Dear Miss Snark,
On one agency's website, a FAQ was available that explained how hands-on the agency is with authors. It said something along the lines of:
"When you're new to the agency, we read everything before submitting it to editors; however, once you're published, you'll deal directly with the editor and we probably will just read the book when it's released (if then) because we're not editors and therefore don't edit. We'll carry you out of the hole you dig yourself in if you are flailing about with the plot, of course."
I don't doubt the agency itself; the response they gave just made me curious. Does that mean that the writers would be working directly with the editors in regards to rewrites and such? Is this the norm for how relationships between agents and clients work, or do relationships pretty much come in all kinds of flavors? I believe Miss Snark's flavor would be Double Gin on the Snarks, but how does it taste? Are you always the liaison between the clients and editors, no matter how many books they've published, or do your clients work directly (more or less) with the editors?
Generally speaking, once a book is sold, the editor and author talk directly to each other about edits/rewrites/"matters of art". I hang out, file my nails, watch George Clooney DVDS and eat bon bons.
I'm not an editor. My job is to handle the biz side of things: pitching that finished version to film agents, foreign rights agents and making sure the publisher pays you on time etc.
However, I'm also a total freak about reading manuscripts before I send them out with my name on them, so even if you've been published more times than I can count on Killer Yapp's toes, nose and tail, I'm still reading the manuscript before you send it to the editor the first time.
And yes, this is all "varies by agent" stuff. But an FAQ that says "we might not ever read your book even if it's published" sounds a tad too much hands off even for the famously distant Miss Snark.