Jul 04, 2021
15 mins read
*please note: if something is underlined here it is hyperlinked to another page
This is a follow up to my A Writer's Guide to Twitter Part 1 where you can read about all sorta of things to do with general Twitter etiquette including Subtweets, Calling people out, not being a creep, how to DM other people, general interaction. But today I'm going to dive into more specific details about the writing community on Twitter.
Please note this is aimed more for writers connecting with other writers. If you are wanting to connect to a reader base I recommend on the next new moon sacrificing 3 goats and two bottles of mead to the gods. on the following full moon sacrifice...
Okay so Writing Twitter. Here are things to know:
#1: Supporting each other.
The first thing that a lot of writers are coming on Twitter for is to support other writers and get support themselves. Other writers are not your competition, nobody is going to read a book and say "Yes books have reached their zenith here, no other book should ever be read again." The more writers are successful the more people are reading. The more people are reading the more they are buying books. So support each other. You don't have to know all of the details of what's going on with someone, if you see they are posting something down, say something nice and don't expect anything back. and if you're feeling down reach out, people are friendly around here.
Speaking of supporting each other:
#2: Selling and Buying Books
Okay, so we all know that we're here to write stories and try and spread outreach to get someone to read and love our writing and maybe making some money someday out of word crafting. So you're going to see a ton of ads for people selling books. There's nothing wrong with that. Buy the books you are interested in. Let people know when you're book is on sale. Do not feel obligated to buy any books you are no interested or expect other people to buy your books immediately. Also, be aware of how often you post. Accounts that only post their ads seem to never interact with other people and aren't likely to engage with you or support you. There's a lot about the algorithms of Twitter as well that you might see your book ads get buried in everything else. If you want to see a great article that talks more about why you're screwing up your marketing for self-publishing books see my friend Scout's article here:
3 Reasons You’re Not Making Money From Self-Publishing Books
#3: Writer's Lifts
Going to be real here you're better off not doing these big chain #writerslift threads where you do a lot of following for follow on large comment threads of people. You'll get followers no doubt, and you're going to be following a lot of people. But you're going to notice that a lot of people will follow until you follow back and then unfollow. I guess they think it makes them look important or cool? If that's a game you wanna play fine, but you're going to miss out on a lot. Writer lift accounts also tend to just do writers lifts and never interact outside of that, so if you actually want to connect this is not the place for you. If you wanna run your follower count up fast with no hope of interactions, this is the thing to do. Oh also remember how I said that accounts that only post book ads don't get interactions and their posts tend to get lost? Doing the writer's lifts will tell the algorithm to only show you more writer's lifts posts so you won't see anything genuine.
A few caveats: Dave Westfall does individual posts using the #writerslifts this is the majority of what he does but he does interact with other people and is a pretty nice guy, and he calls out larger accounts and brand new accounts.
Sam Odiorne does Sam's Spotlight for people who have fewer followers than him, engage with him, and have positive vibes all around. He doesn't use the writer lift hashtag but the more personalized call-outs mean you can trust he's recommending someone who is going to be more than a spam bot.
#4 "Tag x number of other people in this post"
This is a bit different than writer's lifts because they aren't using the hashtag and can be anything from a writing submission to someone just saying "here are some facts about me, if I tag you tell some stuff about you and tag some more". These are a little bit less harmful than the writer's lifts but you need to be careful especially with who you tag. *stares at vaguely @RTSlaywood* as it can lead to unexpected consequences. This can be nice if you want to see a lot of notifications of replies and likes and feel involved, but it can be overwhelming.
#5 Getting Overwhelmed
Social media is a social activity. You interact with people and that's exhausting. As writing itself is a pretty solitary act, so many writers are used to having a lot periods of quiet. You're going to find out that Twitter can be over stimulating. There is always something going on, a new fight over something, some drama happening, a new Don't Make it Weird episode podcast. There's stuff going on constantly. You don't have to be involved in everything, trust me things come and go, what might seem like a huge deal one day will be forgotten about the next day, or next week. If you are feeling like it's consuming your attention step back, take a breath, do some writing, you can leave Twitter alone. It'll be there when you get back.
