Writers are Stalkers

There are very few times stalking is considered a skill.  Scouts from athletic teams are nothing more than paid stalkers who are supposed to know if someone will be the next Wilt Chamberlain, Mean Joe Green, Nolan Ryan, Babe Ruth, and Michael Jordan.  (And yes, I wasn’t alive for a good majority of the list, but that’s what makes those men great athletes.)

Agents are looking for the next Michael Crichton, Stephanie Meyers, Nora Roberts, and Tom Clancy.  You’d think that agents would stalk newbie writers.  Not so much, it turns out.  It is up to the newbie writer to stalk the agent.  Which actually makes sense in many ways.  Do you remember who Michael Jordan’s agent was?  (It was David Falk.)  Who reps Stephanie Meyers?  Tom Clancy?  I hear crickets, don’t I?

A newbie writer spends hours online stalking agents.  Has the agent made a sell?  To what publishing company?  You’d hate to wind up with an agent that just makes sales to publishing companies that don’t require an agent.  That’s 15% of your money wasted right there!  Who else does the agent rep?  Does the agent’s authors like the agent?  (Anyone else feel like I’m rewriting FINDING AN AGENT, a post I wrote last year?  Not quite, I promise.)

The best part of stalking agents is that agents know newbies stalk them.  Some make it easy with Twitter and tweets.  Others have blogs that make it easy to tell everything about them.  Almost every agent does interviews with blogs and magazines.  The newbie writer tracks down those interviews and gleams all they can from those.

A newbie writer subscribes to Writer’s Digest today, or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.  Trust me, it becomes a best friend.  The newbie gets to read professional interviews with agents.  (And writing tips.)  Suddenly, the agent isn’t just some name with a blurp on a website.  The interviews help the newbie get to know the agent before the newbie sends off that query letter about their family saga to an agent who just does Young Adult.

I mentioned both Query Tracker and Absolute Write last week.  Before the newbie queries an agent the newbie makes sure to check out Writers Beware.  The newbie also subscribes to the blog so they are aware of every pitfall that comes up.  Bad agents, bad publishers, bad contests.  Writers Beware covers all of those.

One bad round of querying taught me the importance of stalking agents through all of these means before I even think about querying an agent again.  Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes.  Maybe I’ll learn, too, and won’t be a newbie!



5 thoughts on “Writers are Stalkers

  1. Oooo, I like the sound of this, really! I mean, I hadn’t thought of myself as a ‘Stalker’ before. Of course, we’re all harmless stalkers and that’s the best kind of stalker to be, am I right?

    I love your freshness in your posts. I love the way you pull the unpolished (that’s me) into your web of thoughts to teach your readers (yeah, you’re teaching me-trust me!) a few things. I think it’s phenomenal how THIS technology has made wannabe authors a little more proficient in research of agencies, publishers, blah-blah-blah. But above all, I love it that writers such as you and I can come together from out of nowhere. I mean, if it weren’t for THIS technology then we would not have met.

    Thank you for sharing your talent and experience with me. So…see, you can teach a maturing (I hate the word ‘old’) dog new tricks. =D

    PS: Will share your post with my readers.

    • Ah, thanks, Cathy! You’re right that we’re harmless stalkers. It shocked me how many agents in interviews think newbie authors should be stalkers. I’m glad someone can learn from my mistakes during my last round of querying. Hopefully, I learned something, too.

    • I figure I’d be fine as long as people aren’t tracking down my personal email, any phone number that isn’t the main office number, my home address… You know, things that might make me worry.

      I’m glad you’re back. Not sure about the kinda part. 🙂

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