About kristinrockaway

Writer of smart, sexy, fun fiction!

Come Find Us At Our New Home!

We’ve recently redesigned our chapter website to be even more fabulous, so our blog is now located at:

http://rwasd.com/blog/

See you there!

 

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Holiday Gift Guide for Romance Writers

The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s time to start thinking of great ideas to give that special romance novelist in your life. Instead of gifting them yet another mug printed with a clever writing-related quip, or a stack of blank notebooks (although, frankly, we can never get enough blank notebooks), try thinking outside the box this year. Here are a few fun, novel ideas to get you started.

  • Subscription to Focus@Will. When we’re churning away at our novels, we need to block out the rest of the world and focus on nothing else but our words. Sometimes this can be hard to do, especially for those of us who fit our writing in among the chaos of day jobs and families. Something I’ve personally found helpful is Focus@Will, a music service that is specifically designed – and scientifically proven – to help improve concentration. You can give gift accounts in 3-month, 12-month, and lifetime intervals.
  • Aqua Notes. Ask any author: the best ideas always come to us while we’re showering. Half the time, we’re running out of the bathroom, naked and covered in suds, eager to jot that brilliant plot point down on a soggy piece of paper before we lose it forever. With a pad of waterproof paper suction-cupped to the shower wall, though, we can capture our ideas while we’re still in the middle of shampooing our hair.
  • 642 Things to Write About. We all have those days when the words just don’t flow as fluidly as we want (or need) them to. Sometimes, the best way to combat writer’s block is to write about something totally random and off-the-wall. Writing prompts are notorious for helping us out from our ruts, and a book with 642 of them provides almost two years’ worth of ideas – whether it’s brainstorming a new story or getting unstuck from a tricky plot point.
  • Plot Your Work Planner. This is a new one, and still in a beta-testing round, but doesn’t it sound cool? Well, to the novelist in your life it might sound cool, even if it doesn’t to you. For authors who are juggling multiple projects at once, this planner helps them break down their massive monoliths into manageable chunks of work, scheduling their entire year with goals, focus items, and mind maps. As of this publication, they should be available for order during the first week of December, with plenty of time to ship before the holidays.
  • Gift Certificate to The Ripped Bodice. We all need to refill our creative wells from time to time, and the best way for a romance novelist to do that is to read more romance novels! Give the writer in your life a gift to The Ripped Bodice, the only bookstore in the United States to focus exclusively on romance. They offer online-only gift codes, so even if you can’t make it to their brick-and-mortar storefront in LA, you can still indulge in the romance-y goodness available online.

These are just a few creative ideas to help inspire your favorite romance novelists to write more and write better in 2017. Any ideas I left off? Feel free to leave them in the comments!

PAN & PRO: What You Need to Know

Our chapter has grown quite a bit over the past couple of years. We love seeing new faces at our monthly meetings and getting to know new romance writers. And as our membership increases, the board wants to make sure that everyone is aware of the different levels of membership available, how to qualify for different communities of practice, and how you can benefit from the different networks offered by RWA.

Associate vs General Membership

First, it’s important to understand that there are two levels of membership within RWA at the national level. General membership is open to all people who are involved in the serious pursuit of a career in romance writing. (We’ll get to the definition of “serious pursuit” in a minute.) General members reap all the benefits of an RWA membership, including the right to vote in our elections, and the ability to run for a position on the board.

Everyone else falls into the Associate membership category. This includes writers who cannot prove the serious pursuit of a romance writing career, as well as other industry professionals, such as acquiring editors, publishers, or agents. Associate members enjoy most of the benefits that General members do, but they aren’t allowed to vote or run for office.

What is Serious Pursuit?

So what does this “serious pursuit” thing mean, anyway? In simple terms, it means you have to show RWA that you’ve got some finished projects. After applying for membership, you will have to submit to the national office either:

  • One complete original work of romance fiction of at least 20,000 words, or
  • Multiple complete original works of romance fiction which combine for a total of at least 20,000 words.

A few short stories or a novella should suffice. When you’re ready, you can upload your manuscript at the Proof of Serious Pursuit page on National’s website. This will be enough to qualify you for General membership. It will probably also be enough to qualify you for PRO, or maybe even PAN.

PRO vs. PAN

PRO and PAN are communities of practice within the organization who “come together with a common interest to share ideas, find solutions, and build innovations.”

