I’ve always hated Twitter. It’s just too much. I’m a completionist . . . I want to read all the books in a series and watch all the shows and see all the movies, etc. So when I first joined twitter, it was overwhelming. I shut down my account almost immediately.
Then I started writing again after I left my theater career and actually had the time and energy to do anything else at all creative. Once I got good feedback on my writing and started looking into how to get published, I kept seeing references to the writing community on Twitter, and how I needed to join it because it was just so useful! It made my eye twitch, no joke. The mere idea of getting back on the platform to help with my writing journey? Surely there’s a better way!!
Spoiler alert: There is not.
There are other ways, yes, and many of them have extremely valuable information to impart. But Facebook groups depend on the size and mix of membership, critique sites like Critique Circle and Scribophile aren’t as conducive to conversation about the ins and outs of the publishing world, and writers conferences are expensive even when they’re online-only. The single largest, most accessible source of information is Twitter, specifically the #WritingCommunity, #TraditionalPublishing, and #AmQuerying hashtags.
I’ve been making an effort to get the most I can out of Twitter, but the more #WritingCommunity people I followed, the more my feed was filled with self-published authors posting book promos. There’s nothing wrong with self-publishing, if that’s what you want to do. I know a lot of people do very well with it, and they’re happy with the path. But since I’m trying to go the traditional route – get an agent, get a book deal, publish books, lather, rinse, repeat – my Twitter feed was increasingly irrelevant and growing more overwhelming with every new writer I followed. And I’m sorry, but if the best question you can think to ask the #WritingCommunity is what their main character’s favorite color is, you’re probably not making a huge contribution to my knowledge of the publishing industry.
Out of desperation, I started looking for ways to make Twitter more manageable and useful. Over the course of my next few blog posts, I’ll cover some of the hacks that are making Twitter not just tolerable, but actually extremely useful to me. The topics I plan to cover are:
- TweetDeck and Lists for feed management
- How to tell traditional publishing writers from self-publishing writers and why it’s important
- #AmQuerying commiseration
- #MSWL (ManuScript WishLists)
- #PitMad and other Twitter pitch contests
- Finding critique partners and beta readers on Twitter
I’m sure the list will grow. If you have a topic you’d like me to cover, or you’d like to write a guest post about, please give me a shout at @EsmariWrites.
If you’re like me and can barely stand to be on Twitter, the first thing I recommend is finding and following as many literary agents as you can. It doesn’t matter if they rep your genre or age range, or if they’re looking for the kind of book you write at all. They are founts of information about the traditional publishing industry. Even if you never do anything with Twitter other than follow the lit agents, you will be several steps ahead of where you were not being on Twitter at all.