Yesterday was a #MSWL day on Twitter! Whether you're a seasoned Twitter-user or terrified to even poke your head in, this is an incredibly useful tool for writers who are seeking agents. Here's a quick primer.
#MSWL stands for Manuscript Wishlist. Agent Jessica Sinsheimer conceived this several years ago as a way to connect agents who wanted to see specific things in their inboxes with writers who could provide them.
When an event is scheduled, agents (and sometimes editors, but mostly agents) tweet things they're interested in seeing—say, YA sci-fi with aliens or adult romantic suspense—and because they include the hashtag, it's all collected into an easily searchable list. Writers can get as specific as they want with their searches. Use twitter.com or your favorite third-party Twitter app, like TweetDeck or HootSuite and type "#MSWL" and your keywords into the search.
A few cautions:
-This event has been running since 2013, so be sure to check the dates on any matches you find before you submit your work. Agents usually aren't looking for the same things they were a few years ago.
-Anyone can post on the #MSWL hashtag, so you should always do your research before you send a query and make sure they're someone you'd want to work with.
-Don't ever tweet a pitch for your book using the #MSWL hashtag. It's reserved for agents and other industry professionals, so it's a major faux pas to blunder in as a writer looking for representation. If you need to ask a question to clarify someone's MSWL tweet, that's fine—just do a direct reply and don't use the hashtag, and that way it won't show up in searches.
If you think this #MSWL thing is pretty cool, check out the website! Manuscriptwishlist.com is a huge repository of agent information and should be a writer gearing up to query's first stop.