Okay, I admit, back when I started this blog, and my Facebook page, I was not planning on getting a Twitter account. I thought it was a self-serving, largely vapid (I just had a delicious sandwich! Tell me how lucky I am!), inconsequential waste of time, or something along those lines. Luckily for me, a friend who himself isn't even on Twitter suggested that I sign up specifically for the sake of my writing. Little did he know how right he was!
Though Twitter can be overwhelming to start, especially if we feel the need to amass followers quickly or to read every Tweet in our feed, it offers us as aspiring authors membership in a widespread, supportive, active, and engaged community that simply isn't as present on other social media sites. The benefits of participating in this community are immense.
First, of course, there is the incredible support of the passing writer who comes upon a Tweet, lending an ear or advice. Then there are the writers who become critique partners, comrades in arms, and even friends – many of whom we would not meet without Twitter's involvement. Next, we have all of the readers, bloggers, etc. who are also an intrinsic part of this community, and who will offer space on their sites, tweets, and encouragement of their own as we strive to break out into the competitive field of authorship. This element of world-wide networking is reason enough to brave any trepidations and dive into the Twitterverse.
As an extra perk, Twitter is teething with opportunities to win books across all genres / categories through a variety of literary giveaways, such as the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop (which is accepting entries until 10/31!).
If all of that isn't convincing enough, there is the incomparable benefit that inspired this post: exposure. I don't mean simply exposure by virtue of Tweeting about yourself and/or your work (which should not be the entire focus of your Twitter account), but rather the things to which you become exposed. Without Twitter, I would never have known about Pitch Madness, #PitMad, #AdPit, #MSWL, Trick or Treat with Agents, Secret Agent, Baker's Dozen, Pitch Wars, and more.
Each of these events / contests provides opportunities for our work to land directly in front of agents / editors, bypassing the slush pile. Each one helps us tweak our pitch, query, first page, or entire manuscript, by providing a deadline, motivation, support from other entrants, and even feedback. Each also brings us deeper into the community, strengthening or creating bonds with other writers. With a combination of hard work and good timing, these can also lead to partial / full requests or contracts!
The majority of these, however, one simply would not encounter without an active Twitter presence (and in some of these, one cannot participate without a Twitter account). The gradual growth of a Twitter network builds our chances of learning about all of these incredible opportunities, and the people who volunteer their time to organize them. Participating in turn builds our Twitter network, while also helping us along our ultimate quest to find the right agent / publisher for our work. Choosing not to take advantage of this incredible resource would be like choosing to deal with a broken leg without crutches or a wheelchair. Sure, you can hop around on one leg and probably eventually make it to your goal, though not without further injury, but why put yourself through that when a helpful tool exists, just waiting for you to pick it up?
What do you think? Have you found Twitter to be helpful on your path to publication?