Buy books by AWers

 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 57

Thread: Agents recommending editing

  1. #1
    Last of a Dying Breed popmuze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Nowhere, man
    Posts
    2,516

    Agents recommending editing

    Since Andy the agent is on vacation I figured I'd post this here to get some responses.

    Not having published a novel in twenty years, I'm wondering if the rules have changed after getting a note from a well-known NY agent in which he was declining to represent my novel "right now." The note included the comments of his reader who said my writing was "eloquent," my characters "fun to read about and real" and the plot "engaging." The main complaint was that the pace of the plot could be "accelerated."

    Then the reader opined that I could benefit from the services of a freelance editor and the agent just happened to have the name of someone with impeccable credentials who I could hire for a mere couple of thousand bucks.

    Here are my questions:
    Is this now considered a legitimate practice?
    Assuming this editor not only had impeccable credentials, but also lots of friends still employed by the major houses, is there any way this might be a good investment?
    Does the suggestion to hire an editor negate the positive things the reader had to say?

    When I let the agent know I preferred to take my chances with other agents, he said he had another editor who charged less.

    On the other hand, I would gladly pay an experienced editor $50 to critique my first chapter.

  2. #2
    Empirical Storm Trooper MadScientistMatt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    near Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    1,692
    This "well known agent in New York" sounds suspiciously like Robert Fletcher, the well known "agent" with a mail drop in New York. That still isn't how legitimate agents work. This guy sounds like he's getting a kickback - if he doesn't actually own the editing service outright. The service isn't called "My Editor Is a Saint," is it?

  3. #3
    Last of a Dying Breed popmuze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Nowhere, man
    Posts
    2,516
    No, but this is a guy who responded within minutes to my email query with a request to see the whole manuscript.

    I thought it might be too good to be legitimate, although I'm still hoping some of the readers comments were accurate.

  4. #4
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    6,633
    Sounds far too good to be true.

    I would send a few more queries to agents listed here www.agentquery.com

    When you've had a few more responses you'll get a better idea of where your work stands.

  5. #5
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    9,694
    Pop, if you don't want to mention who the agent is here, send a PM to Victoria Strauss (the moderator of this board)-- she maintains a database of agents/editors who engage in kickback schemes and other unsavory practices. And your hunch is right-- this is not acceptable. It most likely means that the agent has worked out a kickback scheme with a couple of editors. See here for details of one such scheme that ended... badly for the con artists:

    http://www.sfwa.org/beware/cases.html#Edit
    I am no longer here. If you'd like to visit me, please find me at www.jennaglatzer.com or on Facebook. Thanks!

  6. #6
    5 W's & an H Sassenach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Southern Calif.
    Posts
    2,200
    Quote Originally Posted by popmuze
    No, but this is a guy who responded within minutes to my email query with a request to see the whole manuscript.

    I thought it might be too good to be legitimate, although I'm still hoping some of the readers comments were accurate.
    Ya think? A reply within 'minutes' is the giveaway. When was the last time a reputable agent did that? [Answer: never.]
    I feel God in this Chili's.
    -Pam Beesley









  7. #7
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    25,396
    Quote Originally Posted by popmuze
    Here are my questions:
    Is this now considered a legitimate practice?
    No.

    Assuming this editor not only had impeccable credentials, but also lots of friends still employed by the major houses, is there any way this might be a good investment?
    That's a lot of assumptions.

    Does the suggestion to hire an editor negate the positive things the reader had to say?
    Probably. It could have been the form letter they send to everyone in an attempt to sell editing.

  8. #8
    Last of a Dying Breed popmuze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Nowhere, man
    Posts
    2,516
    Not wanting to cling too ferociously to the adjectives of praise (I've gotten the greatest reviews of my career in rejection letters), but the response was much too particular to be a form. Only the last lines recommending the professional editor seemed tacked on.

    Normally, I might have called the agent to ask why they would immediately pass on a book that was so highly praised by the first reader. But I get the sense I'm better off without this agent, even if he is legit.

  9. #9
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    25,396
    Anything an agent says, no matter how short or long, if it isn't "I'll represent you," is "No."

  10. #10
    Last of a Dying Breed popmuze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Nowhere, man
    Posts
    2,516
    Oddly enough, I used much the same syntax when advising a divorced friend of mine about dating.

