Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Can I Get a Ruling: How Do You Feel About Blogging Agents?

Yesterday I wrote a defense of agents who take the time to blog. But what do you think?

Would you want an agent who blogs? Does an agent blogging make you more or less inclined to work with them? If you had a choice between agents, would it matter in your decision?

There is a poll below, and you'll need to click through to the post if you're reading in a feed reader or via e-mail.







117 comments:

Joseph L. Selby said...

In a growing digital profession, an agent savvy enough to utilize social media demonstrates that (s)he sees the evolving landscape and is capable of navigating this new environment.

Elaine Cunningham said...

It depends upon the nature of the blog posts. If the posts are interesting and focus on the industry, then I consider blogging a plus. Some agents, however, post about personal minutia, which is usually a neutral factor. The agents who snark, imo, establish themselves as people to avoid.

Yvette said...

If the blog is professional/polished, then absolutely. We talk so much about how authors need a "platform" -why not agents?

Krista V. said...

I'm with Elaine and Yvette. In most cases, a blog is a bonus, but if the agent doesn't represent himself or herself professionally, it's probably doing more harm than good.

Samantha said...

I think it's an excellent tool for writers to see the personality and style of the agent before contacting them. I'm in the process of compiling a list of agents to query and their web presence makes a big difference in helping me decide who might be a good fit.

Widow_Lady302 said...

They can blog, tweet, digg, stumble on, or use smoke signals...it really doesn't bother me one way or another. As long as they aren't spewing Nazi propaganda why would I care what social media they are involved in?

Kate said...

I would probably look for a blog before even contacting an agent. Blogs are like free personality samples.

charlotteotter said...

My agent doesn't blog, which I, as a longterm blogger (nearly five years) find kind of odd. However, she is an expert in her field and sells manuscripts to publishers to make into books and that's all I care about. I'll blog and write and she can sell.

Tracey Neithercott said...

It doesn't really matter to me, though I do like how blogs are a window into an agent's personality.

But I would never not pick an agent just because they blog. What they do in their free time, if legal, doesn't concern me. Besides, blogging agents help writers in SO many ways.

Chris Phillips said...

This poll would be more scientificish pre-defense post.

Tchann said...

To start with, I'm of the firm belief that if a company doesn't have an internet presence, it obviously doesn't want more attention or clientele.

But besides that, reading an agent's blog isn't just a repository of handy information, it's a window into that agent's preferences and opinion. I can see what they like to read, sometimes even how they read, and it gives me an idea as to whether that agent would like my writing or not.

Remus Shepherd said...

I don't believe that the time spent blogging affects an agent's job performance in any way.

However, the status of being a blogger makes the competition for that agent's attention much harder. I expect that a blogging agent gets a lot more queries than an agent without a net presence.

In the end, I voted 'more likely', for the simple reason that if an agent blogs it gives me a chance to know them. If I'm better informed about what an agent likes and how their personality might work with mine, I'm more likely to send queries to them if I think they might be a match for my work.

Kiki said...

My dream agent is Jim McCarthy from Dystel and Goderich because I like his blog posts and it gives me a good idea about his attitude and how he works and that makes me feel like he'd be a good choice for me. (If I had a choice to make obviously!) If you are working with an agent who doesn't blog you're kind of going in blind to a certain extent. I wouldn't be unhappy to get a different agent, but all things being equal if I had to choose between a blogging agent and a non blogging agent I'd choose the blogger.

B.E.T. said...

I think more agents should blog! At least about the industry and their profession, not necessarily about what their cat Mr. Fluffers has been doing on the lawn. It helps people get a feel for what they like, if they're a pain to work with, if they're a good fit for their book. It's also a great way to get noticed by potential clients (not that they want their slush piles any higher). It really helps from an author's standpoint as well because if they read said blog, then they'll be less likely to query someone in a massive e-mail or with the generic 'Dear Agent'.

Tracy said...

Personally, I'm not going to NOT sign with an agent because they don't have a blog. But, the names at the top of my "Dream Agent" list got there because I was able to get a feel for their overall personality through their blogs.

I'm not looking just to get a book out there, I want a career. I don't want an agent who can just sell my book, but someone who's personality can hang with mine through all the other stuff agents & writers have to do together behind the scenes.

Richard Gibson said...

A blog is a way to "get to know" the blogger, be he or she an agent or anything else. It is a way for the agent to communicate widely, easily, and publicly, "on the record." It is a great way for us writers to become educated in the ways of the publishing world, well beyond the kinds of things we can find in books and more formal settings - the nitty-gritty nuances that really help! Being idealistic, I would hope that such information would make for better communication, better queries, even better writing. Yes, I'm also cynical and realize that may be a forlorn hope.

swampfox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie Faris said...

