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Should You Be on Twitter as a Creative Writer – Take II

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

Last Wednesday, we began a conversation about whether it was worthwhile for creative writers to be on Twitter or not.

When we did a search for that very question – “should creative writers be on Twitter” – we came across a whole lot of old articles. Some of them were really, really old if we’re defining “old” by technological standards.

Which, admittedly, in some cases, is three seconds ago. Which admittedly is a little ridiculous.

But even from a non-ridiculous definition, some of these were from 126,144,000 seconds ago, also known as four years. And some of them were even less relevant than that for other reasons.

As I mentioned in that original introductory article, the “should creative writers be on Twitter” query brought up:

  • 6 titles only focused on the hashtags you should be using

  • 10 titles that only tout which authors you should follow

  • 11 titles that are clearly marked as being published in 2015 or earlier.

That was the first three pages. So hardly helpful. Fortunately, one article did seem worthwhile to click on… features a suitably new post from October 30, 2018, titled “How Authors Can Get the Most Out of Twitter.” It’s a worthwhile read.

The author, a Nathan Bransford, author of the Jacob Wonderbar series and How to Write a Novel, seems very reasonable. And intelligent. And not completely caught up in his own writing world with his own writing perspective.

In other words, he’s not your typical writing expert, making him a breath of fresh air.

According to him, he joined Twitter in 2008 under duress, only to wind up with 93,000 followers today. The way he sees it, “it pays to be active on social media. Even if you don’t want to be.”

He says it’s never too late to go for it, even addressing my automatic response of, “Oh yeah? Easy to say when you were so early in.” To him:

In many ways, social media is still in its infancy. There are always new accounts that catch fire, and many more people who don’t have wildly successful accounts but who benefit from simply being active.

That’s because, “One of the most underappreciated elements of being active on Twitter is that it’s a terrific tool for learning more about the publishing industry.”

Again, that’s author Nathan Bransford’s perspective. And, from what I read of him in that one article, I do respect him and where he’s coming from.

But I think I still ultimately disagree.

First off, Twitter might still be in its infancy. However, its infancy involves 68 million people. And 68 million is a pretty big baby.

To me, that says your chances of taking off as a no-name writer might very well be one in a million. Possibly even worse.

Likewise, you can learn all you want on Twitter by following publishing insiders. But actually making use of that information in a way that gets you the notice you want is still fairly minuscule.

At least I’d imagine that’s true.

If it wasn’t, the no-name writers I know of who are on Twitter would all be making a killing.

Last but not least, as Bransford also acknowledges, Twitter can be a toxic and addictive place. There’s a lot of #nastiness, #shallowness, #braindeadness and other #depressing displays there.

Perhaps that fits in perfectly with what you’re writing, and you think you can draw inspiration or examples from it. But in order to do even that much, you’re going to have to stay very, very focused.

Otherwise, you can fall down the Twitter hole instead of getting back to writing.

But that’s just author Jeannette DiLouie’s perspective as an absolute outsider to this social media platform. That’s why I’m really hoping to feature a few more perspectives on it next week.



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