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View Full Version : After the agent, where goeth the manuscript?



VGrossack
06-10-2008, 11:37 AM
Several weeks ago my co author and I sent our revised manuscript to our agent. It's up to her now (and she is AAR, sterling reputation, etc).

What I'd like to know is: what happens to the manuscript now? I know a little about the processes within publishing houses, but I'd love to know more. Who reads it? How do they make their decisions?

I've already located the following link, which was illuminating, but if anyone has more to share, please do!

Here's the link:

http://www.deewrites.com/files/Wheres_My_Manuscript.pdf (http://www.deewrites.com/files/Wheres_My_Manuscript.pdf)

ishtar'sgate
06-10-2008, 07:56 PM
I worked with an agent for about a year and he submitted it to publishers where it was usually read by an acquisitions editor for that genre. We parted ways and I shopped and sold the manuscript myself. This is how it went with me. The acquisitions editor read it, liked it and then forwarded it to other readers. They met to discuss my book and determine whether or not they wanted to offer me a contract. Once I signed the contract an editor was assigned to me, he read the manuscript and then we worked together on revisions. Lastly, the nitpicky proofreaders read it before sending me the galleys to approve. I was allowed to make minor alterations and then it went to print.
Linnea

Irysangel
06-10-2008, 08:41 PM
I think it depends on the house. My then-agent submitted my book to my editor. My editor read it, and wanted to bring it to the editorial meeting. She got a 2nd read and they said "We love it". She went and got a third read from marketing to make sure it was something they could sell. When she got the thumbs-up from marketing, she put in an offer.

I am told that in some houses, the editor can make an offer outright, depending on levels of seniority.

scope
06-11-2008, 04:13 AM
There are many possibilities depending upon your relationship with the agent and how much ground-work you have already covered. Basically, the agent will review your revised manuscript and let you know if s/he suggests any changes or rewrites of any sort. Once satisfied the agent may ask you to put together a proposal, including a platform. If the work relies heavily of the platform s/he will probably harp on same from every angle. When satisfied with everything the agent will prepare a list of publishers (with specific agents) she intends to submit your work. Depending on your relationship with your agent, and what you have agreed to, s/he may or may not run this list by you. She will set a date to send out her submissions (some will be prefaced by phone calls to test the waters), and then do so. Again, she should, but I certainly can't say, send you copies. The same goes for the replies from the publishers. God forbid s/he doesn't sell your work the first time around the agent may discuss the reasons why with you, as she may think. By this time she should have put together a second round of publishers to whom s/he will submit.

If this sounds like a lot, it isn't. I truly hope you'll get lucky and sell your work very quickly -- but you would be wise not to think so. You are in it for the long haul. The agent needs time, although s/he wants to sell your work as quickly as possible.

geardrops
06-11-2008, 04:30 AM
Ever heard of a Rube Goldberg machine? :)

VGrossack
06-11-2008, 07:23 AM
Scope, to clarify my question:

I am really interested in understanding what happens at publishing houses, not what happens at agencies. I've already experienced all of what you describe with respect to agents (alas, I know all too well that not all agented manuscripts make it). This is why I want to understand the decision-making process at publishing houses.

scope
06-11-2008, 08:18 AM
Scope, to clarify my question:

I am really interested in understanding what happens at publishing houses, not what happens at agencies. I've already experienced all of what you describe with respect to agents (alas, I know all too well that not all agented manuscripts make it). This is why I want to understand the decision-making process at publishing houses.

Depending upon your type of work and the requirements of the publisher and specific editor, the agent may send a query letter, a proposal (perhaps with platform), sample chapters, or the complete manuscript. Hopefully, whatever is sent will be read by an editor with whom the agent has a past relationship-- not by an assistant or someone else. Thereafter, if the publisher's interested she may request a rewrite, clarification, or other. So, back it goes to you to fill in the blanks and resubmit to the agent. Jumping ahead, once the editor is satisfied with the work and wants her company to publish it, she will prepare her own proposal to present at a company editorial board meeting. Such a meeting is attended by the head of every division within the company (i.e., editorial, production, art and design, publicity, and of course marketing). The editor will make a case for the publication of the book, but the decision lies with the board. If you can get a yay from the board there's still more work to be done, but it's likely that the book will be published a year to two out.

This is a general idea of how most--not all--publishers work, especially the large and medium size houses, and even with them there's some variation.