I voted that it wouldn't affect my decision. My agent blogs. I think many agents who are, at heart, writers have blogs. They love to write and this provides an outlet. But before I was agented, I did seem to notice the blogging agents more. How many extra queries do you get, for example, because of your extremely popular blog? Probably an insane amount more than non-blogging agents. Which means you have more to choose from...and you're more likely to discover that next big author from that selection. I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't work with an agent who blogs. I'll have to read through the comments to see others' logic on this one.

Rick Daley said...

I have an agent who blogs occasionally, but her blog doesn't influence my opinion of her abilities as an agent.

I heard of her through another blogging agent (whose name rhymes with Mathan Cransford) so I'm in favor of blogging agents in general.

Sean said...

What better way to figure out if an agent is right or not for you than by reading their blog. Plus, each blog is like a free class. I don't know how aspiring authors did it pre-Internet days! Unless I feel I would be a really good fit for them, I will skip sending an agent my query if they only accept snail-mail submissions. In this day and age, I'm searching for agents with a strong online presence.

Mira said...

I would be very nervous placing my career in the hands of someone I don't know at all.

I've heard of several nightmare negative agent experiences and careers stalled or books lost because of them.

Trust is so basic to the relationship between writer and agent.

Blogs help me develop that trust. I don't want to say I'd never consider sending my work to an non-blogging agent - if I met someone at a conference, or read multiple articles or such - but I will say that I won't send my work to a total stranger.

Also, if I need to use social media to promote my book, it would be nice to have an agent who understood social media.

And I certainly wouldn't mind being represented by someone with a visible blog and a strong internet following.

So, it's not a deal breaker, but it's a strong positive factor if an agent blogs.

Ganz-1 said...

I'm with Widow_Lady302 on this. I don't really mind that much if an agent doesn't have a blog as long as the agent does his/her job.

Emy Shin said...

Personally, I'd be more likely to query a blogging agent, if purely because I am more aware of his/her name. However, if I had two offers, one from a non-blogging and one from a blogging agent, I don't think blogging would affect my decision either way.

Rachel @ MWF Seeking BFF said...

I'm not going to specifically work with an agent BECAUSE she blogs--a good agent is a good agent-but man do I wish mine did. I'm constantly wondering what she's thinking or how she works, and I'd love the peek into her process!

B. A. Binns said...

My agent does not blog, I don't mind. If she had, I would have read it before signing, but I don't think that would have made any difference. I like reading blogs by agents and hope it gives me some real information into what they think and what is happening in the publishing industry. The blog, or not, doesn't effect my opinion about anyone's professionalism.

Jenny said...

I think that blogging is a great way to stay in touch with your agent and to understand their thought process. At least for being 'on the same page,' as it were, blogging is a wonderful tool.

Conversely, I wonder if agents prefer that their clients blog? On one hand it's a marketing tool and can help build an audience. On the other hand, blogging can show just how crazy a person is. ;)

Michael W Lucas said...

I would work with any professional, selling agent who would take me as a client.

I suspect that blogging agents receive more queries, however, which increases competition for their time and attention.

Melissa Alexander said...

When I read someone's blog, I begin to feel like I have a rapport with that person. I *like* the person -- even though I've never so much as heard their voice, much less held a conversation.

The blog also gives me a sense that the person is an expert, and who doesn't want an expert agent? This must be a Somebody, because this person is a voice for the industry!

The potential negatives of blogging -- that the person is neglecting job or clients -- doesn't even occur to me. I can do some social networking and still be an ace at my job; I don't see why agents can't do that!

Josin L. McQuein said...

I query agents who blog and I query agents who don't. The blogs help get things done right for those of us who had no clue how to any thing but speak English, but if an agent didn't maintain a blog, it wouldn't be a negative to me.

Nathan Bransford said...

I should also say that I have an agent who doesn't blog and it didn't affect my decision either way. And she's amazing.

Sommer Leigh said...

As a long, long, long time blogger and someone who believes the internet is an important and evolving world, I'd be troubled if the agency as a whole wasn't online somewhere, in some capacity. I think I've been learning and using the internet for so long now that it feels incredibly isolationist and xenophobic to keep out of the digital limelight when so much of your business can happen there. I would want to work with someone who supports and "gets" how important being a part of the digital world is to me.

That being said, I'd love it if my agent blogged, but I'd be ok if they didn't. I would hope he or she will be a part of the digital landscape in some way though. Having an agent who is media savvy would be very important to me.

