Literary agents are very particular about what type of manuscripts they look at. This is based on the strengths of the publishing company and what they think could sell in today’s climate. Traditionally authors connect up with agents at writing festivals or big events such as Book Expo America. Recently, a few agents from Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh did something unique, they took to Twitter.
Agents representing Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh received more than 2,000 pitches for books on the first inaugural #PitchCB day. Authors had to sum up their book in 140 characters or less, which is a good indication of how good a writer is, because if you’re able to capture an idea in that limit it shows you have a talent with the written word.
The hashtag reached over 5.3 million times and authors from all over the world tried to hype their titles to the agents. The publishers expressed interest in about 100 of them, but it remains doubtful whether any will be signed.
In the last few years agents have had to change their way of thinking, due to the rise of self-publishing. The vast majority of startup authors often just submit their titles to Kindle Direct Publishing and hope for the best. The most successful indies writers such as Joe Konrath, Barry Eisler, and Hugh Howey have powerful, hard-working agents who earn every penny of their 15%. And most of the successful hybrids, like Catherine Ryan Hyde, also have representation from agents who understand the new publishing paradigm.
Using Twitter as a vehicle to discover new writing talent might catch on in the publishing world. A one day event could result in finding and cultivating the next J.K. Rowling or E.L. James.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.