As a part of building my platform, I’ve been trying out Twitter, to mixed results. But one question occurred to me as I was looking for people to follow: when exactly should I follow literary agents on Twitter? It’s useful for getting to know them, certainly, but is there a protocol involved? Should I blindly follow all those agents who I might pursue? How does this work?
I searched on “when to follow literary agents on twitter” and most of the results were 5 years old (which while not beyond the realm of usefulness will probably render any data or techniques out of date). This was followed by “literary agents on twitter” which resulted in some of the same articles, but mainly ones that listed the 15-30 best agents to follow on that social media platform. Which while interesting, is not helpful to my query (and in the case of the outdated ones, is possibly not all that accurate anymore).
Based on those search results, my question is stupid. Well, sort of. The lack of information available indicates that it’s at least not an important question, or one where you should follow your instincts and do what makes sense. For my own peace of mind, I have made a short list of the answers that I could extrapolate.
How soon to follow? When you start looking into agents. If you like their feed, follow them. It’s an easy record of what the person wants out of a book. (There’s also just plain stalking them to find out their interests, but this way takes a lot less effort.)
How many agents should I follow? Depends. Some people seem to advocate following all the agents you might one day query just to have a small demonstration of interest, some say be selective. If you’re someone who follows a ton of things, go for it. If you’re curating a smaller Twitter subscription list, the latter option is probably better.
Why should I even follow these people? Like I said above, it’s about the easiest way there is to stay up to date on an agent and their interests without being a creeper. If someone changes agencies, stops accepting queries, or decides they want to specialize in western romances, it’ll probably be on their Twitter feed, while a website might not be updated for a while.
So there’s my answers, condensed from an afternoon’s random reading. And a now a few more things to keep in mind.
A. Be nice. Always, always be polite and courteous, or you’ll tank your chance before you even get it.
B. Don’t assume that following an agent on Twitter will guarantee they’ll know you (because a lot of people follow a lot of other people).
C. Don’t unfollow someone after a rejection letter. You can unfollow them for disagreeing with their views, but after a rejection it just looks like sour grapes and if you ever resubmit, you’ll look childish and impatient.
So that’s where I’m at with Twitter thus far. Which is to say, not great, but I’m getting there. For the record, these articles were the ones I would click on again, and they’ve got some helpful information.