Please see my 2017 post, which is updated for the new forum platform.
Note: I’ve postponed the MMGM I had planned for today due to being lost in the WriteOnCon forums. What’s that, you may ask? Read on.
If you write for kids, teens or new adults, you should attend WriteOnCon tomorrow and Wednesday. It’s a free* online conference featuring vlogs, blogs, live events and more from agents, editors and published authors. 2013 will be my third year attending, and I will be chained to my computer for this year’s event.
The beauty of WriteOnCon is that it’s more than a deluge of information (although that part is great, too). It’s also an opportunity for feedback and maybe even to catch an agent’s interest. If you’re a querying writer, you should participate in the forums. You can post your query, first 250 words and first five pages for critique by other writers and possibly even Ninja Agents. It doesn’t have to be ready to query. If it’s a work-in-progress but you have something you want critiqued, take advantage of the opportunity because this is the greatest concentration of kidlit writers you’ll find at a time. You might even find a new critique partner there. I did last year.
Ninja Agent, you say? Yes, so named because it’s an agent in disguise who sneaks through the forums leaving comments. Their identities are closely guarded, even after the conference is over. The only way you find out who they are is if they send you a private message with a request. I have mixed feelings about this as it would be nice to know who left you the comments if they don’t request, but I can also see the value in the agents maintaining anonymity.
But back to the title of this post, you want to stalk these agents, whether they comment on your query/first 250/first five pages or not. The knowledge you’ll gain from their critiques of others can often be applied to your own materials. And it’s so easy to do.
1. Log in to the forum.
2a. If you’re in the thick of the conference, scroll down to the bottom of the page to see who’s online (Currently Active Users). They appear in alphabetical order, and if there’s a Ninja Agent listed, you can click on their profile.
2b. If there are no Ninja Agents online at the moment, scroll back to the top and click on the Quick Links pull-down menu. Select View Forum Leaders. The list of Ninja Agents is at the bottom.
3. Click on a Ninja Agent to go to their profile.
4. Click on Find All Posts and, voila!, you can see everywhere the agent has commented.
If you want to get even more stalkery, you could keep a Ninja Agent’s profile up on your computer and watch their current activity. Or you can locate someone on Twitter who’s already doing that and giving updates. The last two years, there’s always been someone giving Twitter updates once a Ninja Agent was spotted. The hashtag for the conference is #WriteOnCon.
2014 Update: I’ve discovered there’s also a way to search for all of the Ninja Agent posts without looking through individual Ninja Agents.
- To find all Ninja Agent posts, click on Advanced Search. It’s to the far right under the general search field.
- Select the Search Single Content File tab
- In the User Name field, enter “Ninja Agent”
- In the Search in Forum(s) field, click on Critique Boards–or you can select a more specific one if you only care about, say, YA Query Crit
- In the Find Posts field, select A Week Ago and newer (or change this if you’re looking at this after the conference is over)
- In the Show Results As field, select Posts. If you leave it as Threads, it will take you to the general thread rather than directly to the Ninja Agent’s post.
If you’re already in the forums, come find me! My username is mmason. I’ll be posting my key takeaways from the conference later this week.
*They do ask for donations at the end, but it’s not required.