • *Pinches self to see if I’m still alive.*
  • *Commences waiting for unknown length of time…*

Doing a revise and resubmit is not easy. But, it is doable and definitely an opportunity for writing and personal growth. I wrote 25K more words, moved chapters, added quotations and stories, added more chapters, got reader feedback, and poured my heart and soul into my revisions. After hitting send, I was drained, exhausted, and emotional.

But it’s done and out of my hands.

And now to work on my other writing projects to distract myself from obsessively checking my email and thinking myself into the insane asylum.

Have you received a “revise and resubmit”? How did it go for you?


Wendy Jessen is the author of more than 500 articles—family-oriented articles on and book reviews. She recently started a website for something she is passionate about–helping victims of sexual abuse find hope and healing. Wendy is the mother of 6 spirited children ranging in age from 5 to 15. In the throes of writing a few books (fiction and nonfiction), she finds ways to procrastinate which usually involves scrolling through social media. Wendy often stays up way past her bedtime reading, loves kid-free date night with her husband, family vacations, and kids’ bedtime, aka, the human version of whack-a-mole.

One thought on “Surviving the Revise and Resubmit

  1. Wendy, your post is hilarious. makes me want to read that book after you get the green light. I too am passionate about helping women find themselves after being thrown darkness by abuse. I case managed homeless/abused women and my first MS is a novel about domestic abuse. (Will be querying soon) You did a great job depicting the stages of R&R. I saved it for future reference.


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