It’s Not Online Stalking! It’s Research!!

Now that the book is written and nestling in my editors inbox, I’ve been twiddling my thumbs about what to do next. Well, that’s not strictly true as it appears writing the actual novel is only the tip of the iceberg. I’ve now entered the wonderful world of submissions to literary agents. Which brings me to the title of this post. I’ve started to follow a number of them on social media. Because, it appears, that is the ‘done thing’ to do.

In the New Year, I will start to submit the manuscript to a number of these agents. Between now and then, I need to draw up a shortlist, agents who are seeking the type of book I’m pitching. There’s no point singing the praises of my urban fantasy book blockbuster to someone who is only interested in period romances. It’s like trying to hammer a round peg into a square hole. With a lettuce leaf.

Most of these literary agents hang out on Twitter, so I’ve set up an account to study them in their natural environment. I want to learn what they’re looking for, who they already represent, what colour their underwear is, stuff like that. Ok, I made the last one up, but you never know when such information can come in handy. At the end of this process I should have a list of agents who I can approach.

In a past life, I had a Twitter account with 8500 followers. This was during a particularly bleak period of my life when I was more interested in likes and follows than I was in what was going on around me in the real world. So, it is with some trepidation that I am returning to the world of the little blue bird. It brings with it some memories I would rather not revisit. Yet, here I am.

Seems, not much has changed. A lot of tweeters still post religiously requesting retweets, follows and er…..little else. I’m giving such people a wide berth, seeking to focus on legitimate authors, agents and publishers who all share a love of the written word. I have a grand total of 102 followers! Not quite the dizzy heights of 8500, but I’m happy so far with the niche I’ve carved. I’m focusing on quality, as opposed to quantity this time around.

Now, WordPress is an entirely different social media beast from Twitter. From my experiences to date. bloggers appear much more genuine, supportive and dare I say it….real. But the 8500 figure has always bothered me, increasingly so as Fractured Faith nears 8000 followers itself. I don’t want to get dragged into past mistakes I made on social media. Following people, just for the sake of it.

I care about my followers now, and I want to conduct myself online in a manner where I interact with fellow bloggers for genuine, as opposed to shallow, reasons. I see blogging and the book as a pathway to a better life, as opposed to the drain hole I was being sucked into in my Twitter heyday. I want to construct a future, where previously my destructive urges held sway.

I’m back stalking the Twittersphere but in an entirely different guise. I slip, I stumble, I get horribly lost, but I refuse to give up. I refuse to give in. When my son loses a rugby match, he comes back fitter and stronger for the next game. I’m aspiring to be the same, but with less mud and bruises. Look out literary agents, I’m coming to get you. And no restraining order is going to hold me back this time.

Why do you have a social media presence?

38 thoughts on “It’s Not Online Stalking! It’s Research!!

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  1. It is a battle to stay true to yourself and your work while getting followers so that your work can actually be seen. This is why I often take breaks from Twitter and Instagram. I am going to stop taking breaks from blogging though. That doesn’t seem to be doing me any good. I went through a year or so where I tried writing poems and taking photos that I thought editors would like. My views and likes plummeted. Then I took a 3-month break last year, read new books, stopped taking photos, didn’t write at all, and asked myself who I was and what I was going to do with the next couple of years of my life. Then I started writing, painting and blogging like crazy. I am creating for myself. If I get published cool, but money and fame cannot be why I produce what I produce.

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  2. I do not dabble in Instagram, and snap chat – forget it – not interested, but I do have Facebook – it allows me to see all the family photos of my dear ones far away, I also have a Twitter account, but don’t pay it much attention. For much of this year (maybe longer) WordPress has been my go-to place to read interesting posts from people I will no doubt never meet, but enjoy reading their blog posts – some are even becoming friends.

    I hope you find a really good agent and I am praying for success for you in all your literary endeavors (and in life in general).

    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  3. Brilliant. And oh, this needs to be made into a poster of some kind: ” It’s like trying to hammer a round peg into a square hole. With a lettuce leaf”

    I’m on social media (kicking and screaming) to, like you, share my book(s) and writing. I, like you, want to avoid the shallowness and drain holes of soul sucking, flash pan nonsense.