Okay here's the thing, if you're a write I'm going to assume that you are a deeply emotional person, regardless of what genre you are writing. You feel a drive to share stories with other people, you want to make them feel things just as you feel things. Writers tend to feel positive and negative emotions and act on them, and will swing moods constantly. This means a lot of us get infatuated easily, and since we're also looking for validation we get very flattered when someone expresses feelings for us.
There is nothing wrong with having a crush but it's very easy to mess up. Miscommunication with someone is easy face to face; with a screen between you and someone you've never met it is even easier to screw it up. It's going to be impossible to not run into people with a lot of similar thoughts and feelings as you. You're also going to find that the writing community is full of a lot of really attractive people. Like who knew writers were all so hot? Anyways you're going to crush, accept it now. What you do need to know is how to handle it when it happens.
First: Remember these are people by in large you are never going to meet in real life. I know that internet communities, especially during a pandemic, feel very real but you are likely never going to have to meet someone you like. This might make you bold having a shield of anonymity or make you feel it's not worth pursuing.
Second: Don't be a creep, if you don't know someone that well and only have had limited interactions with them don't ask where they live, don't DM them, don't make comments unless you've got rapport with the person and know how they will react to comments. Don't assume because they welcome a comment about their looks from one person that it means it's okay for you to do it. Some people are more open to it than others, don't assume and be careful and you'll have a much nicer time.
Third: If you and someone really click and you're having fun and nobody is being hurt, that's okay. But just like in real life consent should be obtained and can be withdrawn by either part at anytime for any reason. So if someone you've been getting in the mood with says they aren't in the mood or that they don't want to keep doing that kind of activity with you, accept it and step away. Nobody owes you nothing and you don't own anyone anything.
#7 Bios and Pinned Tweets
Read them. They are going to tell you a lot about who you are following and how they might interact with you. If their pin tweet is a #Pitmad expect them to be interested in engaging and talking a lot about writing - but don't like a Pitmad Tweet unless you're an agent! If they are pinning their book to buy expect them to be wanting to sell their book. If their Bio says "Don't DM with out permission" it means DON'T DM WITHOUT PERMISSION! Bios will also often include pronouns, if you see this use those pronouns when talking to or about that person, don't assume based on name. Read the bio, check back if you don't remember, it's okay to double check before looking like a jerk.
Pinned Tweet Exchanges: there's nothing wrong with this but if you're just retweeting a pinned tweet and not opening the link you're not really helping out that much. Personally I look at a select couple of follower's pinned tweets every now and again and like and retweet but I don't do it all at once. Part of this is algorithm and avoiding twitter spam protection. The other thing is if you are just retweeting a lot without posting your own content a lot of people might mute you or turn off retweeting for you and so your retweet doesn't help the person you think you are helping.
#8 Pitch Events
Pitch Events are pretty big and there's a lot of them. #PitMad is the biggest, but there's also #PitDark #Pitchdis #WMPitch and a whole lot more I am forgetting or not aware of. Here's the thing, you're going to see these pit events all over the place if you're in deep with the writing community. PitMad will get trending all across twitter even for non-writing community people. Each of these event has their own rules and requirements. some will say don't retweet only quote retweet (QRT). most say don't like a tweet pitching, just comment. The best thing to do is google and check the rules, if you're helping out other writers by retweeting or commenting make sure you know how to do this before interacting with a post so you don't like a PitMad post and give your writer friend a heart attack and then a lot of sadness that you aren't in fact an agent wanting their book. If you are participating to pitch your own book make sure to research how the event works, how to pitch your book, which hashtags to use, how to respond if an agent likes your pitch. There are a lot of pitch groups that will form up before a pitch event to offer advice and feedback on your pitch tweets. They are a lot of fun and can be very hectic so make sure you know what you are getting in to before you dive in.
#9 Erotica and Romance Writers
First off let's clear something up: Writing Erotica is just as valid in literature as anything else, if you seem to think erotica is lesser than you might want to rethink what the purpose of writing is, gatekeeping isn't cool in any community but especially not a writing community.
Notice how I've talked about creeps today and not being creepy towards your Twitter Crush? I want to do a special call out for our wonderful writers who are doing Erotica and Romance writing because I've noticed a lot of them deal with weirdos more than say me as a fantasy writing guy.
A lot of Writing Twitter is branding, branding as the type of person you want to be, branding your based on your genre. A lot of my branding is wellness, positivity, and telling a good story because a lot of what I write is with the aim of telling you a good story that will generally have elements resembling a good moral if you want to look into that.
