PDA

View Full Version : Published Writers - (((ENTER)))



Star
06-25-2007, 08:54 PM
Greetings Fellow Scribes,

I've come close to landing a deal, but no dice. In my experience, editors are not willing to publish a book in need of revision - even if they love the character voice, etc. When I say revision, I'm talking about problems with plot/pace,etc. that are fixable.

I know there was a time when an editor was willing to shape a diamond in the rough. But no more. So my question is, if I am fortunate enough to land a deal, will the editor tell my agent if she/he feels there are things I MUST work on after the contract is signed? I'm not talking about grammatical/general errors, I'm talking about issues that may change the integrity of my novel. I ask because I've already revised more than 8 times, and changed the entire focus of my novel to please my agent and editors who rejected my ms.. I'm more than willing to address additional VALID points, however, I'm confused about how things work once you land the deal.

I really hope this makes sense. *tremble*

maestrowork
06-25-2007, 09:04 PM
I think it really depends. If you have great characters but your story lacks the key elements, an editor may choose to pass... If you have a killer concept and good enough plot, but certain elements are not there and your characters are a bit flat, an editor might be willing take it on just because the topic is so HOT. It really depends on what the editor is looking for.

Kate Thornton
06-25-2007, 09:08 PM
Once your agent sells your completed ms, your editor may ask for revisions, even major revisions. Editors may ask for major revisions even before buying your work, as you have discovered.

If you are getting lots of "Gee, we like a lot of stuff, but please make these major revisions in plot & pace!" maybe it's time to write the next book and try shopping it instead. Sometimes that first book just goes back into the drawer and the second one is a knockout.

If you land the deal - an editor buys your book - then it's usually minor revisions needed at that point. Editors aren't going to do a line edit any more, it's true. They want a publishable (read *saleable*) ms up front.

Saundra Mitchell
06-25-2007, 09:45 PM
When my agent sold my novel, the editor sent brief notes WHEN she made the offer. If making those revisions would be acceptable to me, then I had a deal. If not, I could continue to shop it elsewhere. I anticipate that they'll be fairly extensive revisions- my editor said she thought we might need two go-rounds to get the book where she wanted it.

(I also had a tentative offer from another company, but they wanted me to complete the revisions before they made a solid offer. I chose not to go that route. I'd done that before on another novel and gotten nowhere.)

rugcat
06-25-2007, 10:18 PM
Sadly, the answer is, as often is the case, "it all depends."

I think a ms that needs work is less likely to be acquired by editors in the genre field than others, although some posters disagree.

But if the ms has been revised to the satisfaction of your agent, it's probably in pretty good shape. Does your agent have an editing background? My agent had 10 years as an editor before switching over; as a result, she suggested some extensive "editorial changes" before it was ever submitted, and the eventual editor had only minor revisions to add.

If you land a deal, an editor may strongly suggest certain changes, but it would be unusual for them to say you must do something. If they buy it, I think they basically like what they see.

Star
06-25-2007, 11:09 PM
Thanks to all.

These answers make sense. I'll keep you guys posted.
And to all, happy writing. :-)

Jamesaritchie
06-26-2007, 01:38 AM
Greetings Fellow Scribes,

I've come close to landing a deal, but no dice. In my experience, editors are not willing to publish a book in need of revision - even if they love the character voice, etc. When I say revision, I'm talking about problems with plot/pace,etc. that are fixable.

I know there was a time when an editor was willing to shape a diamond in the rough. But no more. So my question is, if I am fortunate enough to land a deal, will the editor tell my agent if she/he feels there are things I MUST work on after the contract is signed? I'm not talking about grammatical/general errors, I'm talking about issues that may change the integrity of my novel. I ask because I've already revised more than 8 times, and changed the entire focus of my novel to please my agent and editors who rejected my ms.. I'm more than willing to address additional VALID points, however, I'm confused about how things work once you land the deal.

I really hope this makes sense. *tremble*

Editors still spend a lot of time shaping diamonds in the rough, genre or any other. But you have to understand, it has never been an editor's job to revise or rewrite any part of a novel. Editors cut tighten, editors reorder, editors fix fairly minor grammar and punctuation problem, but editors should never revise or rewrite.

