Writing Discussion

Twitter For Writers Part 1 – Why Tweet?

I’m no master of social media, but through trial and error, I’ve learned a few things about how Twitter can be useful as a writer. Not sure you’re making the most of twitter? Not sure if you want to join in? I hope this can help you make a little sense of it.

Why Should Writer’s Tweet?

  • You can stay informed about whats current in the publishing industry. I use Twitter to keep my ears to the ground. I follow publishers, agents, magazines, book bloggers, established writers, newbie writers, independent writers etc. They’re constantly posting links to publishing news, the latest controversies, submission cutoffs deadlines, etc. If you write in genre, the professional community isn’t as large as you might think.
  • You can talk to agents, editors, authors, aspiring writers, book bloggers etc. In addition to sending off a random question, there are sometimes prearranged chats on Twitter. I stumbled across a great one a while back where editors from several magazines answered questions about submissions, and what they were looking for.
  • You can make connections. There are twitter communities like #FridayFlash, and #TuesdaySerial that welcome participation, and are open to everyone. Members in these communities promote each other, and it’s easy to find other writers this way. #amwriting is a less formal community (another good one if you want to find other writers). I know I’ve found some of YOU this way 🙂
  • You can use it like a personal link referrer. Without fail, whenever I log onto Twitter, someone has posted a link to a writing tip, a new blog post, encouraging words for writers, cool science facts, or a new story. Sometimes there are solicitations for job applicants, internships, or blog participants. I use it a lot like my feed reader. Of course, it depends who you follow on Twitter.
  • You can work on your author platform. I think this is the last reason to tweet (or blog), but like blogging, it takes a while to get a hang of, so why not try it out now?

The Downside

  • Shameless self-promoters, that bombard you with marketing. Depending on the context, sometimes it’s fine, but other times it’s annoying.
  • People that only want to ‘friend you’ because they’re playing the numbers game (more followers = more popular).
  • There’s so much to read it can get overwhelming trying to keep up.
  • Some of it’s useless or boring. Some days mundane chats between other people you don’t know is amusing, some days it’s not.
  • Twitter can eat your life!!!! It can be a huge time suck. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Do you tweet? Why do you do it?

Part 2 – Twitter Tips and Etiquette

17 Comments to “Twitter For Writers Part 1 – Why Tweet?”

  1. Of course I Twitter and I may be one of those that annoy you with mundane chats, although I do try to keep discussions to writing and literature in general. I think I found you on Twitter, hazy memory. I’m a huge Twitter supporter, because it’s instant gratification if you post a snippet of your wip or seek an answer to a specific question. There is much fun in socializing and the people you meet definitely can contribute to your knowledge of the industry.

    1. Yes I did find you on twitter! Pretty sure I was tracking down book bloggers at the time and ran across you there. Of course, you never bore me. I know you, so the idle chit chat has context hehe.

  2. I tweet, but I’m not huge into it. I use it mostly to keep informed, as you said. I also don’t auto-follow people who follow me — sorry, I just don’t have the time to wade through what everyone is saying! But if you’re consistently funny/interesting/helpful, I’ll find you.

    1. It’s the same with me. I don’t auto-follow everyone that follows me. I think I have a good balance of variety at present. Sometimes I look at those people following thousands and wonder how in the world they keep up.

      With a couple of friends, DM’s have started to replace email. I know they’re logged in, so my messages get a faster reply than email.

  3. Well, with some of your downsides: twitter is a one-way street, if you choose for it to be so; i.e. you don’t have to follow anyone.

    That said, I should probably pare down my follows to keep the twitter feed less cluttered. On the other hand, I only log in a few times a week, so it’s not like that would keep me current on those I do follow. But at least you can cut out the shameless self-promoters if they do annoy you.

    I do use twitter… mostly I just tweet headlines from my blog posts. Sometimes I tweet or retweet something of interest. Lately, this latter category has consisted mostly of political stuff. (I need to swear off politics, but I can’t. It’s like a drug.) I remain hopeful that this will not come back to bight me in the butt. And I do occassionally use it to connect with others in the community. Mostly I follow a collection of writers and editors and whatnots, professionals and published and some handful of like-minded aspiring authors, especially those in the F&SF genres.

    1. Yes, is good for things like sending out your blog post links too. It’s another way of finding readers that haven’t seen your website yet.

      Just thinking, if you use it as a one way street (and some do), that’s like subtracting the social from the social media. I think it loses some of its effectiveness.

  4. I do tweet, but I’m not an extensive user of twitter, mostly because it is at the bottom of my priority list and I’m fairly good at attacking my priorities in order and have way too many things to do. I like the getting to know people aspect of twitter, but am more of a wallflower and meet a couple of people that I chat with. (I’ve also found that I mostly know people in the US & Europe and since I rarely look at twitter until my evening I find it quieter at this time… but it means I miss the connections).

      1. I’m the other way around. I’ll only look at twitter before I go home in the evening (and even then only sporadically). I do have a private friends list on twitter, so I can just check in to see the last updates by pals I don’t want to miss when I do have a chance.

      2. I shouldn’t imply that I actually check Twitter more than in the evening either… and not every day at that… just more often than Facebook 🙂 However, my sporadically might be more often than yours 😉

  5. Thank you for the tips, I didn’t know they were so many upsides. Do you recommend people to follow like publishers, etc that you mentioned. Those you highly highly recommend and have found useful?

  6. I’ve shied away from twitter. I am generally slow to throw myself into the social media game…hey, I don’t even have a facebook. But the reason I would have either a Twitter or FB would be the last reason you established…a writer platform. That way, when you query an agency/publishing house, they can google you and say, “Hey, this person actually exists…and people listen to what (s)he says!”

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      I think in that case keeping up with the blog is enough. You’ve got your website setup with a custom domain, and you have your blog updated every once in a while 🙂 You’re google-able!

      1. Hmm…you’re right, I am googleable! I’m #1 for “jp cabit” and “joseph cabit,” now I’m just holding on to the day when that google auto-suggestion will fill in the rest of my name for me! That will be the next milestone. 🙂

  7. A fair summary of Twitter – a medium that I have mixed feelings about. On one hand it a great source of information, I’ve found lot more advice and kindred writers through Twitter than any of the “haven for writers” forums. Twitter is hard work though, it’s almost like an MMO where you have to keep churning away at it otherwise you fall to the wayside. And yes, often you do feel like you’re just shouting into empty space.

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      It does feel like that whenever I have something to promote. Tweets get buried so quickly. On the other hand, I’ve found my follower number mysteriously multiplies whenever I’m away from Twitter for a length of time. LOL Maybe my actual tweeting puts off people – or at least the bots.

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