Even when you've only just started to write, keeping an eye on literary agents' communications are a great idea.
While writers in New Zealand often go straight to the publisher with their manuscript, in many other countries literary agents provide the expertise, manpower and contacts a writer might not be able to cultivate for themselves.
Literary Agent Blogs can be a great source of information about the way the publishing process works, here and overseas. With the recession and the increasing debate about e-books (their price, their distribution...) publishers are evolving to keep pace with enormous change and we need to keep watch.
At the very least, the blogs will give you a zillion publishing industry website links to follow and peruse at your own convenience.
By far my favourite literary agent blog is one written by Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown New York.
His writing is current, hilarious, snappy and informative.
He give hints about novel writing, query writing and even offers query and chapter critiques.
He is also a new novelist, having written what sounds like an excellent children's story - JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW. It will be published soon.
An excerpt from his latest blog entry:
Thankfully, trained publishing professionals saved me from one of the deadliest foes of the writer: the first idea.
First ideas are much like first loves. You fall so hard for someone, they are your everything, you love them to the point of rendering you completely bonkers. Then there's a calamitous breakup, and you think the world is quite possibly going to explode. Then some time passes and you realize that person was perhaps quite nice but you know what they kind of smelled funny and maybe I should have wondered about that throwing star collection before I found one stuck ominously in the dashboard of my car.
Um. Where was I? Oh yes. First ideas.