Happy Friday, everyone! For those readers who pay close attention, you might have noticed how there was no First Friday #SCBWIsocial post last week. After careful consideration, we’ve decided to pull the plug on that venture until September so we can come back with a bolder, better version. Until then, we still have our monthly themes for those who want to submit to As The Eraser Burns!
And we have a lovely social media guest post by Stacy Couch to share today. Enjoy!
Spreading the Tweet Love
The first time I went on Twitter, I didn’t have a clue. But I liked it.
Its very brevity—only 140 characters per Tweet—kept the word count low and the Tweets funny. And I loved reading other writers’ Tweets. Ame Dyckman, a picture book writer, could whip off these quirky little sayings so very her, so very Ame, I connected to her right away.
But when it came to writing a Tweet of my own, I had no idea, NO IDEA, what to tweet. I knew I needed to post about kids, and kidlit, while keeping my personality. I just didn’t know how.
So…while I was finding my Twitter self, I did what social media was made for. I chatted.
And soon I learned the true value of Twitter: friends. I’ve met so many fabulous authors, teachers, and school librarians online. I feel like I’m a part of the kidlit community.
I also learned a lot from those friends about how I wanted to be on Twitter. How I could connect…and write…and Tweet.
1. Be yourself—just not the MEAN you.
We’re kidlit authors and illustrators. We should be professional and friendly. We should also be engaging…which, in my case, may involve a teeny, tiny bit of sarcasm.
But we may never, ever, EVER be mean.
2. Engage other people.
If you’re on social media, it’s not about promoting. It’s about connecting, folks. All those authors, school librarians and teachers? They know what’s going on in the kidlit world. And, as kidlit readers and writers, they get it. They love what you love.
So chat with them. Ask them questions. Make some kidlit friends.
3. The Golden Rule: Post 90% to entertain others, 10% to promote you.
Why do you read an article or a blog? Because you want something out of it: to be educated or entertained. You don’t want to hear: READ MY BOOK. CHECK OUT MY FACEBOOK. READ MY BLOG.
If you look at Kidlit411 and Debbie Ohi’s Twitter feeds, you’ll see a ton of interesting, educational posts about writing and illustrating for kids. If you look at Julie Falatko or Ame Dyckman’s Twitter feeds, you’ll see fun, silly tweets that talk about their kids, libraries, cookies and kidlit—what authors and readers would enjoy. They let people know if they’re on a blog, podcast, or have a book out; but it’s the exception, not the rule.
4. Talk about what you love—even if it’s not kidlit.
You don’t have to talk all kidlit, all the time. Talk about what you—and your followers—like to do. Do you like to knit? Plenty of crafters read kidlit. Do you like art? Plenty of picture-book lovers love art too.
Again, it’s okay to be you. It’s not all facts. You need a personality on social media. And a great way to do that is to show people what excites you.
5. Don’t be perfect.
First of all, perfect people suck. You may like Martha Stewart from afar; but who wants to hang with her at Panera?
(Hey. Did that break Rule #1? Hmm…)
Second, perfect people don’t exist. I myself am NOT a social media maven. I don’t have a huge following, and most of my own posts are informational: no kids or pets, no great photos, no great jokes.
But…I can engage. I can be funny in a conversation, and people like me…in small, 140-character doses. Really. They do.
So don’t worry too much about how many followers you have, or if you’re doing it right. Explore, favorite some people, Tweet twice a week. Or just lurk for a while, get a feel for what—and whom—you like.
And have fun. It’s a job, a way to get your name out. But it’s your community—your crazy-fun, kidlit-loving group of tweeps—too.
Stacy Couch is a picture book author and critique group leader. You can find Stacy procrastinating on Twitter: @couchmine.
Twitter Feeds Mentioned:
Authors: @JulieFalatko (hilarious, writing Mom), @AmeDyckman (wildly wacky & sweet)
Illustrator: Debbi Ohi @Inkyelbows (general kidlit info, with illus. POV)
Informational: @Kidlit411 (general kidlit info)
Fantastic, thanks, Stacey! I’ve been looking for some motivation to get back to tweeting. So this is perfect!