But blogging is a peculiar thing. You have to want to do it, not just because it is good exposure. I can sense someone who doesn't want to be blogging a mile away and there is no bigger turn off. So it's not a deal breaker, but I would be very, very uncomfortable if I knew more about social media than my agent.

TiffanyD said...

I don't enjoy keeping up a blog, so I wouldn't require my agent to enjoy it. However, I do find it mandatory that the agent has an internet presence (even just bio, etc, on some professional websites) and will accept email, etc. I mean, I'm just a teacher and I have an internet presence.

Plus, I am really turned off by poorly kept/written/formatted agency websites.

The Red Angel said...

I definitely wouldn't be less likely to work with an agent who blogs, as agents who don't blog can be just as capable and wonderful as ones who do.

On the other hand, I do think blogging is a great tool for communication, social networking, and the sharing of opinions. If the blog is a professional tool, then it would only increase my chances of signing on with that agent. It's a major positive factor for me.

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

tamarapaulin said...

There's a huge difference between blogging once a week or month versus blogging daily and responding to comments all day long.

I don't think I'd be keen to sign with someone who blogs full-time. Wait. No. Scratch that. Beggars can't be choosers!

Gryvon said...

I'm more interested in agents who blog, or at least agents who blog well, because a) it gives better insight into the agent so I've got a heads up of what I'd be getting into if I magically landed said agent and b) if their blog has a good following, then there's a likelihood that they'll use that following to promote my book, so it's like you're getting a mini-market to go with the agent.

Kristi Helvig said...

I love reading agent blogs, and blogs give you a great sense of the agent's style. However, there are some amazing agents who don't blog, and they're definitely on my query list too.

Kevin said...

Personally, I think it's natural to view literary agents as being a bit above and beyond the level of the writer. To read an agent's blog is to understand the agent more as a person, and less of an aloof demigod, and it also helps the writer, I think, become more able to put him/herself in the agent's shoes.

So I like it.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't affect me one way or the other.

And, we're forgetting one thing with all this agent blogging business.

Blogging is supposed to be fun. That's why personal blogs were invented. Some bloggers are better than others, of course, and I think that a lot of negative comments about successful bloggers, in general, are born out of jealousy by people who don't get what blogging is all about.

Matthew Rush said...

I stand by my comment from yesterday. I would much rather work with someone I could get to know, at least a little, beforehand. How else are you supposed to learn anything about what kind of person an agent is?

Lindsey Lane said...

Agents who blog and blog well is a plus but not a necessity. If they blog, it's nice because we can check out their thinking and see if our personalities might mesh. But, really, that they blog or not is not a deal breaker for me. That they have relationships with editors and get our books sold is a teensy bit more important than having a blog.

Matthew Rush said...

That being said, if I query you, and you give me revision notes that make it clear that you get my vision for my story, and after some research you are fully legitimate, I'm certainly not going to not work with someone just because they don't blog.

Josephine Cameron said...

The only reason a blog would turn me off from an agent would be if the content/style/personality proved that the agent wasn't a good fit for me.

Carla said...

HI Nathan, I am all for agents doing as much as they can so I voted number 1.. Carla

Robena Grant said...

My answer: it depends. ; )

If I'm looking for an agent I want a professional relationship because this person won't be my best friend, or even someone I socialize with on a regular basis. While, I imagine, personality would matter in how effectively we communicated, and understood each other, that communication for me would always be on a businesslike level. (Kind of like how I view my accountant who I see once a year, and my lawyer who I might see once in five years.)

I don't care what an agent eats for lunch, how many kids they have, or dogs, where they vacation, or how they get along with their spouse. I might care about those things over time. But initially...nope, and I'd hope that the agent felt the same way about me and my life.

On the other hand I do like agent blogs that give updates on what is happening in the publishing world, tips on writing, querying, etc. and give brief insights into the agent's personality.

gordonzola.net said...

I have an agent who would never blog and I love her. If I ever had to find a different agent, having a blog would be way down the list of things I would care about, just above "Right or left-handed?"

This is such a non-issue.

marilynn said...

I like the idea of an agent being attuned to the new world, but some of them are tweeting so often I wonder how they get any work done.

Jason Black said...

The answer I was looking for wasn't in the poll: I would be encouraged by the fact that an agent blogs--this shows that they are staying in touch with modern realities--but that alone would not be a deciding factor. Rather, I would then carefully read the agent's blog to see if they're blogging _well_. If they get what blogging is for, how it can best function in service of their business (and by extension, me as their client).

Anonymous said...

I chose the first, but, let's face it, if an agent wants me and they don't blog, it wouldn't turn me off.

The thing about an agent blogging, is that they can be (like you, Nathan) a resource to writers that helps us. For that, we feel connected and appreciative and we grow as writers,even if he/she doesn't rep us.

