All righty, then. Here's round one of Ask Elana. I'm going to archive these on that handy "Ask Elana" page up there. Got a question for me? Ask away!
I recently finished my first novel and sent its first query. After getting a request for full (!), the agent wrote back to say she liked it and she wants to "get some other reads." I'm thrilled about the positive response, but I'm wondering about the other reads. Is she talking about other agents? Does that mean she's planning on passing it to someone else in her agency? Any guesses?
To which Elana said:
When an agent says they're getting other reads, it means she's passing around her office. She might have an assistant read it. Her boss (for lack of a better term), if she has to get everyone in the agency on board. Or simply her fellow agents in her office. Many times, you'll work with different agents for foreign rights, film rights, etc, and those people all read your book. Editors do the same thing, BTW.
Lots of times, they print your MS and pass pages around, which is why it's important to have your name, title and contact info on every single page.
And holy congrats!!! This is big news!
I have a manuscript critique w/ a very high profile (at least as far as twitter/blog/writers boards go) agent at a conference. (I'm trying to control my breathing and not go all fan girl!)
My question is this -- I submitted my first 10 pages back in February to the conference coordinators and, of course, it's been fairly heavily revised since then. When is it appropriate to tell the agent during the critique that I've got a revision? At the beginning of the meeting? Or is it more polite to let her comment and then reveal that I've revised? I'm thinking at the beginning, but I don't want her to think she's wasted her time critiquing the original version!
To which Elana answered:
This is a tricksy one. I would think that the best thing to do would be to let them know that you've made revisions up front, but that you're still more than interested in what they have to say, because you're always open to improvement. So you could say something like, "I'm grateful you took the time to critique the first ten pages for me. I've done a revision since then, but I'd love to see what else I need to improve."
You know? That way, you don't come off sounding like you've done all you're going to do, that you're still willing to learn and that you're grateful for what she's done.
And that's it for today! Got any questions? Agree/disagree with my answers? Lay it on me.