5 Ways Writers and Illustrators Can Use Twitter, Plus #Lucky13

It’s Thursday and you know what that means. Tomorrow is Friday, but not just any Friday…it’s Friday the 13th. And not just any Friday the 13th…it’s Friday, September 13, 2013 – THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER for our region’s Lucky 13: Make 2013 Your Year Conference! Are you seriously still on the fence about going? Well , check out Laura’s reasons to attend and then register! We want to see you!

Okay, so I’m basically a lazy very busy person and love it when someone does my job for me  gives me a hand. Today is one of those days. Tracy Gold, who now manages the SCBWI MD/DE/WV Twitter account, is here to clue us in on all things tweeting and how we can get that #Lucky13 rocking from the conference.

TG-300-by-300-close

Tracy is a Fiction MFA candidate at the University of Baltimore, and she also works as a marketer, writer, and editor. You can connect to her on Twitter at @tracycgold. Tracy is currently seeking representation for her first YA novel, about a girl who survives a plague that kills all of the adults. When Tracy’s not writing or working, she’s horseback riding or hanging out with her dog. You can read more about Tracy at http://tracycgold.com

Did I hear that right? Another horse enthusiast? Excellent! Okay, enough of ponies (for now)…let’s get to Tracy’s outstanding contribution:

5 Ways Writers and Illustrators Can Use Twitter, Plus #Lucky13

Twitter can be an excellent way to advance your career—but it can also be overwhelming. When I talked with the MD/DE/WV SCBWI chapter leaders about taking over the chapter’s Twitter this summer, they asked for help using this noisy, chaotic, and sometimes confusing tool. I was happy to oblige—after all, I pay for my laptop and chocolate bars (and, you know, rent) by working as a social media and content marketing consultant.

Here, I’ll jump into how writers and illustrators in particular can use Twitter to connect with agents, editors, and other artists. I won’t cover the absolute basics of using Twitter, but if you’re clueless or need a brush up, here’s a guide to Twitter for beginners I wrote while working for a marketing agency. Some of the screenshots in that post are a tad outdated, but do check it out if you have questions about @ mentions, hashtags (all those pound signs), when you shouldn’t start tweets with an @, direct mentions, or any of the logistics.

How Writers and Illustrators Can Use Twitter

Below are a few tactics, tools, chats, and events that I’ve noticed as I’ve used Twitter for my own writing career. I’m sure this is in no way a complete list! Please comment with additional ways to use Twitter that you’ve found—I’d love to hear about them.

1. Capitalize on events. I’m starting with this, because we’re going to be using #Lucky13 as the official hashtag for the chapter conference. Right now, you’ll see a bunch of tweets from random people, but we’ll take it over as the conference gets closer!

Using #Lucky13—or the official hashtag at any other event—can help you make deeper connections with speakers and attendees, even if you didn’t get to meet them in person. I have even witnessed conference organizers deliver a plate of brownies to an attendee who tweeted that there wasn’t enough chocolate at an event. Now that is magic.

Of course, tweeting at a conference is good for much more than chocolate delivery. By being active on Twitter during the event, you’ll gain followers, growing your platform. You may even find a way to stay in touch with an agent who seemed interested in your work. But what should you tweet at an event? Some common ideas:

  • Compelling quotes from speakers
  • Pictures of sessions or anything amusing
  • Your thoughts on what a speaker is saying
  • Questions about logistics – other attendees will often answer you

Of course, you can also tweet before and after the event, about things like what you’re looking forward to, or what you enjoyed the most.

2. Grow your platform. The more people who follow you on Twitter, the more chances you have to get the word out about your work. A large Twitter following can help you sell more copies if you’re published, and if you’re unpublished, it could help you catch an agent’s eye. One of the easiest ways to slowly but surely increase your audience on Twitter is to integrate Twitter with all of your other marketing efforts. For example, use a widget to display recent tweets on your website, and put your Twitter handle in your email signature. Of course, that means you will actually have to keep up with your Twitter account!

3. Build relationships. Twitter is a great way to reach people who are otherwise unreachable. Now, that does not mean that you have license to reach out to agents who haven’t gotten back to you by relentlessly tweeting to them. But it can’t hurt to respond when agents post cute pictures of their cats, or share thoughts on articles they’ve tweeted. This goes beyond agents—as a whole, I’ve found other writers to be extremely supportive on Twitter. It’s great to be able to scroll down your feed and hear from artists who are struggling with the same challenges you are. If you’re published, you can also use Twitter to allow your readers to interact with you.

4. Pitch agents—sometimes. During events like #PitMad you can tweet a 140 character pitch, and agents will be looking through the tweets and requesting pages. Sometimes, individual agents will also tweet about types of books they’d love to see. Twitter can also be a great place to watch for announcements of new agents, who are likely looking to build their lists.

5. Find out about contests and industry news. It can be hard to keep up with everything that’s going on in the writing world. Twitter is a great way to keep up with contests, new markets, and industry events. Who should you follow to find out about all this? Start with some of your favorite agents, editors, and writers, and Twitter will recommend similar tweeters. You can start by following @SCBWI_MD_DE_WV! We’ve also built lists of members, agents, and editors that can help you get started. Send a tweet to @SCBWI_MD_DE_WV if you’d like to be included on any of those lists!

Those are just five of the many, many ways you can use Twitter to advance your career as a writer or illustrator. Please comment with ways I missed!

Thanks so much, Tracy.  We’re all looking forward to meeting you at the conference! Now I think I’ll go to that Twitter for beginners link and learn a few things.

Have a great day writing and illustrating, friends!

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About Susan Mannix

Susan worked as a biomedical research editor for the Department of the Navy for fourteen years and has been a member of SCBWI since 2007. She writes young adult and middle grade novels. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time doing all things horses, including attending her teenaged daughters’ many competitions. Susan lives in Maryland on a small farm with her husband, two children, an adorable black lab, two cats, and three horses.
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One Response to 5 Ways Writers and Illustrators Can Use Twitter, Plus #Lucky13

  1. Pingback: LinkedIn for Writers & Illustrators: 4 Tips » Tracy C. Gold Tracy C. Gold

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