On the other side, there are some agents whose online presence has definitely steered many writers away, such as The Smug Ones who put us down.
(There was one I admired so much, but who continued to ridicule writers and I lost respect. That particular agent recently quit blogging.)
Some of the sharks blogging in the water have very big teeth and I hate bleeding, so I stay away from them.

Vee Worthy said...

I was surprised to find some writers had negative feelings about an agent who blogged. I had never considered it an issue.

Anonymous said...

This thread has opened my insight as to why blogging might be a good idea for a *positive* agent (who is comfortable blogging). It seems a strong platform might alert publishers to this agent too.

But one of the things a #negative# blogging agent is going to do is not just lose potential queries (laughing all the way because they don't "want dumb writers! Bwahahhaha...") but they will lose audience draw at writing conferences too.

Mystery Robin said...

Totally depends on the blog - I love getting to know an agent via blog/twitter/what have you. But, sometimes I read the blog and think "Oh my, we wouldn't get along" and that's good information to have. ;)

**note, I'm not typically basing that on "professionalism" but more on just the personality coming through.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nathan Bransford said...

Hi all,

Turning off anonymous commenting due to a troll. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Ulysses said...

I'd be more likely to work with a blogging agent simply because, through their blog, I've had an opportunity to get to know them. Agents talk about their pet peeves, their preferences, what they're looking for, what they're seeing and a great deal of their personality comes through.

In the same way an agent might be more likely to take on a client they know, I'm more likely to first approach an agent I've "met" through their blog.

M.A.Leslie said...

Blogging agents are the reason that I know what I know about the world of publishing. I would rather work with a blogging agent, because they are obviously more into helping out authors than anyone else.
Maybe I am wrong in thinking this way, but I have to give credit to the people that got me this far. Thank you blogging agents and writers.

inthewritemind said...

It wouldn't matter to me either way. If they're the best to represent me and feel passionate about my book and present themselves in a professional manner, I don't care if they have a blog or not. :)

Heather Kelly said...

I agree with Matthew Rush--I like to "go to know" agents if I can before querying them. I voted that I would be more likely to go with an agent who blogged, but I have also been turned off by agent personalities on their blogs. These are agents that are professional, and very capable, but whose personality (I get the sense) would not be a good match for me. So, I am both more likely and less likely to query an agent who blogs. :)

terripatrick said...

Yep, agree this poll would have more merit if it appeared prior to the post in support of agents who blog. :D

My opinion is - an agents blog would not affect my choice of having them as a business partner in my career.

My priority is the professional attention and effort an agent makes on my behalf. My side of this relationship is understanding my work is a fraction of my agents actual workload.

Peggy said...

I wish my agent DID blog, then I could see what is sort of going on, but she doesn't, so I am often left in the dark.

I don't guess it really matters one way of the other, as long as they do their job.

No one looks at my blog, so I often wonder if it really is worth it. Then again, I can blog stories and erase those I don't like.

Blogs are only as usefull as people make them, business or personal.

Stephanie@thecrackedslipper said...

In my perfect (imaginary) world two agents offer representation. Both are charming, wonderful people who sells lots of books. Agent A does not blog. Agent B has an informative, clever blog and a few hundred loyal followers. I'm going with B!

Oh, to have to make such a choice! :)

Livia said...

I don't see blogging as inherently good or bad in itself. An agent could be blogging because he's really savvy at social media and building an effective platform for himself and his authors, or he could be blogging to procrastinate. Likewise, the reasons for an agent not blogging could range from being so popular and well known that he's drowinging in submissions even without a blog, or it could be that the agent's completely clueless about all things digitial and will totally screw up all your erights. It all depends on context.

Nicole said...

Who cares? Everyone and their grandma blogs these days. Though it wouldn't affect my decision to work with them, agents who blog are great because of all the additional insight they've given us writers. Got something to say? Blog away!

(and should I be worried that my word verification is "doeatus" - sounds like the start of a horror story if you ask me)

swampfox said...

Blogs tell about the blogger. If it's an agent, then you have some additional knowledge of a prospective agent. Don't know why that would be a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

This is probably your most unscientific poll yet. Obviously, all the people here are reading your Blog which is mostly about writing and publishing, and you used to be an agent. Therefore, it stands to reason that most people here would probably be interested in working with a blogging agent. In addition, you have many new writers here trying to learn about the publishing field and willing to work with any reputable agent, including those who blog. Your poll today is almost like polling people online with the question, "Do you use the Internet?" or calling people on the phone and polling them to ask, "Do you own a telephone?"

Wendy Delfosse said...

