In my discussions with other authors, I have noticed a pattern among a large chunk of them: they’re scared of Twitter. Facebook, they can handle, because who doesn’t have a Facebook these days? Google+ everyone kind of ignores. Goodreads is basically Facebook for book-lovers (and it’s amazing), so it’s not terribly hard to figure out. But Twitter? It’s too much. Between followers and character limits and hashtags, there are so many new pieces to learn, that a lot of authors just don’t. But the benefits far outweigh the obstacles. So, if you’re someone who is scared of Twitter or if you’re just getting started and looking for tips, know that you’re not doing this alone and it can be conquered.
What is Twitter? How does it differ from Facebook?
Twitter is like a running commentary on life. People get on there and, due to the 140 character limit, put their interests (whether it’s sports, news, famous quotes, or writing) in small, digestible snippets. The way it differs from Facebook is Twitter is not made for long-winded emotional posts (hence the short character limit). This isn’t where you make your impassioned speeches about politics or religion–Facebook is for that. People come to Twitter to skim through posts. Short, sweet, and to the point. It’s a great place for people to have short interactions with each other. Also, unless you lock your account down, which is rare, Twitter is 100% public. Anyone anywhere can like or retweet your posts.
Why should I care?
As an author, a social media presence is becoming more and more important–both for literary agents and for sales. Your readers want more than just your book. They want you. They want to know what you’re like behind those pages–what you like, dislike, think is funny, think is worthwhile. Why? Because to readers, authors are equivalent to rock stars. Have you ever met your favorite author in person? Does the thought make your heart jump a little? These are the people that have poured their very soul into the words that you enjoy so much. That’s what your readers are like as well. And authors that are active and engaging on social media build their reader base, and more readers means more money for both you and your agent (if you have one), which is why agents are so inclined for you to be active.
If you’re like me, then you’re probably thinking, “All of the above sounds great, but I need a list to break down pros and cons.” Well fear not, for I have come bearing lists!