The Next Circle of Hell, Vol. 2

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Carrie

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Hullo, Everyone!
Congrats to RaggyCat! I can't help but note that the last thing I posted (and the last post before the site went down) was congrats to RaggyCat, and now she gets more congrats. What's up with that?!? So sorry, Lizmonster and APM. Hang in there! This is not a sprint and it is not for the faint of heart. ♥️

The timing of this is ideal because I shipped the last of my queries for the summer yesterday. One went by snail mail, the others were electronic and I've decided to pause until I get some sort of feedback. Since I last wrote, I have removed all doubt and regret about leaving my current agent. It may be a long haul to get the next one, but I am very firmly convinced I deserve better and will get it. So!

To date, I've had one intern reject me. (I believe her name was Erin. I imagine she is twenty-two and working for free as mummy and daddy pay her rent. No bitterness here.) Then I had a very odd moment when the head of William Morris Endeavor referred me over to a senior partner -- and I mean "senior" in every sense of the word. He wanted my manuscript in 16 pt. font! He read overnight, said he was "intrigued," but passed because he could not stomach my villain!

Well! I happen to love my villain. But she is an elderly female and rather endearing and I know readers have found it off-putting when they learn she is killing small children. No matter. I later learned this agent also represents Ann Coulter and the Duck Dynasty and, really, I couldn't have that on my karma.

So I have decided to write for a while as the results dribble in. I had hoped to leverage some connections I had with my newspaper syndicate to get agent referrals, but that came to naught and I have literally no more connections to tap at the moment. So we do the query thing and see how it goes. So nice to connect with you all again. Happy writing/submitting/waiting in agony.
--Carrie
 

litdawg

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So exciting that we're back! Congratulations, Raggycat! I'm glad you can finally share the good news. Lizmonster, I feel like I'm in the same boat. My mss has now been to over two dozen publishers, many of whom requested full, none of whom ultimately offered. My agent has gone from quick responses to emails to weeks of delay. APM, glad you've got enough irons in the fire to be emotionally diversified :)

Be Frank and Carrie--I'm wishing all the Zen vibes you need to wait gracefully.
 

Fuchsia Groan

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Oh wow! We’re back! Congratulations, RaggyCat—I’m so, so happy for you and this book! Can’t wait to see a cover.

Sending sympathy to Liz, APM, and litdawg. This business is terrifying and often dispiriting. Please keep believing in your writing, in whatever way you want to get it out there.

I’ve lost two editors in the space of just over a year, but one of those editors bought my third book before she left publishing, and it’s in PM today:

Margot Harrison's WE MADE IT ALL UP, in which a 16-year-old moves to small-town Montana to escape her past, only to become embroiled in her new home's dark, twisted secrets when her crush—and writing subject—is found dead in a nearby cave, to Rachel Poloski at Little, Brown Children's, for publication in summer 2022, by Jessica Sinsheimer at Context Literary Agency (world).
 

A.P.M.

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Congrats Fuchsia and Raggycat! Good to see some happy news.
 
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aceafer

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Ahh congrats Fuschia and RaggyCat! Great to come back with such good news!

My edits are still with my agents - they tend to take 1-3 months on them which feels like a long time comparatively to everyone else I know. But I do know that they do give the MS to the interns to read as well, and the notes always feel to me incredibly thorough and useful, so I am trying to make my peace with it.

We thought that I'd be on sub this year but now I'm thinking, if it takes another month to get my edits back and then there are more, maybe it will be the end of the year/beginning of next. My last round was very short though, so I do feel like we're getting to the end of them and I do have very editorial agents which I did want.

I am working on the new one in the meantime on and off... I would love to send the first few chapters over to them as I'm nearly at 50K so it's going to be upsetting if they hate it, but they do know the pitch, so hopefully it won't be too much of a risk!
 
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RaggyCat

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Thank you, Carrie, Litdawg, APM and Fuchsia. :) I was expecting to have seen a cover by now, but the publishers are going in a different direction creatively now so it'll be a wait. I don't mind.

Fuchsia, congratulations on your news and I'm so pleased you can now announce it! That must sweeten the pill of being passed around editors a little (a feeling I know well). It sounds incredible and I'm really looking forward to reading it.

I'm sorry your sub hasn't resulted in an offer yet, litdawg, and also that your agent seems to be a little eratic. Can you request a phone call? Sometimes that's a lot easier than waiting.

APM, I know the feeling of thinking something might be "the one" and then signs starting to point otherwise (though it sounds like you still have hope). It makes you question yourself and your judgement. I'm glad you're at least keeping busy with other projects.

Carrie, sending you good vibes. FWIW, I rather like the idea of an elderly female villain! Hope more feedback is speedy.


I've today sent my New Shiny to my agent and am already feeling weird and bereft! It was definitely time for it to go, though. Now the nervous wait to see what she thinks begins!
 
