1 – Connecting with other writers
Actually, this applies not only to writers but to anyone in a particular job, or with a particular interest. You could connect with fellow teachers, or golfers, or with politicians, or journalists. Whatever group you’re in or interest you have, you’ll find others on Twitter. For us writers, we’re often working in isolation, getting to meet up in person only rarely, so Twitter is a great place to let off steam, or chat to someone who understands why it is actually a serious problem that you can’t think of just the right name for your hero’s cat.
2 – Picking up useful links
You know that links post I do every month? I’d say a good 80% of the things I link to one there first came to my attention on Twitter. I follow blogs in my reader, but there’s only so many I can follow there. But if there’s something especially interesting and useful been written, a blog post, an article, whatever, someone is going to tweet about it and I’ll go check it out. Without Twitter I may never have seen it.
3 – Staying in the loop
Twitter is perfect for keeping up to date with what’s going on in the topic you’re interested in. For me of course, it’s writing and publishing, that’s what I concentrate on, following mostly writers, publishing people, reviewers, bloggers about publishing, etc. If there’s something going on, I’ll hear it first on Twitter.
4 – #editreport
Okay, not only edit report, but it’s an especially good example of the useful advice and information a writer can get on Twitter. #editreport is a hashtag used by Carina Executive Editor Angela James, when she tweets snippets from the reports her acquisitions editors give her about books they’ve rejected. It’s so useful to hear what makes editors reject books. There’s nothing identifiable on them, but it must make people who have a submission with Carina a tad nervous! She always finishes up an edit report with a few from books that are acquired, so there’s a happy ending!
I get story ideas from Twitter. I got an idea for a short story you’ll see in July in an anthology, from a chat on Twitter. I got an idea for a potentially very intriguing character in a new series I’m working on while chatting on Twitter. It can be such a great brainstorming venue.
A bad reason to be on Twitter – if it’s your main or only reason.
Everyone says, oh, you must be on Twitter to promote your books. But how effective is it really? If you’re not very well-known then not enough people are following you to make much difference. If you’re really famous and have loads of followers, they were probably going to buy your book anyway, all you have to do is let them know when it’s coming out. Really, in terms of sales, then for most people, the amount of time put in to Twitter doesn’t produce a good return on investment – if that’s the main or only reason you’re on Twitter. Whereas if you use it for the above reasons or others as useful to you, then you’ll get much more out of it.