Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Fricassee

Happy First Augustly Friday!

Today, two questions for comment box banter:

AGENTED AUTHORS:  Is your agent editorial or hands-off?  Why does your agent's style work well for you?

UNAGENTED AUTHORS:  As you travel the wearisome Road of Queries, have you thought about which kind of agent suits you?  Editorial or Not-so-much?

Share your thoughts!

Because it's struck me full-force how DEEPLY I appreciate my agent's editorial input.  It's clear from his approach to my work that he's invested in me.  That he sees value in slogging through the process of Getting Things Right.

His unflagging support and presence in my write-a-day world helps keep me afloat.  He is agent, advocate, sounding board, mentor.

I didn't realize, pre-agent, how important this kind of editorial support would be.  Honestly? I'm thriving. Even in the midst of occasional angst bouts and brain drain.

Thriving!

(Thanks, Josh!)

30 comments:

Christine Hughes said...

I agree. I am unagented and would like to have an agent who is hands-on. I've been lucky enough to have a friend who is published and she recently critiqued my manuscript with editorial notes. Her insights have been invaluable as I rethink the structure of my MS. I should shout out.....Thanks Cyn Balog!

C. Hughes

Michele Shaw said...

My agent asks a lot of questions to get me thinking. She doesn't force changes, but her questions help me see what a reader would be missing. It helps that she is sweet, supportive, and all around great person. We get along fabulously.

Becky Mahoney said...

Well, I am unagented as of now, but the agent I'm working with on revisions seems quite hands-on. But at the same time, it's not a "Change this and that" sort of hands-on. It seems his style is to give concrete suggestions and see where I take them. Which works really well for me - it's much more fun that way!

Dominique said...

I'm unagented, but I do think I would prefer a hands-on agent. I know my work is not perfect, and someone who looked at it and didn't have much to say in response would not feel very comforting to me. No reactions owld make me feel like they hadn't read it, or that it hadn't sunk in. I'd hope they'd give me suggestions or something to work with or build on.

Amity said...

I received multi. offers & chose my agent based on her detailed editor notes. She's great at flagging an area, saying what's needed, and then giving me ideas to springboard off of to alter the story in a way that's completely up to me. She also flags areas where my writing really shines so I can study what I did and duplicate it. Finally, she's been great at TEACHING me how to self-edit my own work. It takes more time, and lots of patience on her end, but I'm better at line-editing myself because of it. My agent is pure awesomeness.

Karen A. Wyle said...

The right kind of hands-on agent would be terrific. Before signing with an editorial agent, I would need to see what notes s/he had for my current novel, and whether they were the sort of useful and creative suggestions other commenters have mentioned.

Peter said...

My agent is, thankfully, VERY hands on. It does mean that I have to remember to be patient because she is providing the same great level of editorial magic to her other clients as well so the wait it always worth it. To put it in perspective I just received her notes on my latest WIP two days ago and have spent the last 36 hours or so simply absorbing her pages of comments (and that doesn't even begin to touch the notes, etc that she put in the actual manuscript. And every single note and comment and praise and critique is designed for one reason and one reason only: to make the book better. Not just better, but the very best it can be.
Would that type of commitment and criticism work for every author? Maybe, maybe not.
Does it work for me? Well, she recently sold my debut novel...so that would be a very big yes.

Chelsey said...

I'm unagented, and I want an editorial agent. I need someone to help me fix what I can't see--a professional--to take it to the next level in the publication world.

Kirsten said...

I'd love to get to work with an agent who is editorial, I want as much advice and criticism as it takes to get my stories as good as they could be, but I also hope that I can be repped by someone who would collaborate with me career-wise; someone who can guide me through the marketing and promotion, and help me understand the publishing business, so that I can KEEP writing.
He or she would have to be very patient.
And have a sense of humor.
Ugh. I need a fairy godmother, don't I?

Taryn said...

Ideally, I'd have a perfect manuscript :p

Unfortunately, as I know that won't happen, I'd love an editorial agent, so I'd get that perfect manuscript.

Beth C. said...

I'm agented, and I'm blessed to have an agent who is very hands-on. She's fantastic with providing flexible editorial notes, and she's also a sounding board for future projects. After I talk with her, I have such an incredible high. It means everything to have guidance from someone who is passionate about my writing, and her editorial notes show that.

Anonymous said...

I think I'll need one who is hands-on.

HollyD

Gail S. said...

Unagented, and agree with all the posters above: I'd love love love an editorial agent. Nothing better than to have somebody to bounce ideas around with, particularly someone who's equally invested in your work!

Ella Slayne said...

