I know that the submission process must seem very different from this side of the laptop, but it really isn't. I thought it might be interesting to talk about the submission process as an agent sending to editors. I was thinking about this as I was having a marathon Life (the BBC TV series) watching day, hence the title.Phase one: I have worked with my author to polish and perfect every last bit of the manuscript and it is finally ready to send out into the world. I compile a list of appropriate editors to send to, based on people I know through networking or by researching deal reports on Publishers Marketplace for editors who have recently bought similar titles.
Phase two: Submission! I write a submission letter and send it to each editor. They either: write back immediately requesting it and I joyfully send it to them; they don't write back for a few days and I gently nudge them, then once they respond, send it to them; or they say no and I cry.
This is the most euphoric phase, since once all these great editors start reading, it feels like anything can happen and that they will all make offers on the book for millions of dollars!!
If not, I take my lemons and start making lemonade.
When passing on the manuscript, most editors will offer helpful feedback about what did/did not work for them. If I see a common thread amongst their responses, i.e. they all say that they didn't like the inclusion of an omniscient narrator or they all felt that the plot dragged in the middle, then I know that I should take these valuable insights and work with the author on incorporating the desired changes into the story, so that for the next round of submissions, the manuscript will be even better!
Even if I don't, the author and I can put aside the project and try something else. With my one of my clients, Dan Newman, I actually did just that. I submitted a project of his called THE JOURNALIST without getting a bite. We put submitting THE JOURNALIST on hold in order to send out his next manuscript, THE CLEARING, which found a home with Emlyn Rees at Exhibit A!
Even though I hate the waiting part involved, I love everything else about it, even working on revising with editor comments in mind several times.
I have some exciting news involving the submission process (I'm sure you can guess what it is)! I was hoping to be able to write about it this week, but things haven't been legally squared away just yet.
Also, don't forget to check out my +1 More Thing Post on Google+.