Your A-Z Guide to Twitter-Stalking Literary Agents

Your A-Z Guide to Twitter-Stalking Literary Agents

If you’re writing a book – or fantasizing about writing a book – you probably know how important it is to secure a literary agent. Representing both fiction and non-fiction authors, literary agents are essential to the traditional publishing process. From editing manuscripts to assisting in negotiations with publishers, literary agents are the superheroes of the publishing industry. And that’s a fact.

But how do you find the right literary agent for your book? While the querying process can often seem overwhelming, the first step is very simple. Research, research, research!

And yes, I’m obviously talking about stalking them on Twitter.

Luckily, literary agents tend to be pretty active on social media and often share helpful publishing hints. That said, industry lingo can sometimes seem like a foreign language – especially when everything is shortened to fit into 280 characters.

To help you along with your research journey, we’ve stalked several literary agents on Twitter and decoded their lingo, hashtags and acronyms. Happy stalking!


An acronym meaning “Advanced Reader Copy,” which is a copy of a book given to certain people who are permitted to read it before its publication date.


Anyone who reads your finished manuscript and gives you feedback before you set it loose on the world – aka before send it to a literary agent. Beta readers can also be known as critique partners.


Industry slang for comparison titles. When querying a literary agent, most recommend that you include comparison titles for books that are similar to yours in content or audience. On Twitter, comps are typically capitalized and look like: BOOK x BOOK 


An acronym meaning “Did Not Finish.” Obviously not a great sign when a literary agent uses this one in a Tweet…


This means you’re giving a literary agent the right to read your book before any other agents see it. In other words, an exclusive is a right of first refusal.


A person hired to write something credited to someone else. You’ll typically see literary agents on Twitter discouraging authors from hiring a ghostwriting service to write query letters. 


Here’s a hashtag we recommend you follow right away. #MSWL means manuscript wish list and literary agents will share exactly the type of book they’re looking to sign using this hashtag. If your book fits the description, guess who just found the perfect literary agent?


This acronym stands for “National Novel Writing Month,” which is November by the way. That said, NaNoWriMo represents a larger online community and frequently shares opportunities to connect with other writers.


This hashtag refers to an “own voices” book, which means the author shares a diverse, minority or marginalized trait with their protagonist.


A pitch party on Twitter where writers tweet a pitch for their completed manuscript and literary agents make requests by liking or favoriting the tweeted pitch.


This is what literary agents often call the pile of unsolicited manuscripts that they still need to read through. Making it “out of the slush” is a good thing! 


An acronym meaning “Work in Progress.” A literary agent might tweet “what’s your latest WIP?” and authors will respond with a description of what they’re working on.


You’ll see a lot of people include #YA in a tweet, which means they’re writing about or representing young adult fiction. #MG and #NA are also popular hashtags meaning middle grade and new adult, respectively.

Written by Kate Stuard

Kate is a communications professional with experience in content marketing and media relations. She lives in Indianapolis and is currently working on her first novel.

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