  11. #11
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,090
    Quote Originally Posted by popmuze
    ...Then the reader opined that I could benefit from the services of a freelance editor and the agent just happened to have the name of someone with impeccable credentials who I could hire for a mere couple of thousand bucks.

    Here are my questions:
    Is this now considered a legitimate practice?
    Assuming this editor not only had impeccable credentials, but also lots of friends still employed by the major houses, is there any way this might be a good investment?
    Does the suggestion to hire an editor negate the positive things the reader had to say?

    When I let the agent know I preferred to take my chances with other agents, he said he had another editor who charged less.

    On the other hand, I would gladly pay an experienced editor $50 to critique my first chapter.
    I don't know whether it's impossible for a legit agent to say that, but I've never heard of one doing it. I've heard of lots and lots of scam agents doing exactly what you describe. You tell me what the odds are.

    Would this be a good investment? Only if you can afford the money now, the editing turns it into book that's so hot that the agent sells it to a well-known publishing house for pots of money, and you become wealthy and famous. This is an unlikely sequence of events. Think: if the agent believed it was possible for an outside edit to turn your book into a hot property, would he have declined to represent you before he saw the finished edit? Once he says "no", you're free to go elsewhere.

    The agent might have good contacts in publishing, or he might just be saying he has good contacts. I've seen scam agents make some amazing claims in that direction. In any event, the question of whether or not the agent has good contacts doesn't determine the value of an outside edit. It's valuable if it makes the book so much better that it can be sold for an amount that more than repays the cost of the edit.

    That almost never happens.

    I hate to say it, but suggesting that you hire a specific editor probably does negate the nice things the reader said.

    An experienced editor might critique your first chapter for $50, but they couldn't talk about much besides your prose and your initial narrative strategies.

    Sorry.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  12. #12
    American Aquarium Drinker pepperlandgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    811
    He praised you so you'd think of him as a friend, an ally, somebody who would never, ever hurt an author he respects as much as he respects you.

    You don't lure flies with vinegar, after all.

  13. #13
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    502
    I think there's the possibility that this is legitimate, but without knowing the players it's hard to say.

    As an agent, I know three or four freelance editors personally. Each has sent projects my way. In some cases, I didn't bite but sent along notes and the author went back to the freelance editor and paid for more assistance. In two cases I did bite, but still thought work was needed and the authors worked with the freelance editors to accomplish what I asked. Other than lunch with one editor about every 18 months, I've never gotten anything out of these relationships in the form of kick-backs or whatever.

    Truth is, I sometimes worry when I see that cover letter that says "I've been working with a book doctor/freelance editor...." That says to me that I'm not getting a "true" look at the work of the author and I worry, If I sell this, what happens with the next book? Will he hire the editor again? Or will I get stuck trying to sell something that, fundamentally, just won't be as good, because the editor wasn't involved?

    I know one freelance editor who trumpets his special relationship with a "major" agent. The message clearly being sent is that you have a better shot of finding representation with this major agent if you use his services. True or not? I don't know. I haven't seen the numbers. The editor is certainly well experienced and has a long work history in the business. I think any author might benefit from working with him; I just can't say it will make the book salable.

    Every freelance editor (and I write this as someone who has certainly been paid for editorial consultations) has to deal with the reality that some books, no matter how much work is involved, aren't going to turn out publishable. Should they be automatically turned down? My feeling is that if I think I can help the author become a better writer, why not do it? He could spend as much on a writing class or he could work one-on-one with me. Six of one, half a dozen of another, I think, though I generally give authors an immense number of "Are you sure you want to go this route?" opportunities. I point out that writers' groups are free and might be a way to go. I point out that a writing class might cost less and offer the opportunity to meet other writers, get multiple critiques, etc. But some authors want that one-to-one experience and those are the ones who are going to seek out freelance editors and book doctors. But no one can promise the finished product will be publishable or, if it is, that it will get published.

    All this said, I don't know anyone who might not benefit from working with an editor. Whether or not it's worth the money is up to the author, I feel. In the case described, I think the author should get a few more reads from other agents and see if there's a trend. Then decide whether or not working with an editor might be worth it.

    Best,
    Andy

  14. #14
    Last of a Dying Breed popmuze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Nowhere, man
    Posts
    2,516
    As usual, a discerning and thoughtful reply. You have my permission to take the rest of the holidays off.

