The random musings of Kate Grace
The blogosphere has been bouncing this week between aspiring authors and agents over the question of speaking publicly about your “Dream Literary Agent” List.
It’s seemingly harmless, right? I also dream of winning an Academy Award for sitting on my couch watching movies and one day discovering I can fly.
There were responses to the blog posting and all the comments that followed, a lot of which offered up their “dream list” complete with names. A few scattered responses warned writers that this may not be a good idea. One blog post offered up the reasons why.
One reason: What if an agent who wants you isn’t on that list and finds out? This was the point people latched on to and either humbly accepted or fought against. But through the blog haze of angered fingers rat-a-tatting out retorts one very important point was lost.
When you land an agent the two of you become a team and your teammate needs to have confidence in you. Confidence that you’re in it for the long haul. Confidence that you’re going to work hard and smart. Confidence that you won’t hang your collective dirty laundry out on the front lawn for the whole neighborhood to see.
About the first argument: My agent, Bree Ogden, was never on my “Dream Agent” list because I didn’t know she existed. But when I found her… it was love at first type! (swoooon!) Bree Ogden, I’m about to get all Matthew Perry from Fools Rush In on you! “You’re everything I never knew I always wanted!”
And now to the second argument, which I feel people have not paid enough attention to: Discretion.
My friend Shannon told me about a time at her office when a young woman was interviewed and little did she know was “hired” moments after she walked out the door. Everyone was excited to hire her and was looking forward to working with her, but as HR always does, they googled her. And guess what they found!
Just moments after leaving her interview she blogged about it in glaring detail including names and full descriptions. She then gave a full run down of every inconsequential feeling or impression she had.
That left them thinking, “What else would she blog about?”
In the end she got a “Thanks, but no thanks” message later that day rather than the “Congratulations and welcome aboard” message she could have received. Because in the end, the seed of doubt that had been planted by her blogging habits wasn’t worth the risk of overlooking.
Apply this to the blogosphere for writers and aspiring authors. Agents and editors want you to be well versed and active on the Web. They want to see that you use every platform you can get your calloused little fingertips on, but more importantly they want to see that you use discretion with it.
This was a conversation Bree and I had recently, about how social networks have made everyone accessible to everyone else. How it’s good, and bad. In the end we have to remind ourselves as often as possible that the rules of professionalism you would use at a conference or in a query must be applied to the Web. The fingerprint we leave on the Web represents us just as much as a query letter.
Do I blog or tweet about Bree? Abso-friggin-lutely! Just two days ago I tweeted her dating advice to me as she was on the phone giving it. “I think you should frickin’ Puma it up. Cause you’re freaking hot and you just need to be a Puma.”
How could I not tweet that?!
But there’s a whole lot I don’t tweet, blog or talk about. We’ll refer to it as “Information that Shall Not Be Named.” It is very likely that my dying words will be a death gurgle comprised of secrets we hold. Instead of “Roooosebuuuuud,” it’ll be “Ogggdeeeeen.”
Because Bree and I are a team and anyone who joins that team in the future will join knowing that we’re Vegas up in here – What happens here stays here. (Unless you say the cutest thing ever involving the word “Puma” as a verb.)
Prior to signing with Bree, I twitter stalked her, as all of you should! Use these tools to research agents with the goal of sending a more educated query and NOT, I repeat NOT, as a means to become besties with them so that when they get your query they’re seduced or guilted into signing you.
Trying to become Web Besties with an agent will not help you. However, it could hurt you.
It’s a fine line, and D iscretion is needed with a whoppin’ side of P rofessionalism. It’s okay to show personality, it’s important! It’s important to be yourself and be accessible, but make sure that a healthy dose of DP is part of who you are as an author.
This here Internet is more than a playground. Stay classy.