Tuesday, March 28, 2017

An agent with no social media presence

Yesterday's post elicited a question from K White
What if a long-established agent (several bestselling authors) with a well-respected agency has no social media presence? Personally, I'm okay with it, but several of my writing buds see it as a red flag. Could it be? 

An agent doesn't need to have any presence on social media to be effective.
A robust presence on social media is not indicative of a better agent than someone with fewer tweets, or posts.

For some agents social media is fun. It's a way to stay in touch with clients in a low-key way; it's a way to keep up with authors who aren't clients. It's a way to help queriers get a sense of what the agent is looking for. It's someone to talk to at 3am. It's a place to find fellow subway rider sufferers.

But social media has a very very dark side. A casual tweet, carelessly posted can resonate in ways the agent didn't imagine...and hurt his/her public image.

People can say things to and about agents that are casually cruel (intentionally or not) and it's hard to fault anyone for wanting to avoid that.

There's a big difference between understanding how social media works and being present on a social media platform.

You want an agent who understands social media, both its strengths and pitfalls, not necessarily an agent who has learned those strengths and pitfalls the hard way.


DLM said...

I'm actually bewildered at the idea that an agent needs this. It's nice; certainly we have an example of an agent who uses social media with not only generosity but extreme savvy. But why would it be "necessary" ... ?

Some of us are old enough to remember a world where we all got on just fine without social media. Some miss that. Some are just not interested in all the noise. Twitter, Facebook, blogs - these are not tools that will sell a book to an editor.

Also (duh) what Great Janet says. The good with the bad people.

Theresa said...

I remember seeing this question yesterday and I was pretty sure what Janet's answer would be. It's good to know I'm thinking like a shark.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I do love having a shark about at 2 am and I do love pictures of beautiful places and furry friends. I get that social media can be helpful in promoting books and sharing laughs. Jeffrey Somers alone is worth venturing out into the twitterverse.

But beyond that, I distrust social media and almost wish it did not exist. It makes monsters of men. I have to filter through a thick diatribe of hate to find the good stuff of fun pictures, new books to read, agents seeking what I write, and a good laugh.

It is there but it's like sifting for diamonds in a cesspool of feces. And it has at times turned me into toe fungus. I dislike becoming reactive foot shrooms.

Social media seems a haven for the perpetually offended and the utterly crass. So, if an agent has no social media presence, that is no problem at all for me. As long as they have an email. There is a limit to how old school one can go these days.

Colin Smith said...

I can see how some agents might feel the pull of social media, especially Twitter. If you rep largely YA, there are a lot of young YA writers out there--and by young, I mean younger than me, some half my age (ouch, that hurts!), many of whom like to do the tweets and the instagrams and the tumblrs and the bookfacing. For agents building their lists, or adding to their established roster of authors, these social media locations can be a good way to make contacts through pitch contests, and generally making themselves known and being visible. Like Janet said, it's not for everyone, and it's certainly not required, but social media is another tool that can be useful.

Ashes said...

I actually there is a skewed view of 'top agents' because of social media. There were some bloggers a while back who wrote about 'dream agents' and 'rockstar agents' and they were all people who were really active on social media.

In fact, from my research (exclusively online), reading blogs and interviews, and following agents on Twitter, I started to see the same names again and again, and to recognize those names.

So I was actually kind of surprised when I decided to look up the agents of some of my favorite books and various bestsellers. Quite a few were accepting queries, and I recognized none of them. In fact for many of them their presence was limited to their agency website and very little else. Some of them were seasoned and established, and I had never heard of them!

The lesson for me was name recognition does not equal success in the world of seeking an agent.

Susan said...

I can't speak about agents who don't have a social media presence, but I'm an indie author, so I have the benefit (luxury? less pressure?) of following agents simply because they seem like genuinely cool people I'd like to know in real life, with the occasional tweets about the business and clients thrown in. Indeed, I only follow a few agents for this reason. I like that I can learn from them about the industry and hear about their book news, much like this blog, but that they're still very much real people and show interests outside of their own clients. The reason I say this last part is there are a handful I unfollowed mainly because their behavior turned me off--which had nothing to do with politics, surprisingly, but rather in the way they expressed themselves as above authors and formed a clique with their own clients. Not everyone sees social media the way I do--as a community--but I believe we can all learn and support each other no matter how far along our paths we are.

