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Twitter: Timesuck or necessary platform-building tool?
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Monday, February 28, 2011 4:58 AM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 356

Pretty much everyone knows how much I love using Twitter to engage with writers, agents, editors and other book industry professionals. But I'm curious to see how you aspiring writers use Twitter, what you like, what you dislike and how you use it to help move your craft - and your career - forward!

Care to share?



Suzan Isik
Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 2:07 AM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 13

Twitter is mainly how I keep up with blog posts and such now. I have Google reader, but I never have time to check it. However, when someone passes along a great link, I just can't help but click it. I also follow a lot of industry professionals on there, and the agent list I'm constructing for when I'm ready to query has nearly doubled, because either they tweet links from their blogs on writing and publishing, or they offer personal advice, like the #askagent or #pubchat or whatever. I'll li
Tim Johnson
Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 3:59 AM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 15

Can't comment, too busy checking tweets.
Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011 10:02 PM
Joined: 3/10/2011
Posts: 12

I think Twitter's a useful (also addictive) tool to help other writers connect, and to help spread word about upcoming books or anything important in the writing industry. I've found and been connected to a lot of great writers and beta readers via Twitter, and being here as a beta for Book Country wouldn't have happened unless I'd seen your tweet, Colleen!

TIm Johnson's comment made my day.

Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2011 2:25 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 157

I use twitter to network with and keep in touch with other writers and even friends in the area. I've found submission calls and other leads through twitter since romance publishers sometimes will tweet those.

I slso participate in #sixsunday with a growing group of writers. We post excerpts from our work (published or unpubbed) but only 6 sentences on our blogs and then blog hop. It's a great way to network and even boost some book sales. (There are a lot of romance and erotic romance authors involved.)

I think for twitter to really help, you have to become involved. Chat back. Retweet. Make friends.
Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2011 7:00 PM
Joined: 3/10/2011
Posts: 21

Originally I started using Twitter to keep up to date with friends online, but since then, I've phased out most of them and added more writery people; Authors, editors, agents.

I love how Twitter has allowed me to see editors and agents as real. When I get ready to submit (ideally that will be soon) I am less worried that the people reading my work are just robots with no humanity.
CY Reid
Posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 11:33 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 52

I'm like the rest - avoiding it for ages, then realising it might actually do me a lot of favours. Now I'm very into it. For those who are doubtful of its potential, I shall point you towards one Adam Christopher, who actually caught the attention of the publisher who offered him a book deal as a result of him defending them via and having a considerable presence on Twitter. I found it pretty inspiring, if anything.
CY Reid
Posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 11:34 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 52

Defending = befriending. Autocorrect fail.
Tara Kollas
Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 1:45 AM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 19

I've only started to follow twitter recently. In part, because a blogger mentioned how awesome Colleen's twitter feed was. Which is how I got here. The more I do it, the more addictive it becomes, I have to admit.
Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 10:34 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 227

I was anti-Twitter for months and months. I still am, for personal use--I don't see the need to have a personal account to keep up with friends. Professionally, however, I have found it to be the best platform to get advice from agents, authors, editors, and writer chats. It's invaluable--and how I learned about this place!

I think the key to my addiction is third-party platforms like HootSuite and Tweetdeck. They helped me organize Twitter so I could use it to my advantage. I'm sure there are still tricks to it that would help me streamline my experience.
Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011 10:22 AM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 15

I have an account, but I guess I just don't understand how twitter works- How do you follow a conversation or even join in? Yes I realize how that question makes me sound but I want to play but there are no instructions and I I just don't get it-
I mean I tweet no one answers and it feels wierd to jump in on a conversation with peeps I don't know-

Someone explain for the un-cool kid please-
Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011 3:11 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 227

Shea, one way I have conversations is to do a search for a hashtag (#writersroad, for example). If people use the hashtag--and there are TONS--then you can have a huge chat going. #Writersroad (formerly #scribechat) is a weekly chat for writers on Thursday nights, 9 PM EST, that I participate in fairly regularly. There are so many others.

Here's a site that lists them by day/time - http://inkygirl.com/weekview/

And another one that includes general hashtags you can use to connect with other writers, but it's not a scheduled chat - http://kevinhatch.com/2010/07/twitter-chats-for-writers/

Finally, there's #askagent #askeditor or any "trending" topic. All you have to do is include the hashtag somewhere in your tweet and you'll be chatting like a pro!

Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011 10:02 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 24

When it comes to Twitter, I'm a little naive. I mean, I usually just respond to other people.
Or, most recently, if I read something funny or inspirational or infuriating (after I respond with my two cents) I use that energy and write a bit. A blog, a page in a project...whatever it is, I write.

I suppose I would say Twitter acts as a form of inspiration for me. A catalyst for motion in my writing.


