Blogger: Rachel Kent
When I like what I’m reading in a proposal and manuscript, the next step is to look up the author online. I’ll start with a Google search. On Google, I’m hoping to find out if the author has a platform with the topic he/she is writing about. I should be able to find articles written by the author on the book topic (or similar relevant topics) or news about speaking events, etc. I don’t want to see any arrest history or criminal records. 🙂
I’ll also check out the author’s website to make sure it is professional. I’m looking for a well-put-together site with information that is relevant to readers. I don’t want to find a website that is full of family photos or a blog that is all about what the writer did every day that week. I want to see a professional photo of the author, an author biography, an up-to-date list of upcoming speaking events (if the author is a speaker), and possibly a blog that is centered around the topic of the book’s main topic or that is relevant for the author’s audience. If the author is already published, I like to see a page listing published books with links to different retailers for purchase.
If you write fiction and don’t have a website yet, it doesn’t mean I won’t still consider you for representation, but I really do think it is a good thing for authors to reserve their domain name right away and to put up a nice, professional site even if you don’t have a whole lot to list on it yet.
I also look up a potential client on Facebook and Twitter. I like to get a sense of the person and what they post. I can usually tell if the author is someone I could work well with just by how they handle themselves on social media. I also look at the number of followers an author has on these sites.
If an author has books published, even if they are self-published, I will also go check out the Amazon page for the books. I’ll look at reviews and the sales ranking–though that doesn’t usually mean much.
I know that most agents do online searches when considering a client. Some even do the research before reading a potential client’s proposal. Is your online presence ready for scrutiny? What can you do to improve your online “appearance”?