That said, most of them are sweet and helpful and informative, and that shows through in their feeds. From an outsider's perspective, I like seeing that side of the industry, particularly the MSWLs and pitch contests, which gets me excited for books I may one day read.

The good thing about social media is that it lets us see who people really are, but it's important to remember what they put on social media is not all they are.

Donnaeve said...

My agent has a website, and to my knowledge, nothing else. No Twitter, no FB, nada. I didn't care, and still don't that he didn't/doesn't.

OT: All I see whenI close my eyes is boxes. Mom is moved, and is surrounded by at least a hundred of them. I think I lifted each at least once (looking for stuff) and some of them more than once. I am bone tired and we are nowhere near done. She's feeling fractious and out of sorts and who can blame her? I keep telling her, one at a time. We'll get to them one at a time. On top of it all, I've just been handed my copy edits for BITTERSWEET. (YAY!) With a deadline less than two weeks out. (EEEK)

BIG Thank You to all of you who sent good wishes our way. It was very much appreciated - and I took pictures...and I said goodbye to Dad all over again. He built the house in 1955/56. His hands touched every single part of it - cabinets in the kitchen to the flooring.


Amy Schaefer said...

Big hugs to you, Donnaeve. That is so tough. But you've got the right attitude - eat that elephant one bite at a time.

Back on topic, my sympathies are with the kids growing up in the Age of Instagram. The idea of having every casual interaction, every growing-up moment, every foolish pose posted online makes me want to hide in a cave.

DLM said...

Elise, oh my gosh - reactive foot shrooms. So many reactions of my own. So little vodka.

Ashes and Donna: THAT. Yes.

And Donna, now that the actual toting of goods is done and she's IN the new place, may there be joys in reopening those boxes and seeing all the old memories again. With my stepfather long ill, mom has had a couple of phases looking to what her future may be like; she has toyed with downsizing and getting a condo and going a bit industrial with her decor. She has options. Your mom has options, and has used her freedom to go where she is now. What a marvelous thing; think about the places in the world, and history, where she would not have had this. Fresh and clean and new ... blessings for you both.

Colin Smith said...

Donna: Wow. I can't imagine anything I build still being around six weeks later, let alone 60 years! What an amazing legacy. And how difficult for you. But as others have said, this is a new adventure for both you and your mom. I do wish you both the very best. Big hugs from me too.

I'm sure those kind folks who helped us move still have nightmares about my boxes of books... ;)

RachelErin said...

I had a similar experience to Ashes. I think looking at who reps books you love and respect is a better way to find your list of top targets.

I enjoy Twitter, and find many agents fun to follow. I think pitch contests can be fun, too. If you take ten minutes to scan you can quickly see which ones fall flat (cliche, unclear), and then there will one stunner. #tenqueries is fun for an overview of common mistakes (like....not describing the plot). But the agents I enjoy following only somewhat overlap with my list.

It's important to remember the agents are using it to be social professionally, often as networking, not as part of their core job.

DLM said...

Donna, my mom took me to her hometown a dozen years ago or so, and she showed me all the homes they lived in, including the last, which my grandfather built. There was a beautiful, huge crepe myrtle in the front yard. Many moons ago, that had been the tiny shrubbery my dad used to hop over like a happy kid when he would come to pick my mom up for a date.

She, and then my grandparents, left that home decades ago. They both have passed on now. But the home is still such a beautiful place, and I loved it just on sight. It gave me something of my grandparents I had not known before - without being mine, and knowing strangers live there now.

What's yours will always be yours.

Unknown said...

And yet, I have the impression that agents expect authors to have a social media presence. True?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Hey Donna, they say change is good. Who the hell are they anyway?
So, good for mom, good for you and your dad... I bet he's building the boardwalk you're all on.
Hugs babe, lots and lots of hugs your way.

Unknown said...

