Why Agents Edit

typeAmong the many things we do for our clients it includes editing their work. Sure, the crux of our job is selling our authors’ books, but getting the projects to the point of selling involves anything from a light copy edit to complete overhauls.

We all know there are so many layers to get published: write the book, get an agent, get a book deal, publicize, have a writing career that spans many more books. And know that each opportunity requires its own mental stamina to achieve success. However, I still see so many aspiring writers putting an emphasis on getting an agent and think perhaps the rest falls into place. If it’s so hard to get an agent, then it must all be downhill from there, right? Wrong.

One of the big parts of our agent responsibilities is getting our client’s projects ready for editors’ eyes.

Why Agents Edit:

Because we know the difference between creative writing and book publishing. There is a lot of really good writing that doesn’t get published. Publishing is where creative writing meets Hollywood: Does it have a hook? Can you sell it in a sentence? Are the characters memorable? Is their journey compelling? Does it start when we meet the characters at an interesting point in their lives? Getting published requires some stripping down of overwriting and self indulgence. Getting published is about making your writing accessible to mass readers.

Because the competition is fierce. Sometimes I feel like this is the title of my blog. I do harp on it, but it’s only because I want everyone to know the stakes to ‘make’ it. It doesn’t make it easy when you know how many other writers there are out there trying to get published, too. But that information has to light a fire under you and make you want to revise and want to write the best book you can. Competition is about writing better than you did the day before, and the book before this. You are your own competition. Make that your mission.

Because we need to know that you’re able to work in a collaborative environment. Continue reading Why Agents Edit

Xmas in July contest from Michelle Krys and Ruth Lauren Steven!

30 pitches, 10 agents, 1 week…It’s Xmas in July!

Michelle Krys and  Ruth Lauren Steven will be hosting a blog competition for querying writers. Each will post 15 entries to their blog. The posts will be up for a week and ten agents (myself included…) will be stopping by to make requests.

They are accepting MG and YA (all genres), and adult submissions of all genres except erotica.

To enter: You’ll need a query letter and the first 500 words of a completed manuscript.

July 9th: Submit between 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. EST. Submissions should be sent to lottiehumphries14(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk.

13th July: The 30 writers chosen will be posted on the blogs.

18th July: The chosen entries go live on our blogs for the entire week, and requests will be made by the agents. Continue reading Xmas in July contest from Michelle Krys and Ruth Lauren Steven!

Competition. It’s tough. Are you prepared?

The competition to get published is greater than ever before.

Us in the trenches will let you know that the expectations are very high, editors are on the lookout for specific books, and querying with something good won’t cut it; you need to go on submission with things that are great.

Yes, agents can help you get your novel into tip top shape, but when we get your manuscript and start reading we don’t know if this is the best you’ve got or whether we can push you. Getting back in touch and suggesting revisions takes time, and we don’t have a lot of it. So never, ever, send out something that is ‘good’. Continue reading Competition. It’s tough. Are you prepared?

Why agents take on less than 1% of all queries

You’ve heard ‘agents are extremely selective’ and all the other catch-phrases we use to express why we cannot take on you as an author. We mean what we say. But, even if your work is good, great even, we have to pass and here’s why:

  • The industry is competitive so new authors have be able to break out of the pack.
  • The industry is saturated in many markets like YA and women’s fiction so new authors have to be very unique with fresh concepts and fabulous writing that can hook readers.
  • We have a client working on something similar so we can’t take on a new work in that space as it’s not fair to our first priorities: our clients.
  • We like it very much, but we don’t love it. This is a very fine line, admittedly. It’s hard for writers to hear that an agent likes it very much but cannot offer representation. But in the long run you’ll want an agent that is head over heels for it.
  • Your submission requires more work than time we can give. Agents have limited time available to work on major editorial tasks. The time we do have for that goes to our clients first.
  • We aren’t the best agent for it. Some agents are more specialized in nonfiction, YA, or commercial fiction–for three examples–and those agents can be better for you. Don’t get tied to the idea of working with an agent you follow on Twitter or an agent that you think might be the best fit. Find the best representation for your work and whose agency has a track record that can support your books. Continue reading Why agents take on less than 1% of all queries