Why I Took a Chance on a Book that Needed a Big Revision

Every book an agent offers representation to is a risk. We never know what will sell, yet we always know we’ll be working for free until it does.

On my post about How I Pitched Melissa Payne I got a lot of questions about what inspired me to take a chance on a book I knew needed a ton of work. The answer to that is going to be different for every book, but with Melissa it was because I saw glimmers of what I knew she could do and the potential of what the book could be.

I know when reading her book that I wanted major changes, but in her writing and in certain plot elements I could see so clearly that she could do it. She just needed to carry it throughout the book. All she needed was a little guidance.

Every book an agent takes on is going to go through some revision. Some will be huge like The Secret of Lost Stones and some will just be tweaks. To make the decision to take on a book that needs revision though I need to have a sense that the author will be able to do what I ask and that’s usually because I see glimmers of what I want in the manuscript already.

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4 comments

  1. I was sorry to hear about your dog, I myself am also really fond of dogs.

    I wanted to ask whether you only represent female authors, or if you also represent male authors if they belong to the Romance genre? I ask you this because I recently had a really great idea, which I intend to turn into a novel. As I am an occultist, I think having a literary agent named Faust would be pretty fitting. Obviously I’ll only query you once I’m done with my sixth draft.

  2. Thanks for talking more on this, Jessica. RWA (Oz) includes an x-factor score in their judging criteria – I guess this is what you saw in the manuscript. And that’s something no-one can predict 🙂

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