My wonderful agent is not on Twitter. I learned about him through Publisher's Marketplace, was impressed with his sales, and sent him a query. Many of his clients are on Twitter though, and it's been fun to connect with them.

BJ Muntain said...

Ah, social media. The blessing and the curse. :)

I've actually never heard that *not* having a social media presence might be considered a 'red flag'. And it's only here in the comments that I've seen *having* a social media presence might be considered a 'red flag'.

Here's the thing:

Social media is a tool, and only a tool.

It has many uses. And many users. Some users know how to use it appropriately, some don't. And some don't even try. But as long as you're being socially acceptable (as in, you're not bullying, pressuring, harrassing, or hurting anyone), it's ALL OKAY.

I find it interesting to see agents, publishers, editors, writers, etc., on social media, because I like learning from them. But if they don't have a social media presence, it doesn't have an effect on how well they do their job. Books aren't sold to editors via social media.

I've heard some people complain that an agent might not have a web presence at all - no website or blog or anything. Some people consider that a red flag. It isn't. A website is a way for an author to find an agent. If an agent isn't looking for new clients - or is only looking for them in person or via recommendations - then there's no real need for a website, is there? These agents will already have a full client list, will know editors and other agents personally, and are probably very adept at using a telephone.

EM: Have you tried to filter your social media? Both Facebook and Twitter have ways of doing this. If folks want tips on how to do this, let me know.

kathy joyce: Not all agents expect an author to have a social media presence, but some do. The thing is, authors need to be out there, they need to be networking and marketing. Authors are the product these days, as much as their books. Agents live behind the scenes more. They do the work that gets the authors out there.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

BJ I have heard there are ways to filter twitter but have failed to figure out how to do it effectively.

Julie Weathers said...


Congratulations on the move. My gosh what a lot of work, though. My heart goes out to you both. It's an emotional situation.

So, out of curiosity, and I just wasted an hour doing so, I went to manuscript wish list and looked up some agents I would query with Rain Crow. Since I also write fantasy, that narrowed the list considerably. Then I checked them out to see if they were on twitter. Out of nine, I gave up at nine as it was enough to be disheartening, one was not on twitter at all, two had nothing but professional posts on their professional feed (Yay, for you two!). One had a really great gif with Aragorn offering his sword and saying "And you have my sword" with the caption "This is what agents do". I was all excited until it veered off into the political bs.

One agent was excited about the satanic rituals being cast against Trump and wants a book about it. Maybe a book about witches working against Hitler, too! Well, actually Hitler used the occult extensively, so they were working with him. No, I'll pass on that agent, thanks. Maybe the person probably thought they were being funny, but I think we've gone over the line here.

Four more agents going on about politics.

In today's climate, probably the less you know about agents, the better.

Question #9. Do you support organized satanic rituals against politicians you don't like?

I'm depressed now. I should go start a war or something.

Amy Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Claire Bobrow said...

I can see why an agent wouldn't need to have a social media presence to be effective, but should know how the whole shebang works. Unless the scenario in Station Eleven comes to pass, we are not going backwards to rotary phones and handwritten notes on heavy card stock.

My impression is that it's very different for authors. Some portion of the marketing will fall to most authors, and an active presence on FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. can really help boost sales. Social media still feels a bit like the Wild West to me (the movie version), but I'm trying to stroll down main street without too much chaos.

There was a peaceful town called Rockridge...

BJ Muntain said...

Going a bit off-topic here, for EM:

The easiest way of filtering Twitter is by using a third party program. There are free ones - I like Hootsuite (it's free if you're only using it for three or fewer accounts, so if you only have one, you're gold) and Tweetdeck, which lets you have as many accounts as you want for free. With these programs, you can filter in or out according to key-words (so if you want to keep politics to a minimum, you can filter out certain words, names, etc.)

