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Saturday, January 28, 2017

#MSWL: The Hashtag that Can Help You Sell Your Work

#MSWL stands for “Manuscript Wish List” and it is a hashtag that agents and editors use when they are looking for manuscripts. It is the Twitter version of the website Manuscript Wish List. Editors and agents post their profiles and their manuscripts wants on this site so that writers can research the best recipients for their work.

Visit the site and you can look up the profile of the agent who is going to be speaking at an upcoming writer’s conference. Or maybe it is an agent you just saw featured in an article or mentioned in an author’s dedication. Regardless, visit the site and check the profile for Jim McCarthy to learn that he wants fantasy, science fiction, and memoir as well as “fantasy or sci-fi in non-Western settings.” Agents and editors both use these profiles to indicate what general areas they want (fantasy and science fiction) as well as specifics (non-western settings). Favorite books and movies also give you some clue as to their general taste and since they write the profiles themselves you get a feel for personality as well.

If you have a specific kind of manuscript, say a science picture book, you can go to the genre/name search tab, select, “agent,” “picture book” and “science” and come up with eight possible agents to research. You can also use this tab to look an agent or editor up by name.

In truth, I use the site more often than I look up the hashtag on Twitter although that too is a great way to gather names for my agent wish list. Just sign into Twitter and search “#MSWL.” Unfortunately, you are going to have to scan past writers looking for agents and editors. What can I say? Some people are just super special like that.

But there will also be a host of posts from agents and editors. Some will be very specific like this from a Harlequin editor.

Agents mention favorite tv shows and movies. They post news stories and photographs. Anything that makes them sit up and take notice is liable to be posted.

Other times they use the hashtag to put out a general call or just to remind people that they are currently reading slush. Some of these posts get specific, but others like this one from agent Jaida Temperly simply direct you to their profile.

Some days you’ll find a lot of new tweets. Other days, not so many. The best days are official #MSWL days which always have something of a Sotheby’s feel. Call after call comes in and you know that writers with the right manuscripts are getting their work ready to go.

The next Manuscript Wish List Day is February 8th so you have just over a week to polish your work. When the big day comes, sign in to Twitter. Maybe you’ll find the perfect agent for your romantic nonwestern fantasy!


To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.
Sue is also the instructor for Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults which starts again 2/6/2017.


  1. Sue--Thanks for this. I signed up on twitter years and years ago. Hopefully I can remember everything I need in order to check that out on February 8.

  2. Sioux,
    I signed up over the summer so that I could check #MSWL. Now, if only an agent would say YES.

  3. This is a great post, Sue. Thanks for the reminder!! :)

  4. I've visited the website, but didn't know about the hashtag. Thanks, Sue!

  5. Great info! Thanks for sharing! @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles

  6. Thanks for the tip! I really appreciate writers who help other writers get their work out in the world. Win-win!


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