Erotica and Romance writers have a brand of digging into your sexuality and making you feel those more primal urges. A lot of writers of this sort actually will have multiple twitter accounts if they are writing erotica under a pen name for discretion and security and also so they can write say YA books for kids under another name without worrying about kids buying the wrong book.
If you notice an Erotica writer is posting about sexuality and you want to interact that's fine, but remember this isn't an invitation to assume they want to have sex with you. This does not mean you should go onto their comments or in their DMs and tell them how sexy you think they are or send them pictures of your body parts, or anyone else's body parts, without their consent. They are writers and human beings first, not something for your to objectify and make them feel uncomfortable. Respect and Consent are the two sexiest things, keep that in mind, be nice and you won't run into trouble.
Also just so it's doubly clear: even if they aren't a romance or erotica writer, don't send pictures of your body to anyone without consent, come on it's 2021 and the internet is full of porn, unless they ask you aren't going to show them anything they want to see or haven't seen already. Don't flatter yourself.
Okay let's talk about drama because it happens. Some of you might think: "oh well most of the drama happens because of creeps" actually no. Most creeps say something, get blasted across twitter, and some blocks happen and that's the end of it. Drama in Writing Twitter usually happens because we're a bunch of strong personality types with hypersensitive emotions, and let's face it some fairly large egos that get easy bruised. We're like actors but with typing not talking. Here's what I'm going to say about drama with other writers: you are not going to be everyone's cup of tea, and not everyone is going to like you. The writing community is huge, you don't have to get along with everyone or every clique in the community. Find the people you like and be nice, that's really it. Most writers are struggling in some way and might overreact or get triggered over things you are unaware of. The best option is to be nice and apologize if you're called out for making a social fubar (for non-Americans F.U.B.A.R. is an acronym for "Fucked up beyond all recognition") and realign your goals.
Also if someone offends you let them know, but I recommend trying to be nice about it. I've done a lot of fighting on social media since the dawn of the internet before it was even called social media. In the end it probably doesn't matter. A lot of times there's things going on in the other person's life you won't know about that could be affecting the course of conversation. I would say step back from them, and if reconciliation is not possible mute them. If you come back after awhile and they are having a negative effect on your mental health, go for the block, that's okay.
#11 #VSS and other Writing Prompts
Okay VSS is short for Very Short Story. The idea here is to write a short story in the span of a single tweet and include the word provided in the prompt somewhere in your story. So if the word of the day is say #euneirophrenia so you'd tweet something like:
Light hit her eyes, aware of the world around her still she lingered on the threshold of sleep enjoying the #euneirophrenia of both realms of reality. She wanted to drag those dreams into her waking realm, but the Sandman did not give up easily. Someday she'd beat him. #vssdreams
The idea here is to try and write something and work in a word or theme to create something new and think about how to craft stories. I don't do them everyday but sometimes it's fun to exercise and do something fast to get your creative energies flowing.
#12 Some Cool Stuff to Look Into
Okay Wesley you've been typing away for 2500 words who are some people or events you recommend?
Alright here's a list of a handful (but not all) of my favorite people and events to follow on twitter in no particular order to get you started. If you feel I've missed something or someone important please let me know and I'll add them in, this isn't a purposeful exclusion but some people I don't know if they want the extra attention or some podcasts I don't know enough about to give my recommendation yet, so if I didn't call you out here and you feel you should have been message me and we'll talk.
NaNoWriMo - National novel writing month takes place in November with the goal of writing 50k words in a single month (that's about 1667 words a day). It's a challenge and is hard to do, but I recommend giving it a shot. They also run events throughout the year to help keep you on pace with your writing goals
Don't Make it Weird - A weekly podcast (it's better on their youtube channel) of everyone's favorite golden retriever turned human @Danqwritesthing and his delightfully dreamy diamond of desire co-host @DinasaurusD it drops around 12am EST on Mondays. Note: not kid friendly, so listen to it when you have some privacy.
Forgot My Dice - This is a more general nerdy podcast that drops every other Tuesday (usually). Robert and Jonathon have been doing this for almost 6 years and they talk about just about everything you can image if it's nerdy. RPGs, Movies, Books, Video Games. It's a positive fun broadcast that will have a little something for everyone. Note: This is kid friendly so you can listen to it whenever.