If you’ve been on the fence about joining Twitter specifically for writing let me give you all the reason’s to do so. The Children’s Writers & Illustrator’s Market 2017 dedicates a full article to the topic quoting several top notch agents in the process here is an excerpt:
Agent Thao Le of Sandra Dijkstra Lierary Agency says about writers who are on Twitter, “They’ve done their research, and they know how to pitch in 140 characters or less,” and “Also, they usually have mentors and/or critique partners, so I know their work is polished.”
Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency says, “I feel we’re getting to know authors more through Twitter, and bonds are made as we’re considering their queries.”
Don’t you want that type of credibility? Here a quick crash course on how to jump into the writing community. While not extensive it will allow you to follow the rabbit trail wherever your particular genre leads.
First, plug in with the right people.
Agents– These are the gatekeepers and the folks who will champion your book to publishers. They are smart, industry savvy, and super nice. Do not be mean to them, even if they don’t like your story, it’s a matter of personal preference not a personal attack. I started by following every agent I had queried, to find a list based on your genre use Query Tracker.
Editors– These folks are brilliant masters of craft. While most offer editing services for a fee, they also offer tidbits of advise through their blogs and feeds keeping writers on track. At some point in your writing you will need these folks and if you have a relationship already built even better.
Writers– The people literally in your shoes, who are trying to break into the market just like you. Take encouragement among them that you are not alone. To find some them use the hashtags below and look for those who are active and kind. Finding a few who are willing to beta read or critique your story can be invaluable as you improve your craft.
Authors– Usually shamelessly promoting their books on their feed they offer knowledge and advice from the other side of the published line. If you like their book promote them by retweeting, commenting, or best yet writing a review. They will return the favor when you need it later. Even JK Rowling posts on Twitter, often responsive, and very kind.
Publishers– Usually the home base for a group consisting of the above. They will post industry trends and calls for submissions. While not usually a personal feed they still take the time to respond if directly contacted.
Be professional, if you want this to be your long term career be kind and respectful. Publishing is a small world don’t let one comment in anger reduce your chances.
Second, plug into the right forums.
Pitch Parties- These are events hosted through Twitter where agents, editors, and publishers circle a particular hashtag looking for great pitches from writers. Some are very specific where others are more general. #Adpit #Kidpit #MasPitch if you participate be sure to visit the website and follow the rules. Only pitch if your book is done and polished, this is not for a work in progress (WIP).
Writing Groups- Some writers hold each other accountable using twitter hashtags you can actively participate or just show up to say hi. #5amwritersclub #WIP #indieauthor
Advice Tags- These are hashtags used to share advice and pitfalls to avoid. These can be encouraging, cynical, and everything between. #querytip, #pubtip, #writetip Agents in particular will post to #10queries or #tenqueries as they rummage through their slush pile offering advice for those querying.
Networking Tags- These hashtags will connect you to other writers at the same stage who are talking about it. Share your woes and your wins together and make a few new friends. #amwriting #amediting #amquerying these can get even more specific with genres added to the end like #amwritingfantasy.
Be social, you won’t have a conversation if you don’t try.
Final thoughts, look at the feed of anyone you are considering following and be sure they actually post things you want, there can be spam etc out there. Like anything online use your best judgement. If you get a personal message (often automated) be sure not to click onto a link you don’t think is secure. Many of the people you follow will follow you back in return so offer helpful posts, tips, or thoughts for them to see even if you just retweet other’s wisdom.
I hope to see you on Twitter you can get started by following me @HSDeurloo and even following everyone I follow.