Twitter: a Tool for Writers

Yes, you read that right. I suppose I should amend it to say, “Twitter: a Tool for Building Community and Learning About the Publishing Industry.” Kinda long, though. If you use Twitter right, it can help you in your writing career. Yes, that Twitter. The one that people in, um … prominent positions can’t seem to stop using to start feuds and insult everyone.

Like all social media, proceed with caution. You’ll read things that make you eye-roll, things that rile you up and discourage you. BUT, Twitter is also where writing groups connect, and literary agents are often quite active on the platform. More than any other social media platform, I’d say.

You can find writing tips, see industry news about who signed with which publisher or agent, get a feel for what’s popular in your genre … it’s a powerful tool, if you use it right! The key is finding both people and hashtags to follow. Personally, I love #FolkloreThursday. So many creepy and/or fascinating little mini-stories flow through my feed with that one! There’s also #amwriting, #amreading … you get it. Oh, yeah, that’s a great segue way to …

Pitching your project on Twitter! There are various agent-run Twitter parties throughout the year, where you can pitch your work (within, like 280 characters!) or read a mad flurry of manuscript wish lists from agents who might be a good fit for you and your work.

Big-ass Tip:

SEEK OUT, READ AND FOLLOW THE RULES for each Twitter party! They’re all different! Some specify you should pitch right there and then, others that you should only like the tweet and then use it as a reference for who to query later on, off Twitter. If you get excited and nervous-tweet, and don’t follow the rules, you’re ruining it for everyone, Karen. (Sorry if you’re really Karen. Fun fact: my “Karen” in college was Billy. Billy was always responsible for the coffee cup literally falling apart, spilling coffee all in my lap, or for my car breaking down, or for me tripping up the stairs, dumping my coffee all over myself … maybe I should have switched to tea. So I cursed “Billy” a lot.)

Ahem. Aaanyway … here’s a great article on how the whole pitching-on-Twitter thing runs. It’s a few years old, but some good tips, still!

Another Big-ass Tip:

Don’t get sucked in! Spend 15 minutes on Twitter, make a comment and a like, post something interesting and then get out. And then write. Because, unless you’re some kind of experimental art genius, you can’t write your book on Twitter.

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