Agent Visits

Over the last couple of weeks I've had the honor of having three agents visit my blog.

The first agent was Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency. I regularly read her agency blog and occasionally make comments. Last week Wendy blogged a series about the various things that signal the Kiss of Death to an author. I posted an ordinary comment. When I checked back the next day, I noticed she'd written a personal response to my comment. Her last line was: BTW I like your blog.

The second agent to visit my blog last week was Steve Laube of Steve Laube Agency. You may remember I quoted one of his statistics last week. (Click here to read it.) Steve was kind enough to write a comment in response to my post that day. I'm still not exactly sure how he found my blog, but I was excited he took the time to stop by.

The third agent was my new agent, Rachelle Gardner of Word Serve Literary. She honored me by reading through some of my posts, and she even made a comment on the same post as Steve Laube. (I will definitely be blogging about both of their comments next week!)

I learned a few lessons from these visits.

  • Posting comments on agent blogs might be a useful way to help agents get to know who we are. (This is still debatable!)

  • Make sure we guard what we say on our blogs because we never know who's watching! (And always say really wonderful things about agents!)

  • Put an effort into making our blogs more attractive to agents and editors who might pop by for a surprise visit.

It's the last lesson that I'm ruminating on the most. I realized I don't have any way to give an agent or editor more information about my novels or myself as a writer. Of course if I had a website link, then they could click over to find out more about me there.

But even if we do have websites (which I'm planning to start soon), we still might benefit from having sidebar links on our blogs. The guests of honor could quickly and easily read more about our books, publishing history, platform, etc.

What do you think? Should we put links into our sidebars to help promote our writing careers? If so, what kinds of things would be most important to include?

We never know who might stop by our blogs for a visit and we want to make their stay as memorable as possible! (I'm considering having on hand a box of raspberry-filled Ghiradelli dark chocolate squares. *wink*)


  1. I think as much as we can promote our writing careers without being overly obnoxious the better! VERY cool to have agents come and look at your blog! KUDOS because that says you're doing something very, very right (although, so does the fact that you HAVE an agent now, *grin*)

  2. Such simple comments, but yet, when from one who holds such an important position, they're enough to make you giddy! :)

    I definitely think some sidebar information is great. Maybe a little detail about finished (and eventually sold) works, current projects, general details about you as a writer (genre, etc.), or even links to samples? I think anything goes here. Think about how you want to represent yourself, and do it!

    Best, Jody.

  3. That's so cool! I saw Lawton's Kiss of Death series. Very interesting. I agree with all of your points above.
    I've been lazy, but I've been meaning to add links on my sidebar. I'm going to put up excerpts and a video trailer. :-) Someday. LOL
    Congrats on all the visits!

  4. If you install a chocolate code, be prepared for me to move into your blog! :D

    Sent you a detailed message more on this topic on FB. Questions, questions.

    What an honor to have three respected agents visit AND comment on your blog.

    If any of them are reading this right now...feel free to swing on over to mine (okay, partly kidding here...getting carried away).

    Happy Thursday to you, Jody. Daughter #2 graduates preschool today!
    ~ Wendy

  5. How exciting, and a huge compliment as well!

    Yes, you really should put links to your works on a sidebar. I have seen others do this, and think it's a great idea. I read somewhere recently that you shouldn't have more than 10% of a given work up, though.

    I also read that the more bells and whistles you have on your blog (music, graphics, etc) the longer it takes to load, so it discourages people who don't have really fast internet connections.
    I have a great friend with a gorgeous blog but takes forever to load, so I rarely go on it. Sigh!
    I guess the secret word here is balance, as always.

    Jody, don't try to do everything at once, dear! One bite at a time, chew and swallow. We love you and don't want you to choke!

    Blessings, Jen

  6. See what I miss when I have to travel...Congrats!!! I've heard of several agents and editors that frequently follow or look up authors online. One of my crit partners has had the editor she's targeting comment about her blog or FB page. Self-promotion can be very helpful if it's done well.

  7. You're on a roll, girl! LOL!

    And I totally agree, commenting on agents blogs I feel opens a door of communication. And if they happen to visit, I think it's nice to have links that show your personality or what you read or are interested in, too. :)

  8. Kristen: You're doing it right too! We're all on this path together and I really appreciate having great friends like you along side me!

