Just Write Cat

One Writer, One Journey

#askagent – It’s Fun! April 9, 2010

Filed under: Agents,Life,Social Media — justwritecat @ 2:36 am
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You do know there are some incredibly helpful agents you should be following on Twitter, right? Following now. Agents who tweet about the industry, post links to their blogs, offer helpful tips (on queries, writing, blogging, whatever), and generally do what they can to reach out to writers in an attempt to make the road to ‘publishdom’ less bumpy. Or to agentdom, if that’s a more immediate concern of yours.

There’s a goldmine out there, folks – and Twitter is but one way to get the inside info on things. Case in point: #askagent. #askagent is a Twitter chat, scheduled on a whim, that gives writers the opportunity to ask REAL AGENTS questions about the biz. Please note – there are absolutely no questions allowed about queries (so don’t go to hawk your own manuscript). You can (and should) research individual agents to find out their query and submission guidelines, as well as what genres they’re open to at the time you plan to submit. What you can ask are questions about anything else – what it’s like to work w/ an agent, their take on changes in the industry, views on the use of social media for writers….and just about anything else you can think of that an agent would know.

Last night, I asked if four months was too long to re-send a revised manuscript to an agent who offered to read it again after changes were made. I was worried I’d taken too long to work on the revision. Their replies suggested that wasn’t too long, and in fact – would show the agent I had taken the time to really work on my manuscript. Also, when I resubmit I should remind the agent I was invited to do so. In my mind, I thought waiting too long (which for me, is like a month) might cause the agent to lose interest. I never considered sending it back too soon would suggest my revision work had been….lax. So, good to know that sending the revised manuscript out this month is still a viable option.

The other great thing about the #askagent chat is that you get to interact with agents. You know, as if they are real people. Seriously, when I first started on this journey I felt so nervous by the prospect of interacting with agents. I wasn’t sure how to approach any in a less formal setting. Should I make jokes?  Would offers of baked goods and/or liquor be well-received?  Am I allowed to make direct eye contact, or will that only anger the royalty?

Ok – I’m kidding about those last few things. They agents, not queens and kings.  And while you should NEVER send gifts to an agent until you are officially represented by said agent, they do like sugar as a general rule. But when I started, I was…well, kinda scared by ‘them’. I had this vision in my mind of the archetype agent – someone standing on a pedestal (made out of published books, of course) so high that if she looked down all she could see was some little dot running around, trying to scatter its way up the books (ahem, yes I’m the dot).  Or a bookish sort (and really, I have no idea what that means) sitting at an oversized mahogany desk, looking over his glasses and saying something like “what makes you think you can write?” 

Where, oh where, did I get those ideas?  Who knows?  Certainly not from any agents I’ve actually met (or interacted with via blogs and twitter).  All have been unfailingly kind, helpful and supportive.  Most likely those images were conjured up by my over-active imagination (good for a writer) and insecurity (not good for a writer).   But see that’s one of the problems new writers face – fear.  And the only way to get over that fear (and ignorance, in my case) is to put yourself out there and interact with real, live agents.  You can do that at conferences, via blogs and on twitter.  Yes, you should be professional and courteous – but you can also be yourself (uh, unless your self is naturally rude and obnoxious.  In that case, be someone else). 

So, why don’t you check out #askagent to start – even if you don’t want to post a question, you can follow the chat and see what others have to say.

A few suggestions – some of the questions often asked cover information you can find by doing google searches, reading books, and/or reading agent blogs/submission guidelines.  #askagent is not the place to ask how to query or to find out if an agent wants to read your manuscript on a zombie rockstar who falls in love with a wayward werewolf in a postapocalyptic world (and no, I’m not writing that book.  Sorry – zombies creep me out and anything related to the end of the world as we know it makes me depressed, but I do like werewolves).

To attend the next #askagent chat, you can either do a Twitter search or start following the chat’s host @colleenlindsay  In addition to agents, editors and other book pros attend the chat to answer your questions.

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Going Social (Media) with Your Novel… October 22, 2009

Filed under: Where Did That Come From??,Writing — justwritecat @ 12:44 am
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I’m intrigued by the concept of creating an online presence for my characters and stories.  A place for readers to learn more about a character’s history, to experience their stories in different ways….

And I’m also eager to give my characters their own breathing space.  Or rather, give me mine back.  Because sometimes they won’t leave me alone!  Driving about, running errands that have nothing to do with my stories–just living life, and mutter, mutter…here come the voices.  Whispers in the background are wonderful when you’re sitting down writing their stories–but when you’re just trying to enjoy dinner with your family.  Honestly, it gets frustrating (not really, I love it).  So, I decided to give my protagonist, Joe Cooper, his own platform.  I started http://twitter.com/BloodRunsRed and http://cooperjoe.wordpress.com so that readers could follow his exploits outside of the novels.  I’m not exactly sure how it will work out, but I think it could be fun.  Perhaps too much fun. 

Of course a website is a must, so that is something else I’m working on.  Joe never calls any place home for more than a year, so perhaps an online interactive map of where he’s been, what he’s done might be of interest.  I want to include vignettes on other characters in the series, too (as I would love to write a series based on at least one other character introduced in the first novel). 

I’m still in the learning stages of this phenomena called Social Media.  Sure, I have a facebook account to keep up with family and friends and thoroughly enjoy twitter…but there are so many other media out there that I’ve yet to explore.

Here are a couple of articles on using social media to promote your books/stories:

http://alturl.com/4tce  (love the You Tube idea, but might get in trouble with the law if Joe ever did one)

http://alturl.com/ua4u (frequent blog posting is always a challenge, but so important to do)

http://alturl.com/c7ud (interesting take on using Twitter to create a novel or twovel.  Could be interesting to allow others to write next line in story you start, similar to what BBC recently did.)

So tell me – how do you share your stories and characters outside of the (traditionally published) novels you write?  Or share before your book is published?

And if one of your characters has a twitter account, blog, facebook page or anything else online – please let me know.  I’d love to follow.

Happy Writing –

Catherine