This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at www.jenniferhudsontaylor.net.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Writers, Network with Agents & Editors


By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

If I could give aspiring writers and established authors one piece of advice, it would be to network. When most of us hear the word network, we think about networking with other authors. Agents and editors are on a separate level from the rest of us, and we can only talk to them when we have something to pitch. Please know that this is a false perception and this thought process only hurts our career and grows a deep divide that shouldn't exist. 

Even if you aren't published or a well-known author, if they recognize your name from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your comments on their blog, a writer's conference, or writing contests they've judged, they will pay extra attention to your query letter when they receive it. Marketing yourself doesn't begin after your get your first book published, it begins way before then as a pre-published author. You may be a shy introvert, but online social networking is a great opportunity for those of us with this problem. It helps break the ice for when we attend writing conferences in person. It builds name recognition in the industry.

Please note I am NOT advocating that you harass editors and agents, but network with them as you would with other authors. Be positive and encouraging when you leave comments. Ask questions that relate to the topic of discussion--not every discussion is a lead back to your book. Learn their likes and dislikes. This will give you a better idea of what kind of books to pitch to them at writing conferences and how to write your query letters to appeal to them as individuals. 

For example, their submission guidelines may say that they accept historical Christian fiction, but one editor may have a heart for Regencies while another may really prefer early 19th century. How will you know this? By networking with them, being a friend, and paying attention. Would you invite a friend to go golfing if you know that person really prefers ice skating? Of course not. 

People are people regardless of their titles and roles. Keep this in mind when networking with agents and editors. They will appreciate your professionalism and courteous manners more than anything.

2 comments:

Very good advice. :D I was very glad to know that I wasn't getting ahead of myself by following agent blogs or getting my website up and out there, getting on Twitter and FaceBook and networking with all these people, not just other authors.

It sounds like you are doing exactly what you NEED to be doing if you're serious about publication. Keep up the great work!