For those of you who are new, Twitter is a social media program in which you connect with people, and it allows you to type a message of 140 characters to your followers, called a "tweet." When you make an account, you are given a Twitter handle, which is like your address for people to send messages to you. Author/illustrator Debbie Ohi has a wonderful "Twitter Guide for Authors and Illustrators." And author/illustrator Katie Davis has a podcast "A Beginner's Guide to Twitter."
Twitter has many benefits for writers:
- Connect with other writers, illustrators, and book reviewers. Once you connect with someone, your new friend's followers might also connect with you.
- Read great information about the craft of writing and be directed to blogs and web sites.
- Promote your blog posts. Once you tweet about your post, someone else can re-tweet (share) your post. Then your blog post tweet is automatically shared with their followers, which could be hundreds to thousands of people with one click! So Twitter is an extremely fast way to share information.
StalkFollow agents and editors. You can find out a lot of information by following agents and editors that you're interested in submitting to. Sometimes they'll tweet their wish list. You can read their likes, dislikes, whether they have kids or pets, even their religious preferences.
- Write to your favorite authors/illustrators. For example, I found out that Rosemary Wells was coming to Seoul, Korea. I signed up for her lecture, found her Twitter handle, and messaged her that I looked forward to meeting her. She tweeted back! The famous author of my children's Max & Ruby books! Messaging a person on Twitter is easier than messaging someone you're not "friends" with on Facebook. Here's another example of a class that tweeted to an author.
- Practice pitch writing. There are pitch contests on Twitter for writers to type their 140 character pitch for agents and editors to see. It teaches writers to explain their premise in few words!
- Participate in Twitter chats with publishers and agents. They'll usually announce the date, time, and hash tag for the chat. One recent Twitter chat/party is #WeNeedDiverseBooks.
- Check these hash tags. (#) A hash tag will tag a tweet to categorize it. If you search under #MSWL, you will see posts that show the "Manuscript Wish Lists" of agents and editors. Try these others: #querytip, #pubtip
I hope those benefits convinced you to use Twitter or to tweet more! I hope to see you online. My Twitter handle is @TinaMCho.
Join me Friday, May 9th, as I interview Corey Rosen Schwartz about how she uses Twitter to promote her books and communicate with readers.