How Twitter Is Helpful for Aspiring Writers

At this weekend’s Editors’ Intensive, Alice Pope & I were trying to explain how Twitter works and how it can be helpful for writers.

There were many skeptics in the audience. So I posed the question to my friends/followers on Twitter: How has Twitter helped you as a writer?

I love the responses I received, so I’m sharing with all. Thank you for your generous tips—and if you have more to say beyond 140 characters, you have the comments to elaborate!

Twitter’s let me meet writers, editors, & agents I might not have,
& helped me understand all aspects of the business better.


Contacts, sources and community – it’s a digital moveable feast

I’ve met editors, agents, big authors, up & coming authors, spread the word about my blog, made wonderful friends!

The connection/interaction to other writers, editors, even agents has been hugely enlightening.

Twitter helped me meet ppl I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. Casual format makes asking questions less intimidating.

Twitter has helped me connect with other writers like me. We encourage each other–writing is no longer a lonely occupation.

Twitter has helped me learn more about specific agents and enabled me to make a better decision on if they’re right for me.

Twitter also keeps me updated on the writing industry & has helped me meet great writers I wouldn’t have otherwise met.

Met many writers and authors I never would have met on Twitter.

How has Twitter helped? Connected to writers, pubs, opportunities, promotion – gotten more readers on blog, my novel, etc

Twitter helped me find an excellent guide in southern Austria on a research trip for my next historical novel.

Twitter helps me observe the minds of literary agents! I’ve discovered those not living in New York are almost normal, almost!

Inspiration: microfiction and poetry at my fingertips, showing how much can be conveyed in 25 words.

Networking in a telecommuting industry. Editing for concise: make cuts and preserve meaning. Best clipping service ever.

Writing community with support and very imp. info re: today’s publishing world.

Twitter gives affirmation of what I know and information about what I don’t. Networking allows pub. & unpub. to come together.

I agree with everything @jessrosenbooks says about writers &
twitter. Support, info & encouragement is incredible, even for a
rookie 🙂

I am learning a lot from twitter friends and people who share info through twitter. And I’m getting to know fantastic people.

Twitter has taught me about platforms, promotion, community, and audience.

I’ve had hot scoops from tweeters in other countries, I’ve met ace journos i never would have otherwise … I’ve been filming a Lisbon city guide using nothing more than my phone, mostly twitter, no printed research, guides etc.

Twitter helps me connect with fellow writers in a fun and collegiate way

Networking, research, discovering new
things, calling attn to my blog has been ESSENTIAL to my work flow.

Learned of an online auction, bid for crit from my dream editor, won, got crit & a request for full!

Still learning Twitter, but like the opportunity to follow info on specific subjects from lots of sources in one place.

From @DavidRozansky:

I have acquired more than a dozen potential new authors for our house via Twitter pitches.

Linking to articles via Twitter has increased blog traffic by 900%.

Twitter keeps tabs on rival publishing houses & client bookstores.

By following industry experts, knowledge of books industry grows exponentially.

Links to books on Twitter results in increased book sales.

I’ve built platform of 2,600 Twitter followers in only 5 months, no gimmicks.

I run #scifichat, a weekly scifi books group discussion, Fri. 2-4 pm.

Twitter gives me ideas for books and marketing before competition.

Through Twitter, I am first to learn of trends and news in the books industry.

The best thing-I make friends with fab people in the industry, like yourself!

Leave your tips and thoughts in the comments!

Don’t forget:

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11 thoughts on “How Twitter Is Helpful for Aspiring Writers

  1. Julie Isaac

    How has twitter helped me as a writer? Let me count the ways. Twitter has helped me…

    1. Network: I’ve made friends with other writers (off-line, as well as online), and connected with publishing professionals, including those I’ve interviewed and been interviewed by.

    2. Create: Twitter is a great research tool, whether using keywords to search recent tweets to see what people are talking about, or by directly asking a question and getting dozens of responses (like you did for this blog post

    3. Grow: The first six months I was on twitter, I tweeted a daily creativity tip for writers. Because of the wonderful responses I got, it grew my confidence, as well as my reputation and platform. Twitter’s also helped me grow my email list.

