LiLa: Hey Mom, I just found this adorable sweater at J.Crew. It's on sale and it's got these adorable ruffles.
LiLa: I'm thinking of buying one to wear with that navy dress.
Regulator: Do you mean the merino ethereal ruffle cardigan? I hope not because it's ridiculous to spend $88 on a sweater, not to mention the fact that those ruffles would probably add 10 pounds. But if you insist on making the purchase, at least go with the ruffle pink. By the way, did you see that Southwest is having a sale on flights to Vegas?
But here's the thing, cyberstalking is actually a really useful skill for an aspiring writer. It pays to know all about the agents and editors who are going to be reading and potentially acquiring your work. So, for those of you who weren't blessed with a hacker for a mother, here are some tips:
1. Get creative with Google
OK, anyone can just google an agent or editor's name and come up with some relevant hits, but you'll find some more obscure and potentially more interesting information by doing a google blog search as well. Also try googling the person's name with NYC attached (or whatever their location might be), this may pull up Twitter accounts that have been set up under aliases. Or google just their first name and the agency/publisher name. Don't be afraid to try random combinations and check out this amazing two-part post on the QueryTracker blog for great tips on how to be google ninja.
2. Use writer's forums to your advantage
Writers are a catty, gossipy bunch and there are a number of websites like QueryTracker.net, Absolute Write and VerlaKay with message boards that can give you the low down on agents, editors, response times and success stories. Most of these boards have search functionalities embedded within them so you can easily find information on your victim. Also, make sure you check out all the comments writer's have left under specific agents on QueryTracker.net. Lots of interesting tidbits of information there.
3. Play the Kevin Bacon game
You know, that game where everyone in the world is like 7 people away from knowing Kevin Bacon? Same goes for publishing professionals. If you know of one editor/agent who's on Twitter, check out the people who they're following. Guarantee you'll find other editors, agents and writers that they like and respect. Likewise for Blogger profiles and Facebook.
4. Put yourself out there
Don't be afraid to participate and network a little. Granted, there are some lines you shouldn't cross (many agents/editors reserve Facebook for personal, not professional use), but following an agent or editor via Twitter is typically a great way to learn more about them and potentially even interact. Weekly events like #kidlitchat at 9PM EST every Tuesday on Twitter and AgentQuery/VerlaKay chats are a great way to not only learn more about publishing and that dream agent/editor you're currently stalking, but also to meet and interact with other writers.
OK, so that's cyberstalking 101. Happy stalking...er...researching and feel free to leave your own tips and tricks in the comments.