So, you’re an aspiring author. You’ve got a blog where you talk about your attempts to get published. You’ve also got a Twitter account, but you mostly use it to follow your favorite celebrities and post snarky comments about your co-worker’s perfume.
Twitter is probably my all-time-favorite time and productivity suck, but – for hopeful authors – it can be an exceptionally useful resource to build a network of tight-knit industry connections, monitor your ideal publishing houses, and bond with fellow writers… and post snarky comments about your co-worker’s perfume.
If you’re shopping for an agent, take some time to stop pumping out queries and, instead, look for your potential agent online. Analyze their websites and focus on their specialties to make sure the agent is a good fit for your work. Then, follow them on Twitter and strike up conversations that don’t start with, “My name is Jane Doe and I’ve written the next big vampire-werewolf-black-magic-love-triangle-YA bestseller…”
GalleyCat maintains a list of the best literary agents on Twitter. It’s a great starting point on your quest for the ideal literary agent. Check out their profiles. Follow their tweets. Engage in conversation Do they seem like someone you could work well with? Someone you would want to work with? If so, send them a query (and make sure you @ them to let them know you’re sending it!).
Social media is also a useful outlet if you’re foregoing an agent and sending your manuscript directly to the publisher. Many publishing houses are using Twitter, not only as a promotional tool, but as a platform to announce open submission periods, enumerate the types of books they’re looking for, and engage with audiences to determine whether readers prefer vampire-on-werewolf romance novels to witches-and-warlocks fantasy thrillers.
Target the publishers you’re interested in and follow their feeds closely. You’ll learn a lot about how that publisher works and it will give you a leg up when you’re ready to submit your manuscript.
Finally, as an author, you can use Twitter to connect with fellow writers. Talk plotlines. Share your querying war stories. Make connections that will help pave the bumpy road between you and your publishing contract. Participate in writing and publishing Twitter chats such as #WritersRoad to find like-minded authors. Use the #amwriting hashtag to link yourself to Twitter’s community of writers.
When it’s 3am and you can’t figure out which beefcake your featured femme is going to pick, tweet about it. The circle of friends and writers you’ve cultivated will be there to talk you through it, 140 characters at a time.
Good luck and happy Tweeting! #amwriting