The Next Circle of Hell, Vol. 2

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

Elle.

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Raggy - congrats on The Bookseller mentioned (even though they got your name wrong).

Carrie - good luck with your submission

I've reached a new publishing milestone yesterday. I've seen the cover concept for my UK proofs and it is insane! I must have shouted 'oh my god' about 5 times as I scrolled through the visuals and the explanations of what will be where. I cannot wait to hold a proof in my hands now.
 

MercyMe

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AW is back! I know y'all figured that out in June and I don't know how I missed it. I'm beginning to think there IS no world out there, that I'm living in a dystopian novel. It's been busy. Agent Wonderful could not sell Book One although she hasn't given up on it. Pandemic stuff borked everything.

I sent Book Two at the end of May and after two weeks, I had to nudge her for a response. She said she hadn't got to it yet but liked the title, looked forward to the read, etc. Still no word on what she thinks, but I'm oddly chill about it.

I have a pen name I self-publish under and so I worked on that catalogue during the wait and it helped. I'm going to do some more writing for my SP pens before tackling another trade novel.

I've read over the posts from June and I'm MASSIVELY happy for all of you who have sales and milestones reached. It's encouraged me to not throw in the towel just yet!
 

litdawg

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Carrie, good to have you back with us! I'm really sorry to hear about the various issues with old agent and lousy little publisher. I would definitely be put out if a work of mine went to audio and I wasn't consulted.

Elle--loved your description of happiness in getting your proofs! It's a great to share the joy of knowing your work is getting good treatment.

MercyMe--I hope Agent Wonderful lives up to monicker :) Super chill and working on other projects--especially SP ones that you get to bring to market more quickly--sounds lovely.

My agent wrote to me and let me know she's not taking on new clients due to a publishing gig that is taking up more of her time. She's committed to her current clients for as long as they want to work with her. I appreciate that she's being open about both her time and her commitment. I'm not rethinking my connection until I've gone through the full cycle with the mss I've pulled from sub to extend. I'm making slow progress on that due to summer craziness.

I got news today of my first publication in a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) qualifying market --a poem. I find that a bit ironic given that most of my effort in Sci Fi has been novel-length fiction. Double irony--poem is about a man writing a science fiction novel :LOL::LOL::LOL:
 

Quickbread

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Hi all, just catching up after a long round of traveling.

Carrie, good luck with your new agent search. What you're going through with your old agent sounds stressful.

TeresaRose, good luck with your book pub and also with your agent hunt.

PutPutt, I remember all those months you struggled waiting for your old agent. So happy you got a great upgrade! :)

A.P.M., so sorry about your manuscript. Don't give up hope for it down the road. At least you've got something new written.

acaefer and RaggyCat, I don't know what to say about agent turnaround times. It really does vary. Meanwhile, I'm STILL waiting. More on that below.

----

My agent has had some version of my manuscript in her possession for 4.5 months. She's definitely a slow reader who's very thoughtful and editorial. The last time she read a MS for me, in 2017, it took her 12 weeks. Her sales are very good. She's a quality-over-quantity type of agent, favoring fewer, larger deals. I like that a lot about her because I'm a slow writer. But even with Covid slowdowns, this seems like a long time. My MS is not long (85k), and I write lean, clean prose. She knows this.

Since she's only had the recent version for 4.5 weeks, I feel like it's too early to check in again. Everything sounded great on her end when she confirmed receipt of the new version. But here's what burns: my friend and critique partner is also repped by her -- she signed them in January -- and they sent a revised MS to her in June, months after I sent mine. My friend just followed up and told her they really needed to finalize edits before the semester starts. So she's dropping everything to read their revision this weekend so they can have a call on Monday. I'm trying really hard to not be pissed, but I got bumped back. She's extremely professional in emails and always responds within 24 hours. But my manuscript obviously hasn't been a priority. And I've been the quiet client who doesn't want to push too much. Since my last novel never went on submission, she's never made any money off me, even though she's repped me since 2013.