By uploading your finished manuscript to the RWA national office, you’ve qualified for PRO. PRO is for “almost published” members – those who have a finished manuscript and are ready to take the next step toward pursuing publication, be that indie or traditional. There is an active online community at the national website for members of PRO to discuss queries, edits, and other pre-publication topics. We also have a PRO community within our local RWA San Diego chapter. Historically, we’ve hosted the PRO Breakfast prior to our monthly meetings, where members get together to discuss relevant issues and listen to speakers discuss their experiences on the path toward publication. Starting in 2017, the PRO Breakfast will no longer be taking place, because we no longer have a PRO Liaison. (If you’re a PRO member and are interested in taking over this position to keep the PRO Breakfast alive, please let us know!)

For those members who are already published, the Published Authors Network, or PAN, is right for you. PAN functions as a way for published authors to protect their common interests, to keep communication open between writers and publishing professionals, and to help build relationships and spread knowledge as we navigate our romance writing careers. There are also two levels of PAN Membership:

  • Provisional: This is for RWA members who are contracted for an as-yet-unreleased romance novel or novella with an advance of at least $1000, or published authors who have not yet earned $1000 on a single title.
  • General: This is for RWA members who have a published, commercially available romance novel or novella for which they have earned at least $1000.

The only difference between these two levels is that Provisional PAN members may not participate in the RWA trade-show booth, vote in the PAN elections, or run for PAN office.

RWA San Diego has a vibrant published authors community called PALS. Our current PALS Liaison is Jillian Stone, and she organizes fun and informative get-togethers for our published authors.

So if you’re an Associate RWA member who qualifies for PAN or PRO, what are you waiting for? Get those applications going and take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities available to you through RWA – both on the national and local levels.

Get Pumped for the Literacy Bash!

It’s that time again! RWA San Diego will be hosting its annual Literacy Bash on Saturday, November 19th. For those who’ve never attended, it’s a fabulous, fun-filled day filled with big names in the romance industry and a number of opportunity drawings. The proceeds from the event go to supporting some important local literacy nonprofits, such as READ San Diego and the CCA Writers Conference, supporting high school students across the county in their efforts to learn more about creative writing.

This year, we’re proud to announce our very special guests for the Literacy Bash: New York Times bestselling author, Julie Kagawa, and her agent, Laurie McLean, founder of Fuse Literary. They’ll be talking about the making of a million-dollar deal, specifically, how they worked together to craft their own million-dollar deal! The big bucks are still out there, and they’re going to give you some insight on how you and your agent can work together to get your own!

Laurie represents RWA San Diego’s own Lisa Kessler and Linda Wisdom. In the afternoon, while Julie discusses the ins and outs of writing YA romance, Laurie will be taking pitches. If you’re interested in showing her what you’ve got, be sure to perfect your pitch and sign up for some of the limited spots right away. Laurie is currently closed to unsolicited queries, so this is a fantastic opportunity to get your work in front of her.

This is always a popular event, and every year it reliably sells out. Don’t miss out – register today! The first fifty registrants receive a free Julie Kagawa book.

See you then!

October Meeting Roundup + Good News

The October meeting was all about how to stay healthy as a writer – both physically and spiritually.

To help feed and care for our muses, creativity coach, Jill Badonsky, author of The Muse Is In, spoke to us about how to knock down creative blocks and maintain a healthy dose of inspiration at all times. Creative blocks are called antagonists, and the first step to overcoming them, Jill says, is to accept them. Some common antagonists are:

  • Procrastination. This is a big one for writers, especially in the age of the ubiquitous Internet connection. As creatives, we’re more prone to getting distracted by Internet “research” than the average person, and if we’re sitting down in front of our computers to write all the time, the temptation is truly great. How to overcome it? One option is to create “Parallel Universe” time, where you check in with a creative partner before and after a writing session. By establishing accountability with another person, you are more likely to want to get your work done. (Psst… we’ve got a “Parallel Universe” going on in the RWASD Sprinters Facebook group! If you’re a chapter member and want in, let us know!)
  • Perfectionism. Expectations are one of the biggest blocks to creativity. If you think what you’re writing isn’t good enough, your motivation to write can disappear. How to overcome it? Give yourself permission to “write crap.” Sometimes, Jill says, if you write crap and put it away, when you come back to it later, it might not be as crappy as you thought it was when you wrote it. It could’ve just been the perfectionism whispering in your ear.
  • Comparison. It’s so easy to look at what other writers are accomplishing and say, “I’m not as good as them, and I never will be.” When other people are hitting bestseller lists and you’re still struggling with rejections, it can paralyze your efforts, and make you say, “Why bother?” How to overcome it? Look at what successful people are doing and ask yourself, “What can I learn from them?” You might find yourself being inspired instead of envious.

