Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why you should be following agents on twitter.

Most of the reasons why you should be following agents are obvious. 
  • get up-to-date information on what the they're looking for
  • find out about interviews they've recently done
  • what conferences they're going to be at
  • query likes and dislikes
  • new clients they've taken on
  • what kind of food they like--seriously, if you follow agents, you know they tweet about food.  A lot.
Then there are the not-so-obvious reasons . . .

Months ago, I started following a certain agent (whose name will remain guarded, because duh, I'm not that dumb).  At first, I liked his tweets.  They were a nice mix of funny RT's and industry news.  Then one day, I did a double take.  His tweet included the "P" word (no, not "panty"), and he wasn't talking about his cat; he was referring to someone getting some *bleep*.  Um, yeah.  Seriously.  I was absolutely shocked.  I'm not a prude by any means, but I do expect agents to uphold to a certain level of professionalism.  The bad news--this guy had my full.  The good news--I never heard back from him (surprise, surprise). 

Another incident involved an agent I was considering querying my current project to (when the time comes).  Well, that was until she made a negative comment about a very well-known, best-selling, Detroit writer; whom I happen to love.  It wasn't that she didn't like him that bothered me, but that she would make a comment about him in a public forum.  This writer is a local hero to Detroiters and has done A LOT of good for the city and surrounding areas.  Again, I expect professionalism from an agent.  I would never go on Twitter and bash agents or fellow writers, and I expect the same from a potential agent.

My experiences should be a reminder that not all agents were created equally.  I think we sometimes like to lump them all together--especially when we're 50+ agents into the query process.  By that time, we're just trying to find a warm body with a website and email address.  Who cares about personality?  However, it's important to keep in mind that the agents you query are people you are possibly going to be working with, potentially for a long time. 

Take the time to get to know agents before you query them.  Before you even start the query process, go through and find out if they have a Twitter account.  If they do, follow them.  I think people tend to be more impulsive when it comes to tweeting, as opposed to when they're typing out answers for a blog interview or something like that.  Tweets are more candid and less thought out.  I'm not saying you can learn everything about an agent based on the occasional 140 characters,  but I think they can at least give you an idea who they are, and that's better than not knowing anything about them.  Think about it.  Do you really want to risk being represented by a chauvinistic a**hole?


  1. Such a good point! I've been meaning to make a twitter list for a while now of agents I want to keep track of. Guess there is no time like the present!

  2. Ha! Great post, sweet and savvy Angela. You're right. It's the best way to get a feel for the agent's personality before querying. I did this myself when I was on the agent hunt and it really turned me off of one agent because she was rather ... narcissistic. To say the least. I knew I wouldn't want her. It's nice that writers have this option now. It's like peering into somebody's window w/out having to worry about a trespassing fine. :)

  3. This is a great idea. Thanks for sharing. I've always wondered how to get to know some of these people before you offer to sign your prized possession into their care. Not sure why I didn't think about it.

  4. Smart advice. I have seen tweets that ridicule queries and show such attitude and condescension that I think "Poo! I wouldn't want that agent!"

  5. You are smart! Nobody want's a jack-weed "p" word thrower representing them and their baby!

    (I'm a tad concerned at what opinions Twitterville may have of the goat posse, but that's a comment for an entirely different post)

  6. So true! After all, this person is going to represent you to other professionals! You don't want to have to worry that they may drop the 'p' word into their proposal letter of your book to editors! :)

  7. I've no idea what the "P" word was so I'll just stick with "Panty".

    Wow. Yep, you make a good point. It's going to be a relationship, after all. You don't want to work with someone you don't respect. And vice versa.

    @Bethany: I know what you mean (re: goatposse). I've had people asked me on Twitter what a "goatposse" was. {Insert awkward silence, then scratching of} But they haven't unfollowed me (yet) so I guess it's ok. ;)

  8. This is a great point. I always wonder when people are into the 50+ querying range if they still research the agents to make sure they're a good fit...

  9. @Jen Bennett- Yeah, I have a list started, but it's not as extensive as I'd like it to be. It's a WIP ;o)

    @Anita- Exactly! I'm REALLY amazed by some of the tweeting I see going on. Most of it's harmless, but once in a while I see some that make my eyes bulge out of my head ;)

    @Heather- Thanks for stopping by! Yes, Twitter is an awesome tool for a writer going through the query trenches.

    @Jenny- I know, right?!?! There are a few agents out there who are CONSTANTLY tweeting about the 'horrible' queries they receive--sometimes stating specifics! No one deserves to have something they worked hard on ridiculed in a public forum.

    @Bethany- Funny thing is, this agent who was throwing around the "p" word was actually the president of this well-known agency! Crrrrrazy!

    @Marian- Ugh . . . yeah. That would be bad. Very bad. lol. I just think it says a lot about a person when they use deragatory language like that in a public forum.

    @Cherie- Think of a deragatory word for a females umm . . . panty area. Sometimes it's used in front of the word 'cat' . . . Anyhoo, yes, respect is very important. I don't think I could work with anyone who drops that word like it's nothing.

    @Riley- I think it's safe to say most people don't. I know I didn't with my last book, but I'm definitely going to make a point to do so with my recent project.