Something rather marvellous happened yesterday. Something similar to a technological fairytale, or perhaps the beginning of one anyway.
Over the last month or two I’ve started to stalk literary agents and publishers on Twitter as part of my overall scheme to get a novel published. I’ve replied to a few of their tweets, injecting as much wisdom, humour and professional writing skills as I can into each 140 character missive as is logically possible.
No one has replied so far.
But I don’t take this to mean that my wisdom, humour and professionalism have been ignored. No. I think I’m inching into the minds of these gatekeepers like a mental parasite. When they next read a piece from me, a tiny trigger might click and they’ll realise that I’m the very same person who corrected their spelling or told them how wrong they were to like something. Check! Connection made.
Some tweets, though, don’t need correcting. Photos posted from literary events. Announcements that a client’s book has been placed. Publishing dates published… All proof that beyond my study, writerly things are happening.
One such post caught which caught my attention had an agent sounding comment on it from @someoneididntrecognise. After clicking through to her details and then to her blog, it did indeed turn out to be someone in the literary world. In fact an agent who was about to restart her agenting career.
Attaching my best Twittering fingers, I fired off a tweet, asking whether it was a secret where she was about to work and also a note saying how good her blog was. As usual, this led to much time wasting as I checked my Twitter feed once every three seconds.
Three hours and 3,600 checks later, @someoneiwasrecognising twet back saying thanks and “Not long til I can let you know now x” (note the kiss). A genuine message from a soon to be literary agent.
I grabbed the bull by the horns and replied immediately.
Everything was on show within this tweet. I’ve heard of hashtags. I can make up words. I supposedly know what rapacious means. And I’m being funny about it. She’ll think I’m a genius.
Amazingly, she got back to me straight away. The great thing about twitter is you can read the whole tweet before you get nervous about what it might say. Not that those horrific rejection emails. And this was not a rejection at all. This was an acceptance. She was going to DM me my deets. Which sounded good.
Mere moments later (and these were moments expanded by the time-slip law of anticipation) her deets were indeed DMed to me. (I got her email address via the medium of direct messaging)
So, I dusted off my query letter, cunningly rewrote it to incorporate reference to our Twitter exchange, and sent off the first three chapters and the hopelessly dry synopsis of “The Clockwork Butterfly”.
She, a person not a automatic response, replied back and I wished her luck when she finally revealed her secrets in the future.
So, all in all, it’s just one more query to one more agent. But this one feels like it has a much more personal touch. I made tenuous contact first and I’ve read all of her blog so I do feel I know a bit about her. And she sounds nice.
There’s a postscript to this which is both inspiring and terrifyingly intimidating.
I follow this secret agent on WordPress now and her latest post is in reply to a challenge she must have received on Twitter. I think it’s amazing, but I didn’t want to come across as too sycophantic, so I feel a bit silly “liking” it on her blog. If you want to see it I’ve added the link below…
- This one’s for you LH Johnson and Sarah Franklin or Rising to the twitter challenge (jounwin.wordpress.com)
- Should you use twitter? (carlywatters.com)
- Explore the Manuscript Wish Lists of Countless Literary Agents (mediabistro.com)