Yes, Agents Google Writers
This is the social media elephant in the room.

You don’t query in a vacuum. If you write a query letter and an agent is intrigued (congratulations!) the next thing an agent does is Google you or click on the links in your signature to see where it takes us.

A writer’s virtual footprint is their resume at that point.

Here are my ‘online guidelines’ for writers:

  • Make sure you have a landing page. It could be Tumblr, WordPress, or a website. You only need one, but make sure you have one that has good SEO–Wordpress or a domain name is best for that.
  • Make sure you’re not a digital ghost. If we Google you and nothing comes up it makes us think 1) you don’t take this seriously and 2) that you don’t understand social media and the importance of an online presence and that worries us. It’s a red flag, because when it comes time to promote your book you should already have these things sorted.
  • Social media isn’t for spamming your following, it’s for community engagement. How do you sell books through social media? Indirectly. When you have a following that likes you for what you post when it comes time to promote your book they’ll be happy to spread the word.
  • Align yourself with conferences and organizations like SCBWI, WFWA, RWA etc.
  • Agents have changed their mind about an author after searching them online. Yikes! How do you avoid that? Making sure you don’t have websites or blogs that are ghost towns. Post regularly. And regularly can mean whatever works for you (once per week or once a day, but no less than a couple times a month!).
  • Being active on Twitter and Facebook means posting at least once per day, on average.

Don’t know what social media is right for you?

Tumblr: Ideal for images and short text. It’s a microblog.

Twitter: Great for short thoughts and sharing links.

Facebook: Perfect for integrating family and friends with your work, and sharing links that you have lengthy opinions about.

Pinterest: Works for behind the scenes thinks like character sketches, world building imagery, and visual content. Also, writing advice that’s image heavy like Tumblr.

Do you know the optimal times to post to social media?

Tumblr: Weekday evenings after 7pm-1am. Don’t post before 4pm. 

Twitter: 9am-4pm weekdays. Peak time: Thursday and Friday at lunch and early afternoon. Don’t post 8pm-8am or Friday after 3pm. 

Facebook: 6am-8am, Thursday and Friday at lunch, and weekends. Peak time: Sunday and Thursday. Don’t post 10pm-6am weekday or weekends after 8pm. 

Pinterest: Weekend mornings and weekdays 2-5pm. Peak time: Saturday morning and Wednesday at lunch. Don’t post 5pm-7pm.

There’s your checklist!

[Info via, PR Daily, Track Maven,,  Social Media Week,, Media Bistro, Fast Company.]

42 thoughts on “Yes, Agents Google Writers

    1. For Tumblr it’s about the after work and night owl crowd. Tumblr isn’t as active during the day when people are working (other than brands posting their info). Think of Tumblr as the college students staying up late to study.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is a serious question; as a writer, everytime I read this sort of advice, my first reaction is “hold on, then why should I pay you/give you a share of royalties?” This is sincere. I feel that if your success is limited by number of followers, your work probably isn’t all that good. If it’s not that good and won’t gather much interest beyond those interested in YOU vs the story you tell, are you really going to sell 5 times as much by signing with the traditional agent & publisher to make a revenue comparable to self-publishing (compared net cover royalties)? I also completely recognize exposure is essential, but then if you’ve built a platform of fans, why share the revenue of your hard work? I’d love to get a professional’s opinion on this. I really like this blog, and hope this won’t come off as rude in any way!


  2. Excellent point about agents googling prospective authors. All of my online presence is in my writing name – hopefully they look at that, as my website is in that name. As to the prime time for postings, I’ve read these times before, but how do you factor in for different time zones? I live in California which e.g. is 8 hrs different to London, and various other times across the US. Good post. Thank you


  3. Thank you for the post, Ms. Watters. Great one! Quick question. If you have a blog and you post regularly, it defines consistency. But, as I recall a past blog entry of yours, it didn’t matter that you had ten or ten thousand followers, so how to agents perceive this? Do they want to see thousands of followers or do they want to see the content or the interaction? That’s still not clear to me.

    Thanks again for the post.


  4. Reblogged this on write lara write and commented:
    Literary Agent Carly Watters shares 1) what kind of digital footprint agents look for, 2) a quick guide to the largest social media sites, and 3) the best times to post to those sites.
    Read up, and if you aren’t following Ms. Watters on WordPress or Twitter, do so to keep receiving great tips for querying authors!


  5. Hey

    Awesome post! I like how you talked about writer’s association. I was thinking of joining one. Now, what association is considered a good one if you are working on a novel? I don’t necessarily want to typecast myself, so I was looking at the Canadian Author Association. Is that a good one or do you recommend another organization?


  6. I have a WordPress blog and post regularly. As someone who has a full time job and writes at weekends and in the evenings the posting schedule you mention wouldn’t work well for me (accept at weekends) because, when in the office I can not be posting on my blog, Twitter etc. Thanks for this helpful post. Kevin


  7. Impossible to disagree. Today, if a writer is not visible online he doesn’t exist. Hadn’t thought writers associations might have a make or break value in the eyes of agents. Would debut authors be in any association at all?


      1. Too bad, right? I write SF and their requirements is to have sold already up to three works and collected advances and royalties.

        I exceed easily the minimum royalties required ($2000) but I’m an Indie writer: I don’t qualify.


  8. I will have to reference back to this post for optimal (and to be avoided) posting times on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
    And I should probably check what Google has to say about my visibility.
    Thanks! :)


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