Tag Archives: literary agent

Pondering How Women Writers Self Identify on Social Media

stick-family-1449578571lWcLast week I posed a question on Twitter. I asked, Women Writers of Twitter who put “mom” or “wife” in your profile, why do you do that? Besides “it’s part of who I am.” I want to understand. As you might expect, I was being judge-y about it. My best friend and I had been talking the other day, and she said in her masters degree program in public health that the male professors introduce themselves as Dr. So-and-so, or Professor So-and-so, but the professors who are women, including the department chair, introduce themselves by their first names. This irked both of us. I believe professional women need to take themselves seriously if they want others to do the same.  I wanted to understand why women writers on Twitter would make the choice to include their marital or parental status. I know some male authors might include that information, but the majority don’t. Was there something going on here?

Mostly the responses to my question were variations of “it’s part of who I am.” Which didn’t really help me understand, but I get it. People wanted to engage with my question and that was what is there for them.

And I also heard, “I wrote my profile as if it were similar to a party when someone says ‘tell me about yourself.'” I can get that.

I heard, “I’m so proud of the fam. I came from a broken home, never thought I’d have a successful marriage or happy family.” Oh. Hmm.

I heard, “When I am in public w/my fiancé, other men give me more space than when I sit alone. Wife in profile = protection?” Wow.

I also heard from a number of women who are married to people in the military. One woman said, “I can only speak for myself, but I put army wife in my bio because there’s a sort of community for military spouses, since dealing with deployment is devastating. Helps to have people who know your pain, so the bio helps us to find each other.”  I’d never, ever thought about that.

Ok, so judge-y me was clearly schooled. There are so many reasons we each identify ourselves in the ways that we do, choosing the words that we choose. For example, I have consistently called myself a writer since I was a teenager, even though I have sometimes spent years not writing. My Twitter bio reads: I’m a literary agent. I’m usually reading. Or drinking coffee. Or reading while drinking coffee. So basically, I’m letting you know that I’m an over caffeinated Lit Agent. And who really cares that I drink coffee anyway? My bio is flip and quippy. Yet I just (very proudly) celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary and I stayed home raising my children for (what felt like) a gajillion years. Why didn’t I, too, identify myself on Twitter, and hence in my social media presence, as a wife and mom?

Something was bothering me about all of this. So I put up a poll and I really learned something.

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It turns out, people are using social media to be social! Holy crap.

In my myopic brain, I’d assumed that unpublished writers on Twitter could only be there for one reason: to find an agent or editor. Sometimes I’m a narcissistic fool. Sometimes (sometimes!) it’s not all about me. (Every time I re-read the previous sentence I laugh out loud at myself again.)

I love that we writers have social media with which to connect to other people. Writing can be a lonely and isolating endeavor. I also love that we literary agents, over caffeinated or not, have the opportunity to connect with writers online, to get to know what is important to them, to hear their voices, share in a little of their lives, and perhaps even find a client or two. And I love that we humans can always learn new things about others, that we have the opportunity to shift our perceptions, if we just listen to other people’s stories.

Writers: How do you identify yourself? Tell me in 15 words or less.

 

 

 

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Inside Scoop: Dish from a Literary Agent Intern… And The Chosen Are!

Thank you to everyone who sent in their book spine poetry for the contest. Your creativity and participation were really wonderful and made it that much more difficult for me to choose just 5 of you! But, it had to be done and I am happy to announce the winners of our  holiday contest.  (To see an enlarged picture of each poem, just click on the thumbnail)

Danielle DaviesFor first place, and winner of the ARC of Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konisburg, we have Danielle Davies. Her creativity and choice of titles helped the poem flow perfectly. It brought to mind beauty and love. I hope she had as much fun making this as I had reading it!

Elizabeth BradleyIn second place, and winner of a 10 minute Skype session with Linda, is Elizabeth Bradley. Her use of more somber titles made this poem really stand out to me. I felt the reflective aspect, like she was looking at days past, and I thought this really translated well in the poem.

For our runners up, and winners of  The Hunger Games Trilogy book set; an audio of If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth; and an ARC of The Best Friend Battle by Lindsay Eyre (with illustrations by Charles Santoso) we have:

Karen TomasKaren Tomas, who used great word play to come up with something solid. She kept it simple, and it worked.

