...the reason why things weren't looking right was pretty simple. So simple in fact that it only took me a year to actually notice it.
The revision that was done, basically sucked. No two ways about it, it really and truly did. In my haste to actually get this thing back to the agent so they could start submitting it to publishers, I only did a quick read through of the revision.
Big mistake. I soon found out, after printing out about 325 pages (read: scrap paper), that the continuity was completely fouled up, that the original intent of whole paragraphs were totally mangled, and that it sounded completely....well, wooden.
So once again, I had to put my agent queries back on hold and fix my novel. Starting with the first chapter, I spent the next month or so, rewriting the revision, so that it would make sense, stay truer to the original version, and most importantly, sound like me.
Note: No matter what you write, be it a short story, flash fiction (under 500 words), long stories or novels, you should always sound like you when you write. In other words, make your voice come alive through the writing. Make it unique, make it rich, use emotion, whatever you need to do, make what you write be an extension of you.
By the time I got done revising the revision (using the original manuscript to fill in the gaps left by the hatchet job done by my ex-agents), it was about 90% me and the other 10% them. So after printing out another 325 pages and stashing it in a safe place, I started going through my guidebook to choose some agents that were open to romance novels, to send out queries to.
After getting a batch of those done and sent out, I hit the proverbial brick wall, as I didn't know what to start working on next. I had already re-edited one of my longer short stories (about 13,000 words) and submitted it to a few contests late the previous year. However, I did remember something that I put on the back burner for six months while fixing my first novel: my second novel.
Back to work I went on that, as it was something that would keep me occupied while I was doing a search and destroy for another agent. And thus, I was able to fall into a decent routine: I would write a little bit, then after getting another round of rejection letters, I would put it aside to send out another batch of queries.
By late April, things were at a standstill. I wasn't making any progress on any of the fronts I was working on. The second novel was grinding to a halt (still is of sorts) and I was starting to get a large collection of rejection letters stashed away in my work office. Basically, I was in a rut, with no idea on what to do or where to go next.
With a turn of the calendar page, things were about change for the better....