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Thursday, August 03, 2017

Twitter for Authors -- Should You or Shouldn't You

This isn't a How-to, this is a Why-to. Why jump into the fast-moving river that is Twitter and try to grab your .05 seconds of attention as the feed flows past at the rate of a river fed by a hurricane?

I initially joined Twitter to get news. It was the season of the Green Revolution in Iran, and the mainstream media didn't seem to know that anything was happening. There was this fearless woman tweeting out news from the square where the pro-democracy protest was gathering, and I just signed up because someone on Facebook said that's where you could find out.

Then I was glued to someone called Oxford Girl, who was putting out tweets through a complex network that allowed her to use her cell phone to get brief reports and pictures of the action out, while (resumably) keeping her safe.

The Atlantic described it this way: "The immediacy of the reports was gripping," reported the Washington Times. "Well-developed Twitter lists showed a constant stream of situation updates and links to photos and videos, all of which painted a portrait of the developing turmoil. Digital photos and videos proliferated and were picked up and reported in countless external sources safe from the regime's Net crackdown." Journalists even gave the unrest in Tehran a second moniker: the "Twitter Revolution."

My husband couldn't pry me away from the computer for about three days.

Now the launch of your novel isn't going to attract the breathless interest a developing revolution gets, but it is a news event, for you and for your fans. It may be modest in comparison to NationalGirlfriendsDay, or whatever outrageous thing the Tweeter-in-Chief posted last night. But it's news to those who follow you. The difference between Twitter and other platforms is the speed of news and sense of excitement. So it should probably be in your arsenal of places to trumpet your news.

Build a following, largely by following others and tweeting about your writing life (#amwriting #writinglife #amediting are good hashtags to follow and use), and then when you have some news, tweet and ask your @friends to retweet. If you want some basics, here's The Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Writers.

Follow me @Rachel_Dacus and I'll follow you back!


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