Blogger: Rachel Zurakowski
Location: Books & Such Main Office; Santa Rosa, Calif.
An author emailed us a couple of questions, which I’m going to spend today answering.
Here are the questions:
“How willing is an agent to help an author develop an idea into a book?”
“How much will an agent assist the author in editing and rewriting?”
Every agency operates differently in how much they’ll step in to help an author with the development of an idea, the editing, and rewriting, but I’ll answer this from my own perspective.
Before I’m representing an author, if I’m interested in an idea, but I see that revisions need to be made, I’ll write to the author with suggestions and ask him or her to make the changes before resubmitting the project. Before I represent someone, I want to have a book in hand that I feel confident in.
Once an author is my client, I’m happy to step in to help brainstorm if writers’ block rears its ugly head. I had a long brainstorming meeting with one of my clients last week. It sounds like a lot of work, and it was, but we had quite a bit of fun together too.
When a new client is working on deadline for the first few times, I’ll read the manuscript and offer suggestions and do some minor editing (I’ll point out anything I noticed as I read, but I won’t do a deep edit). As I feel more confident in my client’s ability to write on deadline, I let the books go through to the editor without reading the entire manuscript, unless the author requests that I read the book or a troublesome section. However, I always look at proposals that my clients submit to me before I submit them to the editors who’ve requested them. I read, edit, and suggest revisions on proposals to make sure they’re as strong as possible.
I’m here to help my clients, and I want them to turn in great material to the editors because it builds both of our reputations. Authors should always take the time to re-read what they’ve written and have another person read the project before submitting to their agent or editor. I can’t emphasize enough how important a clean manuscript is in the publishing process.
We at Books & Such try hard to provide the best guidance and help for our clients throughout the publishing process. Not all agents operate this way; so it’s important to find an agent whose level of involvement is right for you.