If you're anything like me you hate giving people Christmas lists. I don't have a problem coming up with ideas for things that would be nice to get, but I hate setting myself up. What do I mean?
Well, for instance, two separate family members asked for list from me. I gave each of them a list of EMT gear they could get me that ranged from the very cheap to the more moderately priced so that they had a range. It was a pretty good list that could be purchased easily on the internet or at a variety of local stores. I was excited to see, when the time came around, what they got me from the list.
And, of course, they had not gotten me anything from the list. What they had decided on was perfectly nice and perfectly useful, but I couldn't help a sense of disappointment. I had given them a list and no matter how much I might have otherwise liked what they gave me, it's not what I asked for.
Lest you think I'm posting to whine about Christmas presents, I'm not. Here's the point:
When a writer submits something to an agent or an editor and then gets a list of changes back, it's rather like getting a Christmas list back. "Here's what I'd like to see changed."
Too often, writer friends of mine or writers I follow in the blogosphere seem to have a response along the lines of, "Well, I actually have some ideas for revising this that are not exactly the same, but I think they really make for an even better, stronger book, so I'll go with that and re-send it in."
And then they get shocked when the agent or editor either sends back with more requests or just opts to reject altogether.
So here's my advice. Take it for what it's worth, based as it is on general human psychology and not on my own experience: give them what they want. Or don't give it back to them at all. Or else know that you're taking a chance that they will say, "Eh, it's nice, but it's not what I asked for."
If you're asking an agent or an editor to help get your book out there in the world, disappointing them isn't going to help your cause.
Be a better Santa than that.