Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Vault

I've been spending a lot of time over at Twitterland, not only to goof around with author friends and spy on celebrities, but also to research agents while seeking representation for my latest novel.

I find that reading about their lives outside the office and interacting with them helps me to understand how they think. Yeah, I know... that sounds like I'm some kind of anthropologist doing a study, but it's a great way to discover whether our personalities mesh. And that's important, right?

Not surprisingly, many agents have become fast online friends. Not all of them represent the kind of books I write, but I still enjoy our online conversations about kids, shopping, the weather and such.

Some have requested my work through Twitter, which is an unexpected bonus. Some have passed on my work but we remain friendly online. We still have our share of cyber laughs over cyber pops.

This new author/agent dynamic can be thrilling. "Wow! Agent A likes me as a real person!" We feel like we've been given a free pass into another world.

But we can't let ourselves get carried away with the exhilaration of online friendship. It's too easy to let slip a tidbit or personal remark that was meant to be private. For us writers, making an agent uncomfortable or angry can feel like a shunning. Our new-found bond of trust can easily be broken and rarely repaired.

When participating in Twitter or Facebook conversations, or even commenting on a blog, I strongly suggest that we think twice before sharing our private correspondence with agents. Sometimes you have to lock your lips and throw away the key.