Yes, I admit it, I love Twitter. I started an account on the advice of Jonathan Maberry (@JonathanMaberry) and thought it would be like Facebook, something that’s interesting but where I don’t spend much time. After a bit of dabbling and searching and false starts I found Twitter is exactly right for me.
Writers, agents and editors are amazing people to follow. They play with words for a living and in one hundred and forty characters can make me laugh until I can’t breath or give me something to think about all day. Kiersten White (@kierstenwhite), Libba Bray (@libbabray), Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig), Cassandra Yorgey (@cassandrayorgey), Maureen Johnston (@maureenjohnston), Jo Knowles (@JoKnowles), Ginger Clark (@Ginger_Clark) – heck, as of today I follow over eight hundred people and most I follow because they are clever.
Another aspect I enjoy is the idea of polite eaves dropping. When two agents I follow on Twitter talk about what they are looking for in a manuscript, what editors are asking for, etc. I can read their entire conversation. If they were in a restaurant to listen that closely I would need to hide under the table. I also love hearing what they are tired of seeing. A couple of years ago Ginger Clark mentioned how she was tired of books that begin with the protagonist waking up. She said the best description she had read was a character waking up as he descended into hell. To paraphrase her – if a character doesn’t wake up on fire, find another way to start your book.
As I get closer to querying I seek out agents that represent my genre and follow them. I’m thinking of going into a business relationship with this person – the more I know about them, the better.
I should mention here some of my personal ethics about Twitter. I don’t stalk. I may follow an agent I’m interested in but I don’t try to suck up to them nor become their best friend. I have occasionally answered a question if they pose it to Twitter in general or ask a question if they are open to that (as in, when they are running an #askagent) but I don’t crowd them. To do so is impolite and annoying.
Twitter is a new medium in our culture. A place where I can interact with friends yet where I am also presenting myself to people I hope to have a business relationship with in the future. My friends understand this and though I may goof around with them I always keep in mind the fact that with an open Twitter stream anyone can read my tweets.
Another issue is safety. With an open Twitter stream I am always careful what personal information I post. The fact that HOT FUZZ is one of my favorite movies? No problem. Information about my children, including their names? Absolutely not. I never mention that we are going away on vacation unless someone is staying at the house and if I mention where we are I try to have it be in only the most general way.
My suggestion? Try Twitter. It’s a place to get good information and have fun.
What do you think?