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?
Tere Kirkland says
Actually, an editorial agent sounds like a dream come true. I love feedback and having someone to answer to for deadlines and revisions would help me get writing done instead of watching old episodes of Lost. 😉
Valerie Geary says
Thank you for letting us have a peek into your world! I’d work with an editorial agent… as long as it was my vision they were trying to exploit, not their own. Like Michelle told you… “follow your heart for the piece”. Sounds like you have a keeper. 😀
Sharon Mayhew says
Caroline–Thanks for sharing part of your journey with us. I would guess having an editorial agent would lessen the editor revisions. Best wishes on MAY B.
Shannon O'Donnell says
I would LOVE to have an editorial agent. Sounds like the perfect world! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this.
Thanks for giving us a little peek! I would love and editorial agent! I love that Michelle tells you to stay with your heart! That’s special!
I’m glad to hear that your relationship with your agent is working out so well for you. Thanks for sharing!
Jemi Fraser says
I’d love to have an editorial agent as well. It would be wonderful to have someone share a vision for my work!
VR Barkowski says
Thank you for sharing this, Caroline. I hope I will always continue to grow as a writer, but I know that’s not possible in a vacuum. I would love to have an editorial agent. Feedback is invaluable – anything that that will strengthen my writing.
Solvang Sherrie says
This was great to read. I think it’s great to have an editorial agent, especially if they’ve been on the publishing side and know what editors want.
BTW, love the new photo!
Your writing was so tight, it doesn’t surprise me at all that the manuscript needed so little work. My experience was similar. Sara had a couple ideas to strengthen the story overall (and they were all right on), but she didn’t do a detailed line edit. I think this was mostly because I’d had excellent beta readers. I’m a messy writer (my grammar and punctuation are way less than perfect), but all of that had been taken care of before.
And I loved your new ending!
Thanks for sharing. I’ve never worked with an agent (hopefully someday) so am completely naive, and didn’t realize they could play such an active role in the writing/revision process. Yours sounds like a keeper!
Caroline Starr Rose says
Natalie, your opinion means so much. I really trust you as a reader. And have a fabulous weekend.
Hannah, thanks for stopping by! I don’t know if I originally realized how much influence an agent could have on a writer’s work, either. It’s very empowering to know someone else is helping me to put my best foot forward.
Irene Latham says
Caroline – so happy you are working on a novel in verse! Leaving Gee’s Bend started out as a novel in verse, but my agent didn’t think she could sell it. So I rewrote in prose (which was COMPLETELY rewriting). But I lovelovelove novels in verse and snap them up as soon as I see ’em.
Caroline Starr Rose says
Irene, I can’t imagine fleshing out a novel-in-verse. That has to be a major task. Look forward to reading yours!
Daisy Whitney says
My agent is an editorial one too. When she read The Mockingbirds, she called me and we talked for 45 minutes through her notes and feedback and her critiques made everything stronger and tighter and ready for sale!
Caroline, I would absolutely LOVE to have an editorial agent, especially one who’s also worked on the publishing side. I think this type of agent would be invaluable as a final reader of the manuscript before it goes out to the publishing houses.
Thanks for stopping by my blog today! 🙂