RWA and Agents on Twitter

I’m back from sunny, palm-tree-y California! I’m considering buying this bench and living on it. Likely the only real estate in California I can afford…

I’ll be posting pics and doing conference gossip catch-up over the next few days. It was a great conference this year. Like the hotel in Orlando, the bar areas were beautifully situated so people could sit, socialize and catch people walking through, as well. I wonder if it’s a Disney design thing? I felt like I got to see and talk to so many people over the few days of the conference – just ideal.

And, for those of you who’ve gone in the last couple of years? That atmosphere of dread and despair has dispersed, replaced by excitement and optimism. Legacy industry “experts” were finally giving the talks they should have started giving two years ago. They’re all finally catching up to the concept that the publishing industry is not dying, it’s changing. And that these changes can be good, happy and lucrative!

Something else I learned at RWA? You folks are out there reading this blog! Who knew???

I was amazed how many of you came to the signing because you read this blog and/or Word Whores. All week people were telling me they read faithfully, but never comment. I think that’s just wonderful. Thank you for reading – and for coming by to say hi! So very fun for me.

At lunch one day, a “social media guru” told me that Twitter isn’t good for authors and you can’t sell books there because all the readers are on Facebook. I may have laughed in her face, but at least I didn’t spit out my salad. When someone tells me something like that, I immediately know they don’t understand how Twitter works. Are “BUYMYBOOK BUYMYBOOK BUYMYBOOK” tweets effective? Hells to the no. Have I met all kinds of people on Twitter who I consider friends and part of my support network, who talk about my books and recommend my reads? Oh yes, yes, yes.

In fact, not to bury the lead or anything, but I have news along those lines: I have an agent offer! And it started on Twitter.

About a week before RWA, someone I’ve been following for a long time on Twitter, DM’d me (direct message, which is private, for those not in the know) and asked if I was represented yet. She’d been reading some of the book blogger reviews and conversations about Rogue’s Pawn. Plus, another of her clients suggested me (thank you, dear!). We set up a time to talk at RWA, along with one of her senior agents, and she made the offer.

I know this should be the SQUEEE moment, but it’s funny – though I’m excited about the future, this feels very much like a business decision at this point. This was my 5th RWA conference. Amazing for me to consider, but five years ago, I flew to the RWA conference in San Francisco, where I knew not one person, pitched to an agent and an editor, and flew home again. I’ve learned and grown so much in that time. The agents I talked to this year asked if I thought I could keep up, if they got me a contract for a new trilogy, along with the other series I have going. I was able to say, with confidence, yes. Yes, I can.

Something I would not have known – and likely could not have done – five years ago.

So, right now I’m in the process of contacting the four agents who’ve had the full of the new novel for a while now. If any of you don’t know this, mark this well: if you receive an agent offer, you must attempt to contact any other agent who’s requested materials from you. This is a basic business courtesy. I know writers who have not done this and people were angry about it. They won’t forget, either. A lot of writers change agents along the road. Never burn your bridges. PSA over.

One agent “revisited” the book that night. One is so swamped she gracefully “bowed out of the race” with good wishes. Two more haven’t replied and I suspect they’re reading. It confirms what I often suspected: they request the manuscript from you, but often sit on it, in favor of more urgent tasks, until a request like this moves it up the list for them.

But, I really like the agent who offered already – and I really like the agency and the agency agreement. I also love that she’s an active blogger, available on Twitter and understands the digital world in the same way I do.

Stay tuned!

Clickable Titles – Bait and Switch?

I’m packing up my bags today and leaving my pretty garden behind, alas.

I’ll be in Charleston, SC over the weekend, prowling the streets and doing a little book research, then I’m in Providence, RI all week, winding up in Boston Thursday night and Friday. If anyone wants to hook up, ping me!

So, I’ve been working harder at creating better blog titles. This is one of the conventional pieces of wisdom for increasing blog traffic – a title that’s nicely clickable. I can see the point, and I know I have a tendency to do obscure, poetic titles that amuse only me and tell no one what the blog post is actually about. And it’s made a difference, too, both here and at Word Whores.

But I’ve noticed something else, too.

A lot of venues are getting this memo. Blogs, news outlets, what have you. Because the almighty click is the most important part, I’m finding that my level of dissatisfaction and disappointment is growing. Why? More and more, the article or post I click on isn’t about what the title led me to think it was about.

I’m not talking about people who title their blog posts “Crazy Sex!” and then say “now that I’ve got your attention…” That’s just a stupid, annoying trick which only alienates your readers and isn’t funny at all. I’m thinking of a post titled something like “Making Your Story Compelling,” and I read it and it’s all about the writer wondering how to make her story compelling. It’s not a false title per se, but I do feel misled. I didn’t get what I hoped to.

Now, some of this is just par for the course – it’s always a gamble whether something you read will satisfy you. But I’m encountering this more and more. Some “news” sites are particularly bad, offering enticing headlines and then a three-line “article” that completely fails to deliver. Not their problem, right? They already got my click.


I’m starting to notice which sites are the most egregious violators and learning to know better than to fall for the lure.