I'm saying more likely based on the fact that I'm more likely to query agents I feel would best like my work and guess we would work well together. Blogs help me find that information. Therefore if I'm more likely to query an agent who blogs I'm more likely to end up signing with an agent who blogs. It's not that I want to penalize those who don't, but when all I know about an agent is what genre they like and their address it's hard to really target them. If they have similar information in another form (Twitter, website, what have you) it has the same advantage to me. But a web presence definitely helps in my book.

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

I think most people have accepted at this point that there is no such thing as a scientific poll on the Internet.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not an agent blogs doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is whether or not their blog is dumbed-down (bad sign for authors writing books to have an agent who feels a need to dumb down their blog). And, much more importantly, it matters to me how many book deals the agent has made, how high the advances were for those deals, and the literary quality of those books. Anyone can blog. Not everyone can negotiate lucrative book deals for high-quality books.

Kristin Laughtin said...

A blog itself wouldn't sway me either way. I would want an agent who's familiar with technology, though, and uses email rather than relying on snail mail for everything. As social media becomes more important, I'd like an agent who at least has an understanding of that as well.

Anonymous said...

Nathan,

Actually, it is possible to have a scientific poll on the Internet. It depends on the question and how the sample of subjects are randomized. Most social science experiments, for example, are conducted on college students, but are done in such a way that it's assumed the test is scientific enough to represent a larger population of people.

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

Entertainment/informational purposes only. I think it goes without saying that this is a poll of this blog's readership and therefore is going to represent the views of this blog's readership. If you want to do a scientific study I'd be happy to link to it.

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely impossible to conduct a scientific poll on the Internet.

Anonymous said...

Nathan,

I'm not interested in doing a scientific poll about this question, but the results will prove nothing other than what was already discussed yesterday. It won't prove or disprove the point about whether or not most writers value blogging agents. Chances are, however, that it will influence readers here on this Blog to think that blogging agents are better than the agent who made a statement against blogging - kind of group-think process that goes on constantly within Internet groups. It seems to me that writers, if they're really serious about writing, ought to be processing information in much more thoutful, nuanced types of ways. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Anon @1:26 PM,

It isn't really. Here's an example of a study that could be conducted scientifically on the Internet. If you had a scientific question such as, "Will people on the Internet vote for or against the same issue if the background is varied to show friendly or frightening images?" and you kept all other variables equal, then took the vote, you could analyze the voting results statistically.

Anonymous said...

That question is unclear as an example so I'll leave that alone but the problem with conducting a poll on the Internet will always be ballot-stuffing. We've seen it on this blog. About two years ago, an anonymite - like ourselves - posed as different responders and essentially had a conversation by him/her/self.

Not unless the polled willingly give their ID numbers - which would never happen - would a poll begin to be scientific.

SariBelle said...

As an aspiring author I love love love agents who take the time to share their knowledge with those of us who find it so valuable. When I'm ready to start looking for agents there's no way I'm going to hold blogging against them. At the same time it wouldn't bother me if they didn't. Everyone's gotta do what works for them to get the job done

Mira said...

It is absolutely impossible to conduct a scientific poll on the internet. One of the most obvious reasons for that is people can vote multiple times if they have more than one computer. You also can't control the sample.

For example, who are these hundreds of voting but non-commenting people? We don't know if the people voting are writers, agents, editors, publishers or someone else entirely.

When colleges send surveys to their student population, the sample is controlled and contained. When you're dealing with millions of people on the internet, who can vote multiple times under multiple identies, you have absolutely no control over the sample.

I also think someone really needs to relax alittle. If this agent has negotiated 6 figure deals for debut authors, I think this poll is not going to cause hordes of writers to run fleeing from that agent's offer of representation.

Although, I will say I thought at the time for a non-blogging agent to make a negative comment about blogging agents was not a good idea, and might be something to think about for the future.

On the other hand, this is a really interesting conversation, so as far as I'm concerned, it's all good.

Mira said...

Nathan - ok.

This is an interesting discussion.

Anonymous said...

Anon @1:55 PM,

So cool to be discussing statistics and scientific polls! Yeah, I realized my question wasn't spelled out scientifically, just wanted to give a general example quickly. Especially for political elections, poll designers have started designing scientific Internet polls. The key to making Internet polls scientific is a population sample that's large and random, as in regular science experiments. I would think you could even use large randomized samples from multiple Internet groups created by the person conducting the poll and presented to subjects as separate groups, as this would then represent real-world behavior of Internet groups. Presumably, the same number of people would be voting multiple times in each group and random selection from all groups would balance out the effects of this problem. What do you think?

- Anon @1:35 PM

February Grace said...

