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Literary agents open up on Twitter today

January 14, 2010 |  9:22 am

Amanuscript

Literary agents are lifting the curtain to allow anyone -- including hopeful authors -- a chance to see what it's like to do their jobs. How? How else: Twitter.

Using the hashtag #agentsday, agents are tweeting everything from breakfast to getting work done on clients' tax forms. The day was organized by Michelle Wolfson, a New York agent representing commercial fiction and nonfiction, following an online discussion about what a literary agent's job should be.

Not all agents are at liberty to talk about their work, so many -- but not all -- are at smaller, boutique agencies. So who's tweeting? A sampling includes:

Michelle Wolfson, the organizer
Colleen Lindsay and Janet Reid with Fine Print Literary Management
Lauren MacLeod, a YA agent with Strothman Agency in Boston
Bernadette Baker-Baughman of independent Bakers Mark Literary Agency
Lucienne Diver of the Knight Agency
Jason Ashlock of Movable Type Literary Group
Kate McKean of Morhaim Literary Agency
Kathleen, a junior agent at Lowenstein Associates
Katelynn Lacopo, a literary assistant at Bookends LLC
Katie Williams and Carole Blake, both agents at British agency Blake Friedman
Rachelle Gardner, an independent Christian agent
Michael Kabongo, an independent agent for science fiction and fantasy

Notably absent is Nathan Bransford, a popular agent blogger and tweeter with the San Francisco office of Curtis Brown Ltd. He is one of a small number of agents -- including Lindsay, Wolfson and the long-shuttered, beloved Miss Snark -- that have done much to open up the world of literary representation to aspiring writers. All have frankly discussed query letters, writing samples and what makes an agent perk up and pay attention.

Yet many large agencies haven't fostered this kind of transparency -- you don't see the agents at Wylie, for example, tweeting today. Maybe that's because those agencies are too old-school to "get" the Internet, maybe it's because they resemble the fictional Hollywood agency in "Entourage," with overworked assistants ducking flying egos, or maybe it's because the key work of an agent is in making deals. And keeping a deal-in-progress behind a curtain of secrecy is the best way to make it happen.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo by doortoriver via Flickr

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