Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Why Agents Edit

my AGENT and I have just gone through this process (from a Blog post on Stages of Editing) up through lines - revisions early on and now just finished line edits. I know that a publisher's editor will edit too, but I'm wondering if my agent only did this because SHE was an editor too? I guess that like many here, I figured a publisher wouldn't buy a book first and then say that major things had to be changed. I didn't pose that as a question, but it is one!

I suspect that agents who were once editors tend to do more editorial work than those who have no previous editing experience. However, no agent in her right mind simply edits or works that hard on a manuscript because she was once an editor. The reason any agent edits or works with an author on a book is to try to eliminate as many reasons for rejection as possible.

Yes, it's very likely your editor will have you go through revisions and edits of some sort and yes, it's possible some of those could be very heavy. However, no editor will buy a book if she thinks it's going to need heavy editing, and that's why an agent works with an author on a book, to eliminate the feeling that the book will need heavy edits.



J.L. Murphey said...

Why some agents edit? To put the best possible book on the table before they try to sell it. It takes someone who really believes in your book to take that much time...be thankful!

Rashad Pharaon said...

Having an agent with strong editorial experience can only be a boon! If I had a choice between two agents of equal reputation, one of which was notoriously known for putting their authors through an editorial grinder, I would choose the editor-agent. I'm no glutton for literary punishment, but a editor to an author is an assault rifle to a soldier (not saying other agents are pistols, each have their own strengths). Hope your edits go well and best of luck on your work,



David Klein said...

Your answer makes it sound as if editors are more in the acquisition business, and less in the editing business. That's basically been my experience with my publisher and editor. Let's be thankful for agents who help us authors edit our books into shape so editors will 'buy' them.

Carin Siegfried said...

Most editors these days don't have as much time as they want/need for editing, so getting as much editing from as many sources as possible can only be a good thing. If you are 100% relying on your editor, and only your editor, to fix up your manuscript, you'll likely be disappointed in the end result. Also different people have different strengths such as dialogue, pacing, plotting, so having different epople edit will address different (and hopefully all) your issues, instead of just a few.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I insist on having an agent who has been an editor. My first agent edited my manuscript although she'd never edited professionally. She didn't sell it. My new agent, who has been an editor, edited it and sold it.

Yes, agents are going to edit. So you might as well get one who knows how.

Anonymous said...

When I first began writing for educational publishers, I got frustrated with my editor when she would send my passages back with a bunch of changes. Over time, however, I realized she was saving both of us the embarrassment of having the publishers' editors send the passages back with changes, and she was giving the passage a stronger chance of actually being accepted. Eventually I studied my editor enough to learn to eliminate the need for her to suggest a bunch of edits. Thanks for the reminder.

Callie James said...

My agent used to be an editor. I love working with her because she'll tell me what's wrong with an area of the manuscript and leave it to my creativity to fix. I've been through two revisions with her on my latest manuscript and I'm very pleased with the result. If I had to choose, I would pick the agent who edits every time. By investing this kind of time in the project, I know she must really believe in it as much as I do.

Meg said...

Why did you cap AGENT? Do I sense frustration? :-) As others have suggested, be thankful.

Best wishes on your work!