It's not the existence of the blog that forms my opinion of an agent, wise Jedi, but how the agent portrays themselves on a blog that matters to me.

I've sometimes been amazed that so often, aspiring writers are told to be careful that they don't portray themselves unprofessionally or in a negative light online- and then the people who preach that message turn around and do it themselves. Writers don't corner the market on the ability to make themselves look bad! Maybe this is what causes some to say they take blogging agents less seriously when they just need to seek out agents with a different personality.

There are so few agent blogs I follow anymore (if I hear one more 'awful query' story my brain may implode) but there are wonderful ones out there and I meant to post yesterday that I am eternally grateful to blogging agents (yourself, especially for all that you wrote while you were still agenting and beyond- you didn't leave us behind, and we love you for that!) because I learned so much, so fast, about the industry.

Though it was a really rude awakening (so naive, I was...) frustrating and confusing and caused me at one point out of sheer proximity to despair to write a piece comparing the agent blogosphere to the mad tea party, I am grateful to all blogging agents for helping me realize a lot about myself and the path I need to take as a writer to be happy. Being happy is far more important than being published.

So thank you, blogging agents one and all. I am thankful for your time, and your internet presence. It's a rich tapesty. . .

~bru

domynoe said...

The thing for me is that a blog can give you an idea of an agent's personality and how s/he works. An agent I probably wouldn't have considered otherwise has gone to the top of my submit list for my next project because I could see we'd probably get along well by her Twitter posts.

You actually ended up on that list after I started reading blog posts as well. Too bad neither of my projects were finished in time. lol

Carol Riggs said...

Blogging wouldn't affect me either way, and in fact, it might be better because I could get to know the specific likes and dislikes of that particular agent before sending him/her something. I'm still wary of Twitter, however. I mean, the agents who are twittering on about how many TV shows they are watching...I know they have a life, but come on, when they are 3 months behind on their partials and fulls?

Nicole Zoltack said...

If an agent blogs, a writer is able to get a sense of the agent and his/her personality which goes a long way to discovering, even before the query process, if the agent would potentially be a good match for the writer.

Laurie said...

I think agent blogs are incredibly helpful, so it wouldn't bother me at all and it actually helps me know more agents and what they are looking for. That said, it wouldn't bother me if an agent didn't blog.

Jaden Terrell said...

I enjoy reading agent blogs (like yours) that are informative and helpful to writers, but whether or not an agent blogged would not affect my decision to sign with him/her or not.

My agent doesn't blog, but she is wonderful, dynamic, and personable. She's a person of integrity who works for a reputable agency, has great contacts, looks out for my interests, and is willing to discuss my options at each step of my career. If she decides to take up blogging, I'll be happy for her to do it, and if she doesn't, I'm equally happy for her not to.

On the other hand, when I was querying, it was much easier to tell if an agent was a good match for me and my work if he or she had a blog.

Anonymous said...

@ 155 -

I don't want to steal any focus from Nathan's original blog subject. He did weigh in and say he wasn't really trying to be scientific and that his blog and today's subject in particular are akin to what you suggest in terms of a randomized Internet sample strained through the minds of the good folks who populate this space. So, we're wandering a little off topic.

That said, that's the one thing the Internet can offer, that quick near-instantaneous random large sampling, via blogs, via the assorted social media. In fairness to thou, I was thinking along the lines of this blog and its numbers, though Nathan has pulled in tremendous numbers before. If we're talking millions or thousands or perhaps hundreds of people - hard to get that kind of a poll turnout, I think but maybe not impossible in the future - it may be easier to conduct what one could call a scientific poll. I still believe in order for it to be scientific in the way we use that word, science, that social media and voting and feedback itself will have to converge with identity and identification, with a click or two bringing C.V. and demographics along with it (and somehow protecting the voter from being found out, especially if the poll is a private one, while merging the sense of anonymity and therefore honesty with safety from recrimination and weeding out trolls and computers generating profile after profile).

And, yes, it is cool to be discussing this, and nice to dialogue with you about it. Sorry, Nathan, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually a little curious about something.

I noticed it's pretty much even between those who would prefer to work with a blogging agent as to those who said it wouldn't make a difference. Huh?

I can see why virtually no one voted in the other category. It would be ridiculous to hold something against an agent who blogs. But I'm a little amazed that people, potential authors, not people wearing name tags in fast food restaurants, didn't vote that it wouldn't make a difference either way by a landslide.

Because...clue...it really doesn't matter either way. Agents who blog are just as proficient as agents who don't.

I found these results fascinating. And now I'm starting to see why agents complain about the queries they receive.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and if we use the word 'science' and its classical definition, to try and know a little more than we did before, to get a very very very general sense of what persons think, even if it is only right now, at this specific juncture in their day and via this specific site, then the blog is somewhat scientific as would any poll be, no?

alexia said...