Ultimately, the goal is to rewire your brain to think positively. Instead of saying, “I have to write X words,” or “I should write this next chapter,” tell yourself, “I get to write today!” By viewing it as a privilege as opposed to an obligation, you change the story you tell yourself about your writing. You make it fun again.

Another way to change the story in your head is to keep a “Reminder Journal.” According to Jill, it’s an informal collection of thoughts, ideas, and quotes that remind you of why you like to write, and why you started writing in the first place. You can include compliments you’ve received on your writing, positive memories and emotions associated with your writing, tips and tricks that work for your creativity, and good reviews. Every once in a while, take it out and look it over. By doing so, you’ll replace the negative voices in your head with positive ones.

The creative process, Jill says, is a romance. When you first fall in love with writing, you become infatuated, just like you do when you fall in love with a person. And like any romance, enthusiasm can wane over time. You need to find a way to remember the initial sparks of excitement in order to stoke the fires of creativity and maintain your enthusiasm over the course of your career.

In the afternoon, our own Linda Thomas-Sundstrom spoke to us about caring for our bodies. While we know Linda as a prolific author of twenty-eight romance novels, she’s also a fitness professional who teaches on the faculty of two colleges in the Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Science departments.

Without our physical health, we wouldn’t be able to write at all, so one of the most important things we can do for our writing careers is to ensure we’re finding ways to include fitness in our daily lives. Linda provided us with some tips and tricks for incorporating movement into our normally sedentary schedules.

At a minimum, you should be getting at least twenty minutes of exercise every single day, at your optimal training heart rate. Which means more than a leisurely stroll. If your heartbeat isn’t speeding up, then you’re not getting a good workout. A brisk, steady walk would suffice, though anything that gets your heart rate up would work – jogging, running, or even just dancing around the room.

To avoid long-term damage to your health caused by extended periods of sitting, Linda says it’s crucial to get up from your chair every thirty minutes. Sitting down slows your metabolism and encourages a stooped posture. To combat the effects of slouching over your keyboard, Linda suggests keeping a resistance band next to your computer (I’ve got mine next to me now!). Set a timer for thirty minutes; when it goes off, stand up, walk around, and perform a few arm and shoulder stretches using the band. Just this simple movement, performed consistently, will make a world of difference in your health and posture.

Challenge your body to make a change, Linda says, and make conscious decisions to get fit. And if you feel your creativity lagging, go for a walk. You’ll feel more energized and creative after you get some exercise – a flexible body equals a flexible mind.

As always, our group shared their Good News for the month:

  • Tessa McFionn’s sci-fi series got picked up by an editor.
  • Cynthia Diamond’s Wyrd Love Books 1-3 boxed set is coming out next week.
  • Bob Richard published Angel’s Eyes.
  • Linda Seed published Fire and Glass, the fourth book in a series. Also, Moonstone Beach was Barnes and Noble’s Free Friday pick.
  • Jeanne Dickson won a number of contests. Eire Ever After placed 3rd in the Sheila and the TARA, and Second Chance Ranch was a semifinalist in the Genesis Contest, and a finalist in Pages From the Heart.
  • Linda Thomas-Sundstrom will release A Wicked Halloween boxed set in October 2016.

Next month is our fantabulous annual Literacy Event! Registration opens on November 1st. Sign up early, because this event usually sells out quickly. This year, we’re featuring New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa and her agent, Laurie McLean. There’ll be giveaways, pitches, and free books to the first fifty registrants. See you then!

An Agent Has Offered You Representation… Now What?

The query process is often a long, draining one. While you’re busy sending out letters, refining your pitch, and collecting rejections, it can sometimes seem like you’ll never get an offer of representation. But then, after weeks, months, even years in the trenches, it happens: you get “the call.”Question Marks

Well… now what? As much as you might want to jump on their offer with a resounding “YES!” it would behoove you to ask some questions to make sure the agent is a good fit for you and your writing career. We’ve all heard that saying, “A bad agent is worse than no agent.” This is your chance to figure out if this agent is the right choice for you. So, what should you ask them?