I'm un-agented and would absolutely love the support of a hands-on agent! In the meantime blogs like this are soooooo helpful. I'm also super-lucky to have the support of a fantastic critique group! :-)

Stephanie Thornton said...

I really want an editorial agent. The input of an expert who knows what editors are looking for is priceless.

Have a great weekend, Authoress!

sharlalovelace said...

My agent is exactly what each of her clients need. She is as hands-on or hands-off as each person requires, which is great because everyone is at different levels and neediness.

For my debut novel, she was very editorial (and was an editor in a past life so she's very thorough), and sold my novel in two months. After I had an editor, my agent told me that I didn't have to go through her if I wanted to work directly with my editor, because she feels strongly that that relationship needs to be tight. For the second book in my contract, I chose to send the proposal through my agent first anyway... just because I felt that she's been such an advocate and mediator, I wanted her opinion first. She was happy to do it, and was excited to get in on the first three chapters before anyone else! LOL.

For me, especially being a debut author, having a hands on agent is invaluable. I depend on her vast experience!

Tricia said...

I would want an editorial agent for the same reason I seek a good critique partner, to make it better. There's always room for improvement.

Susan B-K said...

I'm unagented but have worked with independent editors while I've been querying. I hear all the time how agents just don't have time to edit manuscripts anymore so before querying, you should have your manuscript in as perfect a shape as possible. I'm always open to ways in which I can improve my manuscript, so if I find an agent, I would never say no to changes!

Karen Duvall said...

My agent is very hands on and she's an amazing story editor. She's such a great "big picture" editor who doesn't sweat the small stuff and gets down to the nitty gritty. I LOVE that! And she always makes it clear her reasons behind the feedback she gives and leaves it open as to whether or not i want to make changes. And wow, she's so responsive. She'll email me pages of notes and then follow up with a lengthy phone call to discuss if I have questions.

Right now i'm in the midst of writing a proposal for my editor, it's due on Monday, and this morning i sent pages to my agent for her feedback to see if i'm on the right track. Even though she's taken the day off, she still got back to me. Now THAT's dedication. She's a real gem. :)

Anonymous said...

I would want an agent who took the editorial path. Personaly, I think it shows he/she is more invested in their clients.

Nya Rayne

Shalu said...

I have no agent as yet, but for me, I love good editorial feedback. I get so mired in the individual pieces/scenes, that I need someone to give the aerial view & point out the holes, etc.

Martha Ramirez said...

I agree. I would LOVE an editorial agent.What can I say? I love to work!

Jen J. Danna said...

My agent is definitely editorial. When she goes through a manuscript, she really goes through it - making suggestions on ways to deepen it, asking really great questions and scolding me about my head hopping (this is a good thing, BTW; it's a habit I've almost got whipped at this point). It's all about making the manuscript better, so that kind of feedback is all good, in my mind.

Deirdre said...

So many poignant thoughts about the editorial-style agent, that as an un-agented writer, I think I'd lean toward that approach. I think agent involvement in that way also helps build rapport. Kirsten- I ditto what you said about a sense of humor too!
What a lively comment board- thanks everyone for your input.
~Deirdre

Anonymous said...

There are many agent styles. I prefer the hands off approach, but I think that some writers just can't do it without help.

Also, writers should never pay a reading fee, even if it's minimal, to their own agent or a blogger they like a lot.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, if you're talking about the nominal fee for this year's Baker's Dozen, I do NOT think you can compare that to a "reading fee."

Authoress puts a lot of time and effort into her contests. That's time away from her own writing. The Baker's Dozen, especially, requires a lot of work on her part. Don't like the idea of a small fee to enter, then you don't have to. But I'm sure others will appreciate the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

I've had both, and I prefer the agent who is master at selling. I've learned to respect the huge value in agent revision, but I work best with an agent who focuses on being a phenomenal agent, as opposed to an editor.

Empress Awesome said...

Editorial agent, definitely. No one ever edits my writing, they just tell me it's good (which it is, but that's beside the point... haha!) It's always nice to hear a new take on a scene.

Ashlyn Macnamara said...

My agent is more of a big picture editor, which is perfect for me, because I tend to focus on the detailed, close-in, line-edity stuff. She helped me ramp up the bigger picture before we went on submission. Now waiting to see what my editor editor does to me (and, frankly, shaking in my boots at the idea).

Marie Andreas said...

I am looking for a hands-on kind of agent. It's funny, when I first started looking I had the "any agent at all!" mentality. But now that I've met more agents, I realize that it's more important to have one that will work for me and my way of seeing my writing career. Don't need my hand held, but I do want a book partner :).