If you’re a writer, you must be on Twitter, right? How about all you book fanatics – have you got a profile yet?
If you’ve been flirting with the idea of using Twitter for a while, but haven’t made the leap, let me tell you why you should sign up.
Competitions and giveaways
Are you one of those people who complain about never winning anything? What would you say if I told you that in one week recently I won three books in separate giveaways? I thought that would get your attention!
It’s easy to find giveaways on Twitter; you just need to follow the right people. Nowadays, most publishing houses and agencies have a presence on social media and their marketing or publicity teams are big on giving away copies of new books, both through competitions and to bloggers for review.
Sometimes they will simply ask you to tweet them if you fancy a copy of a book, or perhaps retweet and follow. Others might ask you to get creative. Vintage Books (@vintagebooks) are a good example here; they run regular giveaways and often ask followers to rework titles of famous books to a particular theme, such as best summer book puns.
Build a community
It’s hard to be a writer in the internet age without having some kind of online presence. For most writers, building an online network of readers and friendly writers is essential. You can promote your work (just don’t overdo it – make sure you have something else to talk about too), ask for feedback or advice and chat to your readers.
Get great book recommendations
If you’re always looking for new books to read, not just the same old titles that are featured in the national newspapers, you can find endless suggestions on Twitter. From reviews on book blogs to #Fridayreads mentions, you’re bound to discover something new.
Network with writers
I’ve said this a few times, but I get so excited whenever a writer contacts me on Twitter. For book lovers, writers are our Twitter celebrities and chances are if you send them a nice message or write a review of their book and send them the link, they will reply.
Not only that, they’ll probably be delighted to discover someone who has enjoyed their work.
Whether you’re looking for writing competitions, submission opportunities or the latest writing workshops, Twitter is a great place to discover them. A couple of years ago I had a manuscript shortlisted for a Young Author award, which I found out about through Twitter.
Plus many event organisers will offer discounts or special prices to their Twitter followers, not to mention tweeting before or during an event is a great way to network and be noticed by the organisers or other writers in attendance.
Literary agents Julia Churchill and Juliet Mushens run a regular Twitter advice session using the hashtag #askagent. If you’ve ever had a burning question for an agent, this is your chance to have it answered by one of the industry’s top professionals.
Lists are an underused function on Twitter, but anyone can set up or follow them. If you’re about to start submitting your manuscript to agents, set up a list of those on Twitter and take the time to get to know their interests and the approaches they don’t appreciate. Follow a lot of novelists? Organise them by genre to make it easier to keep up with the latest news.
So what are you waiting for? Head over to Twitter and say hello!