This month’s post comes from Claire Fuller. Claire’s debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, is published by Fig Tree/Penguin on 26th February. She will be appearing with her editor, Juliet Annan, at the Festival on Saturday 21st June.
I often come across online discussions about whether publishers are only interested in authors who have a social media presence. Will an editor only buy my book if I have x thousand followers on Instagram, or twice that on Twitter?
The short answer is that it doesn’t matter. Publishers buy books they like (it’s a personal business) and ones they can sell (to their colleagues, and to readers). My own experience was that the number of Twitter followers I have was simply an added bonus when it came to Penguin considering whether to make an offer for my novel.
Probably because we’ve all got our laptops open and we’re all very easily distracted, the writing community on Twitter is enormous and also incredibly supportive, and I would encourage all writers, whether beginners or published to embrace Twitter. But join for yourself and not to catch the eye of a potential publisher.
I’m not going to give you a general Twitter overview (if you’re a beginner you can find one at www.support.twitter.com), but I am going to give you some specific tips about using Twitter if you’re a writer.
1. If you haven’t joined yet, think carefully about your user name. I’m @ClaireFuller2, because ClaireFuller was already taken. But having the number two after my name isn’t ideal – it’s harder to find me and it sounds like I might always be second! @Claire_Fuller or even @ClaireFullerWriter would have been better. But it’s too late to change it now.
2. Engage, don’t sell (well, not too much). Twitter is about connecting with other people – having conversations. Comment and connect with other writers, retweet their tweets and congratulate them when something has gone well, and hopefully they’ll do the same for you. For every six (or so) of my tweets, five will be general chat, promoting other writers (retweeting their tweets), tweeting about relevant writing blog posts, or books I’m reading, and one might be about my own work.
3. Use and search for some writer hashtags (just type the word with the hashtag in front into the Twitter search field to see all tweets containing that hashtag). Here are just a few examples:
- #FridayReads – what are you reading on a Friday?
- #AskAgent – open Q&A sessions with literary agents. Watch and read, or ask a question.
- #WritingContests – writing competitions
- #1k1hr or #wordsprint or #wordrace – write at the same time as other writers around the world (good for getting a lot of words down in one go without editing)
- #bookadayuk – a bookish list hosted by a different organisation each month
- #myWANA – book and writing chat
- #PitMad – when you’re ready to pitch your manuscript to agents you can do it on Twitter. For more information, including dates for 2015 see http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad/
- And any number of genre hashtags including #suspense #YA #WomensFiction #Horror #UrbanFantasy
So, have I convinced you? I hope so. See you on Twitter soon.