By and large, I'll tell you things that must be changed before the contract is signed. It's then up to you to make these changes in a way that improves the novel. You're the writer, not me. If you can make these changes well enough to please me, then a contract will be signed, and then I'll do my job, which is to take an already acceptable diamond in the rough and polish it with editorial skills, not with writing skills.

The real problem is that diamonds in the rough are fairly rare. What looks like a diamond in the rough often turns out to be pure quartz.

At any rate, editors do still work hard to find good novels, and to do everything possible to improve them. But the writer must be able to hold up his end of the deal, and revising and rewriting are his territory, not mine.

dantem42
06-26-2007, 02:03 PM
I'm in the beginning of the editorial process for publishing my first novel now. The deadline for completion (the editor's review and my response) is about 45 days from now.

What my editor is focusing on is questions that were raised by some part of the novel that were unclear, ones where she thinks the reader will have the potential to be confused (how did this happen? That happen?). Luckily, I actually have many of the answers to these things right at hand; many of the little holes in the plot resulted from my reducing the length of the novel and glossing over certain things that I felt might not be necessary. In earlier, lengthier versions of the novel I have these things already written out in full. I just have to find the damned things...

Star
06-27-2007, 05:56 PM
James,

Of course I don't expect the editor to do the work for me. I'm only concerned with an editor possibly asking me to change the vision of my work - which I've already done. Any more changes and it will no longer be my book. As I've said in my earlier post, I'm open to suggestions that ADD or expound on my ideas, I just don't want to do too much compromising if I don't feel it's necessary to improve the story.

Susan Gable
06-27-2007, 06:11 PM
James,

Of course I don't expect the editor to do the work for me. I'm only concerned with an editor possibly asking me to change the vision of my work - which I've already done. Any more changes and it will no longer be my book. As I've said in my earlier post, I'm open to suggestions that ADD or expound on my ideas, I just don't want to do too much compromising if I don't feel it's necessary to improve the story.

It's quite customary for an editor to ask for plot revisions after the contract is signed. Some houses ask for more revisions than others. Some books require more post-contract revisions than others.

I sometimes get pages of questions/comments/suggestions. I don't make all the changes -- I discuss them with my editor. Sometimes there's issues she didn't realize. Sometimes the fixes are very easy -- just a clarifying comment here or there can make all the difference.

Sometimes editors ask for BIG plot revisions -- and in general, they know what they're talking about. I rewrote from scratch the entire last 100 pages of my second book's ms because of a major plotpoint my editors wanted changed -- and they were TOTALLY right. Made the book much stronger in the end. Of course, at first, I didn't think that was going to be the case. But after doing it - - they were spot-on. And I wouldn't have discovered that if I didn't go ahead and do what they asked me to do.

I've discovered I have a process with major revisions that seems similar to the grieving process. There's shock (WHAT? You want me to do WHAT?) there's anger (GRRRR, you don't what the heck you're doing!), there's grief (this is where I cry over the story I loved being shredded. <G>), and then there's acceptance, and I move on with my life and the story's new life. The whole process takes about 2 days. <G> Chocolate helps. (Oh, and you never, EVER "voice" the shock/anger/grief parts to anyone other than your best writing buddy. You do NOT tell it to your editor.)

This is just a part of being a writer. We either deal with it, or we don't publish. :Shrug:

Susan G.

Star
06-27-2007, 06:43 PM
Susan,

You're funny! :)

I'm more than willing to deal, I just want to know what to expect.

Susan Gable
06-27-2007, 06:45 PM
Susan,

You're funny! :)

I'm more than willing to deal, I just want to know what to expect.

<G> Well, now you know. <G> Have chocolate on hand. (Or your prefered food vice. <G>)

Susan G.

Richard White
06-27-2007, 07:13 PM
With my latest short story, (which will be released in October), the editor called me and wanted specific revisions to my story, which I made.

