Sunday, May 23, 2010

Twitter for Writers

Twitter1 My friend Jan asked me yesterday to elaborate a little more on Twitter—mostly how to make connections to share her blog posts with a wider audience of readers.

So let’s say you’re on Twitter. You have a handful of followers and you are interested in promoting your blog posts or maybe a book.

First of all, you need more followers. How do you do that?

I think the best way is to steadily increase the number of people that you’re following. And you’re probably going to want to target readers and other writers.

There are different places you can find writers on Twitter.

Here are some good places to check out:

Authors on Twitter

Book Trade People on Twitter

More Authors on Twitter

Libraries on Twitter

You could hang out or possibly even be the moderator for a write chat: Check out this article for write chat info

...I've copy/pasted the schedule from the post below. And this article has more in-depth info.

By using hashtags (the pound symbol), you can access conversations on Twitter that revolve around a specific theme. How do you get there? You look on the right hand side of your Twitter home page and you’ll see a search box with a magnifying glass next to it. Type in one of the hashtags below and click the magnifying glass, and you’ll be taken to a page that shows everyone’s tweets on that subject. You’ll be able to see conversations between different parties there, even if you don’t follow the persons involved.

Chats that go on every day (schedule courtesy of Inky Girl)


, #writegoal

, #writingparty

plus others (see hashtag list below)

SATURDAYS: #ScreenwritingSaturday

SUNDAYS: #writechat

, #scriptchat

, #storycraft

MONDAYS: #litchat

, #journchat

, #ThrillerChat

, #pblitchat

TUESDAYS: #kidlitchat

, #poettues

, #FaithLitChat

, WEDNESDAYS: #litchat

, #memoirchat

, #wnw

, #yalitchat

THURSDAYS: #bookmarket

, #JournalChat

, #poetry

, #dnchat

, #kidlitart

, #scribechat

FRIDAYS: #followreader

, #fridayflash

, #litchat

, #scifichat

, #StoryFriday

You can also tag your tweets with hashtags to pick up followers. These are some popular ones (courtesy of Bubble Cow):

Meryl’s Notes also had some good ideas about writer-uses for Twitter. In fact, she dreamed up 50 uses of Twitter for writers.

I'd also recommend participating in #FF and #WW (writer Wednesday). There's also some that do #MM (mystery Monday). I loved doing #FF, but now I have so many followers that the last time I did FF I got some negative feedback for was just pages of return follows that I’d tweeted. So I’m going to have to think of some new way to participate.

If you like, you can also go to my profile page at @elizabethscraig and click on my followers and raid that list. Most of them are writers, readers, or other industry-related folks. Then you can click “follow” on each individual person. You might want to build your list up slowly. Not every person will follow you back. You can use a program like “Friend or Follow” to see who isn’t following you…and unfollow them, in return. There’s no need to have a Twitter relationship that’s a one-way street.

When you have your followers, you’ve got people to promote to, but also to share information with and network with. You could try different kinds of tweets, so you’re not just promoting your blog or book. Try retweeting others’ posts, sharing interesting links, tweeting about something interesting you heard about, etc.

What if you’re completely stumped by Twitter? My friend Krista Davis wrote a great couple of posts—a Twitter 101 and Twitter 202 that can help get you up to speed.

I’ll admit to using Twitter in a peculiar way. I have a good number of followers, but I pay very little attention to my Twitter feed. If someone sends something directly to me (an @ message), then I respond back to them with a DM (direct message)….because I’m trying to keep my profile page completely link-related. All my conversations take place through DM.

Following my Twitter feed would be totally overwhelming to me--seeing 3400 feeds update just makes me feel a little like I’ve got ADHD. Following fewer people would make it easier to read the feed…or else, use the TweetDeck to organize the folks you follow—you can organize the Tweeters by category or by your favorites.

Am I still getting something out of the Twitter experience? Definitely. But for me, it’s all about off-feed conversations and sharing resources and information, and networking. Still, I’ve made some good friends on Twitter and really enjoy the conversations we’ve had.

Hope this helps, y’all. Twitter does have a little bit of a learning curve, but one you get it, it’s pretty basic. And there’s a lot of great information you can get there. If you have any questions, let me know—if I don’t know the answer, I can find it.