Twitter itself does have some tools to help, as well. You can also filter out certain words (this is fairly new - I've never used it, but it looks interesting) using 'Muted words'. Here's some information on that: Advanced muting options on Twitter (Twitter support pages)

You can also use lists, in various ways:

1) You can add people you follow to lists, so if you're interested in only looking at a certain type of person's tweets, you could go to a list and only see those accounts, say, agents. I have a private list called 'special agents' for agents who currently have my queries, just to see what they're up to and if they post that they're caught up on queries or not. Others do not know who is on this private list. I have a public list for agents in general, though. (I haven't been keeping this one up-to-date, unfortunately).

Even more useful, sometimes, is

2) INSTEAD of following certain people and having their tweets show up in your timeline, you can add them to a list, so you only see them when you want to. For instance, if there are agents you want to keep track of but they post a lot of stuff you don't want to see (political or otherwise), you can put them in your agents list without actually following them. Then, if you're interested in what they're doing, you can go to that list and see. Just be prepared to see all the stuff you're not interested in normally.

I can help with the filtering using Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, if anyone wants that information, too. But this comment is long enough already. :)

Amy Johnson said...

Same thing as Ashes and Rachel.

OT: I have mixed feelings about going back to see houses that were in the family. (Actually, the family was in the houses.) My grandfather was involved with politics. There are family stories about this person and that person going to the house for meetings in the "caucus room." I have memories of sitting in that room as a little girl. It was a beautiful room. After the house was sold, the new owners turned the caucus room into a garage. Seeing the house the new way makes remembering the house the old way a little more difficult. (Another element of the story: During those meetings in the caucus room, my very intelligent grandmother would take sandwiches to the men as they were discussing important matters.)

BJ Muntain said...

And I know I've already posted enough today, but I wanted to share in the reminiscences of places lived.

My family moved around a lot. My father had the type of job that there could be only one in a town, and if he wanted to 'move up', it meant moving to a bigger town. There are many places I can go on the Canadian prairies and point out houses where I used to live.

Because of this, the home that meant the most to me was never my own. It was my grandparents' home in a small town north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They had a small house on a double corner lot. Because the house was small, they had room for large lawns, many trees (some large), a large vegetable garden, a couple flower gardens, and a small orchard. This house was the one constant in a life that never stayed in one place for more than a few years. It broke my heart when my parents sold it after my grandparents died. My mum said the new owner would probably tear the whole thing down and build a large house. It's been nearly 20 years since Grandpa died, and I've been afraid to drive past their old house ever since.

Colin Smith said...

Julie: I hear ya. There are agents I follow on Twitter many of whose Tweets I have to ignore because of the level and tone of political rhetoric. The tone more than anything. It's as if they neither know nor care there are writers in their audience, potential future clients, that don't share their viewpoint, and indeed might be greatly offended by their careless venting.

Please note, the terms "conservative" and "liberal" are not equivalent to "Republican" and "Democrat." So if you are annoyed with the Republican congress, and get on Twitter to bash "conservatives," you are bashing a bigger audience than you intend, some of whom may share your frustrations. There are a lot of people out there who post without thinking. But I expect better of those who make their living with words, and who understand the power and importance of language.

Okay, sermon over. :)

Twitter is useful for agent research, but you're right Julie, sometimes you find out more than you ever wanted to know.

Unknown said...

I follow some editors on twitter that look "interesting" to me. Interesting in the sense that I get a peak at which agents they interact with, a taste of how they interact, and a bit about what they (the editors and the agents) are looking for.

Kate Higgins said...

As long as the agent understands "MEDIA" social or print media and she/he has a website possibly with a blog and a phone number, I'm fine.
I'm not comfortable with agents doing snapchat or other ethereal, temporary or 'hit and run' social media...there are too many chances for misunderstanding, anger or land mines.
I do think published writers need to use social media community in a classy way. It is a great way to improve you personal "brand" as long as you don't sabotage yourself in the process.

One note about agents however; I would love to be able to see what some of my favorite agents look like...clears throat...because I like to imagine the people while I am speaking or writing to them. As an illustrator, I sometimes draw pictures of what I think they look like. And 'some' agents are very camera shy...

Elise: I snorted my coffee at your classic "reactive foot shrooms."

Donna: After years of being gone from my beloved childhood house, I still refer to it as "back home." Remember the only things that are constant are death and taxes. And change and sharks.