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litdawg

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That's great news, Fuchsia! It's nice that the editor didn't leave unfinished business behind when leaving the biz.
 

RaggyCat

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aceafer, our posts crossed! Maybe you're right that realistically sub might happen towards the end of the year... Your agents probably have a month in mind already when they want to sub, based on their literary calendars. I know my agent always planned to sub my book last year in March to coincide with London Book Fair. But an autumn sub might work to your favour, given the book is quite dark?
 

Putputt

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Aaahhh so good to see all the familiar faces!! It feels like coming home! Congratulations to both Fuchsia and Raggy!! So happy to see good news for you!! I’m with the little ones, so can’t do a longer post, but just wanted to drop by to say HIII and so happy to see that AW is finally up and running again.
 
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Sonya Heaney

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Hey!! It feels like forever since we were here.



Raggy—!!! !!! !!! I am SO happy for you. After everyone was so down on everything not long ago!



And: Fuchsia!!! That’s so great. I love the concept. So excited about this. :)



lizmonster: I have THOUGHTS about the publishing industry too. But then, I’ve had THOUGHTS since day one! I’m in a place at the moment where I am learning to manage them without going insane.



A.P.M.— I hope your book still finds a home. I ended up adding two new POVs and tens of thousands of words in structural edits in the time the forums were down. It’s amazing how much a manuscript can change.



Carrie—It’s that fear of leaving a not-great situation that makes us worry, isn’t it? I hope your agent search works out soon.



litdawg—I feel like everything slowed down recently. Maybe even more than at the start of the pandemic? I’m feeling that everyone is in a position where responses are coming 1000 times slower than a year ago.



Hi, be frank! :)



EDIT: Putputt! I missed you. I've been following your success on other sites!
 
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Sonya Heaney

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My news: I can’t really say much at the moment. I have a book—THE book I’ve been wanting to write for a few years—going to acquisitions any day now, so it’s just more waiting, waiting, waiting. It’s my big shipwreck/ghost ship book that’s not like the other things I have already published, and after working on it with my editor for months it’s going to be so annoying if it doesn’t get picked up at this point.



But I already have three other manuscripts that are half-done, so my mind is moving on. I’m at the coast now—in the area this shipwreck book is set—researching and typing and writing (with an atrocious internet connection!), and even though it’s winter here, it’s pretty nice: https://www.instagram.com/p/CQDMUnCDPfQ/
 
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Elle.

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Nice to see the forum up to and running, and that everybody is back.

Congrats Raggy and Fuchsia!!

Good luck Sonya with the acquisitions meeting I hope it all goes well.
 

Harlequin

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Omg aw is running again on literally the only day this year I thought I'd check in!

Ive missed having a loosely connected forum lol.

This time last year I was moving into a semi derelict house in the inner city after months of failing to find any accommodation who would take me (autistic unemployed single mothers don't look good on rental applications).

Currently, I'm wrapping up Round 3 of Dev edits for The Book Eaters before we officially go into copy edits and production. Then I start the next book. Meantime I'm super excited for the cover artist who are really unusual and not an art I've seen before on book covers.


Life is good to me atm. I alternate between feeling bad about that and also waiting for something to go wrong.
 
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Shoeless

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Oh man, AW is back!

Like Harlequin, I also just randomly checked, I had no idea I was going to hit paydirt.

I'm just in the middle of edits for my agent before sending a book out. After that, it's more edits, this time on a finished middle grade that I just want to finally put out there to see what happens. After that, I'll finally start on something new. It's time I finally indulged in my childhood fascination with Giant Robots.
 

diana86

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OH YAY, the forums are back up right when I'm back on sub again (as of last Weds)!

Maybe it's a sign that we'll all get some good news soon. No? Too hopeful? 😂

Congrats Fuschia and RaggyCat! And good luck at acquisitions, Sonya!
 

RaggyCat

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Sonya, Elle, Diana - Thank you! Cliched as hell, but the "it only takes one editor to turn everything around" line VERY much applied in my case (weird and unusual acquistions experience, maybe I'll blog about it some day). I think I should get to announce more about my IP deal very soon, which is exciting, but it sounds like I'll be sitting on announcing the YA thriller that sold for quite a while.

Sonya - Good luck at acquisitions (especially as it is THE book from the sounds of things). Acquisitions is such a nervy time in the process (OK, all parts of this process we put ourselves through are nervy, but acquisitions feels most crushing to me, somehow). I hope they don't keep you waiting. FWIW,I like both shipwrecks and ghosts. :)

Harlequin - Happy life is good to you! You're at a good stage in the process, with copy edits and covers, which are both exciting things. Enjoy it!

