Communicating with Agents

Something has been on my mind lately. So many agents have fabulous blogs and are fun to follow on Twitter (especially if you're querying them or are going to be querying them). I know several who post personal query tips or give submission guideline changes via Twitter. And their posts are often pertinent and helpful where writing and querying is concerned.



I'm going for a discussion here! How many of you follow agents on Twitter or on their blogs? And how many of you tweet them? I've seen a few writer friends send the occasional agent tweet in response to something that agent says. The thought kind of intimidates me a little because sometimes agents can seem celebrity-like. So I want to know! What are your thoughts? Have you ever tweeted an agent?

I feel I should clarify--I'm not talking about querying them via Twitter or their blogs. I hope we all know that's a big NO NO! I just mean if an agent you follow is like, "Just ate at Papa Murphy's" do you reply and say, "Yum! I love their pizza!" Or whatever the case is. :)

And I have found my new favorite writing quote:

I wish you a wrestling match with your creative muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories...which finally means, may you be in LOVE every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.
--Ray Bradbury

19 comments

Cassie Mae said...

I have sent an occasional tweet or two, but it's usually overanalyzed and regretted once sent. However, not for long. I actually like the occasional tweet or blog comment to an agent. Because though it's intimidating as crap, they are people too. Just like me, really. And I love it when I get tweets and blog comments. Otherwise, I may as well be talking to myself. :)

Only thing is to just be careful. Be yourself, but don't be rude or whatever. You can be funny and dorky if that's who you are. And in the name of all that is holy, don't tweet 'Hey, I have a great book idea! You interested?'

Don't talk business unless it's prompted by the agent.

Jeremy Bates said...

I love this article a lot.

Theresa said...

I follow so many agents because the advice they give in a 140 characters is invaluable. Like Cassie I have sent a few tweets to agents but I spend a good ten minutes reading and rereading to make sure its grammatically correct and doesn't make me sound like a dope. Most of the time they tweet me back which is awesome. As long as you don't try to pitch them your books, they are just like you and me :)

Julia King said...

I've actually never tweeted one. Just followed their tweets. I don't know... Because they are celebrity-like I just haven't felt comfortable with it. I have tweeted some of my favorite authors which was fun to see their response. Pretty cool actually. :)

BTW: I've tagged you on my blog. Here's the link:

http://juliawritingjewelsking.blogspot.com/2012/02/tag-im-it-chocolate-chip-ice-cream-with.html

Happy question answering.

alessahinlo said...

I follow a few agents on Twitter but I know what you mean about tweeting them. I've done so on occasion but I always overthink it.

Morgan said...

I have chatted with agents on twitter... but I let them initiate conversation first. Well, I'll retweet something, and then they'll say thank you and I'll respond in kind. I've actually had a request from it! But... I see people crossing the professional boundaries all the time. And I think that irks agents, big time. If I do make a comment to them, I respect them by the "Mr." or "Ms." never call them by their first name. And never talk buddy/buddy to them. (though the 140 does limit) Twitter is so awesome for agent contact! So essential for writers, I think. :D

Great discussion!

Leigh Covington said...

This has totally been on my mind! I find tweeting or even commenting on their blogs SO INTIMIDATING! But... I think it's something I need to jump into. I plan to accumulate a good list of agents that blog and tweet and get more involved. You really can learn so much from them, AND if you decide to query them, you'll know more about them. :)

Kyra Lennon said...

I don't even know where to find agents yet, let alone comment on their blogs or tweet them lol! But I probably would if I was following them :)

Sabrina A. Fish said...

I follow editor, Melissa Frain from Tor Publishing on twitter. I am lucky enough to be her shepherd for this year's OKC writer's conference so I tagged her in a post and she responded. She is really a nice, normal person. I will definitely have to look into agents.

Emily R. King said...

I follow a few agents, but not many. I should probably follow more, but every time they tweet something snotty or snide I dislike them. Frankly, I don't want to know them that well.

Cortney Pearson said...

