#FFS FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES!

What’s your plan when this whole computer thing doesn’t work out?

~My dad, the farmer,

to my husband, the computer engineer

I’ve been very impressed with the amount of agents, publishers, and authors on social media. That is, I’ve stumbled upon this fantastic writing/publishing subculture on social media. Twitter is especially magical in this regard, full of happy agents bragging about their book, frustrated agents working through their slush piles, and all of them who would like everyone, everywhere, to read their submission guidelines before querying.

There’s tons of great industry talk from what people are looking for, what they’ve seen enough of, and consequently what they’re drinking. I’m not going to go through my list of favourite agent/publisher twitter accounts, but I will point you to some useful hashtags to get you started.

  • #mswl – This gem is one of my favourites. It’s for agents to share their ManuScript Wish List and is often full of snark and inspiration.
  • #tenqueries – Ten queries (or some variation on this) is an often disheartening play by play as agents comb through their slush piles. They tend to give a quick overview of the project, some short feedback, and a pass or request. The number one comment during #tenqueries tweets, is that the agent doesn’t represent the genre or the submission doesn’t follow their guidelines. Always.Follow.The.Guidelines.
  • #pubtip/#querytip – General good advice for an aspiring author. The two golden rules here are follow the guidelines (if I haven’t mentioned that already) and don’t be creepy.
  • #sffpit – This was one that I just saw today and is kind of the reverse of #mswl. It’s where agents have specifically asked for Science Fiction-Fantasy PITches. With my happy shiny manuscript complete (-ish, for the time being), I thought it might be an interesting (if not fruitful) way to make a connection to agents the way you might if you corner them at a convention. Unfortunately 140 characters is tight so, make it count!

Note that these are only to be used for good… er… I mean, to supplement your other endeavors. That is, don’t query/pitch an agent (unless they’re asking for it & even then follow their guidelines). Instead, learn an agent’s personality, learn what kinds of manuscripts they’re looking for, or what events they’re going to be at. Not in a stalky – I see that you were at the gym this morning but haven’t responded to me and your puppy is very cute by the way – way. That’s a great way to get yourself flagged as cray and guarantees that your manuscript isn’t for them. And for the love of dog, follow the submission guidelines.

What are some of your favourite writing/publishing hashtags?

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