Do writers use Twitter? You bet your sweet tweet they do.

MediaBistro.com analyzed what many of us call “meaningless chatter” on Twitter and found, among all the celebrity nonsense, there are plenty of us out there too:

Using highly unscientific methods (a simple TweepSearch to find all the people who included the word “poet,” “novelist,” or “writer” in their Twitter profile), GalleyCat has compiled a year-end census of the literary Twittersphere.

According to simple TweepSearch queries, there are 1,790 novelists, 9,139 poets, 19,490 journalists, 28,529 authors, and a staggering 99,082 writers on Twitter. The publishing world latched on to the microblogging site in 2009, as Twitter writers scored book deals, serialized stories, and saw their work adapted to film.

What’s in it for you? Do you use Twitter successfully?

Helen Gallagher
(Previously posted on releaseyourwriting.blogspot.com, with a 2-year archive of useful commentary for writers.)

  • I used twitter for marketing, initially, and I met some great people there, but I just don’t have whatever it is that allows me to regularly contribute to the many lines of chatter and the hundreds of different conversations. I also am not a naturally “popular” or socially active person who engages successfully in small-talk, so I’ve limited my twitter account to its acceptance of my automatic facebook feeds.

  • You’re right, Kristen. You’re out there, but at minimal effort and little time wasted. My personal view of Twitter is like cocktail party talk, or exchanging business cards at a breakfast meeting. Not much comes of it.


  • I love Twitter. I have found some pretty amzing sites, blog posts, and writing tips from other people there.

    I sometimes tweet about problems I’m having with my current work in progress. I’ve even gotten inspiration from the site as well. It’s a nice tool to share stuff and network.

  • I can trace several sales to Twitter. Not because of direct marketing, but because of “conversations” I’ve had there. People tend to treat marketing as spam there, and I don’t blame them.

  • I don’t know about direct book sales, but Twitter’s been instrumental in the growth of this site. The site started in December 08, just as Twitter was becoming a force, and a huge amount of traffic comes from there. I don’t have a lot of followers (around 1600), but other high-powered tweeters – like http://twitter.com/thecreativepenn – will tweet stuff (including this post!) which leads to a lot of interaction. It’s all about fostering these types of relationships, not just your own follower count.


    • Thanks for all the comments, and kudos to Henry for showing us how effective Twitter was in getting Self-Publish Review launched. Use Henry’s inspiration if you, or your book, are in a holding pattern, waiting, wishing and hoping to be discovered. Do what he did – make it happen.


  • Angry Bird

    I have to agree with Kristen. I must confess that I am still in the planning stages of a first “work in progress” (stall, stall…), but nevertheless, I also don’t think I have anything “Twitter-esque” to add to the conversation (or lack thereof), and would rather peck my eyes out than engage in “small talk” or “water cooler banter.”

    I should add, too, that when it comes to this whole idea of “networking” (even in-person), I am not much of a social type either, and consider Twitter to be more like public speaking or an open mic rather than a cocktail party (all of which I dread). I don’t use Facebook either (the cocktail-ish equivalent…there’s a joke in there somewhere), because that’s for adding a list of friends one has “IRL” (which I am seriously lacking as well). Meanwhile Twitter carries a far broader audience, and it’s updated in real time. Unlike an article or book, there’s no way of editing or deleting what you’ve “said” once you’ve said it — first, second, and nine hundredth drafts are antithetical to the rapid-fire “conversational” format of the site.

    In short, I have no one to talk to and nothing more to say.