    4. Promote: Between my writing tips and starting #writechat, twitter has been a powerful promotional tool for me. The viral nature of twitter not only shows itself in retweets, but people take what they love about twitter and blog about it, whether they share articles and blog posts that they’ve discovered through twitter links, write about the people they love to follow on twitter, or write about how twitter chats or specific connections have helped them.

    5. Connect: When I started #writechat I had no idea how powerful and transformative it would become. With hundreds of writers participating weekly, it’s a way for writers to not only connect with each other, but with the information they’re looking for, support, and a sense of community. What’s so wonderful about twitter is that it facilitates live conversations between people, whether through chats that take place at a specific time, like #writechat (Sundays from 12pm to 3pm PST) or #poettues, or through spontaneous and serendipitous conversations between people who happen to be on twitter at the same time.

    How has twitter helped me as a writer? In every way.

    Julie (@WritingSpirit)

  2. Lynne Spreen

    I was at that conference, and really appreciated Jane and Alice trying to help us see the relevance of Twitter, but I think I’ll never forget Jane’s last graphic: A cowboy aiming a gun at the camera with the caption "Don’t be bitter." Ha!

  3. Jane Friedman

    @Jennifer: Thanks so much for sharing the link to Copyblogger. It’s one of the best educations out there on writing online and blogging.

    @Monica: One of the best ways to start making connections is to participate in chats, e.g., #editorchat on Wednesday nights is one that I participate in. Writer’s Digest just started a Tuesday poetry chat hosted by @robertleebrewer (#poettues).

    When you find helpful Tweets and then RT, that helps make connections, as well as thanking people who RT you.

    #FollowFriday or #FF is a popular way to give thanks to those who have been helpful, or point out good follows with a theme, e.g., best agents or editors to follow.

    When people throw out a question to the Twitterverse, or say something that’s interesting or helpful to you, that’s another opportunity to briefly make a comment. Or an opportunity to ask a question for more info or clarification.

  4. Monica

    I find these answers encouraging and yet intriguing. I feel I’ve finally found relevant Twitter feeds for the publishing industry. Often offering great advise and tips, these are helpful.

    But I guess I have not mastered what people here have repeatedly mentioned: making connections.

    Perhaps this simply needs a technical question. How do you go beyond simply reading other twitter feeds to interacting with others? Responding directly to many feeds seems inappropriate, as they seem to be just for posting relevant articles, etc. When is it appropriate to respond to a tweet? Thanks for clearing this up!

  5. Georganna Hancock

    As a working writer I find Twitter priceless for research, especially acquiring data on deadline. Companies’ reps on Twitter respond so much faster than regular channels. I’ve even had tech issues easily resolved via Twitter when the company’s site positively declared there was no fix.

    Another of Twitter’s many charms are chats–also great for finding resources, camaraderie, acquiring "organic" followers (oh, the dopamine rush!), and the joy of helping others.

    I could continue, but I’d probably do better writing an article about the many charms of tweeting for writing or Twitter for Writters.

  6. Mary

    I loved reading these comments. It’s so validating to see that so many others have had similar experience with Twitter. What an amazing tool for sharing information and bringing writers (and others) together! Such a great idea for you to take this survey.

  7. PJ Kaiser (aka @doublelattemama)

    In addition to all the terrific comments that are included in the post & comments, I’d add that meeting writers on Twitter has given me the courage to pursue my dream of becoming a writer and has given me pointers to the resources to do it. In addition to my own blogs which I started as a result of meeting people on Twitter, I participate in online groups via Twitter such as #writechat, #amwriting, #fridayflash just to name a few. And having access to industry experts – editors, agents, publishers, etc. – has been invaluable to learning more about how the industry works and how to succeed.

  8. Jane Friedman

    I know that I’m learning for sure — it helps me & others at Writer’s Digest better understand what problems writers face, what is helping writers succeed right now, and any areas where there might be blind spots (on either side).

  9. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman

    Meeting starving, passionate writers and having access to agents, editors and publishers who boldly share their knowledge is what Twitter is all about. We support each other and learn. I can only hope the industry professionals are learning from us humble writers as well.