Not long ago, I was totally in the dark about Twitter. I figured it was something teenagers did-like passing notes or texting each other with such earth-shattering info like “I’m eating fries,” or “Wasup?” I figured I didn’t have the time or inclination to get caught up in that. But then I attended a writers’ meeting and one of the guys there talked and talked about how great Twitter was and how he was using it to promote himself and learn about the business. What? I was curious enough to sign on and create an account “just to look around.” I didn’t quite get it.
But then something happened–I got retweeted, I got mentioned, people started following me and answering my questions. I was hooked. It’s been a few months now and I can safely say that I am an addict. Not a true addict in the sense that I tweet constantly, but enough that I do it every day, I check it many times a day and I have it on my Blackberry. OK, stop laughing. I guess that’s pretty addicted. But what is so great about it, you ask? I have met so many wonderful people on it. Yes, they may be clowns or crazy people in their underwear in their parents’ basement watching Oprah, but I don’t think so. The agents, writers, social-media experts, cooks, moms, pilots, etc. that I’ve met are all real. They have blogs that I read faithfully now. The agents answer questions I didn’t even know I had. They make me laugh.
And if you want to talk career, let’s have a seat and chat. It’s been great for my writing. As I mentioned, so many agents are willing to offer snippets of their day including what not to do in a query, how not to contact them, what they love about a ms, what they wish they were offered in a ms, and more. It goes on and on and I take every bit in as if we are having coffee and they are talking directly to me. How can that not be beneficial in a writing career? I found a wonderful writer offering a query class online and it helped immensely. (Thanks @cjredwine)
OK, I’ll admit I’ve got crushes on a few of those agents. One in particular (and I won’t mention who for fear of sending a query and having her remember me and say, “That’s that crazy woman with the crush on me.”) has got me fascinated by her life. I know it sounds crazy, but even if she doesn’t take my novel, I want to be her friend. Crazy, OK? But what the heck, nobody knows about it right? As a matter of fact, I want to be friends with most of them. They all lead fascinating lives. And for some reason if I go for coffee, it’s just coffee. When someone in San Francisco goes for a latte and is browsing a bookstore, it sounds chic and boho, or is that just me?
And as far as writers go, what a great way to find people who walk the same path. As writers know, people who are not writers just don’t get it-period. They don’t get the agony over writing just one scene, the pain of killing off a character, the anguish over POV and queries. But other writers get it and wow, it’s like being accepted into a sorority-the best one on campus. (although I wouldn’t know, not being accepted or anything, just saying… but I’m imagining it’s like that). Thanks to all those writers spilling their guts about writing, publishing, editing and sleeping (which none of us seems to do well).
So, if you’re on the fence about Twitter, jump off on the Twitter side. Go for it. You can always get off later. But I’m sure you won’t be sorry.
One note of caution–there are rules for Twitter including retweets, mentioning people, posting information, etc. There are tons of sites out there and blogs listing those. Check out: The Morning News for a great list, shegeeks and Business Know-how. Don’t forget to read them and follow the rules-but if you make a mistake, don’t sweat it. Everyone screws up sometimes. Someone will call you on it, you learn from it, and just keep going and have fun. I know I am!