When I first plunged into the ocean of agents, publishers and hopeful authors, it was repeated through so many outlets that “you need to get involved in the digital/social media world.”
Develop an online presence, they said. Network.
Networking is something I was never good at. I don’t schmooze. I’m not a highly sociable guy. I generally distrust people on the outset and am hesitant to jump into relationships regardless of the type.
Yet, now that I’ve begun working up my online presence, I’m quickly seeing the benefits of doing so.
One of these benefits came in the decision to not work with an agent if she requested my manuscript. I was following the agent on Twitter for a couple of weeks and her tweets were beginning to rub me the wrong way. I thought nothing of unfollowing her. Coincidentally, I received an email from said agent less than ten minutes later telling me to piss off with my crappy book. (<– That’s a lie, she was professional about it.)
Had I not gotten on Twitter as others so kindly suggested, I might not have known that I dislike the agent.
But there are more benefits than just getting to know people. There’s free s*** galore out there. Which is awesome.
I’m usually not one to shamefully plug myself and I won’t start now. Yet, I am going to take this opportunity to educate while exploiting the fact that I’ve started a blog.
I’ve mentioned Literary Rambles before as a resource for middle grade authors. They (@NatalielAguirre and @Casey_McCormick) find middle grade agents and provide some excellent starter information on the agents—the site is a great springboard into cyber-stalking people like Brent Taylor (@NaughtyBrent) to discover their interests and whether or not they seem like a fit for you and your work. As mentioned before (if I remember correctly) Brent Taylor works under Uwe Stender over at TraidaUS Literary Agency. I’ve been considering querying both of these men for a while now and still am. And so it was that I started following them on Twitter (Uwe Stender can be found @UweStender)
Because of Twitter, I discovered this morning that Literary Rambles and Brent Taylor have teamed up and are giving away a free query critique from @NaughtyBrent.
To enter (which I suggest anyone still in need of query advice do) all you have to do is go here and read the interview—the rules are within it.
Coming across this drawing on Twitter proves the advantages of an online presence, but Twitter’s obviously not the only avenue where (hopeful) people in the publishing world can find unique ways of connecting with one another. Signing up with Reader’s Digest will flood your inbox with different opportunities (almost annoyingly so, though I think you can manage what they send you). Other blogs offer other opportunities. There are even contests and free stuff put across on message board sites. If I were a crack addict and had all the time in the world, I’d be scouring these resources non-stop for every extra point up I could get.
However I am not a crack addict, regardless of what my estranged brother contests (unlike him, I still have all my teeth).
The moral here, folks, is that when you hear others saying, “maintain a social media presence,” there’s a lot more to it than just getting your name out there. The more I dig into the dream-laden world of prospective authors the more I see a community of genuinely nice people encouraging and helping one another. Even the agents and publishers. We’re all in this together… but some of us are in this more so than others.
I’m still learning this.
And I’m passing along each bit of helpful information I can along the way because even if I suck it up in life as an author, helping people is as easy as throwing this blog into the world… and it also gets me an extra drawing in the contest mentioned above ;P
Best of luck to everyone