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pilot27407
06-11-2010, 12:18 AM
Some time ago I posted the question “how much do agents get involved in the editing of a manuscript.” Today I received another R from an agent. I queried this particular one on the basis of her impressive record, handles my genre and the claim that she’s a hands on editor.
She replied with the following (edited): Thank you very much for your patience during the reviewing process for XXX. Although X and I were impressed with the intricacies of a plot well researched, we have, unfortunately, decided to pass on the opportunity represent your manuscript. In the end, the sheer barrage of plot points so near the beginning, which is arguably the most important part of a successful book, tipped the balance for us in favor of this decision.
Be encouraged: you have a great voice and skill with creating life-like settings and vivid, even cinematic, scenes--both key to this genre. And as stated before, the book's plot is intriguing and timely.
So, I wrote back and asked for clarification, what exactly was the “barrage of plot points they didn’t like.”
Here’s the reply: Two things, in the main:
· The first "reveal" beginning on page 10, in which Mike asks Clint how they ended up in Libya, goes on for nearly 1 1/2 pgs and feels both overwhelming and a bit contrived in its placement and execution.
· Then, as we get into Chapter 2, we're soon inundated with Isaac Myers' life history, something that might be better told in snippets at appropriate moments in the story. NOTE. This paragraph is ¾ of a page long.
So, I wrote again, saying that those parts are easy to be fixed. Se replied to do it and resubmit.
Now, here’s my question. Wouldn’t an agent just as easily take a red pen and cut a few lines. Isn’t the agent supposed to be the first line of editorial change? If two people at the agency read it and both liked the plot, voice, POV, shouldn’t they spend some time on helping trim the overflow?
I hear about all these agents who work with the author on rewrites. Where are they?
It’s my bad luck that I run into agents who expect a manuscript ready for submission.
Am I making a mistake by querying only top of the line agents?

cate townsend
06-11-2010, 12:43 AM
I hear about all these agents who work with the author on rewrites. Where are they?

You've found her. It appears this agent is working with you, if she asked you to revise and resubmit.


It’s my bad luck that I run into agents who expect a manuscript ready for submission.
If I were a salesperson, and someone wanted me to sell their product, I'd want it as close as possible in a condition ready to be sold.


Am I making a mistake by querying only top of the line agents?
No.

Stanmiller
06-11-2010, 12:47 AM
Hi Pilot,

Dance. Sing. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

That's enough. Get to work.

You have in your hands the best feedback you could ever hope to get. Make the changes, make them good, make them smooth. Then go thru the rest of your MS looking for the same kind of stuff to change. Then get that sucker back to the A. U are real close to getting repped.

Go dude.

Ryan_Sullivan
06-11-2010, 12:54 AM
It's not so much that, I think, than that she doesn't want to string you along. It sounds like she's genuinely unsure about whether the revision she wants (since she says the part that tipped the balance is also the part that made her like it) would work well enough, and would therefore not want you thinking that if you revise, it'll be all better. You're job now is to go back, looking at those two things (but also anything else similar) and do the best revision you can do in order to make her change her mind.

scope
06-11-2010, 12:59 AM
Agents are agents, their primary function is to represent the work of selected writers and do what they can to sell the books to publishers. Of course they do a myriad of other things, which may or may not include editorial guidance, the later ranging from none to a little or more. As writers we hope that agents will give us some editorial guidance which will improve our work, but I don't believe we should expect, especially in today's publishing climate. As for the agent you speak of, I think she gave you a fairly healthy dose of guidance and I think it would be a mistake to expect more. Yes, there will always be exceptions. There will always be a few manuscripts which agents know are ridiculously good but need a little help -- in such cases they will offer same.

CaoPaux
06-11-2010, 01:05 AM
Neither agents nor editors are book doctors. I.e., rewriting is the author's responsibility, and agents need to know whether the author is up to the task.