Okay, let’s talk Twitter.
Social media is a necessary part of being an author in today’s world. I belong to many sites, such as: Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Triberr, Pinterest, Goodreads, Google +, LinkedIn, my own website/blog, as well as a multi-authors blog. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few; I always do.
Back to Twitter.
Twitter is a great place to promote your posts. However, with the 140 character limit it makes it difficult to get across everything you have to say. But it’s also a great place to learn to savor each word. To learn to hone your skills by saying the most you can with the fewest words– good practice, and a skill you need to master to be great writer.
Yesterday on Twitter, agents inputed their manuscript wishlists under the hashtag #mswl. What is the #mswl? It’s when agents list the kinds of books they hope to find in their slushpile. What genre they’re looking for, etc. A lot of agents even get into details. Like they’ll say something like: I’m looking for a crime novel that has a fast-pace, has a criminal for a protagonist, a female protagonist who is bull-headed or has a warped view of the world. A full length novel that includes a serial killer. And maybe has a little romance thrown in for good luck.
When agents get into specifics like this, it makes our jobs, as writers, so much easier. We now know what agents are looking for. And hopefully, it matches our specific book. Just remember, when querying these agents you must not only follow their guidelines, like you should anyway, but put the hashtag in the subject line. Your subject line, unless otherwise specified, should look like this: Query: (book title) #MSWL
See? Then the agent will know that one, you’ve done your homework. And two, that you are specifically targeting them because you have a book that matches their wish list. Now, I can’t promise you that your query will jump ahead of any others in line, but you will stand out from the crowd. Isn’t that always a good thing?
Twitter also has other events for writers shopping their novel to agents. They have pitch parties.
For instance, #PitMad, which is happening next week on Sept. 9th. What is #PitMad you ask? #PitMad is a twelve-hour event. Usually from 8am-8pm EST or EDT, and happens four times a year. In March, June, Sept., Dec. You have 140 characters to pitch your books to agents. You must include the hashtag #PitMad in your pitch as well as your genre. Not your specific genre just your audience. For instance for adult you’d write #A. For young adult you’d write #YA, and so forth. You can find the complete rules on Brenda Drake’s website. Or by Googling #PitMad.
There’s one caveat to #PitMad. You can only tweet your pitch twice an hour AND you must keep changing your pitch because Twitter doesn’t allow you to tweet the same one over and over. You can rotate a few different pitches, which is the easiest way to go, or you can keep creating new ones. If an agent likes what they see they’ll favorite your tweet. During #PitMad writers are not allowed to favorite anyone else’s pitches because it makes it too confusing. Although there are always those who don’t follow the rules. Don’t be one of them. Please. You’ll only get someone’s hopes up for no reason. And that’s not nice. So, when your pitch gets favorited you go to that agent’s Twitter page and they will give you further instructions. Some say, if I favorited your tweet send me the first three chapters of your book. Or, send me the first fifty pages and synopsis. Whatever the case, follow their guidelines!
If you pay attention to the hashtags on Twitter all sorts of doors will open up for you. You wouldn’t know it to look at Twitter, but Twitter has many different ways to help you. And different events to get your manuscript into the hands of agents. And, with less work than scrolling through pages and pages of agents, then having to research each one to see if they’d be a good match for you and your work, and then sending off the query and sample pages. I can’t say enough about it. It’s a great tool– and it works!
Twitter also has #tenqueries. This is where agents post critiques of query letters they’ve received in their slushpile. Don’t worry, they don’t use your name. Agents would never openly bash a writer in public. Some of the queries are absolutely hilarious. It always amazes me what some writers write in their query letters. How they’ll ever get traditionally published is beyond me. But there are also agents who give sound advice about query letters. Advice that’s worth paying attention to. Advice you can’t find anywhere else. Unless of course you go to sites like Query Shark or Writers Helping Writers, and the like.
#500queries is a lot like #tenqueries.
There is the hashtag #querytips, where you will learn valuable information on how to craft query writers. And these are agents giving you tips as well as successful authors.
#querylunch I just found recently. This is where agents give their time during lunch to answer questions from writers. How generous is that? We all have heard about how crazy agents’ schedules are. And yet, some agents actually take their lunch hour to answer questions. Unbelievable, right?
And then #askagent works similarly to #querylunch. At #askagent agents again take time to answer questions from writers. Though #askagent happens when the agent has free time. Some agents answer questions at night, some early morning, and some do it the same time every week.
#writing or #writingtips– both places that give advice to aspiring writers.
#pitchwars is where writers get paired up with mentors. These mentors spend countless hours going over your manuscript to get it into the best possible shape. Then, months later, there is an agent round where agents try to gain your pitch. This translates into requests. These agents know the manuscripts have been scrutinized by professional authors, edited into the best possible shape, so they are more inclined to read the entire manuscript. Often times #pitchwars end in offers of representation. And isn’t that what we are all after? Those of us going traditional, that is. Someone to help us wade through the publishing waters; help us create successful, long-lasting careers? Unfortunately, #pitchwars is happening now, so it’s too late to sign up for this round. But it occurs a few times a years so keep your eyes open for upcoming dates.
Well, that’s enough to get you started in the right direction. Good luck everyone! For those of you who are looking for agent, check out #mswl now. The wish lists stay posted so you don’t need to worry that you missed out yesterday. You can still take advantage of this great tool.
Till next time, my faithful followers. Have a wonderful day! I hope you all gain lots of requests and get that coveted offer of representation.
If one of these hashtags has helped you get your agent, please let us hear about it in the comment section. Your success is our success.