Linda C.Linda C. used a bit of whimsy in her poem, which flowed well and made me think of a dark fairytale (and not just because it had the word in it). She followed the theme all the way to the end, which gave the poem a nice rounded feel.

Sally SteinmillerSally Steinmiller stuck with (almost) one author and built a darker, more mysterious poem that reflected well the titles she chose. I’m a fan of the dark and somber and she really captured that, with a little help from Agatha Christie.

Winners, please send Linda an email with your home address so she can mail you your prize.

So that ends our holiday contest! I hope you all had fun, because that’s what it’s all about. Again, I want to thank everyone who participated and I wish you a Happy New Year. See you in 2015!

Kim Photo BioKimberly Richardson is currently interning for Linda Epstein at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, while pursuing her Masters degree in Pace University’s Publishing Program. She also interns at the National Association of Professional Women. You can follow Kimberly on Twitter @kimberly_ann688.

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Lit Agent Fairy Dust: The Path to Making Dreams Come True

spinaltap_2430544bWith the Writing and Yoga Retreat just two weeks away, I’ve been so ridiculously busy that my head is spinning. It’s so tempting to say “literally spinning” but can you imagine if it was literally spinning?! Someone call Dial-an-Exorcist, please! But you get what I mean, right? My usual ADD way of mucking through life — oh wait! there’s something shiny over there! — has been amped up to 11.

One might ask oneself why a literary agent who is already quite busy working with her amazing clients, who has already  done a round of Spring writing conferences, and is already scheduled to go to conferences in August, September,  October and November, why that (insane? masochistic? just plain stupid?) person would decide to create a writing retreat from scratch and host it in July…. Why?!

imgresWell, it’s kind of like this: I’m in the business of making dreams come true. Now stop rolling your eyes. Stop shaking your head. Stop saying, “Well, how come you’re not making my dream come true, wench?!” The funny thing about making dreams come true is that it starts at home. That is to say, every time I make my own dreams come true I get a little bit more sparkly fairy dust to sprinkle around for other people. For years my friend, the extraordinary poet (novelist, yogi, librarian, writing insructor) Stefanie Lipsey, and I had been talking about how awesome it would be to lead a retreat for writers that would encompass some of the cool things from the cool work we’ve done in various aspects of our lives.

yoga_silhouette_vector_collectionOf course that would include yoga. I mean, Stefanie is one of those really bendy, flexible, chillaxed yogini people (well, compared to me, anyway) and I do my little yoga practice once or twice a week. For like the past 15+ years. So yeah, we wanted to include yoga in our writing retreat. But besides the twice daily opportunity to do yoga at the retreat, what’s been really cool is to be building our curriculum, the workshops themselves, the planned interstitial moments, the small touches, all with an eye on yoga. So if one goes with the assumption that yoga is the physical, mental and spiritual practices and disciplines one would engage in to attain peace, for the weekend we’re going to apply that to our writing.

How, you may ask, does this have anything to do with making my or anyone else’s dreams come true? Well, for me I’ll be facilitating and creating a small community of writers for three days, building a separate little world for just a moment where we are all focused on our works in progress. We’ll be conjuring magic and stretching ourselves physically, intellectually and creatively as we put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards). And I fully expect to get as much out of this as I put in, both energetically and creatively (I already am!). So there’s going to be a LOT of sparkly fairy dust flying around!

fairydust800We still have a few spaces left for last minute registrations. If you’re interested, but still have questions or are worried that you’re not “right” for this retreat, just shoot me and Stefanie an email so we can address any of your questions or concerns. And FYI, for local NY folks, there’s now a daytripper rate, which makes this phenomenal weekend more affordable.

 

So I’m off now, to flitter around from sparkly thing to sparkly thing, in between negotiating contracts, reading and editing manuscripts, going through queries, sending and receiving a gazillion emails and phone calls, wheeling and dealing film and television options, and doing a (teeny tiny) bit of my own writing. Oh look! A Butterfly! Chasing a Unicorn! Over a Rainbow!

 

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