There are a lot of writers on Twitter. Twitter lends itself perfectly to procrastination and insecurity, both of which are standard writer traits. The key is to make sure that you stand out in some way and, as an observer of writers on twitter for some years, Tracy Kuhn has compiled some simple guidelines to help you on your way.
- The main thing you need to know is that as a writer, your tweets should be 80% pushing your book, 15% re-tweeting your good reviews, 3% complaining in a passive-aggressive way about your bad reviews, 1% begrudgingly congratulating fellow authors on their good reviews, and 1% interacting with your fans, I mean followers.
- Tweet your latest word count as often as possible. To your followers, there is nothing more interesting. Often, they have a special wall chart on which they chart your progress. And for fellow writers who might be struggling to find the next 100 words, nothing perks them up more than seeing that somebody else has managed to churn out 40,000 words in the time it’s taken them to arrange their pens in order according to the colours of the rainbow.
As an added note to this, you get extra ‘writer’ points if you tell people that you managed to write these 40,000 words before 6am. Getting up at the crack of dawn makes you look like a proper artist.
- If anybody so much as mentions you in a tweet, retweet it straight away to your followers, it reminds them how popular and loved you are. Been #ff’d? Retweet it. Good review? Do it.
- Try to name drop as much as possible. Casually drop as many famous author names into conversation as possible, people love that. Remember to put a full stop in front of any conversations that include a vaguely famous person, especially if you’re going to something like a Very Important Book Fair, then everyone will know how much you are in with the in-crowd.
- When someone new follows you, DM them straight away with a link to your Amazon page or blog. They’ll thank you for it, you’re saving them time, what’s not to like? This is how fortunes are made!
How to Deal With Agents on Twitter
- Find all the agents that have ever shown their face on Twitter, ever, and follow them. Interrupt their conversations with witty comments to show them how funny and clever you are. Then harrass them. Exactly two days after you have sent them your manuscript, ask them if they’ve received it yet. They love this. Agents are notoriously lazy and are often to be found just sitting around drinking tea with their feet up, so they appreciate the reminder.
- If you still haven’t heard anything after a week, tweet them again to ask them why. Following them on Twitter is more or less the equivalent of being their best friend, so you can bypass all the usual avenues and get right in there. If you receive a standard rejection letter this is clearly a mistake, you have slipped through the net.
A gentle reminder that a personal letter would have been better, preferably one with balloons attached, will soon remedy this. Many an author has been offered a three book deal on the back of a cheeky tweet questioning an agent’s decision.
Also, remember that most of them have only rejected you for one of two reasons. Either they were in such awe of your masterpiece they were rendered incapable of forming a sentence, never mind being able to represent you; or they have also written a book and want to keep the market clear for themselves, so have rejected you out of spite.
In this circumstance it is customary to slag them off on Twitter and shame them into accepting you. Maybe send them the review on your blog that your mum wrote under an assumed name, the one where she says your book is ‘really good’. There’s no way they will be able to deny your genius any longer.
Best Practice on Twitter
- Point out typos in other writers’ tweets. They find that really helpful, especially if you retweet their mistake to all of your followers. It makes people think that you’re really clever.
- Try and have some kind of emotional outburst on Twitter every so often. Ideally, fabricate some kind of slight against your character and tell everyone that someone is being mean to you. You don’t need to actually name them, remember, most people don’t actually check the facts, they’re usually happy to jump to your defence anyway, especially if you have a lot of followers.
Remind people how sensitive and misunderstood you are. Then, announce your departure, always with the implication that you are better than this, that helps. Do not, I repeat, do NOT actually leave Twitter, that would be silly. Just watch from afar as everyone begs you to reconsider and stay. You’re onto a winner with this one as everyone will guilt-buy at least five copies of your book.
- Don’t forget to add the hashtag #amwriting at the end of every third tweet. This hashtag can, on occasion, be used to make contact with other writers and can be a kind of support group, but who wants to talk to other writers? They’d only pinch your ideas. So even though you are clearly not writing, you are tweeting, while drinking coffee, to the average follower it’s the same thing. It’s worth noting that tweets count towards your daily word count.
- Don’t waste time tweeting with ‘normal’ people unless they can further your career in some way, although if you think you can get a good review out of them, tweet away. You should, as a rule, only follow other writers, you should definitely not follow more than half the number of people who follow you, you wont look like a proper writer then. It is other writers who will be buying your book, not those other annoying people who keep tweeting you, ignore them.
Tracy Kuhn is a freelance linguist and writer who lives in York, England, with her husband and two daughters. She has had several short stories published in a variety of magazines, and has a flash fiction story in an anthology: ‘100 RPM – One Hundred Stories Inspired By Music’. She has always written in a variety of genres and is currently working on a YA novel. You can follow Tracy on twitter @Tracy_Kuhn or visit her blog volvodiaries.
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