Recently, I’ve heard many stories about people getting their agents through online contests or on social media. This method was virtually unheard of until the last several years, and is certainly a far cry from the traditional route of mailing queries to agents and publishers. Though I tend to prefer a more traditional query (albeit via email, not snail mail), I thought I’d share a few of the social media events I’ve stumbled upon.
First, there was Pitch Madness (#pitmad) on Twitter last Thursday, September 12. Writers pitch their finished novels in 140 characters or fewer (or technically 133 in order to include the hashtag), and if an agent likes a pitch, he or she will favorite it. Pitch Madness etiquette suggests that writers pitch no more than once an hour throughout the twelve-hour event, and if you like something you see (and you’re not an agent or a publisher), retweet it rather than favoriting. Also, don’t forget to put the age group and genre your pitching (such as YASF, NA romance, etc.). If you can’t shrink your book into 140 characters, don’t feel bad! Many agents have said they prefer traditional queries to Twitter pitches, and agents who favorite a tweet during Pitch Madness usually request that you send a query letter along with whatever other materials (synopsis, sample pages, etc.) they specify. I don’t know yet when the next Pitch Madness will be, but you can always check the #pitmad hashtag for updates.
Another Twitter resource is the manuscript wishlist hashtag (#MSWL), where agents and editors will post books they’d like to represent. These are more specific than just a genre or age group; for example, “new adult urban fantasy set in Dickensian London.” (I just made that up, but if that’s your book, it sounds awesome!) I usually check this daily, just to see if my project matches anybody’s wishes. If you think your book is a good fit for someone, don’t be shy about replying to her tweet and/or querying her!
Finally, I’d like to point out a Tumblr page that’s similar to the manuscript wishlist: the Agent and Editor Wishlist. From what I’ve seen so far, this pretty much just pulls straight from the manuscript wishlist, which tends to get more posts and more traffic. But agent and editor wishlist has announced a day for posting wishes on Tuesday, September 24. I’ll be checking this and #MSWL periodically throughout the day, and will have my query ready.
I’m certainly not knocking more traditional queries; in fact, I’m preparing to send a few out myself in the next few days! These are just a few of the “newer” methods of finding an agent that I’ve stumbled upon. Are there any others that you’d recommend? Any tips for navigating these? Please share in the comments!