Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Editorial Letter Brings Awkward News

Bedtime Maxx 
After you sign with your agent she will send you a lengthy write-up on your manuscript known as an Editorial Letter.  In this, she will describe what she likes and what she thinks needs work.

All of which, of course, means more rewrites.

My Editorial Letter started off with a bit of awkward news.  According to the full (pay) version of Publishers Weekly email newsletter, another author has just signed a three book deal with a major publisher for a series that, on the scratch-the-surface level, sounds similar to my book.  The setting/time frame and professions of my two main characters are the same.

The rest of the story is completely different, but those elements that are the same were enough to have my agent suggest I consider making some additional changes to my book and recommend that we talk about the situation over the phone.

The choices were clear to me.  I could do another round of rewrites and hope my book catches the eye of the right editor (i.e., a good editor who doesn't think my book sounds too much like that other book) OR shelve my book for a few years and see what happens with the other book.

Here's the thing that makes choosing The Right Agent essential: There is no right/wrong answer  here, but the first thing Caryn wanted to know was what I thought about the situation.  I told her that I chose her as my agent for her experience and knowledge--and I knew I could trust her opinions completely.

So, at her recommendation, I'm back in the deep end of the revision pool.  Even if the manuscript gets shot down by editors now, at least I'll have a well-developed manuscript sitting on a pixellated shelf for the future.

As Rosanne Rosannadanna used to say, "There's always something."

-- Tom