I would definitely prefer a blogging agent - to me it says that they are capable of the same web promotion that most ask their authors to do.

However, just like writers who are silly enough to bitch about agents on their blogs, an agent that complains too much about writers and the industry is a turn off.

btw (and I'm sure I'm only the millionth person who's said this), but it's super awesome of you to keep blogging about this stuff even though you are no longer an agent.

macaronipants said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with blogging agents or blogging editors or even a blogging president for that matter. But given that you probably want to choose an agent who is a good match, a blogging agent wouldn't be my first choice. I tried blogging and it sucked up the only writing time I have in a day. So while I would never begrudge anyone a blog, I would be better suited to someone who understands my limitations in that way and accepts them.

Adam Heine said...

I would be more likely to work with a blogging agent, but not for the smart "it shows they are savvy" reasons. Basically it's branding. When I read an agent's blog, I feel like I know them a little more, and am therefore more comfortable querying them and working with them.

It's the same reason Coke or Pepsi, rather than a generic brand. The drinks are basically the same, but having a familiar name--one we trust--makes us believe the brand name is better.

Whether or not the name lives up to that trust is another matter, but it doesn't change my answer. My top agents are (almost) all blogging ones.

Julia's Child said...

Dear Nathan,

I'm surprised that you felt the need to defend this position. There is such a simple equation at work here: word of mouth is elusive. YOU have a tremendous platform and credibility. Ergo, each of your clients enjoys a bump from even the briefest congratulations on this blog, which thousands read.

Besides- the counterargument is like saying you don't want Atul Gawande to be your surgeon, because you're afraid he'd be too busy writing intelligent & nuanced articles for the New Yorker to perform your procedure.

Give me the smart guy who knows how to express himself any day.

Cathi Stoler said...

I thinki t's great. We're all interested in blogging, or we wouldn't be so involved with this blog. An agent who blogs understands what's happening in the world and in the industry and hopefully, that can only help his or her clients.

RLS said...

When my full ms was out with 6 agents, 1 got back to me very quickly and asked if I'd like to work together. I knew the others were very interested, but because I liked our banter via email and phone and because she was very established (major best-sellers), I agreed to meet her. At the end of the meeting, I told her I'd be making a decision quickly. One of the agents I was considering is a frequent 'tweeter'. I'd been waiting for her to get back to me re. my ms, which she's had for (if I remember correctly) about two weeks. I kept reading her tweets and growing more and more annoyed. When I told her I'd accepted representation she seemed genuinely disappointed and a maybe even irritated that I hadn't given her longer to consider my work. Had I not been privvy to her tweets, I might have been more open to a conversation about how much time she needed etc. I am very pleased with my agent. And these days, I waste a lot of time perusing blogs and social media instead of starting number 2 project. If my agent were blogging, I'd be even more distracted/obsessed. Ditto for editor.

P A Wilson said...

It all depends on what they blog. An agent who is always blogging about the stupid things people do won't be on my list if I'm looking. If the agent gives interesting advice, shares successes and their own 'face desk' moments as well as some from authors, I'll keep them on my list.

Katherine Hyde said...

Nathan, don't you think you have kind of a skewed sample for this poll? You're asking people who read agent blogs to vote on whether they'd like to work with a blogging agent. Isn't it the people who don't read agent blogs who would be most likely to object to them?

T. Anne said...

I think that a blogging agent would be more communicative than a non blogging agent. Plus it's great insight to their thoughts on publishing.

Anonymous said...

Anon @4:52 PM -

I've been feeling the same way as you. Only a few commenters have mentioned that they want an agent who negotiates really great book deals with huge advances for authors, or that they even look into that part of an agent's background. It sounds more like most commenters here want a friendly, popular agent, whether or not that agent's actually the best person for their career. Popularity doesn't always translate into publication deals or book sales.

Anonymous said...

RLS -

I feel the same way as you. I decided against several agents based on their sarcastic tweets and blog posts.

Other Lisa said...

I voted, it wouldn't affect my decision either way. And in fact, it didn't.

I've been extremely happy with both my blogging former agent and my non-blogging current agent.

I would add what to me are the most important things: that you and your agent share a vision of your books and your career.

froggfeathers said...

I don't understand. Why does anyone feel they are entitled to an opinion? How do I feel about an agent who jogs? Who drinks Pepsi instead of Coke? Who hates the Cowboys? Who watches Dallas reruns on Sunday nights? Honestly! Who are we to have an opinion on what a person does with their time? The very thought would offend me if I were an agent.

wendy said...