Some fifth words from comments so far?:

Colin Smith said...

Kate: Some people just aren't comfortable in front of a camera, for a variety of reasons. Some are shy, some have privacy concerns, some would rather be judged for their words and not their extreme good looks, and some, like me, think there's enough suffering in the world and don't want to add to it. :)

I, too, like to see what people look like, but it's also important we respect people's wishes to remain a sight better beheld in person.

Casey Karp said...

A slightly different take, if I may.

Much of the conversation seems to be around social media in finding an agent. I think Janet's point is that--for better or worse--social media is one of the channels through which the savvy author builds a following.

What do we hear over and over? "Word of mouth sells books." And today a large number of those mouths are on social media.

That being the case, I want an agent who knows how social media work and can advise me about the best way to use them. (Yeah, yeah, publicist, blah, blah--but my agent still needs an understanding as much as I do.)

Do I care whether she actually uses them herself? Heck no. It'd help. I've bought books based on agent recommendations on Twitter and elsewhere. But as long as she's got her finger somewhere in the vicinity of the radial artery, I'm good.

Colin Smith said...

For what it's worth, I think you're right, Casey. As much as we love chasing agents on Twitter, and as much as it grates against our reclusive sensibilities, it's far more important for writers to be "out there" in the social media universe than for agents. We need to be connecting with readers, building platform, or whatever it is our writing requires. Sure, agents can help, but readers want to connect with the people who write their favorite books, not the agents who represent them. Yes?

Timothy Lowe said...

Of the books I have read this year, none have come from social media recommendations. They were all old school, word-of-mouth, talking to people etc. Granted, I'm not the most active on SM, but I do post pics of books I'm reading and post them on FB to try to give them some press, but I don't see much response unless someone I know has already read or is in the process of reading the same book (or is the author :)).

I'm not saying those platforms aren't important. I just would like to hope that it's possible to get your books out there without having a million twitter followers. Esp. since I only have, well, cough, cough... (redacted).

* back to thesis papers *

Lennon Faris said...

I do appreciate agents who carry a social media presence of some kind. It helps me get a better feel for what kind of person they are. Websites and interviews are great, too. I have crossed off agents bc of stuff they've said though (condescending/ overly negative, poorly done website, etc.).

Kate Higgins - "I like to imagine the people while I am speaking or writing to them." Me, too. Growing up I said my prayers every night. It wasn't till I was a teenager that I objectively thought about my subconscious image of God. To me, He was a man in a huge cowboy hat, with a body that tapered off like a less-gross version of Slimer from Ghostbusters. I still think of him like that. When images aren't provided, sometimes the brain takes over in strange ways.

All this talk about old homes is making me nostalgic for my growing up home.

Colin Smith said...

Timothy: Of course, you do realize that by simply posting your wit and wisdom here, and entering (and winning) a contest or two, you have already started to build a loving and devoted fan base. :) Welcome to social media! :D

Timothy Lowe said...


smiles x 1000

You are a wonderful human being!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I concur with everything Colin has said today. And I am feeling a little guilty about what I did to him in fiction now. :/

Colin Smith said...

Elise: As long as it didn't involve pliers and wire cutters... 8-O

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin Oopsie. I will make it better in revision. A scalpel perhaps. Or perhaps John of the Manuscript Frain will suggest something less conventional in his A to Z killing spree?

OT: Are many in the Reef participating in the A to Z Challenge this year? Speaking of media presence...

Janet Reid said...


A to Z!
With any A word or any Zed word, must be linked by "to"
or "too" or "Two"!


Claire Bobrow said...

Great Balls of Fire!

A to Zed? Zed rhymes with dead.

Julie Weathers said...

I'm going to be doing the A-Z, but I haven't figured out how it's going to work with no links to other blogs and I'd like to support people. I need to do some more studying. It may be more work than I want to put in on it right now with trying to finish Rain Crow.

Colin Smith said...

Et tu, Zedekiah? ;)

Timothy Lowe said...