  15. #15
    Just me...keeping it real deborahbusby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    15

    Book Doctor

    Hi everyone,

    I have received interest on my ms from an agent who seems very enthusiastic about my novel - which is fantastic! She responded within 24 hours and read my ms in a day...in my experience, this is unheard of.

    My question is...why is being referred to a book doctor a bad thing? I read the 20 agents who are thumbs down and one of the reasons is that they referred their clients to a book doctor. It's my understanding that having your manuscript checked by a strong editor before you start pitching to publishers is a plus. So why would that be a reason to get on the thumbs down list?

    I just need some clarification because this agent is suggesting a book doctor before we start pitching...and no, it's not her or her agency...in fact, she said she would give me some recommendations but I can choose my own.

    Just curious...
    Debbie

    Update and clarification: She said she would still sign me even if I didn't use a book doctor. It was just a recommendation, not a condition of representation. Does that change anything?
    Last edited by deborahbusby; 10-11-2015 at 09:29 PM.
    ***********************************
    Well-behaved women rarely make history.

    www.deborahbusby.com
    ***********************************

  16. #16
    tiny hedgehog JetFueledCar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Internet native
    Posts
    912
    Many of those "agents" are receiving kickbacks or "finder's fees" for sending unwary authors to those book doctors. Even if they suggest several of them, they could be getting kickbacks from all of them, so they win no matter who you pick.

    I know you're going to hate hearing it, but the agent probably didn't read your book in a day. That is unheard of. Bad agents don't need to read their clients' books because they make their money from those kickback fees or the fees they apply themselves, not from selling their books.

    Helping clients edit their books to get ready for publication is part of an agent's job. It's not something they should be farming out like that.
    "Here is how you do it: You sit down at the computer and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard." - Neil Gaiman

    Twitter

    Blogger

    Wicked The Devil You Know Devin's book: 73k/80k - second editing pass - Query / Synopsis

    October checklist:
    - Fill in holes in Devin's book
    - Two installments of Noah - 1/2
    - Five chapters of AIHB - 4/5

  17. #17
    Independent fluffy puppy. Osulagh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    My dog house.
    Posts
    1,488
    It's a common scam for an agent to tell you, "Oh, you should get this edited by [blank] and I'll rep" and after you pay for the services both the agent and editor go silent. Either the agent gets kickbacks or they are the editor and just getting free money while you don't get anything in return.

    And no, you don't need to get your book edited whatsoever before it gets to a publisher. In fact, we always suggest the opposite. Edit your book yourself--no, it's not hard. You're just editing to be readable to be picked up by an agent, who then will send it to a publisher and the editors at the publisher (who are paid by the publisher) edit it pretty much for free. That's why they are bad outside of the scam: Your publisher should be working with you to produce a more publishable novel. Any editor outside of the publisher is only doing a wild guess to what you and your readers want--the editors and publishers know better. Add to that, many agents are former editors and have the training or the knowledge to edit novels themselves. Sometimes they do, but don't count on it.
    Last edited by Osulagh; 10-10-2015 at 07:35 AM. Reason: Fluffy puppy mind screwedededed up.
    PM me admiration poems of my fluffiness. Current offerings: 4

  18. #18
    Born at sea Clairels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    The 7th parallel
    Posts
    278
    Deborah, would you mind sharing the name of the agent? There might already be a thread for them, and it would help other writers submitting to know what to expect.

    The Blue Line, short story published in Oakwood 2017
    Read it free!

    Princess of Pirates: How I Ran Away to Sea: A Memoir,
    represented by Olswanger Literary

    Twitter

    Instagram

  19. #19
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    786
    To be fair, my agent did request and read my book in a day, and she would've called me to sign, too, if I hadn't left my phone number off of the manuscript.

    But as she told me, this was a first for her. AND we did a hell of a lot of editing of that manuscript over the months that followed. She saw something in the book that excited her to no end and wanted to carve it from the stone with me, together.

    However, she is an editorial agent (if that's not clear by now) and if any agent I'd submitted to had shown excitement but wanted me to see a book doctor, I would have taken them out of consideration.

  20. #20
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    between rising apes and falling angels
    Posts
    15,414
    Same here: they'd be off my list and given a respectful 'No thanks' the second they recommended a paid editing service.

