The Next Circle of Hell, Vol. 2

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

Carrie

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
182
Acckk! Gettting ready to send my latest revision to my mentor/would-be new agent. Instead of just dropping it on him, I asked for any final advice I could keep in mind while giving it a last going-over. So far, his advice has all been spot-on but, of course, I can't see what I can't see.

I am pretty sure that this whole supervised revision thing has been a big test on his part. He's head of a well-established agency, so he's not worried that I will take my revised manuscript and run off to someone else. But he's also not interested in signing another writer who can't (or won't) revise. So he does this instead. I am just so grateful to finally get the kind of qualified feedback I've needed on my first work of fiction. Writing nonfiction has given me a lot of the needed tools, but there has still been a steep learning curve and I could not have done it with my current agent. So... we'll see what he has to say!
 

Fuchsia Groan

Becoming a laptop-human hybrid
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
2,665
Reaction score
840
Location
The windswept northern wastes
Good luck, Carrie! That’s so exciting. He sounds like he’d be a good champion for any book whose author he signs.

I fell into a TikTok rabbit hole. There are so many authors promoting their books on there and so much advice about how to game the algorithm. It’s addictive. I have to keep reminding myself that I have too many things going on already and I simply do not have the bandwidth to do what these authors do. The only good reason for me to make videos is for fun. But then this tiny voice in my head whispers, “What if it worked this time? What if it moved the needle?” (Spoiler alert: It will not move the needle.)
 

RaggyCat

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
1,282
Reaction score
290
Location
UK
Belated hello again to mentacle! I remember you from a while back, so welcome back.

scarywicket - I'm glad you got in touch with your agent but sorry that there's no real news. Publsihing seems to be moving really slowly at the moment and I don't think we can blame Frankfurt anymore! I know a few of us are deep in really long waits on this thread.

Carrie, I hope it's good news with agent/mentor! I can't see why he'd put his time into helping you for nothing, so I'm cautiously hopeful on your behalf this will be something good.

Fuschia, TikTok is a rabbit hole I'm not going to fall into right now because it does seem very addictive! As long as you enjoy it, even if it's not on the scale that other authors do, it's all good. I have read a lot about TikTok really being a pusher of engagement and sales within the YA sphere, but suspect you have to be super popular to do this.

I'm deep in some quite late stage edits for my book coming out next year, which I was hoping to have been able to announce by now. I really wanted to have finished edits on another book to send to my agent but the timing hasn't worked out. The first quarter of the book is done, though, and that was where I had to make the biggest revisions.

Has anyone ever beta read the start of the book, and not the rest? I'm thinking it might be smart to seek some readers on this first quarter, if I can find them, to establish if they're setting up the rest of the book effectively. I can't tell anymore!
 

Carrie

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
182
I have read a lot about TikTok really being a pusher of engagement and sales within the YA sphere, but suspect you have to be super popular to do this.
I admire you guys for trying TikTok but, I gotta admit, I'm glad my readers are old! They read me in the newspaper! (How retro can you get?)
I'm thinking it might be smart to seek some readers on this first quarter
I think finding readers for the opening three chapters or so is a great idea. I did that with the current book and I got the best idea from a reader who really was not right for the genre or style but he absolutely hit the nail on the head with what was not working in the opening pages. It's also a way to find out who might be a good reader for the subsequent pages, I think.

I heard back from my mentor/would-be agent in 43 minutes (but who's counting?) It's just such a trip after the years I've spent with my current agent waiting days, weeks, and even months for a reply.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Woollybear

Fuchsia Groan

Becoming a laptop-human hybrid
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
2,665
Reaction score
840
Location
The windswept northern wastes
Haha, Carrie, I write for a newspaper, too! We’re still in print and delivered and everything! But those older readers don’t really carry over to my YA stuff.

Anyway, that’s great news that you heard back so quickly!

Raggy, I think it makes a lot of sense to get readers for just the beginning, because it’s such a crucial section and often determines whether someone buys a book (if they’re a browser like me).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Carrie

RaggyCat

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
1,282
Reaction score
290
Location
UK
What did the agent/mentor say, Carrie? Positive noises,I hope. Have you officially parted ways with your old agent yet? (sorry if you have and I am muddled!)

I think you guys are right about the betas for the start. With these revisions for my agent, I've lost my exciting opening, and the murder has jumped from chapter 1 to chapter 8, so now I worry the intrigue is slow developing.

I'll post on the beta forum. And if any of you are willing to read a few YA thriller chapters, let me know! Happy to reciprocate reading a few chapters at some point.
 