I had a really hard month personally, scattering my husband's ashes at sea. So I think this is hitting me extra hard. My novel is set in his homeland and is inspired by his family's experiences. I'll be devastated if it never gets out there in the world. Ugh!

(Thanks for letting me vent.)
 

TeresaRose

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My agent has had some version of my manuscript in her possession for 4.5 months. She's definitely a slow reader who's very thoughtful and editorial. The last time she read a MS for me, in 2017, it took her 12 weeks. Her sales are very good. She's a quality-over-quantity type of agent, favoring fewer, larger deals. I like that a lot about her because I'm a slow writer. But even with Covid slowdowns, this seems like a long time. My MS is not long (85k), and I write lean, clean prose. She knows this.

Since she's only had the recent version for 4.5 weeks, I feel like it's too early to check in again. Everything sounded great on her end when she confirmed receipt of the new version. But here's what burns: my friend and critique partner is also repped by her -- she signed them in January -- and they sent a revised MS to her in June, months after I sent mine. My friend just followed up and told her they really needed to finalize edits before the semester starts. So she's dropping everything to read their revision this weekend so they can have a call on Monday. I'm trying really hard to not be pissed, but I got bumped back. She's extremely professional in emails and always responds within 24 hours. But my manuscript obviously hasn't been a priority. And I've been the quiet client who doesn't want to push too much. Since my last novel never went on submission, she's never made any money off me, even though she's repped me since 2013.

I had a really hard month personally, scattering my husband's ashes at sea. So I think this is hitting me extra hard. My novel is set in his homeland and is inspired by his family's experiences. I'll be devastated if it never gets out there in the world. Ugh!

(Thanks for letting me vent.)

So sorry, Quickbread, for the loss of your husband. I don't know when he passed away, but I'm sure in scattering his ashes it brought it all back. I've had a recent and devastating loss too, and it does make certain things a lot harder. Writing has helped a lot though; a great distraction, something to funnel my mind into. Regarding your friend's project getting first priority, yeah, sucks, but you don't know the circumstances, maybe it's just the way things happened; something like an intern seeing it, doing more work with it, making it easier for your agent to put it first. With Covid turning things upside down, who knows what the reason is. And because you're the "good client", patient and sweet, and she knows you know she takes 12 or so weeks, she's probably just trying to manage everything the best way she knows how.
And thanks for wishing me luck with my writing avenues. Fingers crossed.
 
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utesfanami

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Hi everyone! It's great to have AW back.

Last year, I went on submission with my agent for the very first time. It didn't go the way I hoped, unfortunately. The book needs some work, especially in the beginning, because editors weren't connecting. I'm going to revise it this fall and we'll go out with a second round.

I've never been on submission before, and I was completely stunted creatively. Any time I tried writing, I was completely overwhelmed and couldn't think. And worse, I'm a teacher, and COVID was spreading in my school. It was a completely miserable time, and I think I placed even more hopeful, emotional energy on my book getting snapped up. BIG MISTAKE.

Anyway, I did break out of the rut in December and worked for six months rewriting an older MS. My agent read it and loved it but sent me back line edits. I just got those back to her. She's going to go through the MS one more time and hopefully it's ready. I'm really excited about this one, but...well, we were both super excited about book #1 too, so...

I've been working at getting published for over a decade. Six manuscripts. Only got an agent last year. I really really want that feeling of holding my own book in my hand and realizing I just did something that for so long has seemed quite impossible.
 

Fuchsia Groan

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I am so sorry about your husband, Quickbread. And I understand the frustration you’re feeling at seeing your agent let someone else jump the line. If you don’t hear from her soon on your ms., I would start politely nudging her. I’ve been the “quiet client,” too, but there’s no harm in speaking up for your own interests.

I know that feeling, Utesfanami! It took me nine years and many mss. to get to a sale. I hope this new book is the One for you.

My old cat died this week, so I’ve been sitting with that. She was a great writing companion, a big part of my life.

Congratulations on the cover concept, Elle! I’m over the moon about my cover, but it’ll be a while before I can post it.
 
