Thursday, April 29, 2010

Agents and Social Media

blog15 A week ago I was on a social media panel, talking about the benefits of networking and giving some tips.

Afterward, one of the attending agents asked a fellow panelist and me if we think people choose agents based on whether or not they’re active on social media. He was also curious whether we thought social media was important for agents to engage in.

I thought these were interesting questions. And my gut reaction, of course, was to say that everyone needs social media and to hop on it right way.

Of course, there are many agents blogging daily, tweeting, and Facebooking. The benefits to writers are tremendous.

But no, I really don’t think anybody chooses agents based on how active they are with social media.

Here are my thoughts about pros and cons of social media for agents.

Pros for agents:

Networking with editors and other industry professionals.

Participating in online dialogue with clients.

Possibly attracting more clients.

Educating writers on querying and writing in general—and maybe getting better-quality queries?

Cons for agents:

The time-sucking factor. And this is a huge consideration because there are only so many hours of the day when you’re not reading queries/synopses, sample chapters; submitting manuscripts to editors; following up with editors; etc.

Do agents need more clients unless they’re just starting out? Or are they already completely swamped?

I’ve got more pros than cons listed here, but then I’m a social media fan. What do you think—how active should agents be online? And how important is it to you as a writer that they are? Can you think of any other pros or cons?

I forgot to mention before that I'm hosting Alan Orloff on the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen today. He's got a fantastic recipe for chocolate babka--please join us!