    We’re out there. Best of luck with your book. Are you using Query Tracker to help find agents? (www.querytracker.net). That’s what I used before going the indie route. If you create an account (free, or you can do a paid subscription for more features), you can help keep track of yay’s and nay’s. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. None for two books. Close to 100 queries between both. Second book I stopped a few queries in and switched gears to indie publishing. I’m still learning the process but if you have questions or if I can be of help to you feel free to contact me. 😊

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  4. Social Media is my job lol consequently I don’t like to be on it in my personal life which is a bit of a problem at the moment since my presence and follows should be ideally higher when writing them on job applications. Part of the problem is I’m incredibly bad at maintaining long distance relationships or just relationships in general :/ I’m rapidly moving into a new chapter of my life so I really need to get better at that 🙂 I’m so proud of how far you’ve come, Stephen! Remember that those choices and attitudes of your past are just that…in the past. You have the choice now to keep your priorities straight. What is worth it in the end? A million followers or your wife and kids who love you?

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  5. I have a Twitter account but I’m not there much. I mostly tweet political stuff that I wouldn’t put on Facebook. I try to keep things “nice” on Facebook so I don’t upset friends & family (but of course I manage to do that regularly). WordPress is where I usually “hang out” but even WordPress is becoming problematic, with its recent censoring & no-platforming of radical feminist sites. As someone who cares deeply about censorship, I find this very troubling. There has been a conversation going around about leaving WordPress but I have gotten a great following of fellow writers, poets, artists and sober support on WordPress so I am not sure what I am going to do.

    I like seeing the “likes” but it’s an easy thing to do … click on the “like” button & go your way. I have people in my life who NEVER pick up the phone to say hello, who NEVER say, “hey, let’s meet for coffee” or “let’s take a walk in that park we used to visit” … it’s all online now. It’s nice to have an online presence but I miss the REAL THING. Sometimes I think I’m more lonely than ever.

    But I’ve always been lonely. & I’m telling you now dude … maybe it’s next year or the year after that … but I can hardly wait until that day when I’m walking down the street & I’m going past “Talking Leaves” bookstore & I see that you’re in town, giving a reading from your latest book. & I’ll be the first in line to shake your hand.

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  6. I tend to use social media for communication and support. Before I went on to things like Facebook and Twitter I was very socially isolated and it was a way I could interact with people (I’m a reclusive introvert at times). WordPress has been very good for my writing and it’s nice to have other people seeing it as it encourages me to write more and experiment. I’m going through the most creative period of my life due to starting a blog and I’ve been really enjoying it.

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  7. I wish you every success with your book, and I’m ever so jealous that you now find yourself in this position. I’m looking forward to reading it one it’s published.

    I’m on social media to share, and to learn. To express myself, to give my opinion. To maybe help others where and when I can. To let others know that they are not alone.

    To be honest, it’s also good for the ego when someone tkes the time to ‘Like’ something, or post a reply or comment. It’s good for the ego (there is no point in denying it(!))

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  8. I use social media to keep up with family that is far away. It works wonderfully. I do have a boss that likes to keep a collaborations page on Facebook, so I check it often. I have really enjoyed WordPress though, for its honesty. It’s been great to read other blogs!

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  9. I was following a lot of agents but decided I didn’t like more than I did. I am not a fan of the smashing in their feeds about how they knock people and complain. Maybe motivation and positive feedback would be lame and not great to read but still.

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          1. I do wonder if they only care about grammar and is what they get so bad they know immediately people don’t know how to write. Just seems crazy. It took so long for me to get thru the first pages of a few books I really liked so I agree most aren’t the fast paced action they say they want

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  10. It’s interesting to see your journey. I hope to learn some things. I also apologize about the delay with the second part of the chapters. There is so much going on my “to do” list and it keeps growing. But I will give you feedback! And well done for keeping focused when old things come back to potentially haunt you.

    You got this!

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