Writers, Editors, and Agents

Agents and editors are a writers best friend. And their relationship should be a mutually beneficial symbiosis. Finding a good editor usual starts with a manuscript. Then the writer will send queries to agents and if they hear back, they will send a sample of the work. When an agent sees a work that has promise, or meets an author that they like, they will give the authors notes are let them know what they would like to see changed in the manuscript, much like an acquisitions editor. Then the manuscript is sent off editors at publishing houses to screen the manuscript and decide if they want to option it or not. The editor and the writer will then discuss the manuscript further and possibly restructure it via notes from the editor to the writer. The other potential avenue for a book is when a writer, or editor, has an idea for a book and the writer and editor work together to organize and “manufacture” the book.

It seems to me that finding a good agent is one of the most important steps in having success as a writer because a good agent understands the writers material and can assist in revisions and seek out the publications they feel it would be best in. The relationship between the writer and edit is as much the relationship between judge and talent, or teacher and student. The editors job is to determine what could be working better and it is the writer’s responsibility to respect the editor’s advice and take it to heart. A writer’s success lies in his understanding of the editor’s response to the piece because the editor will see the most flawed portion of a manuscript and will give the most honest feedback.

What roll should an agent play in aiding a writer with a manuscript? Should this exclusively be the editor’s job?

What should agents look for in finding a new author?

Should writers wait till they have a complete manuscript to find an agent?

How can the writer best utilize structural and inquisitive notes from an editor?

As an editor, how do you work with the writer to produce a book that will sell well? Should you sign promising authors onto extended book contracts?




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