(you guys do realize she's setting us up...the 5th word will be cackle, of course)

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Julie, from what I understand, you will link each of your posts in a common place and the "list" will build that way so it will only show people who are actually posting. I am still trying to figure this out as it is.

And would you look there, our toothy queen smells blood in the water. Cackle would not be the worst word. *shudders*

Colin Smith said...

I'm not doing A-Z this year. My wife is a bit disappointed because she enjoyed my flash stories last year. But I've been doing it for five years, and I decided to take a break this year to concentrate on writing things I'm not going to give away. While I was glad to do the A-Z challenges, it is a little depressing to think I wrote 78 100 word flash stories that I can't submit anywhere because they were posted on my blog for free. And some of them were quite good, I think.

Anyway, all the best to those that do take the plunge. :)

Kregger said...

I'll take cackle over Zedekiah any day.

Julie Weathers said...

If it's "to" or "too" or "two" that only leaves "tutu". But don't mess with my toot toot.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

It's been 5 years I work with a company that has a huge social media presence. They showcase close to 150 of their 600+ artists. I'm one of the lucky 150. Few of the people in the administration speak out on SM. If they do it's with private accounts or webnyms. Success is not equatable with web presence. It's a personal choice.

Janet Reid is the fuori classe. She can do it all. That's why she's a goddess in shark form. A shapeshifter who torments writers and probably a lot of agents.


A to Zed? 100th flash fic. What a nasty enigma. All I can think of is wherés the shaker.

Steve Stubbs said...

I have to confess, I don't understand all this stuff about authors
looking for a "fit" in an agent. If the agent has no intention of
marrying me or being my 2 A.M. drinking bud, it seems the ONLY
thing that should matter is, can/will the agent sell my dreck?

Here are my suggestions for questions to ask:

(1) Is the agent in business to collect reading fees?

I have NO problem with a critique service charging reading fees.
Everybody deserves to be paid for his/her time. And yes, that
includes agents. But if the agency is a critique service in
disguuise, it seems to this observer they are being less than
honest. Not a good way to start. I found this out the hard way with
an agency that charges a hefty reading fee, then cuts off all
communication when the money changes hands. One of their
competitors told me "they are legendary in this business for that."

(2) Is the agent a lawyer?

I am reminded of of an old legal saying someone taught me about
agency contract law: "What the large print giveth, the small print
taketh away." Every lawyer I ever worked with is good at sharpening
his pencil, and I always seem to end up in the pencil sharpener
with the shavings.

(3) Do they handle a lot of bestselling authors?

I admire them if they do and wish them the very best. But if they
are handling E.L. James and Steven King and John Grisham all three
and getting millions a year off them, what is the likelihood they
are going to do anything with an unproven author who might sell ten
books? (Six of them presentatioon copies.) Of course Epstein
handled other music groups than the Beatles, so that may not be a

(4) Do they handle anybody? Anybody at all?

I have seen enough of the business world to know good and honest
people who are under significant financial pressure make a lot of
accounting mistakes, and the mistakes are always in their favor. I
empathize with them, but have no desire to be their next ripoff-ee.

(5) Do they handle what I am pitching?

I briefly encountered a fellow at a seminar who, I was shocked to
find out later, wrote manuals on "Moloch sorcery" and the like.
(Yes, you can find him online.) He did not tell me that. I found
out online. I can't imagine who repped him, but I'd wager it was
not someone who specializes in Billy Graham's pensive musings. His
agent pronanly wold not be interested in a novel about Little Miss
Sunshine's Voyage on the Good Ship Lollypop. Another shocking thing
is, I read online that he is since dead and died unrepentant.
Pardon me while I wash my hands.
(6) Do they have a record?

Criminal, not sales. A lot of really cool people have criminal
records, but I don't want Bernie Madoff for an agent. I might like
him personally, but the only hand I want in my pocket is mine.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Colin, don't beat yourself up. We'll gladly purchase your future works now that we know you are the Knight of the twist.

Dena Pawling said...

