I've been armpit-deep in a Rather Large revision, and I haven't come up for much virtual air (my tweeting habits have been sharply curtailed, for one thing). And I want to say this:
My agent is brilliant.
I know. I've said all sorts of schmoopy things about him in the past. But hear me out.
Ever since I signed with him, Josh has brought a deep insight to my stories that I would not have had otherwise. Eons ago, he started his publishing career on the editorial end of things--and it shows. He has an innate sense of what isn't working, and what would work if it were changed. And he offers this insight without once trampling on the sacred "this is my story" ground. (We all have it--you know we do.)
My current project is no exception. And the Rather Large revision (I wanted to die when I first read his editorial letter. Yes, I did.) is yet another example of the brilliance he brings to the table. He's also got Danielle by his side, and she's as shiny as they come. (And, yeah, she's excited about this project, which is a pretty strong wind in my sails right now.)
All that to say--having an editorial agent is perfect for me. Josh's influence on my work is irrefutable. All this without line edits, too (which makes me happy, since my critique partners are more than delighted to inundate me with those).
So those of you who are in the throes of seeking-an-agent need to decide which kind of agent would work best for you--editorial or non-editorial. Honestly, most of the agents I know lean toward the editorial. (Let's face it--publishers want clean-tight-ready manuscripts, so agents are out there in droves, whipping stories into shape.) But then, I by no means know All the Agents. Probably I just like to hang out with editorial sorts of people. Or something.
If you sign with a non-editorial agent, you will languish in your dark corner waiting for feedback or edits or whatever it is you're hoping for. If, on the other hand, you feel like it's not an agent's job to edit your work, you will be peeved beyond measure when you receive a four-page editorial letter and notes in the margins of your work. So it's important to know ahead of time not only what you want, but what the agent's style is.
Before I signed with Josh, we had a detailed phone conversation about my then-project, and the problems he felt it had that he wanted to see fixed. I fixed them, he loved it, the rest is history. So I knew going into this thing how Josh rolled, and obviously I liked it.
His approach is brilliant, too (agenting is at least half psychology, right?). He doesn't "rip apart", doesn't pressure me, doesn't demand things. He gives me space and time and the sense that he trusts me to do the work. When we were discussing my current project earlier this year, he asked, "When will it be ready to go out?" Mind you, I wasn't even finished with the second draft! But his well-timed question put me into I Have a Clear Goal mode immediately. "September," I piped. And then I beat that by a week.
After that came the Really Frightening Editorial Letter--a.k.a. the brilliance. It took me four days to process everything, and then I dove in. And I'm almost finished (3 chapters to go).
It works for me. For us. And you will want the same thing from your agent. We all have our lists of rockstar favorites when we start querying, but that sparkly agent on the top of your list might not be right for you, after all. The editorial vs. non-editorial issue is an important consideration, and for things to work, you need to get it right.
And there you have it--my Friday gush-about-my-agent coupled with best-advice-I-can-give-on-agent-style. Here's to finding your perfect-for-you agent!