Don't Be Afraid to Talk Turkey (Holly Schindler)
It's so easy not to--in the flurry of signing contracts (this can be with either agents or editors), you want to just savor all the good news. You've been signed! You sold a book! There's nothing like that feeling.
But if I could go back and talk to the me that was about to sign my first book deal, I would tell her:
Ask what they want to do editorially.
If you're signing with an agent, ask what they want to do with the book before submitting it. Do they want to do some global edits? How many rounds? What is their editorial style? Are they planning on sending you an editorial letter? Or do they want to handle this informally, hashing everything out during a call? Because here's where it gets to be important: Are you going to be comfortable with it if this agent tells you something along the lines of, I don't care how many rounds it takes--I want this book to be perfect! Even if it takes years!
The same thing goes for dealing with editors. What do they see the book needing editorially? What kind of turnaround time do their authors usually receive? What direction do they want to take the book? And here's where you have to get honest with yourself: Do you agree with that direction?
Every book benefits from a good editor. But most importantly, perhaps, authors need to find the right fit. Authors find that right fit by having direct and honest conversations right from the very start.
Holly Schindler is an author for readers of all ages.