Nathan, I don't where all this negativity is coming from about agents who blog. I've never seen anything like this. Could it be coming from inside the business? When I first landed on this blog, I was very excited to see someone like yourself so uptodate and savvy and obviously so ambitious for your clients and yourself that I immediately wanted you for my agent. It can only appear impressive to see someone going that extra mile to not only further careers but to give advice to those who need it. It's a win-win situation.

Mama Sarah said...

I think an agent's blog is a very good way to tell whether they'd be a good fit for you. You can get an idea of his/her style and personality, to see if working together would even be a possibility before you send in your query. It's a wonderful way to get to know a person before you trust them with your project!

Emily Ward said...

I think the only reason I may be more likely to sign with a blogging agent is because I may find them through their blog. But if I met them first, then found out they had a blog, I'd be like, 'Cool!' but it wouldn't affect my decision.

RED STICK WRITER said...

It would not make a difference in selecting an agent. I am thankful for the enlightenment and entertainment derived from the blog of an author and former agent who lives in Frisco. His post-agent blogging still hits that high mark.

Lauren said...

Depends on the nature of the blog and the number of references to pirates (more = better). Or something like that. Really I just love all the specific information on how to avoid looking like a moron when I get out and start querying so I'm very thankful.

Kate said...

I think an agent that blogs helps out all us writers who want to know about an agent we might want to query. A bit of insight into who they are. It takes away some of the guess work.

That's not to say all agents will blog in a decent manner, but I'd like to think they do.

Timothy Fish said...

If I were a client of the agent, I don't see that it would matter one way or another, but if I'm looking for an agent, the agent's blog may be the only way I get a chance to discover who he is as a person. There are several agents that I wouldn't consider querying because of some of what they say on their blogs.

J. T. Shea said...

Anonymous 1:20 pm etc., this is a poll of us, Nathan's readers, a self-selecting group, and does not pretend to be anything else. But there are limits to science, no matter how large or randomized a sample is. As the old saying has it, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Frogfeathers, Coke vs Pepsi? Wars have been fought over less!

Lauren, more pirates? YES! You can never have too many pirates. Except in Somalia.

Hart Johnson said...

My reason on my 'more likely' is because I feel like blogging helps us get to KNOW said 'blogging agent' so there is a feel for compatibility before ever submitting. The DOWNSIDE is I think y'all get more submissions, so competition is stiffer.

Ebyss said...

I never even thought about caring whether an agent blogs or not. If they do...great, if they don't...great.

I care about the work an agent does. A blog doesn't speak for said agent, but the work he/she performs does.

Ishta Mercurio said...

I voted "more likely", but there's a caveat. An agent's blog tells me more about that agent. Maybe I discover from reading Agent Y's blog that he and I wouldn't be compatible, in which case, I'd never sub to him. Or maybe I discover that we are so like-minded about writerly and literary things that it's scary, in which case I'll probably be willing to give my left eye to work with him.

And then there are agents who don't blog, who I would give a kidney to sign with.

So, it really depends on the blog, and on the agent. But if you're an agent who blogs, I'm more likely to find out about you, so that tips the balance a little bit.

Andrea said...

It depends on the agent and the blog--I know there are excellent agents who don't blog, as well as bad ones who do--but I lean toward "more likely" because I feel an agent's blog gives me a chance to get to the the agent. If I can learn the agent's likes and dislikes, as well as what he or she is looking for at the moment, it gives me a better chance to find a true fit for my work.

bloggEm said...

I was honestly quite surprised by your blog on the topic. My impression (thought I’m fairly new to the publishing industry) has been that agents who blog are very professional, diligent and pays attention to shifts in how business is done … exactly what I’d want in an agent. But social media marketing is part of my job, so I guess that could affect how I perceive it.

Transitoria said...

I like an agent who blogs. If I'm going to be in a long term relationship with my agent, I want to know as much about that person as I can before committing to working with him/her. Can you imagine the divorce rate if we married the first person we saw?

Patricia A. Timms said...

I don't want an agent who doesn't know their way around technology. If I'm expected to have an online platform then I guess I expect the agent to have one as well.

Julie Hedlund said...

I like agents who blog. We are living in a social media world, so those that blog, tweet, FB, etc. are probably more likely to be able to assist clients trying to utilize those tools.

Having said that, as long as the agent is good at his/her primary job, which is selling books, I'm okay either way.

The only exception would be an agent who abuses his/her position or platform. But I honestly haven't seen any of that. All the agents I've come across who blog are generous, genuine, and sharing useful information.

Eddie said...

It wouldn't effect my decision.

In fact it doesn't even matter. It's a free world... :)

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