Friday, January 31, 2014

Question: Agent "failed to reply to my question on twitter"



Is it considered a faux pas to tweet a prospective agent to ask a question? In my case, an agent I follow has my first three chapters, but I've revised based on agent feedback. I sent a tweet to ask if she would like the revised chapters, or if she likes to make up her own mind about what needs revising. I've had no response. Now I'm wondering if I crossed a line. But if I didn't, and she is that dismissive, I'm wondering if this is an agent I want to work with.

That odd snapping sound you hear is my jaw closing in on your derriere.
DO NOT EVER DO THIS.

And by "This" I mean conduct business conversations on Twitter.

Don't ask about your personal queries on Twitter. Don't ask if she's read the manuscript. Don't ask if she's taking queries. Don't ask if she's behind on her reading.

Twitter is a PUBLIC forum. You have no control over how your tweets are perceived.  I cringe every time someone says on Twitter "hey, I sent you an email did you get it" because I think it makes me sound like I'm a slacker about answering my email.  While it's true I AM, do you really have to tell everyone?

The other thing to realize is she may never have seen the tweet, or she may not associate your twitter handle with your name or your email.  You can't make ANY assumptions about her being "dismissive" based on not replying.

If you've made revisions to your partial or full there is ONE and only one way to ask an agent if she wants the revised version: email her. And use the same email address that you used to query her with. Many of us sort by email address, NOT NAME.

The short answer to your question "Is it considered a faux pas to tweet a prospective agent to ask a question" is YES it is. Don't do it.

11 comments:

donnaeverhart.com said...

Ms. Janet, this should go for all social media, right? I.e. the same applies to blogs, FB, etc, etc. Don't ask questions or make comments about any interactions with agents on those platforms either.

And... something in this post also brings me right back to the post on etiquette when using Twitter to promo one's book - this sentence in today's post stuck out, "The other thing to realize is she may never have seen the tweet...."

This is what I always think when I do go out on Twitter...if authors are tweeting about their book, the chances of it being seen have to fight with all the other tweets coming in...and I know you said to repeat it...but...to me it's like being at a carnival, and playing one of those games where you have to toss a ring around the neck of a bottle to win a prize. How many tweets would it take to get one little nibble I wonder?

Don't get me wrong, I'd do whatever I was required to do to promote my own book, even wear a sandwich board if a publisher said "wear a sandwich board...,"

I'll shut up now b/c I don't want to annoy the Shark.

Mz.ZeyZey said...

Thank you for commenting on this. I've often wondered about what types of interactions you should have with agents/editors on social networking.

I am a new reader of your site and have a question I would like you to answer on your blog. How do you get the questions you answer? Are they sent via your agency email?

Janet Reid said...

Mz.ZeyZey, they are indeed. Put "Quesiton for the blog" in the subject line.

Aften Szymanski said...

This is good to know. I'm new to all things social media and I'm sure I've committed a great deal of faux pas, but now I can try to avoid at least one ;).
Thanks for your honest and refreshing insight.

kregger said...

*slaps forehead*

That's why I never heard back regarding my email to ask for permission to call you for a verbal pitch on a fiction novel I'm considering. It's you, not me.

Back to reality.

Ms. Reid returns all pertinent emails in a timely fashion. This is from the experience of having a query repeatedly chewed on since 2009.

My only question...is a query done cooking when it hits the kitchen wall and sticks or when it slides done behind the stove?

Jacob Burnett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janet Reid said...

Point of Twittiquette: Would this dicta also cover requests for clarification when agents post general suggestions (whether with #querytip or #pubtip or otherwise)?

Asking for a clarification of a tweet is ok. The trick is to do it almost immediately. That way it's like a conversation, and twitter does lend itself to short conversations.

The trouble is when someone asks about tweet that's two weeks old. I don't reply to that, mostly cause I don't remember what I was yammering about.

And the second trick is to always hit "reply to" the agent who posted the #querytip so she can click her "show conversation" stream.


Jacob Burnett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Social media used to be a dance-card. Then it was a big black hunk of plastic with a dial and a really cool handle that you talked into and sound came out of. Problem with both...waiting...for him to lead or him to call.

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

The key word is "social" media. It's for social communication, NOT business communication.

Simon Hay said...

Occasionally, I tweet to agents or about agents. Most times I get a response. Hi and thank you. The online world is smaller than I imagined. Everyone remembers followers and conversations. I get asked questions about my work publicly and answer publicly, but I'm not an agent representing others. It's all on me. I don't share confidential information.

I understand the annoyance about over pimping book links on twitter. It's a fine balance. Common sense seems to be lacking though. Globally. Twitter works though. When I tweet my blog links and website, the hits on my website increase 500%+. It doesn't always turn into bookings or book sales, but it does create interest.

This is off subject and a generalisation. I've noticed indie authors follow everyone, while traditionally published authors follow a select few. I'm guessing it's that traditionally published authors have access to advice about marketing, or have an agent and publisher coordinated marketing plan.

I'd like to see more common sense in 2014. :)