It was a little over a year ago when my friend Sara said, “You need to be on Twitter”. She was right. My first book was about to be published and I needed to get out there. Except for connecting with family and old friends on Facebook, though, I’d been a bit of a social media hermit. I was definitely a writing hermit. Most of my life I’d kept my stories to myself. I had passion and dreams, but no confidence. It was easier to hide and say ‘maybe someday’ than risk taking one step outside my comfort zone.
Once I did, of course, everything changed. My confidence grew and I took the plunge and published. Problem was, I had never really thought much about promoting. I didn’t know any other authors. I certainly wasn’t used to talking to them, or talking about writing so openly.
My friend, Sara, gave me a quick Twitter tutorial one morning over coffee. I had no idea what to say for my first tweet (or the next dozen), but I jumped in with both feet and learned the ropes the hard way. I’m still learning, in fact. But what’s important is that I reached out. I connected. And I had no idea how crucial it was until I did. When I first joined, I read some online advice for writers using Twitter. One article in particular stuck with me. It talked about how you shouldn’t look at other authors as your competition. They’re your network, your cartel. I didn’t get that on day one, but it didn’t take long.
Interacting with other authors (published and unpublished), readers, artists and filmmakers, fellow zombie and fantasy enthusiasts—people of all kinds—has been an incredibly positive and enlightening experience. Twitter isn’t just about marketing and promoting your own work. In fact, for me, that’s been a small part of it. Twitter is inspiration and amusement, fun and expression, encouragement and community. It can be a much needed distraction, an exchange of ideas, and a pep rally. It’s the funny picture that puts a smile on your face when you’re ready to throw your laptop across the room. Sometimes, you need advice or support. Other times, all it takes is a simple Favorite to let you know someone in that big wide Twitterverse commiserates.
Writing can be both pleasure and pain, often at the same time. There’s an ebb and flow of confidence and doubt that I’ve come to realize is made worse by isolation. Knowing others are on the roller coaster with you makes a difference.
My friend says she created a monster when she introduced me to Twitter. I’m not sure I’m quite that bad—yet. But if I get there, I’m not too worried. A lot of my followers like monsters.