Social Sheila Video: What's okay to say to an agent on Twitter?

Sheila Averbuch
Have you ever wanted to chat with an agent or publisher on Twitter, but haven't felt confident enough?

This month, our resident social media expert, Sheila Averbuch, shows you how to communicate with the professionals without breaching etiquette.

You might've heard that one reason writers and illustrators should use Twitter is that agents and publishers are on there.

But what should you say to them?

It's hard to be breezy when you feel like all the power is in the other person's hands. I thought it would be useful to zip through a few of the conversations going on out there, to help you develop a sense of what's considered acceptable conversation with an agent or publisher on Twitter. The three sample conversations I'll take you through in this video fall into the following categories:

Confident approach
Friendly follow-up

Social media is of course no substitute for doing your homework: do figure out which publishers and agents are likely to be interested in your work and genre, information which is readily available in resources like the Children's Writers and Artists Yearbook.

Don't forget to hit the "bull's-eye" icon below to view the video in full screen.

Are there more social media opportunities you'd like to see? Just drop me a line at

 Teddy image by Chris Blakeley on Flickr

Sheila Averbuch lives in East Lothian in Scotland and is currently working on SPACE KIDS AND THE SPY FROM PLANET 12, a sci-fi adventure for 9-11's. She holds an MA in journalism from Stanford University and a BA from Harvard University in American History & Literature. Sheila is managing director of the content services and social media training agency ENNclick and blogs at


  1. I thought Julia had previous said she didn't like people to pitch over twitter? But that might have been when she was at Greenhouse. Certainly some agents say that. She's not going to be rude to people who do, obviously, but all she says here is 'follow the guidelines'. I don't think this guy has done anything to help himself by tweeting her.

    I'd say, interact with agents as you would with other human beings and don't mention your unagented books! Better to have your name slightly recognised if you later pitch to an agent than be recalled as the irritating person who pitched on twitter. But perhaps you have spoken to agents who do like approaches over twitter? Interesting development, if so :-)

  2. Thank You, Sheila.
    A good reminder that Twitter is a conversation:)

  3. Jan -- thanks!

    Stroppy Author – thanks for your feedback and I see what you're saying! But I read Julia's comment in a different way. Her words "when it's ready" rang in my mind and are there to remind anyone that submitting too early is a terrible idea, and that there are full details on their website about how to submit. These are all public conversations of course and by answering one Julia doesn't need to answer another 20 that may be similar Twitter pitches. I have never pitched by twitter, but it is happening and getting a response, and I really don't think it's outrageous of the writer to do it. Anyone else have a view? Let me know!

  4. Very useful, Sheila, thanks. One agent I heard talking recently said it helps a pitch if the author's name is familiar to her from social media conversations.


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