Posted: Saturday, March 19, 2011 10:44 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 7

I was a Twitter holdout until I figured out how to use it to my advantage. My Twitter account is for keeping up with industry folk, fellow writers, and interesting people from varying walks of life. Facebook is for friends and feels a bit more personal, so that's where I connect with my college buddies and family members and whatnot.

My main issue with Twitter is my own personal OCD--I find myself reading the stream so. far. back. that I need to learn to breathe and be in the moment.

I'm using Twitter's client and haven't played much with lists, etc. What makes you pull the lever for TweetDeck, etc.? Is it worth it, or has Twitter's merge with Tweetie enough to manage?
Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 7:36 AM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 216


I also follow NASA astronauts, scientists and science writers. Astronomy was my intended major, and I secretly never outgrew that "Wanna grow up and be an astronaut" phase.

Everyone I follow on Twitter is far more clever than me (Colleen's tweets have me howling with laughter almost every day). Otherwise, none of my friends or family members use Twitter (most don't even have Facebook accounts). I don't "tweet" often, simply because I rarely have anything worth mentioning. I can't talk about work. That wouldn't be cool. So ... I follow for the most part.

Twitter's a nice, mindless escape when I need to take a break during the day. The blogs that folks in the publishing industry post are invaluable!
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:07 AM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 216

P.S. Another reason to avoid Twitter: dudes seem to think it's some ginormous virtual pick-up bar. Seriously? Trying to score on Twitter? With 140 characters? Impressive? Not! Isn't working.

Not to mention having to explain *this

"We met on Twitter."

Alexander Hollins
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 6:26 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 416

Well, I found out about the sekritproject on twitter, so, WIN.
Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 4:54 AM
Joined: 3/4/2011
Posts: 16

The amount of industry information you can gain from following professionals on Twitter makes it invaluable.

Being able to find and interact with peers through hashtag chats has pretty much quadrupled my social circle, which is a good thing for an introvert like me who rarely gets out of the house.

It's the fastest, most efficient way to do research, identify scams, pass on breaking news, and make people aware of fundraising campaigns.

Oh, and it's the best line editing tool I've ever used. Having to fit something into 140 characters shows you EXACTLY what words your sentence doesn't need!
Annabelle R Charbit
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 3:25 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 55

I have not yet figured out how to enjoy the Twitter experience.

Noelle and Audrey, what are hashtag chats? I'll certainly give it a try. Thanks for telling us about it.

Mimiwells, I laughed about your issue with Twitter being your own personal OCD. Being OCD myself, perhaps it's for the best that I haven't yet figured out Twitter

Alexander, what is the sekritproject? I just googled it, but many different things came up.

Monday and CY, i am inspired. Will log on and explore...

Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 9:31 PM
Joined: 4/3/2011
Posts: 21

Annabelle -

"The Sekrit Project" is what Book Country was called before it became public. When Colleen was first rounding up beta users, she asked people who would be interested in a sekrit project to let her know.

Hashtags on twitter are words that begin with # - beginning a word with that makes it a searchable keyword, so that if you click on it, you will effectively search for any and all tweets with that hashtag in them.

Frequently, there are "chats" where people who are discussing a certain subject mark all their tweets with a certain hashtag. So, for example, today there was a #bookcountry chat on twitter.

Generally, I follow such chats using the website http://www.tweetchat.com because I like them to be on a completely separate page from my regular twitter stream. But some people find it easier to use a "column" in a program like tweetdeck or seesmic.

Hope that's of some help!
Annabelle R Charbit
Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 12:49 AM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 55

Wow Twitter has more to it than i ever though!! Thanks Laura. And thanks everyone else. Thanks to this discussion i have expanded my knowledge of Twitter and its purpose in life. Plus you've all saved me $14.80 on Twitter for Dummies
Rik Roots
Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 10:28 AM
Joined: 5/2/2011
Posts: 14

I'm sorry, but I hate twitter. I don't have the mental capacity to deal with so many people shouting phrases and cyphers at me all at the same time. I much prefer to follow blogs (like tor.com or 3quarksdaily) where people talk sensibly, in sentences.
Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 2:17 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 51

Twitter has become sort of my catch-all marketing avenue. I have a lot of followers from my professional writing (blogging and writing about web design and development), but I also have a lot of other fiction writers I keep up with there. I tweet about a little of everything: articles I've written, articles I read and find useful, the funny thing my cat just did, etc. I've developed some great relationships on Twitter, and some of those have even moved over to Facebook. I follow some celebrities, both writers and non-writers. I follow a few industry peeps, though not as many as some, mostly because I'm just not that interested in a mainstream publishing deal anymore.

One thing I love about Twitter is the ability to get answers to just about any question. It's better than Google in a lot of ways.