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RaggyCat

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Good luck with your submission, Carrie. Hope it works out well for you. I can understand being miffed over the audio, if that's an area where you have experience.

Elle - Proofs are such fun, they're often quite out there and in some ways cooler than the real thing. Look forward to seeing when you're able to share them.

MercyMe - So sorry that it looks like that may be it for Book One (but not definitely it, so fingers crossed). I've seen a fair number of sales announcements/stuff about your agent in the last few months, so I'm sure it's no reflection on her as she's doing well. Is Book Two linked to Book One (I think it is, but I might have this wrong) or standalone? And if it is linked, can you edit it so it is a standalone?

Quickbread - I'm sorry you're waiting such a while on your agent, especially during a hard time where some feedback - or something new - would probably be a good thing for you to have. And I'm very sorry about your husband. I can completely understand how you're feeling about someone else "jumping the queue" - this is the kind of thing I am sure would drive me quite insane. There's probably a very definite reason for it - I would imagine, if this is the book your friend signed with the agent for, that your agent is excited about it, and signed your friend with a specific sub schedule in mind. That is no reflection on you, but definitely rankles. Like Fuchsia says, I think there's no harm dropping an email to say hello, and politely enquire - 4.5 months by anyone's estimation is a long time.

Utesfanami - I'm sorry round 1 of sub didn't get any bites (I think I remember reading your intro on SYW) but I'm glad you can revise before going on round 2. So many agents do massive sub rounds, which can work against authors when it comes to revising. Either way, that you have another book to go on sub too can only be a good thing. I hope it works out!

Fuchsia - I hope you're doing OK. I've been thinking of you after seeing your IG post.

I've got nothing new to contribute. Like many of you here, I'm waiting on things, and going more than a little loopy.
 
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MercyMe

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MercyMe - So sorry that it looks like that may be it for Book One (but not definitely it, so fingers crossed). I've seen a fair number of sales announcements/stuff about your agent in the last few months, so I'm sure it's no reflection on her as she's doing well. Is Book Two linked to Book One (I think it is, but I might have this wrong) or standalone? And if it is linked, can you edit it so it is a standalone?
Thank you for this, Raggy. Really helpful information. She said she had my latest mss on her To Do list and I'm glad it's because she's busy with sales. She's an editorial agent so I expected it to take longer to get back to me with her response, but I'm approaching 10 weeks which strikes me as long. The new mss is a standalone and not connected to the first. The first will be a trilogy eventually but I won't write it until the first sells.
I want to write something for a smaller publisher here in Canada and sub it but I can't. I love having an agent, but it can be restrictive at times.
 

RaggyCat

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Thank you for this, Raggy. Really helpful information. She said she had my latest mss on her To Do list and I'm glad it's because she's busy with sales. She's an editorial agent so I expected it to take longer to get back to me with her response, but I'm approaching 10 weeks which strikes me as long. The new mss is a standalone and not connected to the first. The first will be a trilogy eventually but I won't write it until the first sells.
I want to write something for a smaller publisher here in Canada and sub it but I can't. I love having an agent, but it can be restrictive at times.

Her name has definitely been one that's come up on quite a few announcements recently, and she's also been promoted at her agency, which is testament to how well she's been doing, so I'd take some comfort there. I'm so glad that your new MS is a standalone - much easier to pitch and sell. I hope she loves it. 10 weeks is a while, but it's not unusual, especially if she's had some time off in leave in the middle of that which wouldn't be at all surprising at this time of year (until today I'd been waiting 11 weeks, I think).

I heard back from my agent today on my new MS. She really likes it, but has things she'd like to be changed. Both are quite significant (although they mostly affect the first half) so I'm going to get plotting today to see how I could resolve them - I don't disagree with her, so I don't feel discouraged at all. (She doesn't seem bothered by the thing I thought could be a weakness - so maybe I fixed that!) On the plus side, her email gives me a much better sense of the niche she sees me occupying in the marketplace, and that's really helpful.
 

