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Open Question: Do You Use Twitter?

Mediabistro recently conducted an informal round-up of publishers and authors who use Twitter to publicize titles and interact with readers. Within TOC, we use Twitter (plug: follow us here) to exchange quick bursts of information and story ideas, and we’ve also found it to be a surprisingly effective beat coverage tool — breaking stories and new memes often appear on Twitter before they hit the blogosphere and mainstream media outlets.

This anecdotal evidence suggests Twitter is gaining steam in the publishing world, but is that really the case? Are you using Twitter? Have you even heard of Twitter? Please share your thoughts in the comment area.

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Comments: 4

  1. I am a fiction author and I use Twitter. I’m SQL Server DBA in my day job so my twitter profile (cjewel) includes some SQL people — following and followers. I do follow publishers (including TOC) and many other writers. My 5 most recent tweets post in a sidebar on my writing blog.

    I love twitter for a lot of reasons. Writing can be very isolating, day job notwithstanding, since most co-workers don’t know anything about the challenges and aren’t interested anyway. The writers who follow me “get” the writing bit. The exchange of writing-related tweets is isolation-busting. For the publishers I follow, I get reading recommendations and a sense of what their markets are like. And there’s gossip and rumor, too! I’m not sure how many of the people who follow me are fans. Some, I think. But I don’t really see Twitter as a promotion tool first. Maybe I should, but then I’d lose the “intimacy” I currently enjoy. Besides, writers rarely have frequent news about sales or releases and using Twitter only infrequently misses the point.

    I’ve been refining who I follow — dropping those who haven’t been interesting to me or who promote themselves so much it’s a one way flow, and seeking out more writers, readers and publishers.

    So far though, Twitter has been a great way to exchange news quickly and to get news before it shows up elsewhere. The RWA conference is later this month, and I do plan to twitter the conference.

  2. My sense is that Twitter is gaining some traction in publishing. One of my areas of responsibility is marketing the Orbit imprint in the UK, which has a presence on Twitter at twitter.com/orbitbooks. Our use of Twitter is relatively straightforward: taking posts from our corporate blog and posting them to Twitter. Compared to our blog traffic and feeds, it’s a relatively small part of our web presence, but it’s built up a modest following completely organically, and we hope to do some more interesting things with the platform.

    I’m also seeing some interesting things being done by third parties: Bkkeepr is a neat website which lets users keep track of their reading through Twitter messages. (Disclosure: I have a sponsorship arrangement with Bkkeepr).

  3. We’re a smaller publisher than Orbit (name of Soft Skull Press, in NYC) so there’s an expectation of a more writer-like interaction, an intimacy as Carolyn suggests. But we’re also known as hustlers, so anything I blog about I twitter too…

    In terms of non-promotional tweets, I aim to offer professional curiosities. Little things in life and the world which illuminate my professional life, which can veer therefore towards the somewhat personal, without getting into anything too over-share-y.

    It is such early days, though: Bkkeepr is great and disclosure there, the guy who designed it acquired two of my books when he was an editor at Snowbooks!

  4. I use it…just not enough. I use it to add a bit of new content to my blog in between posts, but I’m not consistent about it, unfortunately. If I did it right, it would be a great way to refresh content on an ongoing basis with minimal effort. I suppose I could add this to the ever-growing pile of self-improvement resolutions, but at this point I already have so many of those, I just want to take a nap.