• Christopher G. Moore

Editors and Agents

I am often asked about how to find an agent or publisher. What isn’t always well understood, however, is the relationship with an agent and the editor. Once you’ve found an agent who is willing to represent your book, the next step is the submission stage when your agent offers it to an editor.

What happens next in this process?

Here’s one editors take on the process:

“If you've been around here a long time, you know my stance on agent proactivity. Different agents have different strategies for following up with editors, and, frankly, some of these strategies are really, really ineffective.

Here's the thing: editors have developed a habit of hiding their heads in the sand. I can speak on behalf of not all editors, but most. We have so much work--so many deadlines to meet in-house, and so many proposals and manuscripts to read--that if an agent doesn't follow up about a manuscript there is a 9/10 chance we're not going to read it (certainly not going to buy it).

When an agent doesn't follow up, they're demonstrating a number of things, the foremost being that they don't EXPECT the book to sell. "Oh nope, this is no hot property, take all the time you need" is the message we get. And honestly, it takes 15 minutes for an editor to know whether they want to read more or not--not 4 months, or 6 months. Sure, we need a kick in the pants to pick the manuscript up. But if you wait 4 or 6 months to give us that kick in the pants, we'll never, ever, ever get herded into, say, auction on that book.”


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