Recently, this same question came up in a small group of RWA-SD writers, and some of the suggestions were so good, they deserved to be shared with a wider audience. So here are some questions you can – and probably should – ask a potential agent during that exciting offer of rep call:

  • Do you consider yourself to be editorial, or are you more hands-off? In other words, do they want to help revise your projects before sending them out on submission, or are they planning to send them as-is? Both agenting styles have their pros and cons, so this is really a matter of what you’re more comfortable with, and what you want out of your relationship with your agent.
  • What is your communication style? Find out how the agent prefers to get in touch with you – by phone, over email, etc. – and how often they plan to touch base.
  • Can you tell me about some of your recent deals? Get an idea of who they rep, what kind of work they’re putting out there in the world, who they’re doing business with, and what kinds of contacts they already have. Many times, this information is available on Publishers Marketplace, but if you don’t have a subscription, now’s a good time to ask about it.
  • What is your policy on self-published work? If you plan to self-pub your projects in the future, or are interested in becoming a hybrid author, you should find out their stance on self-published work ahead of time. Will they be involved or supportive? And do they expect a financial cut of your self-published projects?
  • What happens if my book doesn’t sell? Most likely, you’re signing with an agent based off of a single book or series, but there’s always a chance it won’t sell. Now’s a good time to discuss other ideas for future projects, to see if you and the agent share a long-term vision for your future and your career.

What about you? What are some things you asked your agent before signing with him/her – or what are some things you wish you’d asked?

September Meeting Roundup + Good News

Today’s blog post is brought to you by RWASD’s own Tessa McFionn!

 

Wow! What an amazing meeting! Our guest speaker, Callie Hutton, gave some wonderful insight about writing historical characters that appeal to today’s readers.

She got down to the nitty gritty about character traits readers are looking for:

  • Alpha males with titles;
  • Characters who reach for personal goals over more traditional roles; and
  • Subjects not covered in history books, such as interracial relationships.

And what readers are not looking for:

  • Authentic period language that relies too heavily on accents, dialog tags, and colloquialisms;
  • Spunky, one dimensional heroines that flaunt convention at every turn; and
  • So much historical facts and research that overwhelm the romantic story.

She reminded everyone that historical romance reads are not just for “old people” any longer, but market trends show that most historical readers prefer physical copies to digital media.

Next up, Callie was joined by our own Georgie Lee, Regan Walker, and Sorcha Mowbray in an engaging panel discussion about the changes and trends in historical romances. Lisa Kessler did a great job as moderator, keeping things lively and highly entertaining.

A couple important takeaways:

  • A good way to keep histories fresh is to think about using modern, social issues as seen through the lens of history.
  • Even though your story and characters are living in the past, you are still world building. So be sure to remember the rules set up by you as well as by history itself.

For September, the Member of the month was Mary Galusha for her wonderful work on “Write for the Money.”

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And the Atta Girl went to Lisa Kessler, who persevered through a difficult family trauma and met her writing deadlines.

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So much Good News!

  • Jackie Leigh Allen released Thirst for Love in July.
  • Mickey Brent received a publisher’s contract for her first novel.
  • Susan Burns had a manuscript request from an agent and editor at TOR. Also, she pitched to agents and Entangled on Savvy Authors.
  • Teresa Carpenter’s newest release, The CEO’s Surprise Family, marks her 20th!
  • Mary Galusha had a book reading and signing at the CURVES luncheon in Escondido.
  • Demi Hungerford released her second book in Regency Banquet Entrée series writing as Roxanna Haley.
  • Lisa Kessler’s Ice Moon is a finalist in both Aspen Gold and NERFA. Harvest Moon won a PRISM for Best Paranormal, which was presented at RWA Nationals. Also, Lure of Obsession released on August 1.
  • Kristen Koster’s Jack of Hearts manuscript finaled in the Pages From the Heart Contest in the unpublished historical category
  • Georgie Lee had two releases, Miss Marriane’s Disgrace in August and The Cinderella Governess in September. Also, A Debt Paid in Marriage finaled in National Excellence in Romantic Fiction Awards (NERFA) and Pirate’s Bargain also finaled in Pages From the Heart Contest.
  • Claire Marti got a request from Entangled for her historical synopsis.
  • Tessa McFionn’s Lost in Transmigration took third place in FF&P’s On The Far Side Contest. Also, she had two releases, Detours in Our Destinations in August and Spirit Song in September. Plus, she received a revise and resubmit for Lost in Transmigration.
  • Ann Siracusa released The Last Weekend in October in July. Also, she sold five books in a romantic suspense series.
  • Regan Walker double finaled in Aspen Gold, plus she finaled in The Carla, Ancient Cities Hearts of Excellence, Las Vegas I Heart Indie and the RONE Awards.

