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Writing Workshops

Troubleshooting the “Revise and Resubmit” Rejection with Sarah Cypher


1 Session

In stock

Saturday, 11:00 am EDT - 2:00 pm EDT March 23, 2024

Online via Zoom

You’ve finished your manuscript, polished your query letter, and even made a long list of agents who are accepting work like yours. But months later, you’ve crossed many names off your list after rejections come in—until one (or more) of those rejections praises the manuscript and asks to see a revision. As a freelance editor of 20 years, I’ve witnessed the roller coaster of hope and fretting that accompanies the “revise and resubmit” rejection, or R&R. Writers feel confused and disappointed when their revisions still haven’t gone deep enough to persuade an agent to commit to a project. What can you do to avoid that tricky place, and how much of it is in your control? In this brief class and Q&A session, we’ll consider not only some ways to move deeper in our revisions, but strategies for assessing what’s really wrong, and what your options are for making the right revisions for the right agent. Writers should leave the session with an outside perspective on the rejections they’ve received, a personalized assessment of what they might try next, and a sense of equilibrium about the road ahead.

Course Outline
  • Part I (2.5 hours)
    • Talk about a typical agents’ decision-making process, and what an “R&R” rejection means
    • Common obstacles to an agent’s “yes” in (1) the query, (2) the concept, and (3) the pages
    • Assess what you do and don’t have control over
    • Discuss the kind of editing an agent does and doesn’t do
    • Decoding market- versus manuscript-based rejections
    • Reclaim agency by redefining success and framing better questions as you approach revision
    • Guided exercise to step outside of your project and look in, focusing on reader experience
  • Part II (2 hours)
    • Participants share their work and materials in class
    • Conclude with resource sharing

Led by

  • Sarah Cypher-SMpublicity - Sarah Cypher

    Sarah Cypher

    Sarah Cypher

    Sarah Cypher is a freelance book editor and author of The Skin and Its Girl (Ballantine, April 2023). She holds an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, where she was a Rona Jaffe Graduate Creative Writing Fellow in Fiction, and a BA from Carnegie Mellon University. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Lit Hub, Electric Literature, New Ohio Review, North American Review, Crab Orchard Review, and others, and she has been a resident at the Headlands Center for the Arts and Vermont Studio Center. She grew up in a Lebanese Christian family near Pittsburgh and lives in Austin with her wife.