Carrie

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Greetings!
I thought I'd join the chorus of folks checking in while waiting. I sent out a test volley of queries more than a year ago when I first realized I needed to seek new representation. My manuscript was still pretty rough and my letter was (ahem) not where it should be. I didn't get an offer, but I got enough nibbles to think I was on the right track and not crazy to ditch my current agent. So now, with a better book and a better letter and a better-targeted approach, what do I get? Crickets.

Waiting is hard. (I realize this is news to all of you.) But I've taken the first book as far as I can without help and that's what I generally read is a good time to submit. I have only gotten one full manuscript read so far and I started submitting in June. The fellow who read had a very legitimate reason for passing, one that didn't alarm me at all. But I know it's a waiting game and I continue to put a new letter or two out every week.

So, right now, I am doing my best to focus on the new thing. I will finish the third chapter, about 10k words tomorrow. This new thing is very different from the previous work I've done and I've no idea what will happen next, as I'm given info on a need-to-know basis when I write. But I truly believe the old cliche that the only way out of something is to write my way through it and that's what I'm going to do. Thank you for all your kind words and I wish you all the best on your various versions of the waiting game but, more importantly, happy writing!
 

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I heard back from my agent today on my new MS. She really likes it, but has things she'd like to be changed. Both are quite significant (although they mostly affect the first half) so I'm going to get plotting today to see how I could resolve them - I don't disagree with her, so I don't feel discouraged at all. (She doesn't seem bothered by the thing I thought could be a weakness - so maybe I fixed that!) On the plus side, her email gives me a much better sense of the niche she sees me occupying in the marketplace, and that's really helpful.

Congrats on this good news, Raggy!
 

Fuchsia Groan

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I’m so glad your agent is liking the new book, Raggy! I’m sure you can ace the revisions.

Carrie, I’ve got a friend in a similar situation—querying and hearing crickets. It seems really tough out there right now.

I’m pushing through to finish a full draft of my adult upmarket book, which is so character-driven that it’s probably just not marketable. But this is a story I’ve been wanting to write for decades, so I had to go for it. When I’m done, I can try something a little more commercial. Or not! I’m starting to think I’m just not cut out to write plot-driven books. I try, but the target readers always seem to find them too slow-paced.
 

Elle.

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Raggy — glad to hear that your agent is liking your new MS and that her feedback has been helpful.

Carrie — waiting sucks, there's so much of it in publishing. I think at the moment it's taking even longer for agents to get back to people but hopefully you'll get some answers soon. Good thing you have a new project to distract yourself.

I had my cover reveal on Twitter and Insta on Friday it was a surreal experience. And now there are people in the real world, complete strangers reading my book! Luckily, I have my proof pages to check to keep me busy.
 

RaggyCat

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I'm almost afraid to post, as every time I do it seems to kill the thread! But it's good to have some updates as to how things are for you guys. A couple of days ago I got an editorial letter from my editor on my (as yet unannounced) YA and I'm so impressed - she's really sharp and thorough! Nothing huge, happily, just lots of little character bits here and there, and she's suggested some sensitivity reads which I find very reassuring. Have any of you had sensitivity reads on any of your books?

This feedback does mean parking the (much trickier) changes I was making on WIP for my agent, but that's the biz, I guess.

Carrie - waiting does suck! But you're doing the right thing in letting the book go, rather than hanging onto it and massaging it indefinitely, and also in writing the next thing. If there's a summer slump, hopefully it should be ending soon?

Fuchsia - maybe this new book is your forte, if you've had those comments on pace? Plenty of readers I know enjoy absorbing character stories - my book club certainly do. Either way, it sounds like this project has allowed you to feel out your writing a little, which is a good thing.

Elle - I hope you enjoyed cover release day! It looks great. When is your pub date again?
 
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Elle.

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Raggy — good news about the editorial letter, especially about the sensitivity read. It's nice to have an editor who cares about those things. What's your deadline to return it to her?

