I don't know how sub rights work and I'm too embarrassed to ask my agent or editor! I signed a two-book contract last month and yesterday my agent emailed to say that many foreign publishers are interested in the manuscript. She wanted to know when I’d have the revision done, but I have not yet received my editorial comments from the editor. My question is, does the editor who has NA rights and who does all the initial work to get the ms in shape get any % of sub rights money? Is there any reason he should speed up the editing process just because foreign publishers are asking for it?Take a deep breath. This is no emergency, nor cause for embarrassment.
Does the editor who has NA rights and who does all the initial work to get the ms in shape get any % of sub rights money?Nope. If the North American publisher only contracted for North American rights, then that's all they get. All the foreign rights money is split between you and your agent. Of course, it's also up to your agent to sell those rights; the NA publisher won't.
Is there any reason the editor should speed up the editing process just because foreign publishers are asking for it?Nope. But the answer would be no whether your North American publisher had world rights or not. Foreign rights interest may or may not develop into actual foreign rights deals, and the most important thing to your editor is the publication schedule for his publishing house.
If your agent wants to send the revision to the foreign publishers for review, she'll just have to wait.
I don't know how sub rights work and I'm too embarrassed to ask my agent or editor!Here's the problem. Mother of god, this is what your agent is for. March yourself into the bathroom right now, look yourself in the eye, and say to yourself, "My agent is my guide and counselor and representative in the crazy world of publishing. She has the information I need to avoid making mistakes and to give me peace of mind. I will not be embarrassed. It is part of her job to educate me, reassure me, and never tell anyone what a newbie I was when I started."
Listen, if your agent is unwilling to help you in the ways that you need help (and for most writers that includes several how-does-publishing-work questions), then you need a better agent.
Ideally, you're also working with an editor who would be happy to answer random questions and show you the ropes, but people with agents should go to that person first.
Everyone is ignorant about the process until they start asking questions. Ask!