If not, why not?
Yes, I do get gigs from agents and some publishing houses. But I think there is far greater potential for this kind of collaboration than currently exists, particularly with agents. I think that agents and independent editors could work very well together and really help authors, if only the right monetary arrangement could be structured. You can't have agents insisting that a potential client use the services of a certain editor, as the choice to spend money has always got to be the author's prerogative, and yet it's also the case that editors cannot work for nothing. I wish there were a way to create a right livelihood model that could make this kind of collaboration work. Any ideas?
I wish I could work with agents and maybe with a publishing house. I only started freelancing my editing services last year, so I don't think I've been in the business long enough to make those connections. Maybe someday! But I agree with Sharon, that there should be a more structured agreement between agents and freelance editors. The publishing industry is becoming a little more fragmented each and every day, and that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. "Every problem is a concealed opportunity," my husband says, a maxim one of his professors taught him long ago. I think if agents and others within the structured publishing industry were open to discussion, we could all brainstorm and find a workable solution. But, as I said, I'm still somewhat of a newbie and haven't made those connections yet to start that discussion.
Jeff, any thoughts on how to make this kind of agent/editor collaboration happen?
I have spent most of my career in higher education publishing, first as an in-house developmental editor, and then freelance (since 1995). I get work directly from in-house staff--the job title and level varies from developmental managers to developmental editors, project managers, and acquisitions editors. The in-house editor usually has a short list of freelance editors she or he works with, and assigns them to projects based on various criteria. The system seems to work fairly smoothly. In this particular area, I think (but I could be wrong) that the big difference between educational publishing and trade publishing has to do with who owns the copyright, which is the publisher. In some respects, both the author and the freelance editor are working for the publishing company. At any rate, maybe aspects of the freelance editor-publisher relationship in higher education might provide some inspiration for a similar system in trade publishing.