This may or may not be the opposite problem. I've unfollowed several agents who were mostly interesting and not off-putting with constant political vitriol, but they tweet TOO MUCH. More than 5 or so tweets per day and (1) my feed fills up too much and (2) I wonder how the person has time to actually do any work. Some agents tweet only "buy my client's new book" which is almost as bad as an author doing that, and I don't follow those either.

Because everyone has an opinion on how much social media is too much, and how much selling and politics is too much, and all the other variables, I'm not surprised many agents don't want to do it at all. But I do admit that an agent who has a limited quantity and good mix of interesting tweets will definitely move higher on my "good fit" list.

I'm doing A to Z this year. Supreme Court cases that changed life in the US.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Oh Dena, I will look forward to your A to Z entries.

Julie Weathers said...

I just had an agent ask me to send him Rain Crow when it's done. I think I'm going to forego A-Z and focus on finishing.

Colin Smith said...

Dena: (2) I wonder how the person has time to actually do any work. This is a tricky one. Some might wonder how I find time to get work done when I comment so much here. But I do. Some days I'm too busy to comment much (if at all). Other days, I find time to be more discursive. :) I try not to go down the path of judging others, especially if the agent in question has a good client list and a great reputation. You have to trust they've got a good handle on the old work-life balance. And frankly, there are some whose tweets are so witty and fun, I wish they tweeted more often! :)

Angie: Thanks! Maybe I can publish a collection one day, perhaps throw in some new flash stories to make it worth buying. :)

Colin Smith said...

Wow! Congrats, Julie! :D

Julie Weathers said...


Well, its' the agent who liked the writing on Far Rider, but had misgivings about some things. I decided to ask him if he'd elaborate and said I'd been working on a Civil War historical about a female spy.

Surprisingly, he declined Far Rider 13 months ago and still remembered it fairly vividly. He said that was a good sign that he remembered the characters and relationships so well. I'm surprised he remembered it at all.

Anyway, he said, "I hope you'll be sending me the historical."

Craig F said...

I tend to think that an agent should be a cross between a support group and a cheerleading squad for their authors. What they do with the rest of their time is up to them. I also think that what they do is moot when it comes to sales.

I say that because only writers who are looking to get published know squat about literary agents. It is the very rare one, like my queen, who can make any impact among the mass of John Q. Public.

If I cared about social media, except for a laugh, I would keep an eye on the publishing houses. They can and do impact the public. Follow them.

Further on agents:

I already have one too many lawyers, so I don't need an agent to do that.

The biggest thing I want from an agent, beyond the dollar signs, is to be networked with a publisher who will buy what I offer. They could mumble over a cauldron for all I care. If they need social media to sell my works, that is fine. It is not up to me to dictate how they promote me.

Panda in Chief said...

Being a (to this point) indie author, I went kicking and screaming into social media. To my surprise, I have a lot of fun there, and have made hundreds of warm personal connections. I pretty much ignore all the "buy my book" posts and tweets, but if I can get into a conversation with someone that resonates, I might just buy their book, because I enjoy interacting with them.

Because the way of panda satire is also the way of the panda, I have made online connections that have turned into real life connections, and right there is the gift of social media. I certainly wouldn't have imagined this was possible when I dipped my first paw in the water 7 or so years ago. In fact, later this year I am going to China to see pandas in fur and en mass with a small group that I initially met on FB. We've known each other in person for about 4 years, but it all came about through social media.

When my fabulous agent finally sells my graphic novel, all of my indie book supporters stand ready to help launch it into the wider world. Building up readers one person at a time is slow, but more satisfying (and useful) than "get 10's of 1,00's of new followers instantly" schemes.

In the meantime, cartoonist Liz Climo had the best cartoon about social media the other day on Twitter, where three of her animal characters dressed up as different social media platforms. Sorry I'm no good at the linky thing on my iPand, but if you search for Liz Climo on Twitter, you'll probably find it.

John Davis Frain said...

Julie, that's incredible. Both the agent's memory and the news you received, both are incredible. I can't think of a better reason to forego the A to Z challenge. We'll miss you though. Stop by when you want a break, and maybe a laugh if it's a good day.

