Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Get your @#$ on Twitter




Had Twitter been around when I started looking for an agent, I think the process of finding one would have been a heck of a lot easier. Why? Because there are tons of agents on there and each posts a boatload of valuable information - little tips and insights into how to find an agent, how the industry works, what the trends are on a given day ... I could write a lengthy list of the things I've learned from following agents on Twitter.

I'd like to say that I was an early adopter of the medium - but I wasn't. I've been tweeting now since March 2009 - I have just over 12K tweets and I've only recently gathered more than a thousand followers. I'm not on there to get jillions of followers either - I use Twitter to interact with other authors and to follow people in the publishing industry as well as book bloggers. I'll get to them in a minute, but back to literary agents.

The most valuable information I've learned from agents comes from their little observations on queries or partial submissions. Agent Sara Megibow (@saramegibow) often does what she calls #5pagesIn5tweets - where she will literally tweet her insights into the first five pages of a partial submission she'd requested. It's short, not always sweet and blunt as hell - it's also a valuable peek into the literary agent's mind.  Other agents like Juliet Mushens (@mushenska) will host an #askagent - a period where anyone can ask an agent anything they like (within reason, of course) and the agent will answer. Bear in mind, it's not a pitch session. Agents on Twitter DO NOT LIKE, I repeat, DO NOT LIKE to be on the receiving end of a pitch from an author who is also on Twitter. When it happens, (and it does multiple times a day) that agent will let the entire world know that pitching on Twitter is lame, unprofessional and about a thousand other things. Seriously, that people actually pitch agents this way is still a bit of a wonder to me.

Even my agent Jenny Savill has finally opened a Twitter account. She hasn't been on there for long  and I expect that in time, she'll be posting her thoughts about publishing.

I also follow bloggers. Why? To build a fan base and to interact with folks who love books, plain and simple. If a blogger loves your book, they're going to tell everyone. You know, when I went to London last year to launch my book POLTERGEEKS, I met a number of bloggers. It was a bit surreal because they actually treated me like I'm a bit of a celebrity when in fact, I'm just a yutz from Saskatoon who writes books about magic and blowing things up. What struck me was the sheer scale of their love of books - and what was really cool was the fact I was meeting people I'd been interacting with using an online medium. Mind bogglingly cool!

See where I am going with this? Get your @#$% on Twitter and you will learn about publishing in real time. You will be exposed to valuable information that you can't get in the latest "how to get published" book. It's a fantastic tool for the fledgling author and even though I've been using it now for more than four years, I'm still learning something new every single day. Do check it out.

4 comments:

  1. I use Twitter as a tool, too. There are other authors talking about their experience in the business. Agents will post when thet ae open or closed to queries. Editors and agents will post links to pages with their wishlists. There are networking events like #YALITCHAT and more. Twitter is a HUGE help!

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  2. I remember being at an SCBWI conference in 2009 and the biggest piece of advice was to get on Twitter and I was like, what the ____ is twitter? It was instantly hooked with all the agent goodness you talk about, but now that I've moved beyond that phase in my career, it's still a fun place to interact with others. I enjoy the chats (use TweetChat for those!) and I seem to find new bloggers every day who love books. So, I agree, get on twitter if you're not already there.

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