At Thanksgiving dinner, as my sister shared a picture of her plate on Snapchat, my father posed the question of whether social media is actually useful on a professional level. He and my brother honed in on Twitter — “Isn’t it all just people talking about what kind of bread they got their sandwiches on?”
Well, sure, if you follow certain people. But Twitter is also one of the best professional networking tools available to writers. Here are just three things I use Twitter for:
Discover writing contests
I follow a lot of writers, agents, and editors, and they like to tweet about the contests they’re hosting, mentoring, or judging. Contests are a great opportunity to connect with other writers, whether you make it to the final rounds or not. When I learn about a new contest, I usually follow all of the mentors and agents involved (if I’m not following them already), even if I ultimately decide not to enter. That way I get more updates about those who write or represent my genre and future contests I may be eligible for.
Get more writing and industry tips
Lots of writers and agents have blogs, and many of them tweet about their latest posts. I can’t read everyone’s blog all the time, so I have a few that I follow regularly and others that I’ll stop by occasionally if I see a topic that interests me. I’ve come across some great advice thanks to Twitter, and even discovered two blogs I now read regularly.
Keep up with industry news
This includes everything from new book deals to new agents to opinions on things like the now-resolved Amazon-Hachette dispute. Writers who are querying can also benefit from the #mswl (manuscript wish list), #tenqueries, and #querylunch hashtags.
Those are just a few things I use Twitter for as a professional. I’ve also heard of people who’ve met critique partners and blog co-hosts on Twitter, and I haven’t even begun to talk about Twitter as a marketing tool. So, yes, people may be tweeting about their lunches, but they’re also tweeting about some pretty cool (and useful) stuff.
How do you use Twitter as a professional? Connect with me @lizosisek for more frequent updates on the writing world, or just to say hi!