    Janna: Great suggestions. I thought I remembered seeing that you listed your articles on your side bar?

    Jessica: Video trailer sounds fun! Maybe I'll have to figure out how to do one at some point!

    Wendy: I'll catch you over at FB. And how exciting to have a graduation in the family today! Especially preschool! How sweet! :)

    Jeanette: Smiles!! You are so like my mother, and you must realize how huge a compliment that is. Because I adore my mom!! I'll take it slow and I appreciate your very sound advice! You're right on!

    Chelle: I know! I'm still trying to take it all in! That's good to know that others are thinking the same way about self-promotion, done professionally!

    Jennifer: Do you have a link for your book on your blog? I'm curious now to see how others are doing this. I'll have to take a little walk around the blogosphere sometime soon!

  9. I do think a blog is a nice showcase giving a detail about us as writers. In my sidebar, I put links to some work I've had published online, so anyone can click and see the pieces in their online publications. Our blog profiles are a good tool, too, allowing us to expand upon our intent, our credentials, etc.

  10. I have always wondered about this, and I am looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks. When I started my blog it was just to network with other writers.

    I do read and comment on a lot of agents blogs and am so happy that they take the time to give us insights into writing and into the publishing business.

    Thanks Judy for the great post!

  11. Jody, you're only the second person I've heard of that's actually known of agents visiting their blog. So I feel like you're right about keeping a professional looking blog, as well as watching what you're posting (the content as well as the topic).

    I definitely think it would be beneficial to have a sidebar on your blog about your work, about you, about your publication history as it develops. I put information about my completed and contracted novels for readers but I could see how this would be important to agents as well. Beyond that, I think I will wait to include it on a website (with the link DEFINITELY included on my sidebar).

  12. hey jody! congrats on rachelle's representation. :) it would be exciting to have an agent visit my blog. i get all worked up with pubbed authors visiting, so i imagine i'd get very excited to have an agent come. that said...unless they told me or left a comment, i wouldn't know if they visited or not! so you are VERY right in saying we should be careful what we say. i never say anything bad about anyone on a blog. just a rule of thumb.

  13. Jody,
    Congratulations on agent visits!

    Why would you have a website, and how would it be different from your blog? Is that where you would sell your books? WB

  14. Joanne: Great idea to link to the actual articles you've had published. I hadn't thought of that!

    Litgirl: I started blogging the same way. But I think as we get further along the path, start querying, and trying to meet agents/editors, then we have to think of our blog as a marketing tool too.

    Cindy: You bring up a totally new point about links: readers! If we want to build up our reader base, then perhaps we would be wise to link to a chapter for them to read? Not sure. But at the very least a hook to get them interested in what we're writing.

    Jeannie: Welcome back, stranger!! You're right, we never really know who might be lurking about our blogs! I just happened to find out about these visits. But what about all the other ones I don't know about (wishful thinking!). Great rule of thumb!!

    Warren: What a great question! That's one I'm still trying to process through myself! But I think for me, a website would be a place to really showcase my books at some point and to promote myself as an author.

  15. I like to show covers of books I'm in and also I have a list of some of my work posted on my blog. I like to keep it simple and easy to manuever through. How cool they took the time to read and comment!

  16. Good to know Agents are out there perusing blogs. I do thing that, since our blog is our internet presence, we should do what we can to promote ourselves. Go ahead, add links, make a website, give tons of information about you and your book. I don't think it could hurt you.

  17. I read and comment on blogs I find interesting -- writers, agents, editors...whomever. I notice everyone who comments on my blog, as I always try to respond. On occasion, I've been surprised.

    I'm starting to feel "promote, promote, promote" burnout so take my comment in that context. I think the best promotion you can do is to be genuine. Engage with those whom you find interesting. Give them a reason to engage with you by providing interesting content, links, and letting them see the real you.

  18. Congrats. You're obviously doing something write to garner so much attention. They are seeing what we've known all along - you're a resource that we all enjoy reading. Take a bow.

