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I sent a publisher my manuscript for a secondary textbook five months ago. They've sent me occasional updates saying they're still reviewing it. The last update I received was two months ago.

At the time I submitted, I described the core as finished. Privately, my plan was publish what I had as 1st edition, then incorporate my additional planned changes in the 2nd edition. But over the many months waiting, I've spend thousands of hours updating it, basically incorporating most of the items I put on my 2nd edition checklists.

I'm considering sending the publisher an update. On the one hand, this is an excuse to check on the status of their review--to see if they want to publish it, but on the other, I want them to see my best work.

My concern is, will this be seen as a positive to the publisher?--Does that show I'm still hard at work finding ways to make it better?

Or would that be seen as annoyance--its a massive manuscript already (2,500 pages)--at this point if they are still considering it I assume they've sent the book to professors to check the content's accuracy, and so maybe they will be angry to hear it has changed in the meantime?

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    Sounds like a question for a literary agent.
    – Boba Fit
    Jan 4, 2023 at 14:30

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No, that is not good practice.

Good practice is to either

  1. submit the finished work after all revisions

or to

  1. submit the draft and wait for the publisher's editor to begin working with you on the revisions.

When you submit an unfinished work and privately revise it, you are wasting the publisher's time or your own. Your time, if the publisher wants to publish the unrevised version or revise it differently than you did. The publisher's time, if you expect them to review the revision, rendering their review of the first version unnecessary.

Most publishers reject authors that behave unprofessionally, because working with them will mean continuous trouble. Your work has to be exceptional or you have to be famous for publishers to be willing to deal with anything even remotely reeking of difficulties.

At the time I submitted, I described the core as finished. Privately, my plan was ...

You intentionally lied to them. This is a massive red flag.


My advice would be to quitely wait until the publisher replies to your submission. If they reject your work, ask if they would be willing to consider a revised version. If they accept your work, discuss how they want to proceed in the face of your massive revisions before you sign the contract.

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