Shoeless - Hope the rest of your edits go smoothly. FWIW, I also like giant robots. :)

Diana - Best of luck on sub! I hope it's swift for you - at least having a very recetly published book and one upcoming should, in theory, get you a much quicker response. Fingers crossed!
 

Moonchild

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Congrats Fuchsia and RaggyCat and everyone else who's had news lately.

I'm still in the wilderness. Given up on MSs #1 and #2 selling. Haven't been in touch with my agent in over a year. Haven't been able to complete anything new and polished in longer than that (life stuff, mental health stuff, more life stuff, a global pandemic and more life stuff :greenie). But popping by here always gives me a boost and hope.

Hugs all around! :e2grouphu
 
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diana86

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I think I should get to announce more about my IP deal very soon, which is exciting, but it sounds like I'll be sitting on announcing the YA thriller that sold for quite a while.

Ooooh would you be willing to share how different the sub process was for IP (through a packager, I'm guessing?) vs. going on sub with your agent? There's so little info out there about how the process differs, if at all. Asking for... reasons. 👀👀👀 (And thank you for the well wishes! 💕)

And yeah sitting on news can be tough when you just want to shout it from the rooftops, but at least you know exciting things are on the horizon! Happy for you!
 

RaggyCat

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Ooooh would you be willing to share how different the sub process was for IP (through a packager, I'm guessing?) vs. going on sub with your agent? There's so little info out there about how the process differs, if at all. Asking for... reasons. 👀👀👀 (And thank you for the well wishes! 💕)

And yeah sitting on news can be tough when you just want to shout it from the rooftops, but at least you know exciting things are on the horizon! Happy for you!

Of course! I didn't know anything about IP at all until this came up, so I'm happy to share. My agent got in touch because an editor had approached her with an outline for a book series, asking if my agent had any clients who would be interested and suitable. I then had to produce a 2k submission sample based on a half page blurby outline for one of the books. This went to the editor. She had I think fourteen other authors who'd also written a submission sample (I'm guessing the editor must have approached most of her agent contacts about the project). Editor read the submissions, and chose mine and another to take to acquisitions. So it was a different process in that the publishers were always going to proceed with the project - it was mostly just a question of which author's sample resonated with them. I didn't know any of this until afterwards, though.

I know for some authors it's a case of them letting their agents know they'd be up for IP, and then the agents keep an eye out for possible deals/actively asking editors. Tess Sharpe talks about IP quite a lot on her Twitter and said this in a thread about it (maybe from about a month ago?). It was insightful, anyway! Hope that helps with your reasons. ;) :p


Moonchild - Thank you! I'm sorry you're in the wilderness and have been for a while. It sounds like things have been really tough for you. Take care and hugs. :heart:
 
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TeresaRose

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Congrats, Raggy Cat and Fuschia. I share my commiseration with all who are still patiently waiting, writing....
 

Fuchsia Groan

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Thanks, everybody! I really feel like I got lucky. I just happened to be inherited by an editor who really liked this book. (And this book is more personal than my other two, so it means a lot to find a home for it.)

Oooh, that’s pretty, Sonya. Good luck at acquisitions. And good luck on sub, Diana! Seems like you’re on fire!

I’m so sorry it’s been a tough time, Moonchild. Thinking of you.

Harlequin, Elle, I can’t wait to see your books in the wild.
 
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diana86

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Thanks so much for that insight, RaggyCat! Wow, that's SO many authors who auditioned. o_O Congrats on getting it!
 

litdawg

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Today I sent THAT email to my agent--the one that will lead either to a renewal or the end. She wrote to me in April saying that she felt she'd exhausted the market for my manuscript. I sent her half a dozen more prospects which she agreed to pitch. During my time on sub, I've been writing a sequel that has been feeling more and more like the 4th act of the book on sub. Given that bk 1 hasn't been picked up anywhere, I want to create a new version of it, moving from 91k to 135k.

The expansion would force a lot changes--title, pitch, etc. It's not the length my agent agreed to represent. While 130k-140k isn't impossible to sell, it's not as easy for a debut writer as 90k-100k.

I've asked for a phone call to discuss next steps. My contract w/ her renewed in March for another 12 months. I missed the 90 day window to end the contract because agent had personal issues in December that caused her to cancel our phone call then.

I'm ambivalent about what I'm seeking in the call. I guess that means I'm open. I am grateful for how my agent has gotten my mss read by top publishers, and I'd like her to be able to finally make some money if the expanded version can somehow find a home. But I also feel she's given up on the project, at least for a traditional publisher, and I'd like a chance for a fresh start with a new advocate or to submit to independent publishers like Baen and Head of Zeus on my own.

Has anyone here had experience with this kind of conversation? I really like my agent personally--don't want to burn bridges--I'm just not sure we belong in the same boat anymore. I'd like to communicate these things openly without being adamant about one course over another. Any suggestions as to how to say what's on my mind more clearly than what I've laid out above?