  19. Terri:I've noticed that you do a good job of having links on your blog! I think you're smart to have them in place already!

    quixotic: We never know when someone important might stop by! So I'm aiming to try to get my blog more prepared!

    Patricia: Great point! Genuiness is so key! We don't want to build ourselves up unnaturally or pridefully either.

    Eric: You're too nice! I'm not sure that it's a lot of attention, but I think it shows that any one of us can get a peek from the important people every once in a while! We just have to be ready!

  20. Oh, I have a dumb additional comment, LOL!

    A year ago I commented on a then agents blog (he's not an agent anymore), and who commented after me?

    Michael Hyatt.

    And... HE TYPED MY NAME!


    It included the phrase, "And Krista is right..."

    *gasp* *faint* *peel me off of the ceiling*

    The president of Thomas Nelson... TYPED my NAME! I then, of course, did a follow up blog about how easily we get intimidated by people with big names. It didn't help my inimidation though. LOL.

  21. I can't pronounce that treat you just mentioned, but it sure sounds good.

    Yay for the agent exposure, Jody! You go, girl!

    Perhaps I need to rethink my blog, too. I do have a website with all my writing info, although I need to update it with my newest story that is actually the one I submitted to the Genesis this year. But, then again, maybe I shouldn't update it until after the second-round judging is done.

  22. Your blog is excellent and I am not at all surprised that it is receiving the attention it deserves! Congratulations on all your great news this week! :)

  23. Congrats on the agent visits. That says a lot about you as a writer! Links are good, to be a web designers wife...the more content (in any way shape or form) the better and the more traffic you will get. But do agree that you have to be careful about what you write. Sometimes I'm afraid I'm a little too over the top, but at the same time, I am who I am :D

    Congrats on the wonderful week Jody! You deserve it!!!

  24. Excellent post! Yes, this is one of the reasons I did my Shiny Blog series, to help people understand the importance of looking professional and creating a blog that really is an extension of you are as a writer.

    I think that putting information in our sidebar is really important. I have information about both my novels in the sidebar. I doubt any agents look at my blog, but if they happen to, I'm not ashamed of it in the least. I strive to make it a professional, marketable extension of me and my thoughts and work. :)

  25. I agree that it is very important to be professional on our blogs. There's no telling who may stumble across them. Congrats that you have had agents reading your blog.

  26. Krista: Wow! Michael Hyatt is like celebrity! I'm intimidated too. I know they're just ordinary people, but still. . .

    Eileen: I would definitely update your website and at least include that you are a Genesis finalist! I'm curious if you think having more on your blog would be beneficial since you already have a website.

    Kate: Thanks for your vote of confidence!

    Marybeth: I'm still jealous that you have a husband who can design everything for you! How awesome! And that's so true about bringing in the traffic. I think you do such a good job linking your blog and FB together!

    Lady Glamis: I loved your shiny blog series. And I bet you have more peeks by agents than you think! The thing is, we just don't know! I only happen to know because they left comments!

    Lotusgirl: So true! If we're hoping to advance our writing career, then we want our blogs to reflect that, right?

  27. I'm so in getting to the blogs today. :) Jody, I think you are doing everything right. Your blogs are informative and engaging, attractive, yet simple. A perfect combination!

  28. Congrats on your agent visits, Jody. I had a former one leave a comment on my little known personal blog once and was delighted to see his name. I've had several visit Romance Writers on the Journey and leave comments for my guests, and I get just as excited on the guests' behalf.

    I have a link to my Web site in my blog's side bar. I also include my email address so anyone interested in contacting me has a way to do so without having to leave a comment on a post.

  29. Sherrinda: How's your week been shaping up?! Feel like I've been buried under my MS this week and haven't come up for a breath of air! Hope you're hanging in there too and getting near the end of your book!

    Keli: I think I'm going to put an email link on my blog today! Don't know why I didn't think of that sooner! Thanks for your input!

  30. I've had the worst week, writing-wise. It has been so incredibly busy at work with the end of year stuff that has to be done, not counting all the parents in and out (I do double duty as receptionist!) I am just beat and haven't written anything all week long. I am hoping to get some writing done this weekend. Only 2 graduation parties to go to! lol

    Hope you can come up for air some this weekend! :)


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