When I first heard about Twitter, I dismissed it as just another social networking site. I didn’t pay much attention to it; I was already overloaded with keeping up with the social networks I had already signed up for. Plus why on earth would I want to read about what someone eats for breakfast or what they’re doing every minute of the day?
I admit now that I was completely wrong. I’m now @inkyelbows on Twitter, and here are some of the reasons I’m glad I joined.
2. Stay informed about the publishing industry. With so many publishing house Twitterers (from editor to publicists to slush pile readers), you can learn a ton about what’s happening in the industry. Find out what’s happening at major publishing or writing events while they’re happening. From Alexis Grant:
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.
3. Make contacts in the publishing industry. One of the reasons I decided to take Twitter seriously was because I kept hearing about various editors and publishers who were Twittering. And they weren’t just posting promo items; they were also reading posts by other Twitterers and sometimes replying to them. Here’s just a partial list of some of the people in the publishing industry who are on Twitter, and here is a partial list of authors on Twitter.
4. Meet and share ideas with other writers. Yes, you can do this through other social networks as well. I’m finding, though, that Twitter’s platform provides a unique experience not yet duplicated by other social networks (though other networks are trying). There is a HUGE network of writers on Twitter and chances are good that you’ll find other writers who are going through the same types of experiences in their careers as you.
5. Promote and market your writing. As writers are expected to take on more and more of the responsibility of marketing their own work, it makes sense to use every possible venue to do so. You may already be promoting your book on Facebook and Myspace, for example, but Twitter gives you access to more potential readers.
6. Get writing gigs. In addition to several Twitterers posting exclusively about writing jobs, there are also opportunities to find out about writing gigs indirectly.
7. Increasing your blog readership. Post a summary or blurb about the great content on your blog on Twitter, with a link back to your blog post for those who want to read the full content. Increased blog traffic means increased exposure to your work, which could lead to other writing-related benefits.
8. Writing motivation. I’m starting to participate in the daily #writegoal group on Twitter. To see others who are participating, just search for the hashtag #writegoal. Many other writing-related hashtags / groups exist. Feel free to post others in the comments section.
9. Get ideas for your writing projects. Get inspired by following current hot “trending topics” as well as thought-provoking posts.
10. Find useful resources, articles and tips to help you in the craft and business of writing. Most of the people I follow with @inkyelbowsare writers, editors, publishers or book publicists, and many of them post links to useful info for writers on a daily basis. I try to do the same.
I could go on, but I have to get back to writing now. Follow me on Twitter! I’m @inkyelbows. If you’re an experienced Twitterer and know of other benefits of Twitter for writers, or want to share how Twitter has helped you, please do post below (and include your Twitter id).
If you own a business of any size and you’re still not Twittering, you’re missing out on what amounts to a worldwide virtual chamber of commerce networking event that’s at your fingertips 24/7. Only on Twitter, you don’t press flesh or swap business cards—you exchange links to your Web site, blog, e-books, and online résumé. And you build relationships 140 characters at a time.
Not all, but there are many creative writers who might consider a platform like Twitter to be counter-productive. They might also think it a place for journos, bloggers and beatniks, but not, in their fictional words, serious writers.
It’s nonsense. All writing is serious, now more than ever before. Creative writers need to start taking the bull by the horns and realise that in today’s world, there’s more to writing than simply the act itself.
At the moment, Twitter is ‘the thing’. How long that lasts is irrelevant. As a writer, you can harness its power right here, right now.