Why I Love Twitter as a Writer

o-TWITTER-facebookI know several people who don’t get Twitter. They don’t see the point. Personally Twitter is my favorite social media. It wasn’t always like that, when I started out I thought it was pointless, just a way for people to stalk celebrities. But I changed my mind.

So what’s so great about Twitter? Well, it’s all about breaking down wall. And for that reason it’s utterly amazing! For the first time fans have easy access to their favorite writer, musician, or artist.  They can interact with each other creating a richer experience for both parties. Twitter lets us to connect with people from all over the world, allowing us to form communities of diverse likeminded people.

As a writer I love being able to follow my favorite authors and interact with them, but I also love being able to get to know Indie writers, and people starting out. I’ve made friends from all over the world and found wonderful sources of information.

But you have to know how to use Twitter to get a good experience out of it. When I started out I would follow anyone who had similar interests and automatically follow back anyone who followed me. The problem was I started clogging up my feed with mega accounts who posted hundreds of advertisements for their books or whatever else they were trying to push. It was annoying.

Over time I became more selective about who I followed and I started unfollowing anyone who only posted ads. For me as a writer, one of my main goals is to build a future readership. So when I publish my first book I’ll have a group of people, already following me, who will be interested. But I also want to make friends, have connections, gain contacts, and just interact with real people around the world.

As a rule of thumb I usually follow people who have anywhere from a few hundred to ten thousands followers, anymore than that and it’s less likely we’ll ever interact on Twitter. That said I will follow Tweeters with lots of followers if they have good content or I’m a fan of their work in someway.

When people follow me I try to tweet them back thanking them for following, but not one of those default tweets that sounds like I’m a soulless robot. I try to look at their profile and find something that I can comment on to make it more personal. To show that I’m not a computer, or a person who only cares about the numbers and not the people.

My goal isn’t to have a bazillion followers, it’s to build community and connect with my followers.

But even if you are somewhat selective you do want to follow people so they’ll hopefully follow you back and their friends will then follow you and you’ll become super popular and your first book will sell a million copies (ideally). The point is, if your a writer or any kind of artist is to have an audience. As such even with quality people on your feed it’s going to get crowded and confusing. That’s where lists come in. Lists are a life saver. I have lists for writers I follow, musicians, artists, as well as lists for people I’ve gotten know, who I don’t want to get lost in the sea of random followers. I’m not going to say a lot about lists because I just started utilizing them myself, but they’re very helpful–USE THEM!

Speaking of utilizing, don’t be afraid to ask questions on Twitter, sometimes it really pays off. Recently I was working on creating a setting for the novel I’m writing, and I asked if anyone had any good ideas for making certain the setting was geographically believable. I got some good responses. Don’t be afraid to throw things out there, sometimes it passes soundlessly into the void, but sometimes the void speaks back (not being overly dramatic at all.)

So that’s my advise for Twitter, basically instead of shouting at people like a Newsie on the sidewalk, hoping someone will stop, try having conversations with people. They’re far more receptive toward you and your art if you’re not flinging it at them.

If you have anything to add feel free to leave a comment, I’d love to hear about other people’s thoughts and strategies.

~~Lady of the Pen~~

5 thoughts on “Why I Love Twitter as a Writer

  1. I need to use Twitter’s List options more frequently. Sometimes it’s difficult to follow the regular Home feed, and my inner organizer starts craving… well, more organizing. *lol* So at some point, I need to take the time to make that effort.

    But yes, Twitter. It’s my favorite social media tool at the moment. It used to be Facebook, but that’s gotten so bogged down and time-consuming. Twitter doesn’t require as much time per sitting, and has been much more effective in terms of connecting with other writers, discovering new writers / books / blogs, and spreading the word about my own work.

    And I second you on the asking questions bit! It’s helpful for random questions to help you make certain details in your story more realistic, and also it’s fun to ask fellow writers once in a while, “Hey, what’s your favorite element of novel-writing?” or “What’s the last thing your protagonist did in your WIP?” Now that I think about it, I haven’t done the fun question bit in a while…

    Anyways, great post, Sarah! 🙂

    1. Haha yeah, Facebook is fine for keeping in touch with people, but if you want to build a following Twitter is the way to do it.
      I should ask more questions, or use the poll feature more, it’s fun to get people’s input.
      I’m glad you liked the post!

      1. Yeah, keeping touch with people is all I use Facebook for at the moment. Maybe I’ll go back to it once I’m preparing to publishing something, but it’s not high on my list of priorities right now.

        The only “hiccup” I have with Twitter sometimes is kind of a weird one. But sometimes I log on, and I have no idea what to say when I’m there. :S I think part of it is because I’m not very spontaneous. I’m better at it now than I was when I first joined Twitter 2 years ago… But sometimes my brain just… goes “empty” on me. *blushes* If that makes any sense…?

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