While I think it's a great reason to skip the A to Z challenge, I'm naturally not taking my own advice. I've shed a few other things in life (see ya TV, I hardly miss ya) and I'm doing the A to Z plus torturing myself with editing. So, if you're scoring at home, I'm torturing myself in my WIP and killing myself in my blog. I should really be in a worse mood these days.

John Davis Frain said...

Colin, don't be so quick to dismiss your flash fiction as unavailable for publication just because it was on your blog. I know of at least one market that takes submissions that have appeared on your blog.

But here's an even better idea. I used one of the flash fiction pieces from Janet's contest where I liked the concept but didn't like my story. (She didn't either, so hey, we think alike!) Took that and expanded on it to get a bigger picture and better story. So I turned the 100-word entry into an 800-word story. Much, much better story that time. And now it was submittable. It had never been published because it was a way different story. Also, most flash fiction magazines that I've seen look for submissions significantly longer than 100 words.

You had some fabulous stories in the A to Z last year. Probably the year before too, but my memory doesn't go back that far. Pick a couple out and see how you might expand them. I bet you could do a story a month that you could submit.

Colin Smith said...

John: I know of at least one market that takes submissions that have appeared on your blog. They take submissions that have been on my blog?! Wow!! I never knew!! ;) Seriously, do share. Who are these people?

As for taking flash and turning them into shorts, I've done that with one, and plan to do it with another, so you're right. It can be done. And I should probably do more. :)

John Davis Frain said...

Sorry, my Tuesdays are always horrid so I can't get here till late in the day and I'm using all three of my comments after hours and in succession. But I must add this PSA.

If you don't get on Twitter, you miss out on some delicious writing tips. Like this from the esteemed and sometimes sober Jeff Somers:

"Write like no one's ever going to read it. Then show it to everybody."


Timothy Lowe said...

JD(Ms)F - missed that one from Mr. Somers. Love it though. Sometimes I feel like listening to all the noise is equivalent to putting training wheels back on when you already know how to ride. There is a lot of advice out there.

Theresa said...

Claire, I revisited Rock Ridge this weekend and said hello to all the Johnsons.

Julie, that's wonderful news.

Claire Bobrow said...

Theresa: Hedley Lamarr could have used an editorial agent :-)

"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives."

"My mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention."

AJ Blythe said...

I have to say, this question had me stumped because I've never equated social media presence with agent ability. All I need to see in the cyber world from any prospective agent is a website with submission details.

Joseph S. said...

Julie W.

Congratulations on the request for “Rain Crow.”

If any other agents are reading this blog, I recommend you get on the bandwagon and request your copy of “Rain Crow” while you have a chance.

Also, Julie, my mother laughs every time she hears the Toot Toot song. And Momma is a physical laugher.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember how I first heard of Janet, but I didn't start following her on twitter *because* she was an agent, more like in spite of it. In fact, I don't follow any other agents. I followed because she was hilarious, and a night owl like me. That was back in the olden days when twitter was mostly just for being silly and having fun.

But I'm weird. I don't think I've ever read a book and loved it and then wondered what the author was up to on social media. I'm fine with agents and authors who have no SM presence.

I'm tempted, SO tempted, to do the A to Z thing again this year. Last year was so much fun, even though it almost killed me. [ProTip: Do not attempt to write a novel during this challenge.] But I feel like I've already "lost" so much of the past 12 months to other major distractions and worries, I can't justify losing April too when I need to concentrate on finishing the current work. Maybe I'll be in a better position to participate next year. Good luck to all of you doing it!

Janet, I also have a follow-up question to yesterday's post. But this is already too wordy. I'll email it to you.

BJ Muntain said...

Go, Julie! Go, Julie! Go, Julie!

Colin: While there aren't many flash fiction markets that print 'reprints', some do. They don't pay as much for reprints as for previously unpublished stories, though. And not all publications consider blog-posting publishing. Most do, but not all.

By the way, for those who want to submit flash fiction, there's a fairly good market newsletter at Yahoo! groups: Flash Fiction Flash Newsletter. There's also a blog: FlashFictionBlog which sometimes has interesting articles and has a link to the newsletter. These are done by Pamelyn Casto.