Once a writer has feedback from the Editorial Department of a publishing house, to what extent do literary agents involve themselves, or make themselves available during the editing/rewriting process?
Presently, I’m an unsigned writer, with a dozen pages of detailed chapter by chapter comments and an invitation to rewrite and return, from a Senior Editor at one of the big houses. I’ve started the rewrite, but wonder whether I ought to seek out an agent to oversee the process of getting the best book possible out of this pile of pages before resubmitting (and hopefully, negotiating a contract). I realise that there are plenty of reasons for working with an agent, but I’d particularly like to know how the editing stage is managed. Many thanks.
I can't speak for all agents on this issue, as I don't know what they all do. So I'll just speak for myself, and I have as little or as much editorial involvement as the author wants me to have. Sometimes I'll read part of a first draft and give feedback on that; sometimes I'll read the full first draft; other authors don't want to show me until draft three or six or whatever number it is when they feel ready.
Once the authors have received editorial notes from their editor/publisher, again, it depends how much they want me to be involved, but usually they'll send me the notes and ask me for my opinion, especially on contentious points. And it's just that: an opinion. As is everything with editing. One thing I never want to do is come between them and their editor - that is a very intense relationship that should not have a third party inserted into it, unless there is a fundamental problem with communciation between author and editor. Happily, that doesn't happen very often.