Our next meeting will be Saturday, October 15 to hear Jill Badonsky talk on Six Ways to Keep Inspiration Flowing and our own Linda Thomas-Sundstrom will give us Tips and Tricks to Keep your Body Healthy as a Writer. We will also be holding our Annual General Meeting where the new board will be announced.

Don’t forget to vote and see you in October!

What’s Your Plan?

Do you have a business plan? If not, you aren’t alone. Many authors don’t have one, for any number of reasons. It can be scary to actually put your dreams into words. It can be intimidating to look at how much work you need to do to get to where you want to go. And it can be embarrassing to admit you haven’t a clue as to what you even want to achieve. But, according to Stephanie Bond, an MBA-holding author of over seventy mystery and romance titles, a business plan is a necessity. In her 2016 RWA Nationals workshop, “Plan for Success: Create a Motivational Business Plan for Your Writing Career,” she discussed the benefits of creating a business plan, and shared a rough outline for how to write one for yourself.Plan for Success

Perhaps writing a business plan came naturally to Stephanie, since she holds an MBA and spent many years climbing the ranks of the corporate world before quitting to write full-time. But it doesn’t have to be a formal process. According to Stephanie, we can start out by asking ourselves questions. Questions like: What do you want to do with your writing? What do you want to achieve? How do you want to affect your readers? Just forcing yourself to think about the big picture like this is an excellent tool for establishing focus and figuring out what you really want to accomplish as a writer. This is the foundation of your business plan, and allows you to lay the groundwork for the future of your writing career.

An important component of your business plan should be setting your goals and objectives, which Stephanie described as two separate things. Goals, she said, are under your control, while objectives are not. Objectives tend to be lofty and long-term – Earn enough money to live off my writing! Hit the New York Times bestseller list! – while goals are short-term and achievable – Enter that contest! Query that agent! Focus on what you can control, she said, and figure out what kinds of short-term goals you can set that might help you to achieve those lofty, long-term objectives.

She also stressed the importance of adopting a business mindset in your everyday life, and recommended paying attention to business blogs, such as Seth Godin’s, keeping CNBC on in the background as you work, and reading Entrepreneur magazine.

In my opinion, the most important takeaway from the workshop was the following sentiment:

You are a business that creates entertainment for consumption in multiple formats.

Think of yourself as a “content generator,” creating novels, blog posts, audiobooks, novellas, short stories, nonfiction articles, and more.

There was so much to this wonderful workshop, including discussion of branding strategies and instructions on how to maintain a body of work document. I came away from it inspired to create my own business plan, which has left me more motivated and inspired than ever before. If you’re an RWA member, you can purchase the audio recording at rwa.org to get all the details. The return on investment could be huge.

Updates from the RWA National Board

Last Saturday, RWA San Diego hosted its annual Post-Nationals Potluck, where we shared our experiences and stories from the July conference. We discussed our favorite workshops, including memorable quotes from instructors, tips and tidbits we learned along the way, and the lowdown on what editors are looking for. Additionally, we were briefed by local chapter member and national Director-at-Large, HelenKay Dimon, on some of the big changes that have occurred and are on the horizon for RWA.

The board met on July 10th and 11th in San Diego, during which several important decisions were made that affect the membership. Among others:

  • The “Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance” category was added to the RITA and Golden Heart contests for 2017, with a provisional status.
  • In an effort to make the “Inspirational Romance” category more inclusive, the name and description were changed to “Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements.”
  • Qualifications for meeting the Honor Roll were modified.

For details on any of these highlights, please see the news posted on the RWA website.

If anyone attended the board meeting, or even just heard HelenKay talk about it at last week’s potluck, you know how hard our board works to make sure RWA respects and values the opinions and feedback of all of its members. Each board member receives hundreds of emails everyday – each of which is read and considered. They spend hours debating the details of amendments to ensure they best meet the needs of all our members, and they take their jobs very seriously, committing a significant amount of their time and effort to making RWA the best it can possibly be. We’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the members of our national board for all the work you do for us!

For voting members: Elections are coming up in a few weeks! The voting period is from September 1st through the 15th, and there are a whopping six spaces up for grabs for Director-at-Large. With three times as many candidates as there are positions to fill, we as members need to do our best to research their platforms and make sure our elected board reflects our values. Please take some time to review their bios and put some thought into who you’re voting for.

There are also some proposed changes to the bylaws being put up to a vote. These changes would affect general membership and move certain items from the bylaws to the Policies and Procedures. Details of these proposals can be seen here; please review them so you know how you’re going to vote in September!