@Cassie-Definitely some good points! My problem is, I can't tell how they'll respond or react and it just makes me nervous! :)

@Jeremy-Thanks!

@Theresa-They really do give great advice! And I'd probably double/triple check mine too.

@Julia-Yeah, I'm there with you on the discomfort factor. Thanks for the tag!

@Alessa-I'd overthink it too!

@Morgan-Good point on letting them initiate contact. And a request? Super cool! Twitter is definitely essential, I'm so glad you helped me get into it!

@Leigh-Yeah, it's such an excellent way to get to know them!

@Kyra-Writers Market is both an online source and it's a book you can purchase to find agents. I prefer online--there's a $5 or so monthly fee, but it's helpful, you can enter your genre and it will bring up possible agents. Then I research their websites and find out their specific submission guidelines. But that's me. querytracker.net is also a good one, and I believe it's free.

There's a bunch of other great resources out there, including blogs. misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com has a great line-up of agents on her blog. She's not the only one--just the first one I can think of on top of my head. :)

@Sabrina-How fantastic for you! I'll have to look her up!

@Emily-YES! I'm exactly that way too. I recently un-followed an agent because she seems pretty snotty!

Coleen Patrick said...

That quote is awesome!
Yes, I follow a few agents on Twitter, but I've never commented on a tweet. Although I have tweeted an interesting blog post or two. I probably would check their twitter feed if I had a query out to them, just because I'm paranoid like that, but still don't think I'd respond to a casual tweet. It's kind of intimidating to me. :)

Jeigh said...

I haven't tweeted any agents. It intimidates me, but I think I'm going to try and be braver. I love that Ray Bradbury quote!

Jack said...

I'm of the opinion that agents are people too. However, there's a line between a writer and agent that needs respecting. Following an agent is cool, trying to butter them up to get a request is so not cool. The key to this is respect, as Twitter is a means to communicate with people who we wouldn't have otherwise had the opportunity to do so.

Kelley said...

This is a great post. I follow a bunch via twitter and blogs but have never responded to a tweet. Maybe, after reading everyone's comments, I will :)

I'll have to let you know how it goes ;)

Mark Koopmans said...

Hey,

I'm glad you like the idea of my "Got Green?" O'Hop... and it's OK that you haven't been to Ireland, as I haven't seen Finian's Rainbow.. evah :)

Lola Sharp said...

Hi,

Thanks for stopping by my blog. What a treat to follow your trail back to yours. Nice to 'meet' you. :)

I think following all sorts of people in the industry on twitter is a good way to keep on top of the publishing world. I also believe we are all human beings and none of us should be intimidated by another. (even the President and the Queen pass gas and stub their toes, etc.) If you truly feel you have something to add to the conversation, then you should absolutely respond to a tweet. It is called SOCIAL media. :) The best part is, you can tell a lot about the agent in how they respond...or don't. Respect and communication is a two-way street. (clearly, I am talking about casual conversation...not butt kissing or stalker behavior. That is just creepy. If you do that, well, they would be wise to ignore you.)

Happy Valentines Day!
~Lola

The Capillary said...

"My heart stumbles a little in my chest, like it can’t juggle beating and being close to Beckham at the same time."

I really like that line. It was an enjoyable read.

Lauren F. Boyd said...

Hey, Cortney! Yes, there are several agents that, when I've had a question in the past, I have emailed. Usually it's publishing industry questions, like something I've read somewhere about querying or publishing that doesn't sound right. Or once I emailed an agent to ask why agents don't take on novellas. And once I emailed a children's agent to ask about how to tell what editors are looking for. So, yes, they are approachable. They may not always respond - I've sent a couple emails that I didn't get replies to - but if you have a question, drop them an email or tweet. You never know. I have tweeted an agent with a question before and she tweeted me back. I've tweeted several authors with questions whose nonfiction books I was reading, and they tweeted back. So I say go for it - and good luck!

Many thanks, too, for commenting on my blog! Always great to see you!

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