Carrie

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
182
Have you officially parted ways with your old agent yet?
I actually haven't as my memoir is still in print and I get a royalty statement and check from her twice a year. As long as that book is being sold, I guess we're joined! I will let her know, however, when I sign with someone new for my fiction. And, yes, my new mentor/would-be agent likes all the revisions I've discussed, remembers the plot in detail, which I find rather amazing after two and a half months (how many books does he read?), and is eager to get the completed revision.

I think having your opening chapters beta read is a great idea! I would offer to read, but I don't think I've got the experience in YA to be very useful. The one thing I am a good reader for is memoir / creative nonfiction but memoir writers are, by and large, completely uninterested in what I have to say! Ah well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RaggyCat

RaggyCat

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
1,282
Reaction score
290
Location
UK
Do let your previous agent know! She can still handle your memoir even if you sign with someone else, as she negotiated that deal. My first agent handles everything relating to my first three books and gets in touch about royalty statements, etc, and that works just fine.

Your book clearly has stuck in mentor/would-be-agent's mind, which bodes really well! He must enjoy reading and working on it - which also bodes well!

I think having your opening chapters beta read is a great idea! I would offer to read, but I don't think I've got the experience in YA to be very useful. The one thing I am a good reader for is memoir / creative nonfiction but memoir writers are, by and large, completely uninterested in what I have to say! Ah well.

Not a problem, Carrie. Just asking on here on the off-chance!
 

RaggyCat

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
1,282
Reaction score
290
Location
UK
Ahh! I just got to see the front cover for my YA publishing next year. I love it! Not what I was expecting at all (I'd never have anticipated those colours) but it's REALLY glam and also suits the book's new title, which I'd been a bit undecided on. IRL it should get some blingy foil too.

Hopefully I can share properly soon. It feels like the "sitting on news forever" part of publishing is a stage that needs to come with its own particular warning!
 

Carrie

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
182
I'd never have anticipated those colours) but it's REALLY glam and also suits the book's new title
Ooh! How exciting! Congrats and please share as soon as you can! Isn't it nice to get good surprises?
 

RaggyCat

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
1,282
Reaction score
290
Location
UK
Ooh! How exciting! Congrats and please share as soon as you can! Isn't it nice to get good surprises?
Thanks, Carrie! Hopefully, I can share soon - I know the plan was to announce around now. I commented to a friend that I was really craving a publishing "fix" of some description this week and I've got it now! I always get a bit afraid by covers, because it's difficult if you wind up with somehing you dislike, but I do love this.

Has anyone ever secretly not liked one of their covers? I've liked all mine, but I do have a definite least favourite!
 

Carrie

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
182
Has anyone ever secretly not liked one of their covers? I've liked all mine
Well, I've only had one, but I do like it. My publisher didn't do much right, but they did provide a nice cover.
 

Fuchsia Groan

Becoming a laptop-human hybrid
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
2,665
Reaction score
840
Location
The windswept northern wastes
Oooh, that’s exciting, Raggy!! I can’t wait to see it. And foil, yay!

I’ve liked all the covers I’ve had, though some are more high-brow and others lean toward pulpy horror (I think of it as the VHS box cover style of creepy, which dates me.) I may be easy to please. :)

Speaking of which, I just saw the new illustrated paperback cover of The Glare, and omg! It’s scary. The hardcover is more subtle on the horror, but I really like them both.
 

utesfanami

WriteTeachSleep
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
312
Reaction score
76
Saw some editors post on Twitter today about their yearly submission stats.

I know they do it to be helpful, but really, it was so disheartening. Like one editor had 230+ submissions and only offered on 5 of them. Another editor had 290 submissions and offered on 10.

These numbers make it seem impossible...
 

A.P.M.

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
Messages
889
Reaction score
125
Yeah, those numbers are incredibly imposing. With agent numbers I can console myself with the thought that a large portion of their submissions are from newbie writers who's submissions may not be ready, but with editors, every one of those submissions is probably publishable (assuming the submissions are agented).

But if we think about it from a writer perspective, each agent sends the work out to 10-15 editors, right? So so if those same, say, 250 submissions saw 15 editors, who each picked 5-10 out of the pile, then out of that group of 250 writers, 75-150 are getting picked. So it may not be as dire as we think, unless there's something wrong with my logic.
 
  • Like
Reactions: utesfanami

litdawg

Helping those who help themselves
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 18, 2019
Messages
805
Reaction score
402
Location
California
Yeah, those numbers are incredibly imposing. With agent numbers I can console myself with the thought that a large portion of their submissions are from newbie writers who's submissions may not be ready, but with editors, every one of those submissions is probably publishable (assuming the submissions are agented).