If you have specific questions, you can always reach out to the board members. Their contact information is available on the RWA website. This organization is only as strong as its members – do your part to participate in our election as an informed voter!

Navigating the Twitterverse

Confession time: participating in social media does not come easily to me. For one thing, I’m sort of a private person, and uncomfortable with the idea of someone knowing my every move, or worse yet, my every feeling. I’m also not much of a photographer – I mean, have you seen my Instagram lately? The artistry of the snapshots leaves much to be desired. And when it comes to turning the camera on myself, I’d rather get a deep cleaning in the dentist’s chair than take a selfie.

But there’s one social media platform that I’ve become comfortable with, maybe even grown to love, and that’s Twitter. Designed for brevity, Twitter limits your updates to 140-character posts, or “tweets.” These bite-sized morsels of information allow you to compose quickly, peruse at a glance, and connect with everyone from Harlequin to the President.

It took me some time to figure out how best to use Twitter as an author. But with a few years of experience under my belt, I’ve come up with some tips and tricks worth sharing that can help you to use Twitter most effectively.

Kristin’s Totally Subjective Dos and Don’ts of the Twitterverse*

  • Do make connections. I’m not talking about getting as many people to follow you as possible. I’m talking about connecting with people on a very real, authentic level. If you’re having a hard time thinking about what to add to your Twitter feed, start with your writing: What are you working on? What are your challenges? Where are you going to set up your writing space today? Find other writers who are writing in your genre and tweet at them. Participate in hashtags like #1linewed and #amwriting, which implicitly invites other people to tweet at you. Take part in Twitter chats like #RWChat. By putting in the time and effort, you can build your community organically.
  • Don’t wallpaper your feed with promo. If all you do is show up on Twitter every once in a while to promote your book – or worse yet, schedule the same tweet over and over and over again – you’re not going to get a lot of people who really care about you or your books. When it comes to Twitter, canned promo is just another reason to scroll. However, once you make those authentic connections, you’ll have people who really care about you, are interested in what you have to say, and maybe, they might even want to buy your book! As long as there’s a high ratio of entertaining or educational tweets to promo or marketing, then when you do send out a promotional tweet, you run less of a risk of scaring off potential, or even existing, followers.
  • Do get educated. Opportunities for writing advice abound on Twitter. Some of my favorite accounts to follow are:
    • Jami Gold. A writer herself, she links to articles – some her own, some from others – on many different topics, ranging from setting career goals to editing your story. (Side note: If you’ve never checked out her worksheets, I highly recommend them.)
    • Naomi Hughes. A freelance editor, Naomi frequently posts tips on story structure, pacing, conflict, and much more. Many of her tweets are storified, as well. I’ve saved so many of her informative tweets, and reference them often.
    • Chuck Sambuchino. A contributor to Writer’s Digest, he posts a lot of information on how to query, how to find a literary agent, and perhaps most importantly, provides links to new agents who are actively looking to build their lists. His Twitter feed is an invaluable resource for someone who’s in the query trenches.
  • Don’t worry (too much) about followers. A lot of people seem to be concerned with hitting a certain number of followers – if I can just hit 100, 500, or 1000, then I’ll totally be dominating Twitter! But the truth is, having a lot of followers doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot. There are even services out there that offer followers for pay, and people are catching on to that, rendering follower counts less significant. Of course, you do want to have an audience, though. So worry more about the content you’re creating – this will help you attract real followers who are actually paying attention to what you tweet.
  • Do seek out representation or publication – if that’s what you’re looking for. There’s no better way to connect with agents and editors than on Twitter. Many of them have a strong Twitter presence, and freely interact with other publishing professionals and aspiring authors. Many of them post their manuscript wishlist requests under the hashtag #MSWL. And several times a year, there are sponsored “pitch parties,” such as #PitMad and #DVPit, which agents and editors will scroll through and favorite – essentially, a request for a partial or full.
  • Don’t pitch your book. Unless you are participating in one of the pitch parties described above, agents and editors will bristle if you attempt to pitch them on Twitter with your book. Think of Twitter as a water cooler, where everyone from publishing gathers to take a five-minute break to chat. You can ask them questions – many of them will gladly clarify questions on their wishlists or submission requirements if it’s not already clear from their websites – but don’t expect to get a request for pages by tweeting them an unsolicited blurb of your book.

What about you? When using Twitter, what’s worked for you and what has been a total failure? Share your experiences in the comments!

* As always, YMMV.