Thursday, April 9, 2015

Navigating the Twitter-sphere: Getting Started

So, random note: I registered for Fall 2015 classes this morning. My last semester at college. It's so weird and nostalgic and freaking wow. Which is probably why I figured I'd talk about Twitter, since I get nostalgic thinking about when I started using it (and i can easily compare that feeling to when I started college, so, see? Connection!).

Anyway, I know. Posts about how awesome Twitter is for writers and readers have been done over and over again. But I'm going to do another one because Twitter's just awesome, only I'm going to address a different thing about Twitter: getting started.

Once upon a time when Rae was but a lowly college freshman, she wanted to see what the big deal about Twitter was. She made an account in October 2012. Then she didn't use it for a year and a half. Come April/May 2014, she said, "I'll give Twitter one more chance."

I've kind of been hooked ever since.

For me, the most intimidating thing about Twitter was the sheer volume of tweets, and the large number of intelligent people sending those tweets. Where do you begin, and who's the best people to follow? And how do you actually find those awesome and intelligent people? Here's some steps to getting started on Twitter as a reader/writer (or both):

  • Add a bio on your profile. It's just kind of nice to let people know that you're not a robot. Say a little something about yourself! You'll be surprised how that can help you make new acquaintances.
  • Add a picture to your profile. Again, people like to know that there's a face or a person of some sort behind the computer screen.
  • If you have a blog or a website, add it. I don't know about others, but I am a notorious link-clicker. I look at any websites people have on their profiles before even deciding to follow them, just to see who they are and/or the kinds of projects they're working on (yeah, I'm nosy like that).
  • Follow your favorite authors. No-brainer, right? Just follow your favorite authors. So many of them are so quirky and fabulous. They talk about their books, their writing, their lives. Some of my personal favorite author-tweets come from Maggie Stiefvater, Lauren DeStefano, and Ksenia Anske. Of course, that's an extremely shortened list. Moral of this point: follow your favorite authors. You won't regret it.
  • Follow bloggers. There's a bunch of awesome blogs on writing; there's even more awesome book blogs. Coming from a writer's perspective, this has been invaluable because bloggers are a great way to find out new things: writing tips and processes, new books, author interviews, giveaways, etc. Basically: it's an awesome way to find different perspectives on basically anything. Of course, finding a place to start with bloggers is a little more complicated than simply looking up your favorite authors, so I'll give you a heads-up: every writer should follow Ava Jae's blog, Writability. Ava's got great insight to the writing world, both hints and tips of the craft, maneuvering social media, maneuvering editing and publishing. Start there. I also recommend Kristen Kieffer, who runs She's Novel, and Christine Frazier, from Better Novel Project. Also take a look at the right side of my screen, under "Notable Blogs" - that's a short list of some of my favorite writing blogs, in case you need a place to start. Awesome book bloggers that I like checking in on include Bookish Broads and Book Nerd Reviews; again, though, there's far too many of either of these blog types to list out all of them. Explore, and see what happens!
  • Follow publishers, agents, editors, etc. Here's something awesome: the kind of general advice you can find from people actually working in publishing right now (and publishing the books that you read) is kind of awesome. Not only can you get updates on the books that you enjoy, but if you're interested in delving deeper into the writing world as a career (writing, editing, agenting, etc.), you'll find fantastic insight and advice from the people who are currently there. Some agents will tweet about what's currently on their MSWL; editors will tweet about some of the most common mistakes they find in manuscripts. If you need a place to start, try agencies: P.S. Literary and New Leaf Literary are two of my favorites to check in on, and from there you can research the individual agents who might also have a Twitter account where they talk about bookish things.

If that all looks a bit daunting...well, I'm not going to lie to you: I was daunted. I think what you'll find, though, is that once you have a place to start, you'll see all of the threads that reach out to different corners of the reading/writing world. What you'll find is that it's actually incredibly easy to find people you can connect with on some level - personal or professional. If you're active, you'll even find like-minded people in the same place in your career that you are (for example: there's a handful of other blogger/writers out there that I've connected with and that will never be able to get rid of me, no matter how hard they try. I'm like a leech, only in a non-weird and non-blood-sucking way).

So there's my extremely simplified version of how to get started on Twitter. Have any questions? Recommendations? Other comments? Ya'll know the drill by now; leave me your thoughts on how you got started navigating on Twitter!

**Note: I can talk about general Twitter etiquette at a later date; if I put it in this post, then I'd be writing a miniature novel, and nobody wants that.**

Tweet It:

Twitter can make your head spin. Blogger @Rae_Slater talks a few general tips on getting started for readers/writers (Click to Tweet)

Navigating the Twitter-sphere: a few tips for readers/writers who want to make the most of Twitter (Click to Tweet)


  1. Awesome guide, Rae -- I really don't have much to add, except to be sure to follow other writers at a similar level of progression as well. All do #amwriting woes tend to help us bond quickly XD OH! And that reminded me, to keep track of all the great hashtags. The Twitter Pitch Parties, obviously (I still think I'm missing a few, oh well); the #amwriting ones and the associated writing-progress-updates ones; and chats. What's your fav hashtag to follow?

    1. You're totally right in bringing up that I left out hashtags; you're actually ahead of the game, since I'm planning on doing another post in the future about that! I'm so glad you brought up the #amwriting tag: it's my favorite! Not only do I use it all the time, but it's great to search it and see what so many others are working on, the kinds of problems they're having, their witty's fabulous. Another one I love (since I'm also HUGE into editing) is the #amediting tag: much like the #amwriting tag, it's great to see the troubles and ways around them other writers are dealing with in the editing stage of whatever project they're working on.

      Thanks for stopping by, Alyssa! I love hearing your thoughts on this!

  2. Twitter is awesome! I remember my first tweet and having no idea what to do or how to do it! I typed in writers in the search and followed people with interesting bios. Yes! Write bios! It took me a year to really get into it. But then I entered Pitchmadness and BLAMO! I made friends. And now I am a Twitter addict. I connected with my publisher long before they accepted my ms. I found fabulous CPs!
    Pretty much I use Twitter for FUN, for talking about writing with people WHO GET IT! All my friends live there. *hugs computer*

    1. I've always been amazed the kind of people you can find on Twitter if you just look in the right places! it's such a great community to find new things and information. And the CPs, yes! I've found a few, myself! So glad you've had a great experience with Twitter, too, Kathy!