I had a personal Twitter account, (still do, I guess), but I never really got it. Things flew past too quickly, I couldn’t follow conversations and lots of it made no sense to me. When I was getting ready to put Apple out, I started collecting various social media accounts to make sure I had the set and to see how useful they were. I wasn’t expecting Twitter to be much use to me. After all, I can be verbose at times and it didn’t seem like you could do much with 140 characters.
Then I got involved in a Twitter pitch party and things started to change. It was strange: while pinging out my tweets for Mortician’s Boy, I started to feel like I was a part of something. It was like being at a party and being pulled onto the dance floor suddenly. I still didn’t know anyone, I didn’t recognise the tune, but I could hold the beat at least and I was enjoying myself. Seeing people retweet my pitches felt great, and getting them favourited felt even better. But it wasn’t as if it was a competition with a single grand prize. If someone else got favourited, then the worst thing to happen would be another cool pitch took a step closer to becoming a book. And that’s not a bad thing by any standard.
And after the party, there were agents and publishers and other writers to follow in a way that didn’t feel quite so inhuman and distant. And they each knew other interesting people who in turn knew more people. I got a glimpse into the agent side of publishing. A snappy, 140 character glimpse, but those small looks added up. I got to chat with other writers, to learn things like I’m not the only one who has trouble spelling twelth ….twelvth… 12th, and that caffeine is a universal language.
It’s surprising how much information there can be in those 140 characters. I’m constantly coming across links to great articles, useful sites, new books. I can see what agents and publishers are looking for with the #mswl (manuscript wishlist) hashtag. Or find out how agents view pitches with things like #500queries.
Twitter does still feel somewhere between attending a stranger’s party and finding myself in a secret society. (What on earth does that hashtag mean? Why is that person following me? Why am I in a tweet with a load of other handles I don’t know?) I haven’t used it much for publicity because I’m terrified of being that person. But I’m starting to spend more and more time here, and interact with more people and there are agents with my manuscript who wouldn’t have necessarily had it otherwise. Right now I’m circling the edge of the dance floor, but I’m making my way to the bar. Hopefully I’ll know the secret handshake for a pint of cider by the time I get there.