Here is part three to the Writer to Agent Q&A with Kimberly Cameron and Associates. This section will answer questions about a writer’s platform, the things that show your face to the world. It will answer questions about social media and attending writing conferences. You can find Part One (The Query) here and Part Two (The Manuscript) here.
Back in January 2014 I joined a Writer’s Digest Boot Camp called Agent One-on-One where the wonderful, informative agents from Kimberley Cameron and Associates critiqued our queries, synopses, and first few pages. It was an invaluable experience and I highly recommend the Boot Camps to all writers looking for help in their writing journeys. Here are *some* of the Q & As that were asked by various writers and answered by the agents during Boot Camp. Many questions were about the writer’s personal works and were not written down. Hopefully this helps some writers out there!
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Social Media: When Agents Google You:
Q: I understand social media is very important. What are agents looking for when looking up perspective clients? Is a low amount of followers going to be a red flag?
EK: Some contracts now are specifying expectations for author social media use. Yes, 23 followers is a red flag, especially if writing nonfiction. You really need to think of branding yourself as an author. This shows that you believe in yourself and your work, and that you are serious about your partnership with a publisher. I won’t take on clients now who are not willing to develop their platform (both fiction and nonfiction). I tell all of my clients to “friend” my client Joe Clifford, which I suggest all of my Bootcamp people do. Joe is amazing at social media and promoting his work. He has created a great social media community that is completely supportive of him
So, yes, keep developing this.
Another reason why, if you suddently get a digital book deal, your book could be up in less than a month (as happened with four of my authors). Luckily, I had them working on their websites…before I shopped them. Everything happened so quick that some of them were a little behind. You want to be sure the lights are on and the room is warm before an editor has your work in their hands. They will Google you, and if you are nowhere to be found, it will influence them.
Google can help here. Google simple terms like “How to build a Twitter following.” We also have some info on our agency blog, written by our social media intern, Kenny. www.kimberleycameron.com. But if you Google simple “how to” terms, you will find a lot of reference material.
At the very least, you need: website, facebook, twitter, goodreads, linkedin, wattpad
Fellow Writer’s Answer:
- Think of Twitter as The Water Cooler, Facebook as The Barbecue and LinkedIn as The Boardroom
- One of the best ways of growing a Twitter following is to write great blog posts, especially posts that recognize the 10-50 of the top authors in your genre (with their Twitter handles) and then share with them that you put them on a special list as a blog post. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness and you can start to build out a strong following from there.
Do you check Author’s Websites if you’re interested in their work?
- How tastefully is it done and how easy is it to view.
- How regularly does the author use her website/blog, what the traffic is like.
- Has she/he published short stories, books, etc before. What are the other projects she’s currently on.
Just to give me an idea of the person I’m going to sign. I have to add, though, that a platform is much more important for a non-fiction author to have. When it comes to fiction, this is something that I like my authors to have but I can help the author build it up even while we’re prepping her book for submission. However, when it’s non-fiction, we need an established platform in place before I can even think of taking it to editors, and this could take anywhere between 6 months to a year if the author doesn’t have one.
Copies Sold = Success:
Where do I go to find out the # of books sold?
Q: Where do go to find out how many copies of a book has been sold?
PM: To be honest, this is a bit of a round about process. You can find out from Publisher’s Weekly (Wilson’s Periodicals Room), by contacting bookstores, checking bestseller lists, by visiting author websites, Neilsen Book Scan (although this is expensive), contacting book publishers…many ways to do this really.
If you’re going with the intent to meet agents, pick the ones that have the most agents going. 🙂
Writing a Conference Pitch:
Hiring a Publicist:
HQ: It seems that no matter who publishes my book, I will have to promote the book anyway. What are your thoughts on hiring a Publist early on in the game for a new author?
EK: I think anything to maximize your book’s success is a good thing if you can afford to do so. You want your books to sell so it will be easier to sell your next book. It might be nice to make some money, too. You just want to make sure the publicist doesn’t step on toes with the publisher. Also, seems to me that after about six months, things slow down, so you may want to use a publicist as things begin to slow (though a publicist may tell you different). It’s worth consulting one.
What is the impact Self-Publishing has had on you as an agent?
Q: General question about what you think the impact of self-publishing has had on you as an agent.