Fortunately for authors, the internet is providing an excellent view into the offices of all those editors and agents that you might be interested in working with. If you know what you are doing, you can certainly insure that your project falls into the hands of the right person. The tool you use is social media.
Yes, I know, this shouldn't come as a shock to you, but those tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and what not tell you a lot more about the editors and agents that you want to target. In a virtual experience, you can learn a lot about these professionals beyond the information they may post on submission guidelines and FAQ pages. We have to remember, even though the business is about your manuscript and your writing, the personalities of the editors and agents play a huge role in the success or failure of your writing career.
So, what do you look for?
- If the editor or agent posts frequently of the types of stories they accept or reject, watch for patterns. This is especially useful if that professional is Tweeting while they read submissions or editorial notes and telling you what they think. I have done that in the past and I know Angela James of Carina and Sara Megibow of the Nelson Agency does this every now and then.
- Read those #pubtips they post on Twitter every now and then. When you see those, the odds are they stumbled across a project that did something really stupid and they want to remind you of these. Sure, tweets like this are great reminders, but you also learn to understand their pet peeves.
- Read those blog posts. I do have to say, the number of editors and agents blogging is decreasing daily but if you can track those people, listen to them. Don't just look at the message, but read between the lines. You should find out a lot about that person. If you are someone who reads this blog on a regular basis, you should be able to sense that I try to provide writers with a lot of craft ideas as well as things that should make your life easier as a writer.
- Check out who they read. In this case you can see other people they might follow on Twitter, other Blogs they quote or even the stories they frequently talk about publically. Pay attention to the patterns here. They tell you a lot.
- Watch for the personal stories they tell. When it is time to pitch face-to-face with these people, this becomes some great small talk elements to bring up.
So, here is a pop quiz for you....
What do you know about Scott?
1) How many kids do I have?
2) Who is frequently with me when I read submissions? I will tell you he has assisted in the past with submissions?
3) What do my kids do as a hobby?
4) Name one pet peeve I have when it comes to submissions.
5) If you attend the RWA National conference, what sessions do I always say are MUSTS!
6) If you attend the RWA National conference, how do I feel about elevator pitches?
7) If you attend the RWA National conference, what is my "formal wear" for the evenings?