A few weeks later, I received a copy from the copyeditor with their corrections/suggestions/house style corrections. I reviewed them and either agreed, disagreed with a stet or disagreed and suggested a new way to phrase whatever they felt was incorrect.

Last week, I finished going over the galleys. Made 12 corrections (had two rejected by the editor due to house style) and now it's just a matter of waiting for the book to be released.

Hope this helps.

Star
06-27-2007, 07:30 PM
Congrats on landing a deal!
Yes, this helps.

Jamesaritchie
06-27-2007, 08:07 PM
James,

Of course I don't expect the editor to do the work for me. I'm only concerned with an editor possibly asking me to change the vision of my work - which I've already done. Any more changes and it will no longer be my book. As I've said in my earlier post, I'm open to suggestions that ADD or expound on my ideas, I just don't want to do too much compromising if I don't feel it's necessary to improve the story.

This is a choice every writer must make, and it's often a matter of trust. If you have a chance, read other works this editor has handled.

But I'm probably not a good one to ask on this issue. I have asked other writers fro major rewrites and revisions, but I've never had an editor ask me for rewrites or revisions, so I don't know for sure how I'd react.

Jamesaritchie
06-27-2007, 08:11 PM
It's quite customary for an editor to ask for plot revisions after the contract is signed. Some houses ask for more revisions than others. Some books require more post-contract revisions than others.

I sometimes get pages of questions/comments/suggestions. I don't make all the changes -- I discuss them with my editor. Sometimes there's issues she didn't realize. Sometimes the fixes are very easy -- just a clarifying comment here or there can make all the difference.

Sometimes editors ask for BIG plot revisions -- and in general, they know what they're talking about. I rewrote from scratch the entire last 100 pages of my second book's ms because of a major plotpoint my editors wanted changed -- and they were TOTALLY right. Made the book much stronger in the end. Of course, at first, I didn't think that was going to be the case. But after doing it - - they were spot-on. And I wouldn't have discovered that if I didn't go ahead and do what they asked me to do.

I've discovered I have a process with major revisions that seems similar to the grieving process. There's shock (WHAT? You want me to do WHAT?) there's anger (GRRRR, you don't what the heck you're doing!), there's grief (this is where I cry over the story I loved being shredded. <G>), and then there's acceptance, and I move on with my life and the story's new life. The whole process takes about 2 days. <G> Chocolate helps. (Oh, and you never, EVER "voice" the shock/anger/grief parts to anyone other than your best writing buddy. You do NOT tell it to your editor.)

This is just a part of being a writer. We either deal with it, or we don't publish. :Shrug:

Susan G.

For the publishers I've worked for, major rewrites and major revisions after the contracts are signed come often, but are usually reserved for writers who have been previously published. Once a writer has a novel published, subsequent novels are usually offered a contract based on a synopsis, so after the the contract revisions and rewrites are a must.

But for first time writers, we like to see a publishable novel before the contract is signed. We don't know whether a writer is even capable of doing major rewrites and revisions until after he's done them, so we ask before offering a contract.

The escape clause in any contract is, of course, "upon delivery of an acceptable manuscript," but it's still usually best to ask a first time writer for major rewrites and revisions before offering a contract.

Star
06-27-2007, 10:52 PM
Thanks James.

Well, as feared, the publisher passed on me today. However, an assistant editor wants to take on my work...the deal would be too low for me to accept. Sigh

Susan Gable
06-28-2007, 03:12 AM
Thanks James.

Well, as feared, the publisher passed on me today. However, an assistant editor wants to take on my work...the deal would be too low for me to accept. Sigh

Star, what exactly does that mean? I'm sorry the publisher passed, but what does "an assistant editor wants to take on my work" mean?

Susan G.

Star
06-28-2007, 06:26 PM
Sorry, I am NEVER clear. ARGH!

The Senior Editor didn't feel strongly enough about the work. The Assistant Editor read it, loves it, and is willing to do the leg work (passing it around, seeing about offer - which will be low, etc.) The hurtful thing is I've seen the kind of stuff the Senior Editor admires. :(