Thanks, I'm lucky that I absolutely love my cover and I couldn't wait to finally share it with everyone. My pub date is 14th April for the UK and 12th April for the US. Proofs have just gone to the printer.
 

Harlequin

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Congrats on the edit letter Raggy, and on the cover reveal, Elle x

Not much happening here. We sent out for blurbs last week and got the first one back straight away, from someone I'd never heard of (James Rollins) but he was very kind, esp to read so quickly!

Early physical galleys have also been printed out and sent around for more blurbs/reviews. And I do mean early, lol, because I haven't actually done copy/line edits yet (end of this month) or pass pages (Halloween-time).

Trying frenetically to write the next one. Everyone keeps telling me I have time lol, but I don't really, not if I want to eat next year!
 

RaggyCat

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Elle - Ooh, I might end up sharing a pub date with you! As yet unannounced book has an April release. My edits need to be done in the next three weeks so there's plenty of breathing room before Frankfurt, but I think I'll aim for two if I can.

Harlequin - Glad you got a quote! Sometimes people don't come back with anything at all. It's much harder to write books that are contracted and/or to a deadline - completely different experience to writing a book for an agent to pitch.
 

Fuchsia Groan

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Elle, what is your Twitter, if you’re comfortable with revealing it here? I’d love to see the cover! (I’m @MargotFHarrison.)

I’m waiting for first-pass pages. This is my last book unless I manage to sell another one, so I’m trying to savor the experience!
 

Elle.

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Harlequin - congrats on your first blurb! That is definitely early if you haven't done your line/copy edits yet. I can relate I am eager to get the next book to my editor as soon as possible.

Raggy - pub buddies! There are a couple of other debuts writers I know who have the same pub dates so we can all support each other. That's nice to have some breathing time. I've got about the same to send back my proof reading.

Fuchsia - I think we already follow each other on Twitter (I'm @Laure0901). If you scroll back to Friday on my profile you can see the cover reveal video.
 
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Putputt

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It's so hard for me to post here because I have no idea anymore what I'm allowed to say and what I'm not and I just want to shout a lot of updates at the world guhguhggg.

Elle - I've been checking Netgalley every day for your book!! It's exactly the kind of book I gobble up and I'm *obsessed* with that haunting cover!

Raggy - Yaay, it's so exciting to know that your agent is so into your new book! I had a sensitivity read on one of my books because it was standard practice for my publisher. It was an interesting experience, and even though the book is Own Voices, I ended up learning a lot from the SR's feedback. But it was also a somewhat uncomfortable process, if that makes sense. I disagreed with quite a bit of the feedback, and felt affronted when they suggested that I look up bilingual people to see how they switch back and forth between languages. I screamed at my computer, "I AM TRILINGUAL!!!!!!!!!!" :ROFLMAO: So yanno, I was definitely very professional and did not take anything too personally... :p

Harlequin - I've been looking for your book on NG too! So many AWers' books that I'm really looking forward to...

Fuchsia - Having read your two previous books and loving your writing, I feel like an upmarket book from you would be the Holy Grail! I can't wait to read it. I sometimes randomly think of this new book of yours and get such a feeling of excitement, like, "Oh hoho, yessss, it'll be in my hands soooooooon!"
 

Harlequin

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Lol! That's interesting about the sensitivity reader. We were booked to have one in but editor decided after final round of edits it was no longer necessary. I hope she is right and that doesn't bite us on the backside later.

Fwiw I thought the code switching in D4A was bang on but heyyho 😂
 

A.P.M.

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I'm glad to see so much good news in here! Congrats to Raggy and Elle, and it sounds like edits and pub preparations are going well for Harlequin

I'm now on sub with my new book, finishing up a fourth (a YA sci fi) for my agent, and plotting the fifth (more talking animals). I really hope this sub experience goes better. I always have hope with a new project but after not selling the first one, the doubt always sets in.

Of course, if it does sell, I don't even know what to expect. I read Putputt's thread about the publication experience, and some of it (have book 2 ready/outlined if you're offered a series) sounds overwhelming.
 

Krampus Nacht

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