At the same time, I’m trying to be aware that when I title my posts, that they’re interesting and informative of the content – in an accurate way.

Erf. Maybe I’ll go back to poetic and obscure…

For Your Immediate Attention

The moon put on another gorgeous show this morning, so you get full moon pic, redux.

Before I had my website redone, I posted my blog on Blogger. Funny how I phrased that, like my blog is this abstract concept that floats in space until I find a place to park it. At any rate, this website uses WordPress. Apparently with WordPress comes huge amounts of spam commenting. Now my website designer uses Akismet to block the bad comments, but they all go to this spam folder.

I can’t help looking.

See what they do is say flattering things about you and your blog, then slip in a link to another site. Or blatantly pimp some device. Zune is big for this. No, I have no idea why. Most are in the slightly distorted English featured in Nigerian bank emails. This seems to be its own language now, which I propose we call Spamglish.

So, some just seem to be admiring comments, relying upon the user link for clickage:

Recently, I didnt give so much thought to writing comments on blog entries and have left comments even less. Checking out your insightful page, will probably encourage me to do so more regularly.

Your place is valueble for me. Thanks!…

Some act like they’re giving substantive feedback, which is never related to the topic:

A powerful share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing slightly analysis on this. And he the truth is purchased me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading extra on this topic. If potential, as you develop into expertise, would you thoughts updating your blog with more particulars? It is extremely helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog submit!

I was reading something else about this on another blog. Interesting. Your linear perspective on it is diametrically contradicted to what I read to begin with. I am still pondering over the various points of view, but Im tipped to a great extent toward yours. And irrespective, thats what is so super about contemporary democracy and the marketplace of thoughts online.

My spouse and i felt very ecstatic that Chris managed to finish up his investigations via the ideas he received from your very own web pages. It is now and again perplexing to just find yourself giving away ideas that some other people could have been selling. And we also see we have the website owner to thank for this. The explanations you have made, the easy web site menu, the friendships you help foster – it’s many sensational, and it’s really helping our son and the family feel that that issue is amusing, and that’s wonderfully serious. Thank you for everything!

Others just blatantly pimp something:

How to get a six pack fastWill show you how to get a sixpack fast

Or are weirdly random, probably cribbed from posts they actually pertained to:

Sooo cute I cant believe those are made of eggs. Thanks for sharing the info. Ill also make stuff like those.

Ralph, Im wanting into your concern. I know whats causing it, its only a make a difference of finding a viable solution.

Those  are easy. It’s the ones that I *want* to believe, that fluff my vanity, that are the hardest to delete:

This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

Hey, it could be true, right?

This one is the one that I’ve hesitated over. I’ve kept it in the spam filter for several days now. It’s not in Spamglish, but it does share some features in common with these others. And Akismet did call it spam. I even looked at the link and it looks like vacation photos. But I’m wary that it’s a trap.

I don’t normally comment on blogs.. But nice post! I just bookmarked your site

All of these, by the way, were in the filter this morning (except the last one). That means 13 came in over night.

At least they’re entertaining to read!

Blog Comments and Worms

David took this picture. It might be my new favorite. Even my mom – the blonde behind the camera next to me – will like it because her glasses aren’t showing. She’s been having to wear glasses instead of contact lenses for the last couple of months, so her eyes will return to their natural state before her cataract surgery. Which is today.

Send good thoughts, please!

We had a lovely weekend in the mountains, up at Snowmass in Colorado. Friends have asked what we did and I don’t have much to tell them. We sat on the deck. I got to read a lot. We drank wine and hung out. There were presents – and then tech support for the presents. Mostly I just enjoyed being with my family.

My stepsister, Hope, and her hubs and boys called and sang me Happy Birthday. Then she explained that the fabulous iced-tea maker she sent me from Teavana is in homage to my blog post about there still being more summer. It’s funny that she mentioned that post in particular, because it was one of the ones that no one commented on. Now, I’ve said many times that I will never be one of those bloggers who begs for comments. I read a lot of blogs and I don’t always comment. Usually I just don’t have anything in particular to say. But – every once in a while – it’s because the blog post annoys me in some way. So, of course, when no one comments on one of mine, a little niggly voice starts suggesting that everyone hates me.

Which leads to the eating of worms. Never pretty.

When I learn, then, that someone did read and even better, took that thought away from her, I feel the opposite way. Like making iced tea and guzzling it so that sparkling drops fly everywhere.

Writing is funny that way. Even blogging, which is more interactive than most writing media. It often feels like talking to an empty room. When someone answers, it can be astonishing. My long time friend, Kev, sent me a birthday email, just to catch up his end of the conversation – because he can’t always think of snarky replies to my blog posts. A little while back, this gal, Rachel, said something very nice to me about my writing and we chatted a bit on Twitter. In an attempt to convince me that she’s not a stalker (much), she mentioned that the fact that she’d planted cactus in her Kansas garden and was wearing a Cat Woman costume meant nothing.

Yeah, she cracked me up.

But more – it made me realize that people do listen. Even when we think they don’t. When they’re off being too busy to think up clever comments.

It’s a good thing to know.

Now I’m going to make some iced tea.