Saturday, August 06, 2011

Editorial Agent, or what?

I read this blog post from Authoress Anon with interest yesterday... particularly the comments section. It seems that everyone wants an "editorial agent" who is really hands-on. And most agents I know describe themselves as "editorial agents."

It made me think about myself -  am I an "editorial agent"?  I don't think I am. I am not an editor, I am a SELLER. I want editors to edit. But I do give advice, when needed. I certainly comment on most everything my clients give me, and suggest tweaks, etc. That is editorial...


The only analogy I can come up with is a real estate analogy.

If your manuscript is a house you are trying to sell, I am the agent, and editors are prospective buyers.

I will certainly give you advice on things to clean up to help me show it to its best advantage (repaint that garage door! bake some cookies!) I will "stage" the house. I will create an awesome listing that helps turn potential negatives into positives.

Cramped? No, "Cozy."

Sinkhole? Try "Seasonal pond."

No closets?  "Classic style."

Needs work?  "Great potential."

Falling apart? "Handyman's dream!"

I will take potential buyers on a tour and make them see what their lives could be like here. Sure it'll take a bit of elbow grease, but the attention they pay and the touches they give it are what will make a house a home. Won't they be the envy of the neighborhood when they show off this beauty?  Don't they love it? Now let's negotiate.


However... I am not an architect. I am not a general contractor. I am not even a handyman. I didn't build the house, and I can't just go in and fix the house myself.

I can point out the problems that might keep you from selling it, but the house has to have good bones to begin with, and you have to do the hard work. It is YOUR house.

This analogy falls apart once the book is sold, because of course, it is STILL your book and you have to do the hard work. But at this point, you'll have not just one, but a group of experts to help you get it to that next level. Which, in this now completely broken analogy, would presumably be a spread in Better Homes and Gardens.

OK, OK, I'll shut up now. Anyway... I'll pose the same question to readers of this blog. What do you think? What kind of agent are YOU looking for? (Or if you are agented, what kind of agent do you have?)