7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With

guardianpostAfter query letter tips, the second most popular question I get asked is: “How do I make myself agreeable in an agent’s eyes?”

It’s a great question. This is a personal business that’s all about great working relationships.

Firstly, you have to write a great manuscript, but secondly, how does an agent decide to work with someone after that?

7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With:

1. Open to revisions

Right away, I know if an author is going to be a fit for me based on how they react to revision ideas. Agents are looking for writers that are open to feedback and collaboration. If I gave you an R&R did you connect with my notes? Did you ask questions that take my notes from suggestions to big picture changes that make the novel better?

2. Always wants to get better

A line I like to use is “trust your future self.” What that means to me is if you can write good novel, you can write many more. Getting defensive about your novel means you are holding on to it when really you should be willing to let it go and work on the next. Agents are looking to represent authors for the long term, so what we need is the faith that you want to be the best writer, every time you write a new book. We know there will be ups and downs, but it’s that drive to succeed that will separate many writers from the ones that don’t make it.

3. Treats assistants and senior industry members alike

From time to time we get people who respond to our query letter auto-response with condescending and mean emails. It doesn’t matter who is on the other end of those emails, our principal agent or our assistant, you have to be friendly to everyone–not just the people who influence your career. Those mean emails just reinforce our decision to pass without a second thought.

4. Asks questions

I love it when authors want to know more about the process. Don’t be shy about wanting to know how the business works. Whether it’s a Twitter #askagent session or when you’re on ‘The Call’ with an agent, make sure you ask the important questions that help your understanding.

5. Trusts us

The number one way to work with an agent for a long period of time is trust. I know this isn’t built over night, but you have to trust your agent to have your best interests at heart. This is one of the most important long-term author/agent relationship requirements. Only query agents that you see yourself working with and that you already trust (whether it’s a referral, their taste or client list).

6. Communication

This is part of trust, but authors have to be up-front with agents. Did you self publish before? Have you had an agent before? Can you share your sales numbers from your previous book? It’s the little things that add up when it comes to communication. We need to know everything if we’re going to represent you well.

7. Professional on social media

As easy as it is for authors to Google agents to see if we might be a fit for you, when we fall in love with a query or manuscript the first thing we do is Google you back. What agents love to see on social media is a personality (not just link blasts). You don’t have to have a ton of followers (but points if you do!) to get our attention. It’s all about the balance between promotion and personality. We love it when authors are part of writing communities and support other authors. That means, when the time comes, those other published writers will support you too.

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 Image via The Guardian

 

Social Media Intern: Accepting Applications Until May 12th

Social MediaP.S. Literary Agency (PSLA) is accepting applications for a Digital and Social Media Intern. Candidates should want to gain experience at an agency, have a flexible schedule, be able to devote 10 hours a week, and be comfortable working remotely.

Overall, PSLA is looking for applicants that are students or new to the industry, a passion for books, sharp eye for detail, a desire to learn how the industry and how agenting works, and good social media marketing skills. Continue reading

Q: What Do Agents Like to See When They Google Writers?

20120130-093459.jpgYes, if we’re interested in your work we’ll Google you. And yes, there are things we like to see:

  • Some sort of Website. You need a landing page. (WordPress and About.me help you do this for free. You don’t have to break the bank.)
  • A certain level of Social Media proficiency. (It doesn’t have to be everything, just showing interaction.)
  • Blog posts that aren’t discussing the submission process in too much detail. Many writers lay it all out there to share the (often lonely) experience with others, but it’s really best if you can keep this to yourself.
  • Positive demeanour and Professional approach in your online interactions. It’s a small world! (And editors can Google you too.) Agents choose who they work with carefully, and we like to work with nice people.
  • A Personality. You don’t have to talk about books or writing online, if you’re passionate about dogs with paper hats then let your freak flag fly. Don’t be afraid to be memorable.

Continue reading

6 Ways Social Media Doesn’t Help You Get Published

Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 5.33.11 PMDoes social media help or hinder the creative process?

So many writers are on Twitter and Facebook chatting with other people in the same position. Everything from sharing common experiences, information about who to query, and joining critique groups are part of the wonderful things social media can offer. There are a number of things not to share on social media and ways that social media interferes with your goal of getting published.

Many agents, including myself, look for writers on Twitter once we’re wowed by your query or writing samples. What we’re looking for is daily posts, something funny or intriguing and a voice that we want to get to know. Twitter is only 140 characters, but that’s ample room to show your chops as a writer and get your unique voice out there.

However, there are many cases where social media isn’t helping you:

1. You are over-sharing

I mentioned above some things we like to see in Twitter. Here is something we don’t like to see: confessions about your writing that raise some red flags. Such as you’re not sure you have another book in you, you’re not sure what genre you fit into, you don’t actually read at all or see why writers need to read. Believe me, I’ve seen this all on Twitter before. Think about what is appropriate to share and if a potential agent or editor was watching, what voice would you want to project?

2. You are sharing information that is actually private

Submission lists, number of agents you’ve queried, full manuscript requests, phone calls and meetings with agents–are all things that you need to keep to yourself for your best interest. You want to be a hot project and you want to keep your cards close to your chest. Don’t give everything away on platforms that are public. Agent Sarah LaPolla tweeted this sentiment last week and it caused lots of discussion!

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3. You are wasting time instead of creating time to achieve your goal

We’ve all had days where we’d rather check Facebook and Twitter than work, but it’s important to know when it’s social media time and when it’s writing time. If you think that fiction authors need to build their platform more than they need to perfect their craft you’re wrong. Writers need to write in order to get better and in order to accomplish your goals. Finishing a 80k word novel isn’t easy. It takes great time management skills, and social media management skills.

4. You are building a platform in the wrong direction

If you are a non fiction author you should be targeting your social media towards your market and your potential consumers, not fellow writers. Find your niche and engage in social media within it. Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Add people to your Twitter Lists.

5. You are creating an online identity that isn’t desirable

Negativity, over-sharing, spilling details that are private are all social media habits that are not desirable for a business partnership. Yes, Twitter is a place to vent and share common anxiety in the publishing process, but you should be thinking about the end goal. Fake it ’til you make it. Be the persona on social media today that you want to be when your book publishes.

6. You aren’t engaging with all that social media can do

One of the wonderful things about social media and blogs is that agents and editors share their likes and dislikes, what they’re looking for and what doesn’t work for them. Engage with the platforms, comment on blog posts, get your name out there in a positive way and pay it forward. Find the social media platform that best suits you and dig out all the useful information.