    Sorry, Deborah.

    Blog: Blue Night
    Art and jewelry online at iCraft

  21. #21
    That door could be a time portal... Deb Kinnard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Casa Chaos
    Posts
    2,376
    I'm with the others. If you still have an interest in this agent repping you, you might tell her you'll find your own editorial consultant, and pay him/her yourself. Then if she says that's a deal-breaker, you'll know it's not on the up and up.
    Three-part time travel romance. Part One, SEASONS IN THE MIST
    Part Two, SEASONS OF RECKONING, now available
    Part Three, SEASONS OF HOPE, coming soon, all from Desert Breeze

    An inspiration... ...I have a serious case of Grobanosis

  22. #22
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    6,633
    I'm not clear, did this agent refer you to one particular book doctor, or just suggest you use a book doctor?
    Most agents do undertake the manuscript improvement themselves, but I guess there are some out there who are more sales orientated and don't do editorial.
    Using a book doctor under certain circumstances can be a sensible move and if this agent has sales to good publishers in your genre then I would not dismiss her.
    Last edited by waylander; 10-11-2015 at 07:21 PM.

    "wonderfully old-school epic adventure fare"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcvasKnJlV8

  23. #23
    Just me...keeping it real deborahbusby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    15
    Quote Originally Posted by waylander View Post
    I'm not clear, did this agent refer you to one particular book doctor, or just suggest you use a book doctor?
    Most agents do undertake the manuscript improvement themselves, but I guess there are some out there who are more sales orientated and don't do editorial.
    Using a book doctor under certain circumstances can be a sensible move and if this agent has sales to good publishers in your genre then I would not dismiss her.
    She did not suggest a particular one. She said she would reach out to her contacts and get back with me if she found someone who had time in their schedule. She also said I could choose my own if I found one I wanted to work with.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by JetFueledCar View Post
    Many of those "agents" are receiving kickbacks or "finder's fees" for sending unwary authors to those book doctors. Even if they suggest several of them, they could be getting kickbacks from all of them, so they win no matter who you pick.

    I know you're going to hate hearing it, but the agent probably didn't read your book in a day. That is unheard of. Bad agents don't need to read their clients' books because they make their money from those kickback fees or the fees they apply themselves, not from selling their books.

    Helping clients edit their books to get ready for publication is part of an agent's job. It's not something they should be farming out like that.
    Hi.

    Thanks for this information. I really think she did read it in a day because her email with extensive feedback on my book pulled bits and pieces and quotes from all through the book to give example of what she was trying to explain.

    I do understand why being referred to a book doctor is a negative thing now, though, so thank you for that.

    Debbie

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Clairels View Post
    Deborah, would you mind sharing the name of the agent? There might already be a thread for them, and it would help other writers submitting to know what to expect.
    I will be happy to share the name of the agent after I decide not to sign with her. I don't want to associate her with a negative post on here if I decide to sign. Thanks!
    ***********************************
    Well-behaved women rarely make history.

    www.deborahbusby.com
    ***********************************

  24. #24
    Just me...keeping it real deborahbusby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    15
    Quote Originally Posted by Deb Kinnard View Post
    I'm with the others. If you still have an interest in this agent repping you, you might tell her you'll find your own editorial consultant, and pay him/her yourself. Then if she says that's a deal-breaker, you'll know it's not on the up and up.
    She did say that she would still sign me even if I didn't use a book doctor. She just recommended it, it wasn't a condition of the signing.
    ***********************************
    Well-behaved women rarely make history.

    www.deborahbusby.com
    ***********************************

  25. #25
    Get it off! It burns! Dennis E. Taylor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Beautiful downtown Mordor
    Posts
    2,223
    To be clear, reputable agents do sign up writers with WIPs that need work. And such agents do work with the authors on developmental editing. I've just gone through it with my agent, and there's at least one more thread somewhere here where someone else said they'd gone through 4 revisions and a year's worth of rework with their agent. But this is a lot different from line-editing, which will be taken care of by the publisher (unless it's really horrible, I guess). I didn't see any real indication in this thread of what kind of editing you're talking about. That could have a bearing.
    Formerly Angry Guy.

    Speak the truth, but not to punish

    ---
    Website/Blog: www.dennisetaylor.org

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search