STATUS: Today was about working out the glitches in the new software. But I think we are finally done with that.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? CHICKENMAN by Indigo Girls
This weekend I was working on editing for current clients. I know this has been a question that I’ve received a couple of times at conferences. Do all agents edit their client manuscripts and how does that work?
Well, I can’t speak to all agents but this is how it works at my agency. This answer has several components and I actually only have time to handle one aspect of it in today’s entry. Tomorrow I’ll try and go into a bit more depth.
Let’s say I take on a brand new client who has never been published. When I read their full manuscript that I’ve offered representation for, I will usually do an edit with the client before it goes on submission.
Sometimes the manuscript is in great shape and just needs a few tweaks here and there. Sometimes it needs a bit more work (in plot or character—never in voice or in the quality of the writing) and I have that revision conversation while I’m offering representation so the client can have a good idea of what might be involved if they sign with me.
Seems only fair to know the scope…
Now, there are different approaches to editing as well. I have to be honest and say I’m not much of a line editor. I’m more of a big picture kind of gal, and I concentrate my edits on fixing plot issues, building character development, or just forcing the author to dig deeper into the writing and pull out all the stops their talent allows.
I do all my editing electronically in track changes in Word, so the manuscript can be sent by email. I add my comments directly into the scenes so the author can know and understand what I was thinking the moment I thought a revision point needed to be done.
Now, it’s always the author’s call if my editorial note is on target or not. I’ve been told that I will often highlight the problem but not necessarily the best solution and the author comes up with a better way to handle whatever I’ve pointed out.
And that’s just fine with me. It is the author’s work after all and he/she will always have final say.
I also edit obvious grammar and punctuation issues.