Why writers should use Twitter
June 8, 2009
At a recent meeting with my critique group, I found myself explaining the merits of Twitter for writers.
This was surprising since I was dead-set against Twittering just six months ago. I didn’t want another distraction in my life, and I didn’t understand why I needed Twitter when I already used Facebook.
But Twitter is far more useful than Facebook for sucking up information and promoting myself, especially now that I’m working at home, alone. Twitter has become my virtual water cooler, helping me stay in the writing loop and find inspiration.
How have I used Twitter as a writer?
- News & Blogs: Since I follow writers, agents and publishers, industry news shows up in my feed, as well as links to blogs on writing. It’s like getting a glimpse of other writers’ RSS feeds.
- Inspiration: I converse with writers who are working on projects similar to mine. We tweet about challenges and share personal progress, which makes me feel less alone in this endeavor. I’ve also met at least one writer who has offered to read my manuscript when it’s complete.
- Ideas: On Sundays from 3 – 6 p.m. EST, I usually stop by #writechat, a weekly live conversation on writing. Not only is it a great place to connect with other writers, I’ve also picked up some great ideas there, including using a dry-erase board for story planning and going to Review Fuse for feedback.
- Events: I may have been the only aspiring author who wasn’t at BookExpo America last week (or did it just feel like that?), but I followed the publishing event through its Twitter hashtag, #BEA09. I can spout off panels from the event, happy hours, book giveaways — If I didn’t already tell you I wasn’t there, I could have tricked you into thinking otherwise.
- Exposure: Even when I tweet about topics other than myself, my profile drives traffic to this blog and my Web site.
- Jobs: Initially I scoffed at Twitterers who claimed they’d landed freelance jobs through the social-media network — but not anymore. I’m now one of them.
So the question is: Are authors who Twitter any fitter? I’d say so. What about you?
If you’re looking for book industry folks to follow, check out editor Jennifer Tribe‘s lists of book trade people on Twitter and authors on Twitter. They’re the best round-ups I’ve seen.
Freelance writer Maria Schneider also has a great list of Twitterers who writers should follow. And Mashable blogged recently about 100+ of the best authors on Twitter.
Who do I follow? A few of my favorites:
@GirlsSentAway (freelance writer)
@mariaschneider (freelance writer)
@smtwngrl (freelance writer)
Please find me in the Twittersphere, too: @alexisgrant.
Now I’d like to hear from you: Writers, how do you use Twitter?