Pub Rants

What’s In An Edit (After The Sale)

 7 Comments |  Share This:    

STATUS: Total confession time. Yes, I’m addicted to nostalgia because I couldn’t resist going to the Duran Duran concert last night for their new album Red Carpet Massacre. Last time I saw this group was in 1984. Yep, twenty-four years ago when I was 16. Oh, how time flies. I have to say that the group as a whole aged fairly well. They even did Planet Earth and Girls on Film in concert. Those were the days…

What’s playing on the iPod right now? RIO by Duran Duran (duh)

Yesterday I talked about new clients and on agents editing manuscripts before going out on submission for the very first time. What about new projects by current clients who are previously published? Do agents edit those manuscripts as well?

The answer is both yes and no. For the most part, when a current client has sold that first book and has an editor, then I, as the agent, don’t usually work on the edit with the client for the next subsequent book. After all, that’s why they have an editor and I don’t want to interfere with the editorial process.

There are some exceptions to this though:

Exception 1: the author has an editor who isn’t editing and sending in the delivered book straight into copyediting (and yes, this has surprisingly happened). If an author doesn’t need much editing, then this can be a positive thing but for the most part, I have to say that most writers need a bit of editing and guidance before a project is ready for copy edits. So as the agent, I have worked with my authors to do the edit if this is happening.

Exception 2: if this is an author’s sophomore attempt, I will sometimes read and work on an edit with the author before their editor sees the manuscript for the very first time. This way we can avoid the sophomore disaster that often happens when an author has spent several years writing the first novel and then has to write the second on a deadline under a year or 8 months or whatever. It’s hard to imagine this is a different process but it is. Editors often complain of the messes they have to clean up when the second (sophomore) contracted book is delivered. If I can help to avoid that, then we’ll do it because I want my author to look great.

(If my client has a strong relationship with his or her editor and I know the editor likes things done a certain way, then I stay out of it—even for the sophomore effort. It’s the editor’s job to edit and there’s nothing worse for an editor than having an author who is getting conflicting opinions on the edit from the agent. My job is not to make the editor’s life more difficult on this aspect—on other things yes, but not on the edit. Now if the author is convinced the editor is wrong about the editorial direction, then I’ll be jumping in but as you can see, it all depends on the situation.)

Exception 3: If a current client published in one field with one editor is looking to do something else in another genre or in YA (if they write for the adult market), then yes, I’m usually reading and editing that project.

Exception 4: If a current author client wants feedback on a new idea or proposal and they’ve put together sample chapters, then I’ll often read and give some feedback for revision before the editor sees it. This doesn’t always happen though. It depends on how strong the client’s relationship is with his/her editor.

As you can see, there are just as many ways to edit as there are to agent and how involved the agent is in the editorial process varies greatly! It all depends on the situation.

7 Responses

  1. Reviewer X said:

    Thanks for his post–it was very interesting. Surprising how sophomore projects are sometimes a bigger mess than the freshman (first?).

  2. Tiffani said:

    This has absolutely nothing to do with writing/publihsing and everything to do with DD. I finally fulfilled my “teenage dream” and saw them live 2 years ago, and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to! There’s *nothing* wrong with nostalgia 🙂 Some days, I find myself turning into that old lady and complaining about “kids today and their noise!” Hope it was great!

  3. Anonymous said:

    Really? In 1984, you were 16 years old. I would have guessed 6-10 years old at most.

  4. Anonymous said:

    Hmm, I actually find it troubling that a sophomore effort would be more problematic than the first book. Wouldn’t someone have learned how to better edit and write that second book?

    It would seem to me that the writing should be better, not worse. The one thing that I could understand is plot. Sometimes an author gets picked up because of the right book at the right time. It happens to be different and special at that particular moment. But the 2nd book…now you have the contract and the agent, but you didn’t have to work as hard to attract someone’s attention with your plot/book.

    But the writing would be worse??? Interesting.

  5. Deb said:

    Anon 5:45, my experience was just the opposite. My first pubbed book had been written & rewritten over years. My second had some issues LOL. We got over them in editing. The issues weren’t because of speed of writing it–it took about the same amount of time as the first, and was finished when I sold it. It was just that I hadn’t looked at it for a while, and my skill set had changed.

    My next few books were both written faster, better (I think) and required less editing. It’s a learning curve, just like any other human endeavor. My last book was written in 2006, released in 2007, and I think I’m writing even better now than I did then.

  6. karen wester newton said:

    Just the act of going to a concert—any concert—would take me back down memory lane. Almost the only time I managed to impress my son with my coolness was when I told him I had been to one of Cream’s last concerts and seen Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker.

    I wonder if the “years for the first one, rush for the second one” is why I sometimes like an author’s first book much better than his/her later books?