Writers & Twitter

Published February 19, 2010 by LS Murphy

Twitter-mania runs amok across the web. In this modern era of social media, many people avoid joining such sites because they are too impersonal or they just don’t have time. But if you are a writer (aspiring or published), it can be a valuable source of information. Below, I’ve listed only a small sampling on what a writer can discover on Twitter.

1) Literary Agents

Not every agent is on Twitter but there are plenty. Some are easily recognizable names, others not so much. The advice they dispense is priceless. Some point out obvious flaws in query letters, and unique approaches. Some answer questions. Some just chat. They link to their own blogs and offer up links to blogs they think are worth reading. Most importantly, you get an idea of who the agent is. Recently, Colleen Lindsay with FinePrint Literary Management, started the hashtag for Agents Day (#agentsday).  It allowed followers an opportunity to see what a day in the life of a literary agent is all about. For some of  us, it was an intriguing look at how this process of publishing works.

2) Publishers

Publishers also tweet. Some just announce new books, others will chat. David Rozansky of Flying Pen Press hosts a science fiction chat on Fridays (#scifichat). He offers advice, discusses trends, and comments on ideas. Even if you don’t read scifi or fantasy, the chat is a chance to talk with someone in the business. Mr. Rozansky also answer questions as much as he can. 

(There are several other writing chats as well. A list can be found on Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s blog here: http://www.inkygirl.com/twitter-chats-for-writers/)

3) Other writers

This seems obvious but you can discover a support group of other writers on Twitter. Can you just do that in chat rooms or sites devoted to writing like www.webook.com. Absolutely. But you won’t necessarily find people that you can talk about cats, kids, or,  in my case, baseball as well as writing.

Well established writers like Maureen Johnson, Neil Gaiman, Laurie Halse Anderson, Libba Bray all tweet. A day in their life is fascinating. And sometimes their tweets are just fun. Maureen Johnson answers four questions daily. Neil Gaiman recently shared a picture of a marquee where he was speaking. The sign said sold out. Libba Bray celebrated her Printz award. 

Twitter may just be a fad, like MySpace and Facebook. Regardless, writers should take advantage of it. Even if you never send a tweet, get an account and follow people in the publishing industry. You may learn something new. I know I have.


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