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An Agent’s Role in the Editorial Process

Most agents at BookEnds are editorial agents, meaning we can’t keep our hands off your book and you will receive edits. At least five of us came from an editorial background and no matter how far we move from those jobs, our editorial skills stay with us.

It’s important to note, especially for those of you looking to sign with an agent, that each agent will view her role in the editorial process differently. In fact, if this question isn’t on your list to ask an agent before signing it should be. You should know how much of an editorial agent you want (or don’t) and what that means to each agent you talk with.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most editorial agents view their editorial job as for the purposes of selling the book. At least that’s how we at BookEnds view it. My job as an agent is to make your book the best it can be, and as rejection-proof as possible, before it goes out on submission. Once a book is sold, I will (usually) step away from the editorial process and hand you and your book over to your editor.

Editing, like so much in publishing, is subjective and, as they say, too many cooks can ruin the soup. Too many editors will only frustrate you, especially when they have different visions.

I said I usually step away from editing once a book sells. And I do. The rare instances when I continue to edit or have stepped in to edit is at the request of a client who might be struggling with her revisions and needs a second eye. It doesn’t mean I’m actually editing her book, it’s more that I’m interpreting what her editor asked her to do.

Your agent’s purpose is to help build the next steps in your career. Working with you and your publisher, she provides feedback on covers and cover copy (sometimes helping to edit). She negotiates contracts and marketing plans and a myriad of other things to manage your career.

What your agent is not is an editor, a beta reader, or a copyeditor. Asking your agent to spend time on those items won’t benefit you in the long run. You already have an editor and if you feel you need someone to give you feedback before sending it to your publisher you should have a critique group or beta readers of your own.

 

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4 comments

  1. What a valuable service! Would you drill and fill your own cavities? Perform your own tonsillectomy? Clean your own chimney? Some things are best done by a professional.

  2. I guess I knew an agent stepped away once the book sells and you have an editor from the publisher, but I’d never really thought about it. And it didn’t occur to me that not all agents would be involved in editorial assistance pre-sale. Definitely a question I will remember to ask!

  3. Hi there, my name is Sonia I Guzman
    I’m from Puerto Rico and I live in Texas

    I’m sending my biography and the profile of my book which is inspired by real events about Covid-19 with fictional characters.
    I have to clarify that this is my first book and was written from April to November 2020 This book was translated by me and, honestly, was finished yesterday Saturday, September 19, 2021. In Kindle was published in November 2020 on Amazon in Spanish, and thanks to God I was Best Seller. Then in January 2021 was published the paperback. I feel proud of myself because, without any preparation about literature, I vent my acknowledge and feeling the pain of the world, I wrote this spectacular story.
    –BETHSABE OF NEW YORK- Chronology of Life and Love in Times of Covid-19

    It has a great narrative using part of this real news into the drama of the characters. Each chapter shows a great inspiration or reflection about life, or according to the topic. I translated it and my son, Oscar F. Troche, will finish making corrections in a couple of days.

    I just need a literary agent because I want that this book has to be published by a good publishing company.
    I’m thinking of two of them: Barnes and Noble or Simon & Schuster with Archway Publishing, or let me know about your company. This all is new for me because my book in Spanish was sending directly to Amazon –self-publishing– with a person who help out to make a layout and another helping me with a cover. I need help because this book is such a good story and I want that every person in this world has the opportunity to read it. Has a good narrative,

    The first chapter begins with the protest of George Floyd and some of the youngest characters are there and, since the second, the story goes back to the year 2017 so the reader knows the life of the Rosarios family. In these chapters, some real events happen to show the links of some real news.

    In chapter VII, is the knowledge of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China. After this, you will read the chronology of the Covid-19 since it begins according to the life of the Rosarios till June 2020 in real-time Chapter XI. Then, the reader will enter their body and soul to the pain that Covid-19 leaves in its wake. Still writing it to do the translation, I had to cry because the message goes very deep.

    I taking advanced because once I began the translation, I made some corrections to the Spanish one. Which, when the person in charge since the beginning, makes her work, it will be sent again to Amazon correctly. This new one has to have this- Revised September 2021, now this is not ready yet but I think that this next week till 20 to 25 on September, I wish will be there.

    I hope some of you can help with but please I need someone bilingual because the Spanish book needs help to promote it; and about me, my writing in English is well but speaking always I feel nervous, it is complicated. I will send this information to other literary agencies. I’m a good listener and I want to be a bestseller and I would like to bring or put my book to compete in many awards of literature. So, let me know if you need more information.

    Thank you so much for reading, and have a good day.

    Sonia I. Guzman

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