And there's nothing better than getting a reply from your favorite author (Neil Gaiman—he's responded to me twice).
Annabelle R Charbit
Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 3:27 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 55

Dear Cameron
How do you get a reply from someone? Did you send him a direct message or did he just stumble upon and respond to one of your tweets?
Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 3:38 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245

I've posted a Twitter for Authors guide here in the social networking section, just so you are all aware. I love Twitter and I wanted to help us get started on using it in a very effective way.
Posted: Sunday, May 8, 2011 7:45 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 51

Annabelle: I did an @ reply to one of his tweets, and he in turn responded. The first time it was about authors/celebrities doing charity raffles rather than auctions (he replied with a helpful link about the legal reasons they don't do that) and the other time was this past week when that state senator in Minnesota attacked him and I asked him a couple of questions about the circumstances surrounding it. He replied with an answer.
Marc Poliquin
Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2012 1:10 PM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 67

I find it to be a great source of information, especially if you have any questions about querying.  I followed a whole wack of agents and they quite frequently post what they like and don't like about the queries they're receiving. 

It's also a nice way to reach out and connect with people you would normally never have the chance of connecting with.  I recently managed to get a best-selling YA author to follow me by commenting on a few of his pictures.  Harmless, apparently funny comments I didn't expect replies to.  Lo and behold -- I have a new follower.  That sort of thing never get tiring.  Not sure about anybody else, but life can sometimes feel like very tiny box, and twitter, at times, feels like a massive window.  Happy tweeting!

Daniel Audet
Posted: Saturday, April 7, 2012 10:09 AM
Hi Colleen, and everyone!
I'm active on Twitter, have been for a couple years. It's a great way to find people, but like any complex site it takes awhile to get the hang of it and believe me, there's more to it than first meets the eye,(but that's a whole other discussion). Even being fairly tech savvy myself, it took me awhile to figure out what was really going on over there, but once I did, I realized how to jump in and go with it. Yes, it's a great way to meet people, though most are selling something, others are looking for networks to sell stuff, and many use Twitter to talk with friends. One tip I can give you is this: Make sure you give unselfishly, as well as take, on Twitter. What do I mean? RT people and use hashtags that help and promote others work and/or businesses without jamming a plug for yourself in there. 
Believe me, people appreciate it and what goes around comes around. In the case of publishing, there's an endless world on Twitter to get involved with but don't go haywire, try to stay close to your interests and the real reason you're on Twitter to begin with. Search lists and get involved in them.(ex; writers, or agents). It's a time thing, be careful you don't stay too long, but, it's true too - you get out what you put in.
In my little world here in Fort Lauderdale, I don't know many writers or folks in publishing, and I'm working my way through my first thriller novel, learning a few things as I go. With little background in the way of education about writing I've been able to connect with industry pros and other writers in the same situation that have given me direction it otherwise would have taken years to find my way to, and it's been a true blessing.
Colleen Lindsay, for example, is one of the industries superstars when it comes to extending herself both here on BC and on Twitter and she's a perfect example of what I mean. Of course she has an interest in being online, but it's that very thing that makes her who she is and gives her such credibility. Also, one final thing. It really isn't how many followers you have on Twitter, it's the quality of people and businesses you engage. And, it can be anything you have interest in. True, I have friends with far more people than I do but I've also deleted tens of thousands of people who tried to follow me there. Many of them were invasive marketers, zealots or from industries like porn, that I do not want in my feedline. Some are just plain crazy. I'm saying, just like in your personal and professional life, we all keep it close and real. Twitter is the same thing. 
Alexander Hollins
Posted: Friday, June 22, 2012 1:26 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 416

Lately I've found several other comic book writers who work with artists on twitter, so that was a nice community I didn't know existed.

Ella Black
Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 1:35 AM
Joined: 1/26/2012
Posts: 28

Like many of you, I was super skeptical at first. So, I've held off on the Twitter as long as possible, but then when I decided to nail down all the social media with my name that I could as soon as possible, I opened an account and have been very randomly and half-heartedly been sending tweets out into the ether.

However, I've already learned far more about its capabilities reading through this thread than I had imagined...so, I guess it's time for me to figure this one out. Don't be surprised if I start stalking--er-- following you as I learn the ropes.


Posted: Monday, March 25, 2013 5:50 PM
I jumped off the Twitter train back at the first of the year. I'm happier.

Sarah J Schmitt
Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013 12:56 PM
Joined: 3/31/2013
Posts: 3

I think it can be both. I started on Twitter a couple years ago, mainly to get to know other writers and keep tabs on those I had met at conferences. Then I started posting my blog updates there. Then I started getting involved in writing based chats. (yes, I am totally grocery listing this.) But with everything, you need balance. No one wants to click on your profile and only see links to your blog or where to buy your book. Flip side, no one wants to click over and see what you have for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner all the time... unless you are a fabo cook and they are a foodie at heart!

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