Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Tagged Twitter

Why I Can’t Tweet My Manuscript Wish List

If you’re a writer on Twitter, you probably know that #MSWL is a popular hashtag. It’s how lots of agents and editors broadcast their submission wish lists.

I love it! But I can say with complete certainty that I’ll never post a #MSWL list. Why? Simply because I honestly don’t know what I’m looking for until I start reading it.

Case in point: When I read Stacey Lee’s UNDER A PAINTED SKY in manuscript form, never in a million years would I have posted to #MSWL that I was looking for a young-adult novel set in the American West, with two female protagonists—one Chinese, one African American—on the run and cross-dressing as boys to disguise themselves.

Yeah. I don’t think that would have come up.

But the minute I started reading, I knew I had to have that book. And thank goodness Putnam Children’s agreed with me.

So here’s the plain, honest truth: I have no idea what I’m looking for until the voice of a story grabs hold of me and doesn’t let go.

Just recently, I sold two science-fiction novels—DARE MIGHTY THINGS and THE BLACK HOLE OF BROKEN THINGS. Both, oddly, feature a competition at the heart of the story.

Ha! If you’d asked me whether competition stories were on my wish list, I probably would have said no. Popularity of The Hunger Games and all.

But once Emmett got a hold of me in THE BLACK HOLE OF BROKEN THINGS, I was 100% in. And in DARE MIGHTY THINGS, once Cassie Dhatri convinced me that competing for the opportunity to be an astronaut was cooler than competing for a prince and a kingdom, my inner geek girl squealed with delight. I was in.

So keep that in mind when you ask an agent, “What are you looking for?” If they have a ready answer, take it with a grain of salt. Rarely do we find exactly what we are looking for.

As the Rolling Stones would say, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need.”

Photo Credit: Hey Paul Studios


Power Of Twitter

STATUS: I’ve got under 200 emails in my inbox! Yes, this is worth celebrating. I haven’t seen a number this low in weeks.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? CHIQUITA by ABBA

Talk about eye-popping. Lisa Shearin just forwarded an email that Felicia Day had sent her regarding Felicia’s twittering yesterday of THE TROUBLE WITH DEMONS.

According to Felicia, over 10,000 people clicked on her twitter link to the Amazon.com page for DEMONS.

Of course she can’t track who then purchased but if even just 1% did an actual buy, that would be a solid 100 copies in one day.

I’m thinking all my clients need a celebrity fan! Hello.

But seriously, look at the mechanisms Lisa put in place that allowed people to reach out to her. She knew about Felicia’s blog via Google Alerts and then she followed up on it. If you’ve got a book being published this year, make sure your website is up and ready by the time galleys go out. Make sure there is a way for fans to contact you. If you’re doing a social networking site, make sure that’s ready. Be sure to track your reviews as you never know who might be talking about you! Sure it can be a lot of work tracking this stuff but it just might pay off in nice dividends!


Tweet This! Guest Blog Lisa Shearin

STATUS: Ah, disaster day. I spent about four hours straight on the phone this morning. Didn’t even get a chance to glance at my notes for more news of London but I will. Stay tuned.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SHE IS by The Fray

Happy Release day Lisa! A series that started quite humbly and is now edging close to 100,000 copies in print. And they said a fantasy series featuring an elf wouldn’t fly. Harrumph!

All hail the promo power of Twitter by Lisa Shearin

Twitter is addictive. It’s all too easy for me to be Tweeting when I should be writing. However, Twitter can also be an incredibly effective way to reach thousands of potential readers. Now, I personally can’t reach that many people with Twitter (as of last night, I only had 216 followers, but I’m proud of each and every one of them). However, I have a fan who has over 460,000 followers on Twitter—actress Felicia Day.

You may know Felicia from Joss Whedon’s Internet musical hit Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog, or from the web series The Guild, which she created, writes and stars in. Or from TV shows such as House, Strong Medicine, and Monk. She had a recurring role as “Vi” in the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and can be soon seen in Dollhouse, My Boys and in a four-episode arc on the new ABC Family sitcom Roommates—and more.

Felicia’s a busy lady. She’s also a voracious reader who loves fantasy. And fortunately for me, she’s crazy about my Raine Benares fantasy adventure series. “This series is like chocolate to me,” Felicia wrote in one blog review of my books. “I just can’t get enough of it. This is a girl-power fantasy with fighting and magic and sexy hunk elves and goblins galore.”

I met Felicia through her blog. Like many authors, I have Google Alerts set up for my books. So when Felicia reviewed my first book (MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND) Google let me know. I popped over to Felicia’s site and read the review. She raved about the book, but . . . uh, not so much about the cover. I have to tell you, it was the most hilarious take on my cover that I’d ever read. (Felicia’s an incredibly gifted comedic writer.) I couldn’t resist it; I just had to jump in and post a comment. Felicia and I have been email buddies ever since. I’ve sent her signed copies of my books, and she sent me a fabulous signed photo of her that’s on my office wall, plus she’s always spreading the word about my books.

With today’s release of my third Raine Benares adventure, THE TROUBLE WITH DEMONS, Felicia graciously offered to post a review on her blog. I asked if she would tout my book on Twitter as well (http://twitter.com/feliciaday) and she said she’d be glad to. Felicia’s website and blog get an insane number of hits every day. And with over 460,000 people following her every Tweet . . . well, I can’t wait to see what happens. : )

I know what will happen! They’ll find Raine just as irresistible (I hope!)


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