Several of you have asked for more agent-related posts, so here goes:
What does the revision process look like when you’re working with an agent?
Every agent/author relationship is different, of course. Agents who describe themselves as “editorial” will expect more re-writes before submission than those who are less so. Revision work can vary from agent to agent, from author to author, and from manuscript to manuscript.
When my agent offered representation with my mid-grade historical novel-in-verse, the re-writes she asked for were minor:
- several more poems with a light emotional tone to intersperse between the heavier ones
- placing each poem on its own page for more, as she said, “visual heft.”
- some minor line edits
One reason I think my revision work was so minor is because of the newer, stronger ending I had finished just weeks before sending Michelle my manuscript (thanks again, for all your insight, Natalie). MAY B. went on submission less than a month after securing representation.
What about my other manuscripts?
Over Christmas, Michelle asked me to send along other stories I’d written. I picked two other mid-grades and two picture books. Two weeks ago, she sent back an overview of each. Guess what? They all need work, some of them a lot.
The lovely thing is she thinks they all have potential. The challenge is to get them to where they need to be. I am focusing on my chick-lit mid-grade at present, upping the tension and trying to work in some of her suggestions. Will I take them all? Nope. Even with all her ideas, she has reminded me to follow my heart for the piece. My job is to make sure my heart is on the track that will make this story most successful.
I’ve fiddled with some scenes, deleting some and adding new ones. This week I’m going to outline, chapter by chapter, pointing out eliminated scenes and building on new ideas. Michelle can then read this over and give me further feedback.
I love how involved she is with my work. I love that this is a group effort.
Would you like to sign with an agent who considers herself editorial? For those of you under respresentation, what has your revision experience been?