But if we think about it from a writer perspective, each agent sends the work out to 10-15 editors, right? So so if those same, say, 250 submissions saw 15 editors, who each picked 5-10 out of the pile, then out of that group of 250 writers, 75-150 are getting picked. So it may not be as dire as we think, unless there's something wrong with my logic.
I'm going with your logic whether or not something could possibly be wrong with it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: utesfanami

Harlequin

Eat books, not brains!
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 21, 2010
Messages
4,534
Reaction score
1,288
Location
The land from whence the shadows fall
Website
www.sunyidean.com
Yes, that's about correct.

Your chance with a given editor is 1-3% if agented, but across 10 submissions that means it's perhaps 30. Higher if you include midsize or indie presses.

it's also not a straight lottery - some agents have high hit rates, others lower. And the more often you go on submission, the more your chances go up.
 
  • Like
Reactions: utesfanami

Carrie

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
182
And so the waiting begins.

I just sent a heavily revised manuscript to the mentor/would-be agent who has been working with me since the end of August. I know it is not everything he asked for (there was at least one major revision he suggested that I did not make). But if he was looking for evidence that I am willing and able to revise, I think he will see it.

I keep reminding myself that I cannot know how this whole thing will unfold. This guy is the head of a well-known NY agency. I genuinely think of him as out of my league, and yet he's taken the time to work with me on the book and make it so much better. If that is all he has to give me, I honestly will be grateful and I will have a much better book in my continued search for new representation. But, yeah, I can't help but hope!
 

P.K. Torrens

Saving up for a typewriter
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
504
Reaction score
299
Location
Auckland, NZ
And so the waiting begins.

I just sent a heavily revised manuscript to the mentor/would-be agent who has been working with me since the end of August. I know it is not everything he asked for (there was at least one major revision he suggested that I did not make). But if he was looking for evidence that I am willing and able to revise, I think he will see it.

I keep reminding myself that I cannot know how this whole thing will unfold. This guy is the head of a well-known NY agency. I genuinely think of him as out of my league, and yet he's taken the time to work with me on the book and make it so much better. If that is all he has to give me, I honestly will be grateful and I will have a much better book in my continued search for new representation. But, yeah, I can't help but hope!
Good luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Carrie

RaggyCat

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
1,282
Reaction score
290
Location
UK
Best of luck, Carrie! With the relationship you've built with this agent, I'm hopeful it won't be a long wait. I'm very invested in your journey with this so do let us know when you do!

Publishing stats... that kind of stuff is fascinating, and I appreciate editors (and agents) being transparent. Sometimes, I think it's best for us not to know - it's so discouraging to do the maths. Even knowing that one year isn't the same as another, markets change, etc.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Carrie

Fuchsia Groan

Becoming a laptop-human hybrid
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
2,665
Reaction score
840
Location
The windswept northern wastes
Good luck, Carrie! This relationship you’ve built with the agent seems very promising! That kind of advice is gold.

Yesterday my publisher sent me access to their author portal, something I didn’t know existed. (Looking back through Twitter, it may have existed intermittently since 2014?) Anyway, now I have something I’ve never had before: actual net sales figures. They are clear and comprehensible, unlike the royalty statements I used to receive. (Those stopped coming to me after the publisher switch and I haven’t bothered to chase them down.) Assuming the info is correct, or close to correct, I now actually know how my two books did. No more guessing and worrying and wondering and relying on highly incomplete data from BookScan. This is amazing!

I never realized until now just how much of my anxiety came from knowing the numbers weren’t good but not knowing how not good. Having actual numbers allows me to set the worst-case scenarios aside.

We’ll see if I still feel this way when New Book comes out.
 

RaggyCat

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
1,282
Reaction score
290
Location
UK
Author portal?! I wish more publishers had such a thing! It's an excellent idea and I am glad it helped with your anxieties, Fuchsia. Royalties statements are usually as clear as mud. Sales figures can be really insightful, especially if they are broken down into paperbacks/e-books, etc - I've been told childrens/YA editors only really focus on physical sales. I got my lifetime sales figures from my first agent when I left her and they were really startling - I had no idea just how successful my debut was (in stark contrast to books 2 and 3 where the publisher dropped the ball!). Was very useful to have numbers when approaching new agents.

Sales figures I'd also like to know is how many sales a book needs to make before it is considered "successful" (though appreciate this is complicated and very much "it depends").
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fuchsia Groan

Elizabeth George's book Write Away