Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Does Twitter Really Help Beginning Writers?

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I don't get a lot of feedback via Twitter about my writing and I've often wondered if others writers at a similar level have the same experience. Obviously, I don't have a huge following like the major authors, so I'm sure that's a large part of the problem. Yet some (all?) of my tweets with the most interactions are those having nothing to do with writing. Perhaps the folks on Twitter aren't looking for what I'm offering.

Twitter logo

Recently, I saw this and knew there were others experiencing the same response to their tweets about writing.

I know there are many variables involved here, most of which I have no control over. Are folks on Twitter really looking to find out what new writers are doing? I'm sure some are, but 99% of what I see on Twitter is:
  1. Hey, look at my new book/story/poem (I fall into this category)
  2. (fill in name of politician/leader/celebrity) is a (fill in expletive)
  3. Here's my cat/dog/nature picture! (Okay, I do this, too, sometimes...)
I see many more authors hawking their wares than people who are only looking for a book or story to read. I'm sure they're out there, but I wonder if Twitter is the best way to reach them. With so many writers competing for attention, the chances of getting noticed are pretty slim. If I was Stephen King or a large publishing house, my tweets might reach the desired audience. I am neither.

I've cut back a bit on Twitter because I'm not receiving a lot of productive responses from my tweets. Getting feedback is always tough for beginning writers, so I'm looking around for new ways to get the word out. For example, I'm watching Terri Deno's use of Medium to see if that is a better way to gain an audience. I'm also exploring other outlets for flash fiction and poetry.

And, yes, I do need to produce more, both writing and artwork. It's difficult to do while working a full-time job and dealing with life's other responsibilities. Still, a reliable flow of material keeps people involved.

If you have any thoughts on this, please pass them along!

© 2019 K. R. Smith All rights reserved


  1. Interesting question. I think there has to be a point to being on twitter. That you are there for a reason. When I started I came because a friend was there, but then I took part in NaNaWriMo and that is how I hooked up with writers. For me it has been invaluable in terms of feedback about my writing, improving my writing, finding out about how to go about publishing whether trad or self-pubbed. It's also a place to find beta readers. I think you have to be out there asking questions, not just saying 'hey look at what I wrote'. I think you have to be engaging them in those questions. People to look at are Thaddeus Thomas. The Writing Community hashtag can be very shallow - it is a follow chain for the most part, but it is a way for writers to find writers and ask writing question - which is what many do. Not just sell their wares or their writing. I don't look for readers on twitter - only those who are going to critique my work.

    I think Medium, must like Patreon is a trend. People see it work for some people so then jump on the bandwagon. I don't want to pay to read someone's piece of flash on Patreon - unless, yes, unless it's Stephen King! LOL and I'd rather buy it in book form in that case. But that is me. Medium has been around a long time and only now seems to be gaining traction. I don't see how people get it to pay for them. I think it is becoming overused, and thus will become bloated and vacuous much like a lot of these places. Everyone is online trying to make money, particularly in the writing arena.

    As for trying to sell you work, I don't think there is a new way - not yet anyway. I am a member of a huge UK book club on FB - over 4K members, who all discuss books, recommend books and review books - they are only readers, they limit author interaction, will not allow them to sell their wares, and have a strict set of rules for them - and it works. I enjoy the engagement, the chatter about books, and some of the fun things they do. They also have a review request spin off group which is invaluable for authors - particularly Indie.

    I like twitter. I am on twitter for engagement and friendships not as a selling platform. Although in terms of marketing myself, if I stop my scheduled tweets offering my editing services, I see zero visits to my website (which will be how it is at the mo). As soon as I start them again, the visits start again, so people do link through. But buying and purchasing etc.? You have to have a brand, and already have an audience for it to work I think. And you have to build that audience with honest engagement.

    I spent all last year studying marketing strategies for authors, reading and watching info from established self-pubbed authors and how the go about it. I have learnt a lot. But real engagement is the key everytime. Knowing your audience etc.

    I think the fad of blog writing and reading is passing. It's all about YouTube and Podcasts and listening to things. Audio books are also a thing right now. It's constantly changing. It's hard to keep up.

    It's not easy out there, but to expect twitter, which is really a ticker tape of consciousness, to provide an income, is not a good idea.

    1. I don't expect Twitter to provide an income, just some interaction on my writing. That was my hope, but I don't get a lot of that. And like the tweet I posted on my blog, I get responses on other things. I post a tweet about a story or poem and I get 20-30 impressions after a week. I post a picture of my dinner and get over 200 in a few minutes. Even putting in hashtags doesn't make much difference. I can only speak for my experience on this.

      And I don't think people will pay for flash fiction on Patreon, either, so that's always open to everyone (flash fiction is no charge and readable by anyone). If they should pay, they will get longer stories, art, and other interesting (I hope) posts. Except for one two-part story, they can read everything I have behind the paywall for one dollar. Then they can quit if they wish. In some cases, I'm getting more hits on Patreon than Twitter, even when it's behind a paywall!

      The point to my post was that someone else was having the same experience I was having with Twitter. I get better responses face-to-face when I talk about my writing, and there are places around where I live to do that. I'm not going to stop using Twitter, but it won't be the main focus for promoting my work.


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