Why should writers use Twitter?
If you’re a writer, whether you want to aim to publish traditionally or whether you want to self-publish, self-promotion is part of the deal. Having hung around various writers’ forums and blogs for a couple of years, it seems that very few people acquire a publisher who is able or willing to put all their time and money into marketing you. They all expect you to manage your own marketing to some degree, although some publishers may give you more or less support. For self-publishers, you’re doing it all yourself.
A large part of marketing is visibility, and it’s difficult to achieve when so many other are doing the same thing. If you read books on marketing, most of them advocate having an author platform which may include a website, a blog, and various forms of social media. I get the impression that despite the fact these things don’t automatically mean you will sell piles of books, it’s still expected that you dip your toes in the water of the author platform.
Many writers hate social media. We’re an introverted bunch in general, unlike general society which swings towards extroverts and is designed for extroverts. So it can be difficult knowing where to start and with which platform.
Twitter is the platform that gets my vote, and here are the reasons why:
- There are no restrictions on who you can connect with. If you want to see what JK Rowling is tweeting about, then follow her. If you want to send her a message, you can, nothing’s stopping you. Twitter is a gateway to everyone – celebrities, businesses, other authors etc.
- Everyone can see your tweets. Unlike Facebook, which restricts the number of people seeing your page posts, in theory absolutely everyone can see you on Twitter. Of course, not everyone does, because of the vast stream of information, but in theory they can.
- It’s easy to connect with other writers. Writers have many hashtags that they use and it’s very easy to jump into replies and little conversations with people and gain writer followers. Examples are #amwriting and #1linewed.
- Most major events have Twitter feeds and accounts, so it’s a great way of keeping in touch with what’s happening in other parts of your writing life. NaNoWriMo has a big Twitter presence, and many writing cons and groups have Twitter accounts.
- It’s easy to share other people’s content and comment on it. I get the impression fewer people leave comments on writers’ blogs these days, but people are happy to share content around social media. You miss out on connections if you don’t have Twitter.
- It’s easy to get started and get a following before you’ve published anything. If you’re working on establishing relationships, sharing snippets from your works in progress, and sharing other people’s content, you’ll still get followers. Writing is about more than just the publishing, and Twitter is a great way to connect.
I’d advise picking one key social media and focusing on it at first, and the obvious choice is Twitter or Facebook. For me, because of all the above reasons, Twitter wins, and it’s my primary social media. I know it can be offputting as first because of the vast stream of information and some of the unintelligible tweets, but once you connect with the writing community, it’s far easier to get to grips with how it all works.
Find me on Twitter @WriterEdmonds