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Being sought out on Social Media : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Being sought out on Social Media

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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Oldtimer
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Being sought out on Social Media

Postby Oldtimer » Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:42 pm

Within the last week, two literary agents have asked to join my network. Why me? I have 40 contacts, and a quarter of them are family. These agents have well over 400 contacts each. Is this a sign of the times? Are literary agents trawling social networks looking for authors? I wish it were so, but I doubt it. I just don't understand why it is happening to me.

I've noticed that the last agent to join my network also asked to join the network of another hardly-known writer who is a member of the same social media network. Hardly statistically significant but interesting.
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Brien Sz
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Re: Being sought out on Social Media

Postby Brien Sz » Fri Mar 25, 2016 5:33 am

Are they young? Some are statistical collectors. Some may just want to cast a wide net because hey... you never know. I can't see the harm in saying yes (as long as you have checked them out to see if they are legit). Down the line you can dump them or they may even stop following you.

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Re: Being sought out on Social Media

Postby robjvargas » Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:55 am

My own take: being reached out to by a publisher or agent is a negative for me.

Look around at all the writer sites. And at query "help" sites like . You'll see that there are LOTS of writers trying to be published. There's every opportunity for an agent or publisher to succeed without reaching out to prospective authors. If you look over blogs for agents and publishers, they all have stacks of submissions, queries, partials, fulls, enough to keep them busy in addition to their duties to authors already accepted.

If a publisher or agent reaches out to me, that indicates to me a lack of awareness of the business, therefore a lack of experience with same. I may be losing an opportunity to get published, but I don't feel confident that I am. It's not like I've got a piece of fanfiction out there that's growing like 50 Shades was growing when it was Twilight fanfic.
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Re: Being sought out on Social Media

Postby Oldtimer » Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:22 am

You both give me something to think about. Thank you. I don't expect anything to come of either of these contacts, apart from opening 'welcome' exchanges. One of the agents did ask me what I thought about using CreateSpace and thanked me for my reply. (I said it was brill, or words to that effect.) We'll wait and see.
Read samples of my Martian series (by Dorothy Piper) and two romances (by Joni Havel) on Smashwords.
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Re: Being sought out on Social Media

Postby Rosedarling » Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:30 pm

In a workshop designed for job seekers 35-65 transitioning to new jobs, we have been encouraged to "network" with as many people as we can in our field. The target number is 500 contacts. I don't think I could keep track of that many people. It seems more like a popularity contest but if you are producing a lot of work or want to get the word out it might be the thing to do.
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Re: Being sought out on Social Media

Postby onceuponwednesday » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:53 am

I tried a whacky experiment a few years ago where I bounced around random Tumblrs and followed around 8,000 people. In return I got followed by 600, and that's while having no useful content at all. Most of what that proved was that a small segment (3/40) of the population will follow you back. Perhaps out of politeness. It also proved the theory that I was testing, that collecting followers was kinda useless, because most of them didn't care about what you put out -- even if they get to see it.

It didn't take much effort to follow that many people, around ten minutes a day for a week or so. But think, if I followed 100,000 I'd get followed by 7,500 in response, and if I then I unfollowed all but a few famous people, I'd have a ratio of 7,500 followers to 20 I was following. I'd suddenly look interesting and popular by our newfangled modern metric.
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Re: Being sought out on Social Media

Postby Terry T.A. Rodgers » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:30 am

I was tracked down by an agent. I had promised to send her a query when we spoke at ThrillerFest. Four months later she tracked me down via Twitter. A query and sample chapters later, she now has my full.

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Re: Being sought out on Social Media

Postby robjvargas » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:43 am

Slowly putting together a "replacement" forum at http://writerswriting.proboards.com.

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Re: Being sought out on Social Media

Postby Oldtimer » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:01 am

Read samples of my Martian series (by Dorothy Piper) and two romances (by Joni Havel) on Smashwords.
Hard copies of all are on Amazon.

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Re: Being sought out on Social Media

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:15 pm

Without knowing the agents, it's impossible to say. But top agents and top editors always have reached out to writers whose work they read somewhere and liked. They still do this on a regular basis. If I stumble across a writer's work and really like it, I'm going to fall all over myself reaching out to that writer. If I don't, someone else will reach out, or the writer will approach a different editor. Either way, I'm finished.

This is a much, much bigger problem for an agent. An agent gets fifteen percent of a writer's income. The last thing any agent wants to do is pass up a writer they think has any kind of shot at all of becoming a top selling writer. Stephen King makes as much as twenty million dollars for a single advance. Never mind what he makes in royalties, backlist, volumes of short stories, screenplay rights, paperback rights, etc. Would you want to miss the chance to get fifteen percent for sixty million dollars per year?

A lot of writers in a lot of genres make millions each year, and the agent who sits back and waits for writers to come to her is likely to remain poor.

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